Before you head out on the road in your new or second hand caravan, don't drive a metre before you've made sure to choose the best caravan insurance you can find to cover you for the unexpected. This is important even before you purchase your caravan - remember, if you can’t insure it then it’s not worth buying.
Caravans are a big investment and from the moment you pick it up, whether from the factory floor or a second hand dealer, you want your insurance to cover things like accidents, damage, towing, repairs and more, to get you back on the road as quickly as possible. This is vital so you can get the most out of your caravan, maintain its resale value and make it easier to reinsure when your policy is up for renewal.
What cover suits you?
To know what insurance you will need think about how you intend to use your caravan. What kind of travel will you be doing and will caravan insurance cover you for this kind of travel?
If it’s off road caravan travel, way off the grid, and you break down or suffer damage from harsh driving conditions, it may be harder to find an insurance policy that covers you for these extreme scenarios.
Condition and context is really important to establish first, as with this insurers can determine what they will and won't cover when you make a claim.
Know what to look out for
In a nutshell what you want to look for is an insurance policy shaped specifically around caravan travel that clearly states:
- what it will and won’t cover
- the excess, and what premiums you have to pay
- any extra cover for luxury features
- how long you will be covered for
- where you are covered (i.e. state or Australia wide)
- the type of travel and useage it will cover
- what will make your insurance null and void
This last point is particularly important! Read the fine print up front, so you understand what will be covered and what is your own responsibility should something occur. Buying second hand, in particular, should be done with care, making sure you know the full service history and condition of what you purchase, so there are no hidden nasties that may make you caravan uninsurable.
Buying from a licensed dealer, whether new or second hand, will help you avoid issues you may run into when trying to get your caravan insured. Licensed dealers must ensure its models meet all Australian standards and design rules, and offer warranties detailing workmanship, construction & materials. Your insurer will look at this to determine what it can cover when you make a claim.
What it should cover
When choosing your insurance policy, key areas you want your policy to cover include:
- damage to you vehicle or caravan due to an event i.e. accident, fire, theft
- damage to third party property if your caravan damages other people’s property.
- lifetime repair guarantee to ensure your insurer offers high quality repair options after an accident
- emergency repair costs to make your caravan roadworthy after an incident so you can get back on the road
- alternative transport to get you home if your tow vehicle is also not driveable
- alternative accommodation for you and family members to stay in if your caravan is deemed uninhabitable after an incident
- valuables cover for loss or damage due to an incident or theft
- change of caravan with no cooling off period if you sell your caravan and replace it with a similar type
- towing & storage for an accident or theft, within a certain time-frame and distance
- additional options such as increased contents and third party liability
What it may not cover
Policies will vary with each provider, however typical things that caravan insurers will not cover when it comes to caravan insurance, include:
- structural, mechanical, electrical or electronic breakdown or failure
- wear, tear, corrosion, rust or deterioration caused by wind, rain or sand
- damage to caravan tyres from applying the brakes
- scratches from birds, animals or insects
- the cost to fix previous repairs because of poor workmanship.
- theft of valuables without signs of forced entry, and/or from an annexe
- compensation from a reduction in your caravan’s value after it has been repaired
- damage caused by yours or someone else’s negligence
- loss, damage or injury from use of caravan while attached to any vehicle.
And there are many more conditions that each insurer will set out in your policy, including general exclusions, such as:
- your caravan is being used outside Australia
- your caravan is being used for any purpose other than private, social, domestic or pleasure purposes
- is being used in an unlawful way or for an unlawful purpose.
Choosing a policy
There are a lot of caravan insurance options out there and finding the right one can be a time consuming and taxing task. The quickest way to find and compare caravan insurance policies from competing providers is to use an insurance comparison tool, such as:
Or alternatively you can visit the websites of national and state insurers and do your research from there, these include:
- AAMI Caravan Insurance
- Apia Caravan Insurance
- CGU Caravan Insurance
- GIO Caravan & Trailer Insurance
- QBE Caravan Insurance
- MHIA Caravan Insurance
- NRMA Caravan Insurance
- Suncorp Caravan Insurance
- VIC | RACV Caravan Insurance
- NSW | NRMA Caravan Insurance
- WA | RAC Caravan Insurance
- QLD | RACQ Caravan Insurance
- TAS | RACT Caravan Insurance
- SA | SGIC Caravan Insurance
After you choose your policy
Once you have found the right insurance, you should receive a certificate of insurance and product disclosure statement. Your certificate of insurance will show you all the details that apply to your policy, including your:
- policy number
- policy-holder names
- caravan details
- period of insurance
- sum insured
- limits/special conditions
- excesses and premiums
Your product disclosure statement will outline all the conditions that apply to your policy, including, what is and isn’t covered, policy exclusions and how much is paid per claim. If any conditions change in your policy you will should also be sent a supplementary product disclosure statement outlining these changes.
Make sure you read both of these to ensure all the details are correct and cover what you expect.
Plan for everything
When looking for the right caravan insurance, think of all the different kinds of scenarios you may find yourself in and look to see that it’s covered. The more boxes you can tick the closer you are to finding an insurance policy that will suit your type of travel, give you peace of mind and won’t leave you with a bill following an incident that is impossible to repay.
Want to find out more on what makes a caravan easy to insure? Download our free guide to buying the ultimate caravan in 2016 and understand what to look for when buying a new or used caravan.