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practical stuff ... demountable insurance


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3 options to think about 6 points to remember a number of agencies to try


Three options to think about

Option 1 - Here's the thing that no insurance company, or their agent, is going to willingly tell you - you don't actually have to insure your demountable at all! Of course, in the UK, you do have to have at least third-party insurance cover for your truck or pickup in order to comply with Part VI of the Road Traffic Act 1988 ('Compulsory insurance or security against third-party risks'), but you are under no legal obligation to take out any additional cover for your camper. Because the demountable unit is not a permanent fixture or modification to the base vehicle it falls into the same category as any other goods you may choose to carry in the back of your pickup, be they bags of cement or whatever. As long as the load is secure and its weight is within the permissible payload of the truck and its axles, the pickup's insurance will remain valid.

Having said that, although your nice shiny pickup truck might be insured and you will have fulfilled the requirements of the law, if you go down this route you do have to bear in mind that no part of your camper or its contents will be covered against damage or loss, no matter how it's caused or by whom. Given the current price of demountable campers, you might think that's a risk too far.

So, assuming you've decided that you do want insurance cover for your camper as well as for your pickup, what are your other options? Basically there seem to be only two and which you get offered will depend on which company or agent you ask.

Option 2 covers the camper and pickup in combination, virtually as though it was a 'conventional' motorhome. This is likely to be the cheaper of the two insurance options but it does have limitations. Most notable of these is that the camper will not normally be covered once it is removed from the pickup. So if it's standing, dismounted, on your drive at home and somebody nicks it (unlikely I know) you probably won't get a penny, but by the same token, if it's standing dismounted on a campsite somewhere and some clot drives into it (much more likely!) you're probably not going to get anything either. The other significant limitation of this option is likely to be on the use of the pickup. It's common for these policies to exclude commuting or business use. In that one of the reasons many people choose to own a demountable, in preference to some other kind of motorhome, is that it means they need only run and maintain one vehicle, presumably commuting or business is quite likely to be something they would want to use the pickup for. These policies also quite often include a mileage-per-year limitation although you can normally extend this for an increased premium.

Option 3 covers the camper and the pickup as two quite separate entities so that each is insured whether they are in combination or not. Essentially this option means two policies; one, a standard motor policy, for the pickup and the other, usually a caravan policy, for the camper. Not surprisingly this tends to be more expensive than Option 2 but then the cover is significantly extended. There should be no mileage or other limitations on the use of the pickup apart from those that you would normally find in a motor policy, e.g. if it's required for business use that needs to be reflected in the cover. Any limitations to the cover of the camper are likely to be the usual exclusions (i.e. acts of God, nuclear exlosions, colliding planets, all that sort of stuff), geographical limits (e.g. cover will include mainland Europe but only for so many days per year. Again this can usually be extended but at additional cost.), or security requirements (the 'caravan' policy is quite likely to state that cover will apply as long as security measures such as wheel clamps and hitch locks are used although, clearly, neither is applicable to a demounted camper).

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6 things to bear in mind
Although I may be accused of being cynical (particularly by those working in the insurance industry!) I reckon there are six fundamental points to keep in mind when looking at insurance for a demountable camper. They'll help you to avoid wasting your time and running up your phone bill.

  1. It's only worth approaching those insurance agencies that normally specialise in covering motorhomes or caravans. Agencies without that specialism won't know what on earth a demountable camper is and won't know what you're talking about.
  2. Of those agencies that do specialise, many will still not know what a demountable camper is and still won't know what you're talking about!
  3. Of those that do know what a demountable camper is and do know what you're talking about, the majority, by far, will not be prepared to offer you cover.

So, that's dramatically reduced the choices open to you, hasn't it?! To continue ...

  1. Some of those that do claim to offer cover for demountables will actually think you're talking about a fifth-wheel*. That's not to say that the cover would be inappropriate. You just need to know that you, and they, are talking about the same thing. (*They are confused surprisingly often. If you're not sure yourself what the difference is, have a look at similar but not the same.)
  2. Staff working for agencies that do actually offer cover for demountables won't all know what you're talking about. If you want to ask detailed questions about the cover, and you'll probably need to, make sure you're talking to someone in the agency who's qualified to answer.
  3. As with all insurance, your own circumstances and requirements will determine which company and policy offers you the best cover. You'll only find that out by asking questions and reading the small print before you commit yourself.

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Insurance agencies
OK, so who are you going to call?

  magbaztravels.com - the most comprehensive list of U.K. agencies specialising in motorhome insurance, that I'm aware of, is on Margaret and Barry Williamson's website magbaztravels.com. It lists 40 or so agencies, with valuable anecdotal reports on most of them, as well as offering general advice on looking for insurance cover particularly for long-term travel outside the UK.

  motorhoming.com - the motorhoming.com site lists some 36 agencies who, as the name of the website suggests, offer insurance cover for motorhomes, but it is just a list and lacks objectivity - the 'details' given about each entry are promotional in tone and are apparently written by the agencies themselves.

New agencies crop up all the time, especially online, and existing agencies seem so frequently to change the range and terms of their cover that it's just not possible to compile a definitive list of companies who might insure a particular demountable for a particular person. The following, well-established companies are among those who get mentioned most often in online forum discussions about demountable insurance. They would seem a sensible place to start.

  adrianflux.co.uk - Adrian Flux Insurance Services, East Winch Hall, East Winch, King's Lynn, Norfolk PE32 1HN - Tel: 0800 369 8590

  campton.co.uk - Campton Insurance Brokers (UK) Limited, 126 High Street, Godstone, Surrey RH9 8DX - Tel: 01883 742460

  caravanguard.co.uk - Caravan Guard Ltd., New Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX1 2JZ - Tel: 08452 777070

  nfumutual.co.uk - NFU Mutual have offices all over the U.K.. Whether all of them offer demountable insurance I'm not sure, but I do know that their office in Louth does. Its details are: N Pope and S M Topliss, NFU Mutual Branch, Agriculture House, Bolingbroke Road, Fairfield Industrial Estate, Louth, Lincolnshire LN11 0WA - Tel: 01507 600249. You can find them online at nfumutual.co.uk/louth/.

  safeguarduk.co.uk - an online agency. Tel: 0800 977 5953

  towergatebakers.co.uk - (previously known simply as 'Bakers') Towergate Bakers, 3rd Floor, The Quadrangle, Imperial Square, Cheltenham GL50 1PZ - Tel: 0800 496 1516

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WHAT'S ON THIS PAGE

Not necessarily the definitive guide to demountable camper insurance - that's probably impossible given the frequency with which insurance companies change their policies and conditions - but hopefully a useful and practical summary of what you need and where you might find it. If you'd like to add your own experience or input please let me know.

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