Caravan Insurance Glossary

Act of God – there is a common misconception that loss or damage caused by Acts of God (natural events) rather than those that are man-made are rejected out of hand by insurers. This is not the case. All that determines whether a claim is valid or not depends on the risks covered, as set out in the insurance policy. If your caravan is destroyed or damaged in a storm, for example, and that is a risk included in your insurance contract, your insurer is likely to meet your claim.

Actual laden weight – this is the total weight of your caravan and all of its contents when it is under tow. The weight must not exceed the plated Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM), which is the weight of the caravan’s contents or payload, minus the weight of the caravan itself (the Mass in Running Order, or weight of the caravan when it left the factory.

All risks – with all risks insured, you have wider cover, extending to any type of loss or damage suffered by your caravan, with the exception of those exclusions listed in your policy.

Awnings insurance – an awning is a very useful complement to the caravan itself in that it effectively gives you an extra room attached to its side. Awnings insurance protects this piece of kit against loss or damage.

CaSSOA – the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA) provides secure storage for your touring caravan at any of 400 sites across the country. By using a site for secure storage when your caravan is probably at its most vulnerable (in storage, temporarily empty and out of use), many insurers offer an attractive discount on premiums.

Compulsory excess – this is an excess which you are obliged to accept as part of your caravan insurance. It is the first part of any successful claim for which you remain financially responsible – and is effectively therefore an uninsured loss.

Contents insurance – this covers the entire contents of your caravan which are not actually integral parts of its structure, in other words, you camping and caravanning gear, personal possessions and appliances.

Cooling off period – your insurer is bound by law to grant this initial period immediately following the start of any insurance, for you to cancel the contract for any reason you choose.

CRiS check – CriS stands for Central Registration & Identification Scheme, and, rather like the log book for your motor car, identifies a brief history of the caravan’s ownership, including whether it has ever been stolen, whether there is outstanding finance or other problems which might affect the insurance. A CRiS check is an important safeguard, therefore, before buying any second hand caravan.

Depreciation – the value of your caravan and its contents typically reduces over time as the result of normal wear and tear. Depreciation is the accounting term given to this reducing value and is typically taken into account by insurers in the settlement of claims.

Discounts – these represent reductions in the price of the premiums you pay, typically in recognition of the steps you have taken to minimise the risks of loss or damage. Examples might include the installation of approved enhanced security measures, the use of a CaSSOA site for secure storage, or even membership of a recognised caravanning or camping club.

Escape of water – if water leaks or escapes from drinking, washing or heating installations, it may cause considerable damage to your caravan. For that reason, escape of water is commonly a risk included in your caravan insurance cover.

Exclusions – these are the risks specifically excluded from the cover provided by your caravan insurance. In understanding your insurance, therefore, exclusions are every bit as important as what is covered.

Financial Conduct Authority – formerly called the Financial Services Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the independent regulator of all financial services in the UK, including the registration and authorisation of insurers and insurance brokers.

Guest – you might invite family or friends to come along on a caravanning trip with you or visit you once you’ve pitched up. These are your guests and you have a duty for taking every reasonable precaution to prevent their being injured or having their property damaged in any way connected with your caravan. Public liability insurance indemnifies you against claims – from your guests, or indeed members of the public – of any breach of that duty of care.

Hitch lock – this is a security device which prevents your caravan being disconnected from your car’s tow bar (or indeed, being connected to another’s tow bar). Its use is typically an insurance requirement whenever the caravan is left unattended and still hitched to your towing vehicle. This applies when it is also detached from the towing vehicle.

Holiday home insurance – a static caravan is commonly used as a holiday home and, as such requires specialist insurance cover reflecting the fact that there may be relatively long periods when it is unoccupied (and therefore more vulnerable) and may also be let to paying guests from time to time.

Index linking – some caravan insurance policies offer automatic index linking to ensure that the value of your caravan and its contents is accurately reflected in the amount of cover you have. In times of fluctuating prices and values, index linking may help you avoid the twin problems of over- and underinsurance.

Insurance schedule – when you take our your policy with us you will receive a Schedule of Insurance. It has some really important information on it. It has to be read in conjunction with your Policy Wording and also your Key Facts document.

Insurance premium tax – this tax, IPT as it is commonly known, was introduced in 1994 and is applied as a percentage of the premiums payable on all types of general, non-life insurance, including that for your caravan.

Insurer – an insurer underwrites risks of loss or damage to defined items and, in return for the payment of the appropriate premium, provides compensation to the insured in the event of a claim.

Kerbweight – for anyone owning a touring caravan, the kerbweight of the towing vehicle is an important measure. This is the weight of the car declared by the manufacturer and most authorities (such as the major caravan clubs) recommend that the Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM, or weight of the caravan and all of its contents) is no greater than 85% of the towing vehicle’s kerb weigh.

Key Facts document – the document outlines the principal features, risks covered and exclusions of your insurance policy. It might also be described as a key features document and the finance industry regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires that such a document is supplied with every insurance policy sold.

Liability insurance – as the owner of any type of caravan (touring or static), you have certain duties towards members of the public, other caravanners, visitors and guests. If any one of them is injured or has their property damaged in an incident related to your use of your caravan, they may hold you liable for a breach of your duty of care. Since claims such as these may involve substantial sums (especially in the case of injury or death), caravan liability insurance typically offers a minimum of £1 million indemnity.

