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Camper van insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, as it is for a car. It insures you against liability towards others. With the right level of cover, the policy insures you against fire, theft and van contents.
Camper van insurance isn’t too expensive and it’s more economical than cover for a commercial panel van. While many companies offer camper van insurance, far fewer offer cover during the conversion phase.
Here’s everything you need to know about camper van insurance. While this is specific to the UK market, much of the information applies everywhere.
Camper van conversion insurance
Assuming your base vehicle isn’t already a camper, you need to register it as a motor caravan with the DVLA before you can get a camper van insurance policy.
We know only too well, a conversion takes a lot of time. To protect your investment and remain within the law, you need an insurance policy during the build. You can either insure the vehicle on a commercial or a specialist policy.
Most commercial policies are more expensive than camper van insurance so not the most economical option. Specialist camper van conversion insurance is a solution though.
They provide cover for a specified duration to allow you time to carry out the conversion. You can still find insurance providers if you need more time, albeit they become less competitive.
Our advice is to take a good guess on how long your conversion will take, then add a bit. Get some comparison quotes for camper van conversion insurance and commercial cover to see which gives the best value.
It’s also worth calling the insurance companies direct to talk though your plans.
A decent insurance company will help you with your options before your start on your conversion project.
Here’s a couple of links for comparison sites for both types of cover. If you click on the link and make a purchase, we will receive an affiliate commission. But don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you any extra and it helps us keep this site up and running.
What to look for in a great camper van insurance policy
Specialist insurers understand how we use our camper vans so they tend to tailor their policies to suit. When comparing camper van policies, look out for the following:
- Is the insurance company a specialist in camper van policies and do they understand your needs?
- Does the insurer offer agreed value cover? Many insurers will only pay out the ‘market value’ of your precious camper van if you suffer a total loss. That would be somewhat of a surprise if you need to make a claim. Some insurers will work with you to assess your camper van and agree cover for its true value. Make sure you discuss this with the insurer at the time of taking out the policy, especially if you’re starting your conversion project.
- Can you use the no claims discount from your car policy? Some camper van insurers won’t allow this and you’ll need to start with no discount. Others will allow you to use it so long as it isn’t already used on the car.
- Will the policy insure all the fixtures and fittings so they’re covered in the event of damage?
- Does the policy provide enough contents cover for your camper van?
- What claim limits apply to equipment and are they high enough to cover the value of your insurable items?
- Is windscreen cover included and does it include broken glass in the side windows?
- Does the cover include emergency accommodation? After all, your camper van is your home and bed!
- Will the insurer provide a replacement vehicle while your camper van is repaired?
- Is there any “get you home” cover included in the policy?
- How much European cover is extended in one trip? Watch this one because some insurers give annual cover but each trip cannot exceed 60 days. Not great if you plan on touring Europe all summer.
- Is breakdown cover included and does it extend to the EU? Check for any restrictions too.
- If you’re taking out a comprehensive camper van insurance policy in the UK, does it offer the same level of protection in Europe? Many policies only offer the minimum legal requirements so make sure to check this point in detail.
- If driving in certain European countries, you need a Green Card. This proves to the authorities that you have at least the minimum level of insurance cover in place. It’s worth checking the list of countries covered by the Green Card. For example, some insurers will include Morocco while others won’t.
Read more about how to take your camper van into Morocco
How to calculate the contents cover needed
Camper van insurance should provide some level of cover for personal possessions kept in your vehicle. This could include clothes and gadgets including laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Make sure the amount covered under your policy is enough to protect your belongings. Also check the excesses on the policy don’t exceed the value you might look to claim for.
It’s important to get a good and fair estimate the value of your belongings. Your insurance policy won’t pay out if the sums insured don’t cover the value of the items stolen.
It’s easy to undervalue the contents of your camper van as you accumulate belongings over time. If you suffer a break-in you could find that they aren’t all covered.
To help you calculate the contents cover needed, list all your personal belongings. Make sure to included their value too. Something like this is perfect….
Document all your contents
Insurance companies often want proof, before they will reimburse any losses claimed. If you want to make a successful claim, you’ll need to prove:
- you owned the item, so keep all your receipts if you have them.
- you had the item with you, so take a photo of your camper van contents before you leave. Update the photo every now and then on long term trips.
- the item was stolen, so you’ll need to inform the police. The insurance company will ask for the crime number.
Prevention is better than cure
Even with a terrific insurance policy, we all want to avoid loss of our contents of worse. Prevention is better than cure so keeping your camper van secure is important. Follow a few common sense rules to help avoid awful situations:
- Lock your camper van! Sounds obvious but we know how easy it is to forget to lock one door.
- When unattended, always remove the ignition keys and never leave the engine running. Keep keys out of sight and away from windows and doors.
- Fit an anti-theft device, such as a steering lock.
- Fit dead locks to all doors.
- Close all windows when leaving the camper van unattended.
- When unoccupied, remove all non-fixed gadgets.
- Keep all your valuables out of view.
- Think about fitting a secure box or safe.
- Get creative and build hidden storage to hide valuables.
- Fit an alarm to prevent break-ins, or an immobiliser to stop thieves driving your camper van away.
- Make sure you have working fire alarms and fire extinguishers fitted.