Caravan insurance - vehicles defined
A caravan is an unpowered vehicle that is usually towed by your car. Whether you're adventuring across Australia or staying put in a caravan park, a caravan insurance policy should cover you.
These are essentially hybrids of caravans and tents. They usually have a pop top, where the roof raises up to create a living space. You can get cover for your camper trailer under a standard caravan insurance policy.
Motorhomes have engines, making them fundamentally different than caravans. Caravan insurance policies don’t cover these vehicles. Instead you'd need motorhome insurance.
What is caravan insurance?
Caravan insurance offers protection for your vehicle against damage, theft, fire and more. Many providers also let you cover the contents of your caravan, so your belongings remain protected and lay up cover when your caravan is not being used.
Do I need insurance for a caravan?
Whilst car insurance is a legal requirement, you’re not required to have insurance for a caravan. Your car’s CTP cover should cover any injuries that occur on the road, but only while it's attached to your car. However, if your trailer comes off and hits another car, you probably won't be covered.
Having no insurance on your caravan is risky business and will mean that you’ll have to fork out your own cash if you’re in an accident.
What does caravan insurance cover?
Depending on your level of cover, caravan and trailer insurance can protect you if you hurt someone or something with your caravan or trailer. At the same time, it can protect you if your caravan or anything in it is damaged or stolen.
Here are a few situations where you may be covered:
- Someone’s car hits your caravan. If you’ve got comprehensive cover, your insurer should cover you for the cost of repairing or replacing the car.
- A thief takes your trailer. If someone steals your caravan or trailer, your insurance will cover you up to its full value.
- Vandalism. Insurance will cover vandalism, up to the full value of your caravan or trailer.
- Fire destroys your caravan. You're covered up to the full value of your caravan or trailer if it is damaged or destroyed by flood, fire, hail, explosion, lightning, impact and other natural events.
- You crash your trailer while towing it. Your policy will cover you if you damage or destroy your caravan in an accident, even if it was your fault.
- Someone steals your fishing gear from your trailer. Most policies will offer a small amount of contents cover for belongings inside the caravan. If the included amount is not enough to cover all your belongings, you can usually buy more contents cover.
What add-ons can I choose when getting a quote?
Most policies include a limited amount of cover for your personal belongings (often up to $1,000), but that's unlikely to fall well short if your computers, bikes and fishing gear all get stolen. Extra contents cover can bring added peace of mind.
An annex is a tent-like structure that you can pop up next to your caravan. It's not automatically covered, but you can add an annex option that'll protect it against natural events, theft and vandalism.
A good option if you store your caravan for long periods of time and want to pay a reduced premium during that period – while still having cover. It's essentially like having 2 policies: one for while you use the caravan and one for when it's parked up.
Getting a caravan insurance quote
Ready to start getting quotes for caravan insurance? We checked a few popular providers online and have made a list of things you'll need to know about your caravan to get the quote.
- What type of caravan or trailer you have – for example, camper trailer.
- Some providers may ask how many wheels the vehcile has or what length it is.
- The make and model or year of manufacture.
- If it's fitted with Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
- If it's fitted with a security device such as a wheel clamp or GPS tracker.
- General personal details of the policy holder – name, address, age.
How can I tailor my cover?
You’ll be covered for some or all of the above scenarios depending on the level of cover you go with. Here are the different levels that are available:
- Third-party property only. This only covers you if you injure someone or damage their property. Damage to your own caravan isn’t covered at all.
- Third-party, fire and theft. This adds to the above policy by covering your vehicle for theft, fire and earthquake. It doesn't cover you for other natural events, accidents or vandalism.
- Comprehensive. This offers all of the protections of the other 2 levels, plus it protects you from most other types of damages. The damage can be accidental or intentional, or it can come from a number of natural events, including storms, floods, hail, fire and earthquake.
If you’re only after CTP coverage, then your caravan will usually be covered as part of your car's CTP policy or included in your registration, depending on what state you live in.
How do the main types of caravan insurance compare?
|Feature||Comprehensive||Fire & Theft||Third Party Property|
|Storm or flood|
|Emergency transport, accommodation and repairs|
|Caravan park fees|
|Locks and keys|
|Solar panels/TV antennas|
What kinds of vehicles are covered?
