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Motorhome and Campervan Awards 2020 winners announced, ABI Coworth static home reviewed, and glamping planned for York Naburn Lock holiday park

Can’t wait to get the caravan hitched up and set off on a Spring outing? That’s hardly surprising, given some of the fierce storms we’ve had to endure this winter.

To set your mind at ease that all is still well in the caravanning world, here are some snippets of news …

Motorhome and Campervan Awards 2020 winners announced

It’s that time of year for the annual jamboree that is the Motorhome and Campervan Awards, organised by the Caravan and Motorhome Club and held at the National Motorcycle Museum, near Birmingham.

Announcing the winners in a post on the 25th of February, Out and About Live picked out those in the specialist categories of large, A class luxury motorhomes, coachbuilts, van conversions, and campervans:

New owner and glamping for York Naburn Lock holiday park

Owners of the York Caravan Park in Stockton Lane have acquired a second caravan park, also in the city, at nearby Naburn Lock, writes the York Press on the 26th of February.

The new site currently has 115 pitches – twice the number of the Stockton Lane’s 55 pitches – and is the subject of a planning application for the construction of new washing and toilet facilities.

Expansion comes after the success of the original York Caravan Park, which continues to offer a 5-star experience for touring caravans and campers for adults only and attracts some 50,000 visitors a year.

The new site at Naburn Lock is on the banks of the River Ouse, close to the Park+Ride scheme and about a 15-minute drive from the centre of the city.

ABI Coworth static caravan is reviewed

UK static caravan manufacturers ABI have invested the whole of their 45 years’ experience in the crafting and design of their newly unveiled Coworth Deluxe model.

In their review of the Coworth, Ideal Caravans highlight the many features of this family-oriented static caravan which is capable of sleeping six. The two bedrooms include a master suite, with king-size bed and its own ensuite washroom and toilet, and a further bedroom with two single beds. Additional sleeping accommodation is in the lounge area.

The large toilet and family shower room also has an in-built extractor fan.

That U-shaped lounge area at the front of the caravan is open and spacious and has an L-shaped dinette which is divided from the kitchen by a three-quarter wall. The kitchen comes ready-equipped with gas cooker, extractor fan, built-in microwave and fridge-freezer.

Shropshire Council set to rule on caravan park plans

Bridle Way Caravan Park, at Gobowen near Oswestry, in Shropshire, has applied for planning permission for a change of use from its current caravan, motorhome and camping pitches to pitches for 13 static caravans for year-round holiday use.

In its coverage of the planning application, the Oswestry and Border Counties Advertiser on the 25th of February noted the opposition currently voiced by nearby residents. Opponents of the proposed change of use are concerned that owners of the static caravans will try to use them as permanent, year-round residences and, so, have called for conditions requiring any static caravan site to be vacated every February.

Shropshire County Council has yet to decide on the planning application.

60+ tourer owner? Age doesn’t matter

Caravan Accessories

It’s sometimes frustrating that we seem to spend a large part of our lives waiting to reach a certain minimum age where we no longer have to pay extra for our insurance and then shortly after, we start finding that we must pay more because we have passed a certain age! It is a fact of life that age is sometimes an issue in some forms of insurance.

Of course, there are understandable reasons behind insurance providers needing to take into account, in some circumstances, the age of a policyholder.

For example, few people would really dispute that a typical 60 year old is unlikely to have the same reaction times when driving a car or caravan as those of a 25 year old.

Even though this might be counterbalanced, to some extent, by the greater experience of the older driver, the reality of life is that insurance providers may feel that older drivers constitute a slightly higher risk than those of the younger age groups.

Unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to follow the logic when it is ruthlessly applied to caravan insurance. Some insurance providers may, for example, decline to offer an insurance policy to over 60 towing drivers at all.

This appears to be a gross overreaction and disproportionate.

Older drivers

Some insurance policy providers will not take drivers over 60 under cover for the towing of touring caravans.

The logic behind this isn’t always entirely clear but presumably reflects some views that older drivers may be less able to manage a caravan behind the car than younger drivers.

Fortunately, this view is not universal and there are other insurance providers who are more than willing to offer over 60’s touring caravan insurance. At Cover4Caravans we are proud to be able to offer help in such areas and to confirm that we can offer over 60 driver insurance cover.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that towing a caravan is only one aspect of an insurance policy risk profile. In other respects, such as experience in terms of hitching and siting a touring caravan, age may be a positive advantage.

