We all know the old saying when dealing with financial products that you should “check the fine print” and this can also be extended to caravan insurance, after all these are contracts of law and the potential pitfall of not complying or understanding policy conditions can be very costly.
Caravan insurance, like many others, normally consists of a general policy wording (which applies to all policyholders) and a schedule of insurance which notes the specifics of you as the policyholder, the basis of the contract, your personal and caravan details and any specific endorsements (conditions that you need to comply) applicable to you.
There are basic conditions that would apply to any insurance contract, such as taking all reasonable steps possible to reduce the amount of a loss (effectively if you damage the van you can organise necessary urgent repairs as this will reduce the size of the claim), and if the claim is in any way fraudulent or exaggerated then the cover could be cancelled from the start of the claim declined.
There are also conditions that are applied by different caravan insurers, for example most insurers have security requirements. This can vary from the basic hitch-lock and wheel clamp, to alarms and trackers on higher value vans. Most insurers will insist that if the caravan is left unattended (that being if all of the people in the towing vehicle) and detached then there must be wheel clamp and/or a hitch lock attached to the van. If the van is left unattended whilst attached (say at a service station when you get out to have a coffee) then the general security is to ask for a wheel clamp to be attached.
It is important to check your policy conditions in respect of security, as insurers can decline claims if this is not complied with. Many insurers ask for trackers on certain makes and values of caravans, as an example Hobby Caravans have been difficult to insure in the recent past due to a high theft risk.
Another important note is that if you have an awning you must not leave it up unless the caravan is in use, as in you need to be holidaying with the caravan. The reason behind this is that awnings are not steady and not designed to withstand wintry and stormy conditions.
Almost every insurer exerts an excess into the policies, that being an amount that is deducted from the final claim amount, typically £100. When a claim is settled this figure would automatically be removed from the total.
Insurers would also have, if contents are added onto the policy, a single item limit similar to household insurance. This means that the insurer will not pay more than the agreed amount, typically £250 for the item. Regarding contents, all insurers deduct an amount for wear and tear and to take account of the drop in value.
It must be noted that the above is not an exhaustive list and we will be back with more important points very soon!