Caravan and trailer insurance is available for any caravan, cabin or trailer popular with the caravanning community – as long as it doesn’t have an engine (we’re looking at you, motorhomes).
Here are all the vehicles (and 1 non-vehicle) you can get covered under a caravan insurance policy:
These are vehicles equipped to live in and that you can tow from place to place with a car. They are large, solidly-built structures with all the comforts of home, like a kitchen, beds, enclosed bathroom and heating/air conditioning.
A camper trailer is a type of touring caravan that folds down into a compact trailer for towing. When camped, it opens into a small tent-like living space with a simple toilet instead of a bathroom and an outdoor barbeque instead of a kitchen.
These are really just small cabins that sit permanently in one spot. These are sometimes called static caravans since they aren't technically mobile, but the caravanning community and insurers still consider them as vehicles.
Trailers and horse floats
These are vehicles you tow behind you to transport cargo. These aren't technically caravans either, but because they share so many similarities, you can insure them under a caravan insurance policy.
What exclusions should I be aware of?
As with car insurance, there are a number of reasons why your insurer may reject your claim for accidents, thefts and damages including:
- You didn't secure your caravan or trailer well enough. You can't just let bad things happen to your caravan and expect a payout. For example, camper trailers are very difficult to break into when collapsed but not when opened up into a living space. If you leave your open camper trailer unattended, you probably won’t be covered if something is stolen.
- You were reckless with the caravan or used it for unapproved activities. Don’t do anything stupid. If you are letting off fireworks right next to the caravan while drunk, you'll probably be denied if you have to make a claim for damages.
- You didn't maintain your caravan well enough. Your insurer might reject your claim if they think the damage or loss was a result of poor upkeep. This can include anything from rust to mould to critter infestation.
- You used the caravan when you were supposed to store it. If you have lay-up cover and you use the caravan while it is supposed to be stored, the insurer can deny your claim.
What else should you look out for when choosing your policy?
While most policies will include similar protections to each other, you may find that some offer little perks that help it stand out above the rest. When choosing a policy, find out how they handle the following:
- Choice of repairer. If your caravan needs repair, you might feel more comfortable if it's repaired by someone whose workmanship you trust. If that matters to you, choose a policy that allows you to choose your own repairer.
- Windshield. You'd think a broken windshield would automatically be covered as "damage". As with many car insurance policies, insurers sometimes exclude windshield from cover. See if you can find a policy that includes this automatically.
- Individual limits on contents. Regardless of how much contents cover you have, you might find that you can only claim a certain amount per item. For example, you might have $10,000 total contents cover, but can't claim more than $1,000 per piece of jewellery. If 10 pieces of $1,000 jewellery were stolen, you'd be fine. If a single $10,000 item was stolen, you'd be out of luck. Check your individual limits, and if you want to insure a specific item for more than that, look into high-value contents insurance.
Get a caravan insurance quote in your state
Use the map below to compare caravan insurance based on your location.
What to consider if you're on the go or staying put
Owning a touring caravan brings a different set of opportunities and challenges than owning a static caravan, and these will have an impact on your insurance. Here are some factors you should consider depending on what style of caravan you own.
Mobile caravan insurance
These vehicles spend a lot of time in 1 of 3 places: on the road being passively towed, in camp where they serve as your home and in storage where they sit idle.
That’s 3 different sets of circumstances with different sets of risks, and your policy will need to cover all of them. Here is what touring caravan owners need to look out for:
- Is your caravan secure enough? Your claim can be denied if your caravan isn’t secure. Unfortunately, according to insurers a camper trailer isn’t secure when it is open, because the walls are mesh like a tent. That means you won’t be covered if you leave it open and unattended. You’ll have to close it up and lock it if you plan on leaving it alone. The same goes for a caravan – if you’re heading off for a walk, make sure you lock everything up.
- Will you be storing your caravan? Since you're probably only going to be on the road for a few months each year, make sure you also take out lay-up cover. This will protect your caravan while it's in storage at a lower rate than it costs to insure when it’s in use.
- Is there enough liability cover? If you are on the road often, your risk of injuring someone or damaging something increases. Your car’s CTP insurance will cover you if your caravan is in roadworthy condition, but you’ll still want to make sure you have enough cover in case someone sues you.