So, in terms of discounts, you may find that cover and discounts are available and over 60’s caravan insurance is perhaps far more cost-attractive than you might anticipate.

Older drivers with convictions

Of course, as you might imagine, driving convictions are an issue for insurance providers irrespective of the age of the driver concerned.

If you have penalty points on your licence, these may adversely affect your insurance premium or any discounts that might be available to other drivers without such convictions.

Upper age limits

Some policies may, in fact, have no absolute upper age limits for towing drivers.

Providing you hold a full and legal licence, it might be possible to find you appropriate insurance cover.

Summary

There is absolutely no need to think that your caravanning expeditions may need to come to an end simply because you are approaching 60 or 65 years of age and you cannot get insurance!

We are pleased to say that here at Cover4Caravans we don’t believe in pulling down the shutters in terms of being over 60 and wanting touring caravan insurance. We are happy to take older drivers and indeed younger drivers under cover on this type of policy. We can even help you if you are looking for over 80’s tourer insurance!

We believe that there may be significant advantages to being a more mature owner and driver, running from a reduced risk of over-reaction to road situations, to increased levels of patience, right up to a greater familiarity with the vehicle and things such as reversing in tight spots etc.

So, if your 60th – or even your 80th – birthday is approaching there is no need to start thinking about giving up on caravanning or that you are going to need to start writing some substantially bigger cheques for it.

We’re here to help!

Choosing a caravan site

Where your caravan is stored when not in use is extremely important – and will influence the price of your touring caravan insurance.

Why is this?

It is in the very nature of the lightweight construction of a caravan that keeping it secure against unwanted intruders may be a more than usual problem. When in storage, you may ensure that doors and windows are locked, of course, but this is unlikely to provide complete security during times when the caravan is left on its own for long periods of time.

Keeping your caravan away from unwanted attention and interference, therefore, is more likely to depend on the security of the location at which it is kept.

It is also important to note that if you change the storage location of your caravan, you must inform your insurance provider immediately – for the reasons explained here.

Choosing a storage site

The level of security which you are likely to be able to provide on your own driveway is typically quite limited. For storage security on which you may be able to rely, there is a network of some 500 purpose-designed sites at various locations around the country. Sites are members of the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA), which grades each one according to the level of security offered, through features such as:

  • alarm systems installed;
  • controlled points of entry;
  • perimeter fencing; and
  • CCTV.

Depending on the site you choose, you may even be able to store your caravan undercover – although the locations offering this facility are relatively few and far between.

Rather more certain, however, maybe your insurer’s recognition of the enhanced security available at a CaSSOA-approved site to the extent that accreditation may gain significant discounts on the annual insurance premiums you pay. At Cover4Caravans, for example, we offer up to a 15% discount on the cost of your caravan cover for ‘vans stored at a CaSSOA-approved storage site.

When choosing a site, even if it promotes itself as a CaSSOA-approved site, it is still important that you do double-check with the CaSSOA website too and ensure you feel comfortable with the security offered.

During the winter months, your tourer might safely be laid up for the duration. That is when your choice of location is likely to be critical to its security and safety during the more punishing weather that winter in this country inevitably brings.

Obviously, you’ll need to avoid a location underneath trees or close to dilapidated buildings where storm-damaged branches may fall or slates and other debris may be blown onto your caravan.

Getting your ‘van ready for storage

Now you’ve chosen the right caravan storage site for your own unique needs, how do you get your ‘van ready for storage?

Having washed down the exterior of your caravan to remove bird lime and other damaging pollutants, you may be tempted to keep it as clean as possible by storing it under plastic sheets or tarpaulins.

Most expert advice warns against such a measure because of the very real risk of such airtight coverings adding contributing to one of the worst nightmares for any caravan owner – condensation. Unless the interior remains adequately ventilated, there is a danger of condensation building up and creating the almost intractable problems that may bring in the way of damp and mould, which are not only unsightly but may also pose a health risk and lead to rotting of the very structure of your caravan.

If you insist on storing your caravan with a tarpaulin, therefore, you might want to make sure that it is made from a “breathable” material.

Charcoal, salt or other proprietary granules used for absorbing moisture in the atmosphere may be put in cupboards and wardrobes – with the doors left ajar.

Safety

Some measures for keeping your caravan safe during storage are also associated with the steps you take to improve security.

This may also be an ideal time to check that the hitch coupling is thoroughly cleaned and adequately greased.

