The lesson I learnt from a rather sobering experience of a friend of ours recently is that it’s crucial to consider the issue of caravan insurance very carefully.
The cheapest policy is not always the best; you can be sure you never get more than you pay for!
Our friend was on a commercial tagalong tour on the Murray River. The caravanners were booked to do a paddle steamer cruise and the tour leader needed to get all the rigs parked side by side.
He was directing our friend close to a parked rig when a van wheel dipped into a hole, and the edge of the van's rolled up awning clipped the parked van beside him. The damage seemed very minimal and the owner of the damaged van was happy enough to fix it himself when he arrived home.
Months later, a letter of demand arrived from a solicitor claiming several thousand dollars to remove the side wall of the damaged van and re-seal it. This was forwarded to our friend's caravan insurer, and they refused point blank to pay for the damage caused by his van as it was being towed, claiming it is the responsibility of the vehicle insurer.
The vehicle was insured under a budget priced policy purchased online. No joy there either, so our friend had no option but to pay for the damage himself, feeling very aggrieved by the amount claimed for such a minimal incident and by being let down by his so-called comprehensive insurance.
Having both vehicle and van on the same policy removes the opportunity for this sort of thing to happen, and can save considerable money.
We are associate CMCA members and have had their insurance for a number of years. The cover is very comprehensive and Ken Tame and Associates (the broker) is very professional to deal with, and the contracts are clearly written. We have been fortunate enough not to have needed to make a claim, but friends who have done so were treated empathetically at a considerably stressful time.
Another issue for those who choose to carry a significant excess is windscreen (or other glass) damage. Some policies have an optional cover for 'glass', but will pay out for glass damage only when there is no other damage to the vehicle.
In our case, we travel many kilometres on single lane bitumen roads each year, and break or crack a windscreen quite regularly, so windscreen insurance is a must-have.
In the end, it is buyer beware. A little time spent researching the details of the cover you are buying will pay dividends in the long run.