Insuring your microcamper can get tricky depending on the type of camping conversion you have opted for and also whether the insurance company you are talking to knows how to handle such cars. This post will give you important points to consider when selecting microcamper insurance and a list of user recommended insurance companies to choose from.
1. Van vs standard car
Before you buy a van version for your camping conversion, you should know how that decision will impact your annual costs and add more limitations to how you can drive.
Take the Berlingo – a very popular car for car camping conversions. If you take the family version (Multispace), you pay a lower car tax and insurance. If you take the van version, it’s easier to kit out with your own microcamping conversion (+ it has more room as it’s an empty box at the back), but you will pay a higher road tax + insurance and you have to adhere to lower speed limits.
“…all panel vans are taxed at the same rate, so whether you’re driving a small Citroen Berlingo, mid-sized VW Transporter or full-size Ford Transit, the tax you pay will be identical.”autoexpress.co.uk
Only go for a van if you don’t mind paying a little bit extra and want to have a permanent microcamping conversion. The advantage is that you can really experiment with storage, get the most of the space and build in your own electrics, sockets, lights.
If you prefer lower taxes and insurance and want to have a reversible microcamping conversion (a camping box / boot jump, or a simple DIY solution), then get a family version of the car. These aren’t considered a modification to the vehicle (as you only load them into the boot).
More on van taxes in the UK in this confused.com article.
2. At what point is a vehicle considered a converted caravan?
“For a vehicle to be recognised as being converted to a motor caravan it must meet all 4 categories shown below.”gov.uk
Category 1: Seats and table (1 example for both)
- “they shall be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation area“
- table mounting must be permanent, but the table can be detachable
- “permanently secured seating must be fixed to the floor or sidewall and available for use at the table“
Category 2: Sleeping accommodation
- “shall be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation area
- can be either beds, or beds converted from seats
- must be secured as a permanent feature, either with the base structure of the vehicle floor or to the side wall, unless the sleeping accommodation is provided over the driver’s cab compartment”
Category 3: Cooking facilities
“Your conversion must have a minimum of a single ring cooking facility or microwave, which shall be secured directly to the vehicle floor or sidewall as a permanent feature.“
Plus you need to have either an on-board fuel reservoir where the “fuel reservoir must be secured in a storage cupboard or the reservoir is secured to the vehicle structure” or a remote fuel supply where the “fuel supply pipe must be permanently secured to the vehicle structure“.
Category 4: Storage facilities
- “can be a cupboard or locker
- must form an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation, mounted independently of other items, unless incorporated below the seat, sleeping accommodation or cooker
- must be secured permanently to the vehicle floor or side wall except when the storage facility is over the driver’s cab compartment”
See gov.uk for more information.
Notice the key word being permanent in every category.
Therefore if it’s a camping box (boot jump) that can be easily taken out, it won’t be considered a converted caravan and won’t need a custom type of insurance. Of course, always verify with your actual insurance company – they might add their own rules on top of this. But if you consider any type of camping box / boot jump and how it’s held in place, it’s basically like transporting a small cupboard in your car – that wouldn’t increase your insurance cost, neither should a camping box.
But careful when you drill holes and screw something on temporarily – that might change how the car is viewed for insurance purposes.
3. Make sure your insurance covers both uses – camping / travel and everyday
There are various types of insurance categories and each covers a certain type of car use. Microcampers and DIY converted cars or everyday cars with camping boxes are usually used for both – leisure (long trips) and everyday use (i.e. commuting to work, shopping). Not all standard car insurances cover leisure or they might not cover the miles you can add on a long camping trip. Make sure you are straightforward with your insurance company in terms of what mileage you expect to do. Of course, you don’t need to shout about camping in the woods (which would probably increase the insurance price), but make sure that the insurance you are getting will cover you on a side road somewhere 1500 miles away from your home address.
4. UK only or EU?
Many UK policies will not cover trips to the EU – make sure you know what your policy covers (and plan accordingly). If you plan to do many EU trips, it might be worth paying for a more expensive annual insurance that will cover all EU countries and the UK. If you only plan to do one EU trip in the summer, perhaps single-trip insurance for the duration of the trip will be a more economical option.
5. Does your insurance cover the contents of your car (equipment)
If you’re just insuring a car for everyday commuting, the most expensive thing you’re carrying with you is probably your mobile phone or a laptop. But if you are going car camping, there will be more, for example:
- a car awning / tent
- a gas stove
- a camping box / boot jump
- a camera
- an expensive kitchen conversion or a sink/stove combo
Make sure your insurance covers the contents of your car and also read the small print – what is the maximum insured value per item? What is the excess? Cheap insurance policies tend to have high excess, sometimes to the extent that it doesn’t make sense to claim a stolen item because the excess is too high.
6. Any no claim or club membership discounts?
Many policies offer a no-claim discount and some might even offer discounts if you are a member of a club, like for example the Camping and Caravanning Club.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section!
Recommended insurance companies by other campers
These insurers have been reported on car camping forums as good ones for microcampers or DIY car camping conversions and users report that these companies understand what a camping conversion is and can handle such types of insurance.
Know a good insurance company for microcampers? Let us know in the comments section!