The safety provisions you may make whilst preparing your caravan for storage are likely to include checking for gas leaks and the proper functioning of any gas appliances and the safety and integrity of electrical supply lines and equipment.

In the relatively closed confines of a caravan, the safety of any gas installation may be especially important in order to prevent the potentially fatal risk of carbon monoxide poisoning – a risk you may feel to be sufficiently serious to call in an appropriately trained and accredited gas engineer to check over the gas equipment.

Further reading: Guide to Caravan Storage and Security

Finally, why not watch our two short videos for further information and tips: Caravan Security and Insurance Video and Caravan Storage and Insurance.

Things to look for in a caravans insurance comparison

You know the importance of caravan insurance. You also understand that it doesn’t always make sense to automatically renew your caravan insurance cover without checking first that you still have the most appropriate cover for your own unique needs. That means you need to compare caravan insurance – whether you are looking for touring caravan insurance or static caravan insurance policies.

How to compare caravan insurance – a quick overview

Performing a comparison between caravans insurance policies is always easier if you know what you are looking for.

The following points might be a few things worth keeping in mind whether you are looking to compare caravan insurance for your touring caravan or static home.

  • the caravan insurance cover provided. At a very high level, the cover provided by one policy might appear to be very similar to that of another. Yet look a little beneath the surface and check for things such as whether or not awnings are covered or younger / older drivers etc. Check the policy options on a like-for-like basis. If your current policy offers new for old cover, for example, do the insurance policies you are comparing it with also include new for old insurance cover too?
  • exclusions. You might find some policies exclude things you might prefer they did not. Things to look for here might include flood damage, contents above a certain individual value, damage incurred outside of the UK and so on;
  • the insurance policy terms and conditions. There is no need to worry if a policy contains conditions – that in itself is perfectly normal. Yet do read them carefully because they may make a large difference to the suitability of the most appropriate insurance cover for you. Classic points to note might include what the policy requires of your site, the security precautions you are expected to take with your caravan, who can tow it and exactly what you might have to do in the event of a claim. There may be nothing wrong with any of these, but you need to be sure that you can comply with them or your ability to claim in future might be limited;
  • the price. No caravan insurance comparison would be complete without making some attempt to consider one price against another. Yet remember to make sure you are comparing like-for-like (as we mentioned in the first point). One caravan insurance policy might be apparently much more attractively priced. But if it offers reduced cover as a result, then you may need to think about where your priorities are.

Caravan insurance comparison FAQs

We’ve set the scene now for the four key things to consider when comparing insurance policies. We hope this has given you an idea of the type of things you need to consider when looking for static home insurance or touring caravan insurance. Here are some caravan insurance FAQS to help you further …

Should I rank policies based upon their price?

As a first step, probably not.

Instead, try to look at the cover they provide and where some are more comprehensive than others.

As we touched on above, check, amongst other things, the following:

  • discount opportunities;
  • continental cover;
  • age limitations (upper or lower end of the age ranges);
  • the policy’s position on caravan ages and new for old versus market valuation.

Is price unimportant then?

The cost of an insurance policy is always likely to be an issue – none of us likes to pay more for caravan insurance than we need to! However, in the event of a caravan insurance claim, you will only want to discuss what cover your policy provides and what it does not.

The historic price you have been paying for it is unlikely to be something that will bother you under such circumstances.

As a result, it makes sense to concentrate initially on the cover and only when you have one or two policies that appear to meet your needs, to start wondering whether price differences between them are an issue.

Are some caravan insurance providers better than others?

This is a slightly misleading question, and perhaps a better way to think of it is that some insurance providers might offer policies that are, by their nature, more suited to some requirement sets than others.

A policy that might prove to be very suitable for one of caravan owner might not be suitable for you.

That is where expertise in the insurance marketplace – such as what we have here at Cover4Caravans – is extremely useful in terms of reducing the possibilities of purchasing caravan insurance that doesn’t offer the protection your ‘van needs and / or is overpriced.

Do I need to worry about the policy’s small print?

Yes, though not in the sense of the policy provider trying to trick you.

All insurance contains terms and conditions that are designed to make it very clear where the respective responsibilities and obligations lie between the insurer and the policyholder. They may also clarify exactly what cover is or is not provided under what circumstances.

As such, they are there to help not to hinder, but it is essential that you take the time and trouble to understand them or get help from someone to do so.

How do I choose the most suitable caravans insurance cover for me?

Important as an insurance comparison of this nature is, it has to be admitted that it can be a reasonably lengthy, time-consuming process.

