Need motorhome insurance in Australia? Find the right cover for your home away from home.
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Motorhome insurance is, in some ways, like a combination of home insurance and car insurance. It includes varying levels of cover for contents, and different options like third party only or comprehensive vehicle insurance while you’re on the road.
Who else offers motorhome insurance?
Do you have a motorhome or a caravan?
In this guide...
Three things you should know about motorhome insurance
- Motorhomes, RVs and campervans all have their own engines and do not need to be towed, while caravans and non-motorised horse floats do not have engines and must be towed like trailers. Some insurers cover both types of mobile homes with the same policies, while others have different policies for each. It is important to be aware of this before looking for insurance.
- Motorhome insurance is essentially a cross between home insurance and car insurance. You should be able to find protection against almost any hazard you are likely to face both on the road and while living in your motorhome. Just like car insurance you may find different levels of motorhome insurance such as third party and comprehensive.
- Motorhomes are vehicles in their own right. This means they must have mandatory CTP ‘Green Slip’ insurance. Due to their expense and importance it is also strongly recommended that you take out a comprehensive vehicle insurance policy rather than a less thorough option.
What does motorhome insurance cover?
Motorhome insurance can cover you from most hazards and offer a variety of extras. Your core comprehensive campervan insurance policy will likely cover:
- Fire, flood, storm and hail
- Theft and attempted theft
- Malicious damage and vandalism
- Collision and impact
- Third party liability for damage to other vehicles and property
The extras, automatically included in some policies and offered as an option in others, can include both home insurance and car insurance features such as:
- Cover for annexes, awnings and furniture being used under there
- Contents protection for belongings kept in the mobile home, particularly things like furniture, sporting equipment, cameras, electronics and other valuables taken on the road
- Temporary accommodation if the vehicle is deemed uninhabitable
- Hire cars
- Contents cover for electric motor burnout, food spoilage, additional valuables, veterinary costs, lost or stolen credit cards and more
- Cover for trailers and boats being towed by the vehicle
- Re-keying and replacement of locks if keys are stolen
- Additional cover of legal liability and medical costs
- Towing and storage costs, if needed
- Emergency medical treatment
Want something specific?
If there’s something in particular you want covered, try asking your insurer about it. Because it lies somewhere between home insurance and car insurance, motorhome cover can be quite flexible.
When won’t motorhome insurance pay out?
There are certain conditions under which you will typically not be able to make a claim on a motorhome insurance policy. These include:
- If the driver at the time of the incident was not nominated as a driver on the policy
- If whoever was in charge of, or driving, the vehicle at the time of the incident was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or refused to take a test for alcohol, drugs or medication
- Damage caused by pets or other animals unless explicitly covered elsewhere, such as bird collisions being covered by impact damage
- The actions of trees or their roots
- Actions of the sea such as waves or storm surges
- Mildew, mold, wear and tear, fading, rust, depreciation, inadequate maintenance and similar
- Chemical, biological or other pollutants and contamination
- Scratches, chips and other minor damage
- If, at the time of the incident, your campervan was being used for business purposes such as being rented out to someone else, or carrying paying passengers or goods for trade purposes
- Damage arising from inherent defects in the motorhome such as faulty wiring or poor quality unauthorised repairs
- If you have failed to take reasonable precautions or are otherwise at fault. This can include leaving the vehicle unlocked and contents unsecured, using the wrong fuel, driving recklessly or driving without a license/vehicle registration.
- If you are outside of Australia at the time of the incident
These exclusions vary between policies, and in some cases you may be able to find an insurer who will still cover these eventualities at the cost of higher premiums.
What should I look for in a policy?
When taking out a motorhome insurance policy, there are some factors in particular to consider:
What exactly does it cover?
You should know whether the policy covers certain features, and the limits or exclusions that may apply to these:
- Belongings kept in a trailer rather than in the motorhome itself
- Medical and legal liability
- Temporary accommodation and/or a rental vehicle if your campervan is uninhabitable or unusable
What are the limits?
There will always be limits. For example, you will typically have a $20 million limit for personal legal liability cover, and may have something like a $500 limit per item and a $2,000 limit for certain valuables like antiques or jewellery.
Know the value of your items and ensure the limits are right for you. Some policies will let you nominate certain items for special cover or higher limits.
