You can always tell when summer has finally arrived – there’s a proliferation of caravans on motorways and trunk roads. If you happen to be stuck behind one as opposed to actually towing one, there’s a good reason why it’s going at that speed. Cars towing caravans (or trailers, for that matter) are limited to 50mph on a single carriageway and 60mph on a dual carriageway or a motorway. And as with any speed limit, that’s a ceiling, not a target – many caravans will be towed at much lower speeds, especially in inclement weather. So be patient!
Tour de forceThere are around 500,000 touring caravans on UK highways, plus a growing number of motorhomes. And if you’ve spent several thousands of pounds on a tourer (a typical price for a decent new model is £9,000), it makes sense to arrange appropriate insurance in case something goes wrong.
Back to basicsThe first question that crops up with caravan insurance is usually – is it mandatory to have insurance in place? The basic rules are that any self-propelled vehicle must be insured to a minimum of third party cover. So a touring caravan doesn’t by itself need insurance, but a motorhome does. But that’s only part of the issue. If a caravan is being towed, it becomes a risky proposition – you can easily imagine the problems it might cause in a pile-up or if it became detached. Many people work on the basis that their car insurance will provide cover for their caravan, but don’t go out on the road without confirming the details:
- Don’t assume your car insurance covers you for towing a caravan
- If it does, check if there is a size/weight restriction
- If you have a tow-bar fitted or have an existing one strengthened, check with the insurer to see whether this counts as a ‘modification’. Changing the original specification of a car might attract an additional premium, and the premium might be declared void if you have an accident but didn’t tell the insurer about the work you’d had done
- Check what level of cover you have – it will probably be third party cover, taking care of your legal liabilities to others, but not protecting you against damage to your own vehicle. You might be able to increase this level of cover by paying more
- Think about the replacement car section of your car insurance, if it has one: will the replacement car be up to the job of towing your caravan?