If you don’t like the thought of wading through lots of individual insurance policies yourself, you might be better using a specialist provider of touring caravan insurance or static caravan insurance such as ourselves at Cover4Caravans. We are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – so you know we are a reputable business – and have many years’ experience providing caravans insurance.

We can help you access a number of touring caravan or static caravan insurance policy options from various providers. That way you can quickly compare your caravan insurance options and cherry-pick the caravan insurance that is the most appropriate and cost-effective for you.

7 destination ideas for this Spring

As the last of the winter’s gales and storms sweep their way through, you are probably keener than ever to plan your first caravan outings of the year this Spring.

The following suggestions may whet your appetite and give you a few of our favourite destination ideas.

1. The New Forest

Gloriously leafy, with forest and wide open heathland, the New Forest is attractive at any time of the year.

In Spring, you have a riot of colours as everything blooms into new life – you’ll also spot more than a few cute, newly born New Forest ponies tottering on new legs. Breeding takes place between April and July, with mares pregnant for around 11 months.

Both forest enclosures and the expansive heathland are crisscrossed by numerous trails, which can be explored on foot or by bicycle.

When you tire of the forest – you’ll probably need to be there a long time! – the coastline between Christchurch and Hythe offers its own unique attractions.

You’ll not be stuck for somewhere to stay since there are at least 10 camping and caravan sites dotted across the National Park.

2. South Wales

Take in the wonders of Spring as you explore the miles of coastal paths along the coast of South Wales.

The Gower Peninsula remains one of the most popular destinations – for good reason too, given the stunning cliffs at Rhossili Bay. But why not explore the countryside inland, too? Rural South Wales can range from the rugged contours of the Brecon Beacons to the tranquil valleys and rolling hills of Pembrokeshire – all of it appealing touring and walking country.

Hungerford Farm Touring Caravan and Motorhome Park, for example, is tucked away in mid-Pembrokeshire, yet also within hailing distance of places such as Tenby, Saundersfoot and Narberth.

3. The Midlands

It’s Shakespeare’s country – the heart of England. Take in a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where it all started in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Out of town, you will find quaint chocolate-box, quintessentially English villages nestled in the gentle folds of rural countryside. Just a shade to the south, you have the whole of the Cotswolds, where you might find yourself rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous among the country set.

Riverside Park, on the Tiddington Road into Stratford itself has pitches for up to 100 touring caravans.

4. The Norfolk Broads

Pitch the caravan and take to the waters of the Norfolk Broads to explore the towns, villages and countryside of the “Venice of the East” and its 125 miles of lock-free, navigable waterways. It may give you a whole new perspective on the meaning of Spring in this beautiful part of East Anglia.

The Norfolk Broads Caravan Club Site, at Ludham, near Great Yarmouth, may be just the place to stay, with its 111 pitches for touring caravans.

5. The Lake District

Follow in the footsteps of William Wordsworth as you “wander lonely as a cloud” and stumble across your own sea of daffodils in the Lake District this Spring – the flowers are likely to be in full bloom from the latter part of March until April.

The Lakes are stunning at any time of the year, of course, but springtime is arguably the most attractive. The Lake District website suggests six of the locations for seeing daffodil fields at their best – and you may take your pick from more than 300 camping and caravan sites throughout the National Park and Cumbria.

6. Scotland

It’s a big country north of the border, of course, but one of the best-loved destinations in Spring are the Trossachs – often described as “the Highlands in miniature”.

It was a favourite of Queen Victoria, who had her own holiday cottage built there after a visit in 1869 – and the surrounding National Park of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs was opened by Princess Anne in 2002.

Quite apart from the Royal connections, the Trossachs are also home to some of Scotland’s best wildlife – from majestic red deer, ospreys, and red squirrels.

Trossachs Holiday Park is on the very edge of the National Park and offers 45 fully-serviced pitches for touring caravans.

7. Northern Ireland

Carpets of bluebells deck the woodlands, migratory birds sing their arrival, and butterflies and bees begin to fill the air – oh, to be in some of Northern Ireland’s blooming gardens this Spring.

The National Trust of Northern Ireland has picked out a few of the especially stunning places to visit – and our favourites are probably Murlough Nature Reserve and Castle Ward, both in County Down.

The National Trust runs its own Castle Ward Caravan Park on the shores of Strangford Lough and surrounded by woodland, gardens and parkland. It offers 35 pitches for caravans on serviced hardstanding.