- Have you considered roadside assistance? Being on the road a lot means more opportunity to break down. Roadside assistance will tow your car and your caravan as long as you have the right plan. Make sure your plan offers to tow caravans and trailers and that it will tow them far enough for you.
Onsite caravan insurance
Unlike a touring caravan, an on-site caravan will be spending all its time in one place. Here are some factors on-site caravan owners should consider when taking out insurance:
- Do you have enough contents insurance? If you've got a caravan that isn't moving then chances are that it's your home! If that's the case, make sure you've got a high contents insurance policy as you'll probably have more possessions in your caravan than the average person.
- Will you be renting it out to someone else? If you are renting out your on-site caravan as a holiday home, your standard caravan insurance policy won’t cover you, and you’ll have to take out a landlord policy. Your best bet is to contact a speciality caravan insurer.
- Will you be moving it? Even though it is “permanent”, with a little bit of effort you can still relocate an on-site trailer to a different site. If you do so, make sure to let your insurer know the new location or your policy could be voided.
How much is caravan insurance in Australia?
The cost of caravan insurance varies from person to person and caravan to caravan. Here are the factors that determine your policy's cost:
- How much you insure on the caravan. You can insure the caravan for virtually any amount you want up to its value. The higher you insure it for, the higher the premium will be.
- How you’re going to use it. If you're hitting the road regularly your premium will be different than someone who keeps their caravan parked in the same spot all year round.
- Your level of cover. A policy covering third-party property only will cost you less than a comprehensive policy. Additional cover like the annex add-on can increase your premium.
- Your agreed out-of-pocket expenses. Your excess is the amount of money you agree to pay out of pocket any time you claim. You can often choose your own excess amount when getting your policy. A higher excess means a lower premium because you'll be taking up more of the slack when it's time to claim.
How can I find cheap caravan insurance?
Here are a few ways to save on your policy:
- Keep a clean driving record. A good driver equals less risk to the insurer, so let your insurer know about your driving record, and they may offer you a discount on your policy.
- Store your caravan when you're not using it. You can usually save on your policy if you agree not to use it during certain times of the year. To get a reduced premium for the off-season, look into the "lay-up" option described earlier in this article when obtaining your caravan insurance quote.
- Consider staying put for a while. Caravaners who are constantly towing their caravan from one campsite to the next will have higher premiums than those who stay put. That's because driving on the road is riskier.
- Choose a higher excess. You can save on your premium by agreeing to pay more out of pocket when it's time to claim. The more you pay toward a claim, the less the insurer has to.
- Secure your caravan. A secure caravan means lower risk for you and the insurer. You may be able to save on your premium by installing cameras, sensor lighting and alarms or other security devices.
- If you have any other policies with the insurer. You might be able to get a discount if you have more than one policy with the insurer. Car insurance would be a natural fit, so you may want to ask the insurer what deals you can get by taking out both policies before getting your caravan insurance quote.
Finding the best caravan insurance policy for you
There is no one "best" caravan insurance policy. The best policy for you means a policy from a reputable provider that covers you for what you need while offering a competitive price.
Here are some key points to look for while you compare:
- Replacement caravan. Insurers offer cover – in the form of a substitute caravan – if your new caravan is written off not long after its original registration. The time limit for this benefit is usually either 1 year or 2 years.
- Contents cover. Get protection for accidental loss or damage to the contents in your caravan – typically, the cover limit ranges from $500-$2,000. Some providers don't provide this automatically. They may require you to pay a fee to add this to a policy.
- Emergency accommodation. If you can't stay in your caravan due to damages from an accident, you may be able to make a claim on your insurance. When comparing, look out for the insurer's daily expense limit as well as an overall maximum. For example, you may only be able to claim for $100 per day for up to 10 days.
- Emergency repairs. Many policies will pay costs if you need to be reimbursed for any emergency repairs which means you can tow your caravan to its intended destination.
- Legal liability. This covers you for loss or damage you cause to others. It tends to vary between a limit of $20 million or $30 million with most insurers.
To help you, here are some companies that offer caravan insurance:
Frequently asked questions
- Picture: Shutterstock
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