Limited mileage – just as with certain types of motor insurance, your touring caravan insurance might limit you to a given total mileage to be covered in any one year. There might also be restrictions on whether cover is for the UK alone or extends to continental Europe and even where you are allowed to park your caravan overnight.

NCC – the National Caravan Council (NCC) represents the voice of caravan manufacturers, suppliers and dealers in the UK and is, amongst other things, responsible for certifying that new caravans comply with European and relevant standards.

New for Old – this is the basis on which your insurer may agree to meet certain claims in the event of a total loss. It amounts to a settlement based on the current price of a new item (from the caravan itself, down to its contents), as a replacement for the old item which has been destroyed, lost or stolen.

No claims discount – if you manage to avoid making any claim on your caravan insurance, when it comes time for you to renew the policy, the insurer is likely (but is not obliged) but offer you a no claims discount against the cost of your insurance premiums.

Non standard – when applied to the risks against which your caravan is insured, the description non standard typically refers to cover which is outside or beyond the insurer’s customary limits of acceptance. It might refer to a caravan that is of non standard design or construction or to the way in which your caravan may have been altered or converted.

Overinsurance – if the insured value of your caravan and its contents is greater than their actual replacement value, you are said to be overinsured. The result is that you are paying for a level of insurance you do not need and, therefore, paying more than you need. It is the opposite to being underinsured.

Period of insurance – this is a self-explanatory term, defining the duration of your insurance contract and, therefore, the period during which the insured risks are covered. Even though you might opt to pay the premiums monthly, the typical term of your caravan insurance is one year, and you may earn a discount by paying the annual premium with a single payment in advance.

Policy – your insurance policy is the written form of contract between you as the insured and your insurer.

Policy schedule – the policy schedule identifies you as the insured and the issuing insurance company as the insurer. It outlines the extent and scope of the cover offered in accordance with the terms of the contract entered into between the insured and insurer.

Premium – in return for the undertaking to compensate you for any loss or damage (to indemnify you against such losses), the insurer charges a premium. The value of the premiums collected is calculated to cover the likely pay outs the insurer may need to pay in the settlement of claims.

Public liability insurance – your failure to take all reasonable steps to prevent your use of your caravan from causing physical injury or property damage to members of the public and other third parties, may leave you facing claims of liability. Public liability insurance is designed to indemnify you against such claims.

Renewal – your period of insurance typically extends to a full calendar year, at the end of which most insurers send you an offer to renew the insurance contract to ensure continued protection against your insured risks. This is done through the issue of a renewal notice.

Replacement value – if an incident occurs resulting in the total loss of your caravan, the compensation you receive is typically designed to cover the cost of its replacement. This is your caravan’s replacement value and some insurers offer to make replacement on a new for old basis (if it less than a given age – typically, 3 to 5 years, depending on the insurer).

Resale value – the resale value of your caravan and its contents is likely to reflect a gradual, year on year reduction in value through depreciation and wear and tear. In other words, the resale value is unlikely to prove sufficient for the replacement of the caravan and its contents at today’s prices. That is why it is important to insure both caravan and contents for their replacement and not their resale value.

Static caravan insurance – this is insurance specifically designed for the protection of a static caravan against the risks and perils it may face. A static caravan typically spends the majority of its life pitched in the same location on the same site. If it needs to be moved from one location to another, this typically needs to be done on the back of separate transport. The insurance may extend to the contents of the static caravan and also include public liability insurance.

Sum insured – the sum insured is the total amount of any settlement which may be made by an insurer for any claim of loss or damage. In order to avoid the risk of underinsurance, therefore, it is important that both the caravan and its contents have sums insured that are sufficient for the replacement of the insured items.

Third party (person) – a third party is someone involved in a claim, and who is someone other than the insured or the insurer, who has suffered a personal injury or loss or damage to their property.

Tourer insurancetourer insurance is specialist cover, specifically designed to protect a touring caravan against theft, loss or damage. A tourer is a caravan designed to be towed regularly and with ease behind a car or other vehicle. The particular risks and perils against which the caravan is insured are set out in the tourer insurance policy and the key facts document.

Touring caravan insurance – touring caravan insurance is a slightly more formal way of describing tourer insurance.

Underinsurance – underinsurance occurs when the total sum insured is less than the value of the insured items. In other words, the sum insured is insufficient to cover the maximum potential loss or damage. Underinsurance is possibly the most common error made when arranging insurance, in the mistaken belief that money may be saved on the cost of premiums by reducing the total sum insured.

Underwriting – this involves the process of assessment and calculation of risks which insurers perform when considering a proposal for insurance. The underwriting process assigns a monetary value to the cost of the risks and perils to be insured and the price of premiums is determined accordingly.

Voluntary excess – you might choose to accept a so-called voluntary excess, in addition to any compulsory excess imposed by your insurer in return for a reduction in the price of the premiums you pay. By agreeing to increase the amount of excess you may need to pay in the event of a successful claim, the risks to the insurer are reduced and this is reflected in the price of the premiums that need to be charged.

Wheel clamps – these are used as a security precaution designed to immobilise a touring caravan and make its theft more difficult. It is common for insurers to insist that wheel clamps are used when the caravan is unhitched from any towing vehicle and left unattended. If the caravan is still hitched to the towing vehicle, both wheel clamps and hitchlocks need to be used.