You need caravan insurance to cover your caravan or trailer for any damage or other losses sustained while it's either on the road, on its caravan park or in your driveway. Many insurers also let you cover the contents of the caravan, as well as offer lay-up cover for the periods when you're not using it.
Caravan insurance in the time of covid-19
Even though there travel restrictions in some areas of Australia, people still need to insure their caravans even if they're not going anywhere. If you are planning a little getaway in your home on wheels, however, then insurance is even more important.
The lowdown on caravan insurance
You can get caravan insurance for either a standard caravan - an unpowered vehicle that you tow behind your car or position on a park.
You can include a camper-trailer under caravan insurance as well. A camper-trailer is a cross between a caravan and a tent, with a pop-up top for more headroom.
Motorhomes are different
These vehicles have engines, so they're neither a caravan nor a trailer. They're not covered by caravan insurance; they need motorhome cover instead.
What can caravan insurance cover?
It depends on the level of cover you've chosen, but your policy can protect you from damaging another person or someone else's property. You can also extend the cover to protect you if your caravan or its contents are stolen.
You could be covered for:
- Your caravan hitting someone else's vehicle; comprehensive insurance should cover the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle
- Your trailer or caravan being stolen; your insurance should cover the full value
- Your caravan being vandalised; you should be covered up to the full value
- Your caravan being damaged or destroyed by fire, flood, hail, lightning, explosion, an impact or other natural events
- Your caravan crashing while you tow it, even if it's your fault
- The contents of your caravan being damaged or stolen; you may need to add extra cover if you have, for example, expensive climbing gear
- Any alternative accommodation you might need if your caravan has to be replaced or repaired; the policy should also cover roadside assistance, towing costs or storage charges, and
- Electrical appliances on the caravan breaking down, including instances in which they cause damage to the structure.
What levels of cover are possible?
There's third-party only, which covers you for damage or injury to someone else or their property. Your own caravan isn't covered.
Third-party, fire and theft, which includes theft, fire and earthquake as well as third-party. Events like floods, vandalism and similar aren't covered.
Comprehensive insurance, which brings in accidental damage, vandalism, storm damage, flooding, hail, contents and earthquake.
What add-ons are possible?
You can customise and increase your cover with a variety of add-ons.
Contents cover above and beyond the token amount included in your comprehensive policy. You can add on extra cover for things like laptops, expensive bikes or climbing equipment.
Annex cover is handy as annexes aren't usually included in comprehensive insurance, so you can easily add it if necessary.
Lay-up insurance can be added on if you store your caravan for significant periods of time. It can actually reduce your premiums, as being off the road means less risk.
Which vehicles can it cover?
Caravan and trailer insurance is for any caravan, trailer or cabin as long as there's no engine in it. You can insure your caravan whether it's mobile or static and you can also insure horse floats with some providers.
Are there any exclusions?
There are always exclusions...
Failure to secure the caravan properly, leading to a break-in, will almost certainly not result in a pay-out. Leaving the doors open and the caravan unattended is a good example.
Reckless or inappropriate activities with or next to the caravan won't be covered. If you light a bonfire right next to your annex and it goes up in flames, even your special pop-up cover won't help you.
Failure to maintain the caravan properly, leading to rust, insect infestation, rotting woodwork or similar could cause your insurer to reject your claim.
Using the caravan during the lay-up period can result in a rejected claim. If you're going to take an unseasonal caravan trip, just call your insurer and they'll bump up your premium for the period.
Your insurer probably won't cover a malfunction in your caravan if it's due to faulty workmanship. You may have to resort to the manufacturer for redress.
Other things to look out for
It's important to look at the many policies on offer to see if any offer perks or extras that appeal to you. Look out for insurers that will let you choose your repair service so you can use someone you trust.
There's also windshield cover - some insurers include windshield damage so you might be looking for a provider that does this automatically.
The limits on your contents insurance. Lots of insurers have rules and limits on the number of items and their individual value. You might not, for example, be able to claim more than $2,000 for one individual laptop. It's important to look at these structures and limits.