How much are you insured for?
The total amount you are covered for is called the sum insured, which is either the agreed value or the market value of the motorhome. The agreed value is a figure decided on by yourself and the insurer ahead of time, and it’s good for modified or particularly outstanding vehicles. The market value is the depreciating value of your motorhome, and is a more cost-effective and suitable option for standard vehicles.
In the event of a total loss, the sum insured is the most that will be paid. You might have separate sums insured for the vehicle itself and the contents inside it, or both might be covered under the same amount.
The sum insured generally affects your limits for individual items. For example, valuables might be insured up to a maximum of 10% of the sum insured.
What is the excess?
The excess is a fee you must pay when making a claim. Motorhome insurance may include separate excesses for the vehicle itself, the contents and any personal valuables. Inexperienced or otherwise high-risk drivers typically have an additional excess on top of these.
How much does motorhome insurance cost?
The cost of motorhome insurance depends on your sum insured, whether you have third party liability or comprehensive cover, any discounts, your driving record, excesses to pay, your location and more. You will typically be quoted prices based on a variety of factors.
- You should expect to pay several hundred dollars per year for a sum insured of up to $60,000 or $70,000 (combined vehicle and contents) with most policies.
- More valuable vehicles (with a sum insured of $70,000 to $80,000 or higher) with more comprehensive cover generally have premiums of over $1,000 per year.
- Older motorhomes insured at market value with third party only cover can get insurance from less than a dollar a day.
Prices will be calculated based on your personal circumstances and may be affected by a variety of factors, so these are rough prices only.
To get the best value for money you should compare as many policies as you can in terms of benefits offered and price.
How do I get discounts on my insurance?
Depending on the insurer, you can get bonuses and discounts for:
- A no claims history
- Multi-policy discounts if you hold other policies with the same insurer
- Family bonuses if a member of your immediate family has a policy with that insurer
- Additional security or safety measures that reduce the odds of you making a claim
- Loyalty bonuses for sticking with the same insurer for several years
- Parking or storing your vehicle in a secure and covered area rather than on the street
Can you haggle with your insurer?
Yes! Motorhome insurance is fairly unique and everyone’s needs are different. Insurers, particularly smaller motorhome specialists, are usually happy to work with you to adjust cover and price.
Try asking your insurer to price match a quote you got elsewhere and you could be pleasantly surprised.
How do I make a claim?
Follow these steps to make a motorhome insurance claim:
- Make sure everyone is safe. If there is an emergency call 000. If the incident was theft, vandalism or something similarly criminal then you should report it to the police and take down the time, date, report number and name of the officer you spoke with.
- Do everything in your power and the bounds of safety to prevent further damage, such as turning on the hazard lights or moving the vehicle off the road.
- Collect the details of all drivers, passengers and witnesses involved. Get full names, addresses and contact numbers. Take down the registration numbers and insurance details of other vehicles involved if applicable.
- Record damage if it is safe to do so. Photographs and videos are useful.
- Contact your insurer with all the details on hand. They can assist with the next steps, and, if your policy includes it, they can help arrange emergency repairs, towing and more.
To make a successful claim you will be required to prove ownership and value of the motorhome and/or contents, and evidence of any damage or losses.
What not to do if there is an incident
- Do not admit to any fault or responsibility for an incident without the clear approval of your insurer to do so, even if it was your fault.
- Do not negotiate with third parties or promise them payment of any kind.
- Do not authorise any repairs without contacting your insurer, unless it is an emergency.
- Do not wash, clean up, remove debris or dispose of damaged parts without the consent of your insurer, unless doing so prevents further damage.
- Do not accept payment from a third party who admits fault for damage to your motorhome. Refer them to your insurer instead.
Are there specialised motorhome insurance companies?
Yes. These insurers are good for more particular needs such as:
- If you are renting your campervan out to others or using it for business purposes
- If you are living in your motorhome without a fixed address (most insurers require you to give a permanent home address, but specialists understand it’s not applicable to everyone)
- If you have an outstanding, modified or unique motorhome. Specialists tend to offer more flexibility in their policies for covering these.
Specialists will not always be the right choice for you. Most insurers offer specific campervan, RV or motorhome insurance policies, which may be more cost-effective for you.
Picture: Shutterstock, Pixabay
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