How much are you paying to insure your caravan? If you’ve got a new van, the annual premium might be up to, or even over $1,000 per year. And when you make a claim there is an excess you have to pay. It can be a painful bill each year when it comes around as you mentally tally the amount you’ve paid on insurance over the last years/decade/lifetime. But is it worth it?
At RV Service Centre Toowoomba – we are your local RACQ Selected repairer and authorised repairer for most other major brands like Suncorp, CIL, AAMI and more. So, we have a lot of information about what is actually covered in different policies, repair costs, times, accidents etc. Often customers will ask us whether its worthwhile making a claim.
Many people are concerned that making an insurance claim will affect their premium or “rating” – meaning it might cost more next year if they claim now. So, how do you work it out?
Every insurer is different. Each brand is tailored towards a particular market – e.g. RACQ for Queenslanders, CIL for caravans, APIA for pensioners, Ken Tame for Motorhomes. Each of their policies vary with inclusions, exclusions, cost of premium, cost of excess. This information is available in their “PDS” – Product Disclosure Statement. These days, they are relatively easy to read and detail all the important things you need to know.
On the whole, we find insurers really do look after their customers. We have lots of regular experience where insurers go above and beyond to support their customers that have experienced an issue.
It is really important to read the PDS, and understand what you are covered for. The main areas you should look at are:
- towing coverage – if you need to put your van on a tilt tray while travelling, you want to ensure you’re covered to tow back to your home town. You don’t want to be waiting around for an extended period away from home without your van.
- tow vehicle issues – check what you’re covered for if your tow vehicle is broken down. You want to ensure your caravan will be towed back home.
- warranty on repairs – RACQ and many other repairers will offer a lifetime guarantee on repairs. E.g. as Toowoomba’s RACQ Selected caravan repairer, your van has a lifetime guarantee on the work done at RV Service Centre.
- emergency repairs – sometimes you need minor repairs immediately. You want to be covered that any out of pocket expenses you incur (e.g. paying a mechanic yourself to get you going) before lodging your claim – can be reimbursed. (Always keep photos and receipts in such cases)
- accommodation – if you can’t use your van, are you covered for accommodation costs. And for how long?
- other tow vehicles – what if someone else is towing your van? Are you still covered?
- at fault accidents – whether there are different inclusions/exclusions for where you are at fault
- canvas coverage – is your poptop, camper trailer, hybrid covered for contents? Some of these RV types have exclusions because it is too easy to thieves to cut through the canvas/fabric.
- have you added your accessories to your cover – e.g. awning, annex, solar, lithium batteries, generators, boxes etc.
Key Tips – Keep your van well maintained
Its important to note that insurance generally covers you for accidents, weather events and situations beyond your control. It does not generally cover you for maintenance and service related issues. This is really important. Insurers often reject a claim because the issue was determined to be caused by poor maintenance/service.
So to ensure you are fully covered, you want to be able to prove to your insurer that you have done all required maintenance regularly. This is annual mechanical servicing, regular sealant checks, regular appliance checks. Keeping copies of your service invoices helps. Of course, if you have all your servicing & maintenance done with us, we can provide this on your behalf to support your claim.
Don’t Be Overweight
It’s very important that your entire rig is legal in order to be covered in the event of an accident. This covers everything from weight, to gas appliances, dimensions, electrical and safety. Having your caravan (or vehicle) overweight is an easy thing to do, and may void a claim. Talk to us about getting your van weighed and checked.
There are 2 main reasons why its worthwhile making a claim.
- Unknown Costs: due to the nature of repair work – sometimes further issues are discovered during the job that need to be addressed as part of the repair. These additional costs are normally borne by the insurer so the job can be completed successfully the first time.
- Guarantee: insurers guarantee the work in addition to the repairer, so in the case of the repairer going out of business, or refusing the make good a repair – you have recourse through your insurer to get it rectified. Some policies and insurers offer a lifetime guarantee on the work.
Small Job or Big Job
While its easy to make trade offs about small accidents, insurance is really there to protect your investment in major situations. In major accidents, your van may not be repairable and be written off – where you get paid out and can buy another van. Other times, large repairs may be more than $10,000 which is a big cost if you are not insured.
Will My Premium Increase?
Just because you make a claim, does not mean that your premium will increase. This depends on the insurer, your policy and your history. And because there is so much competition between insurers, its too easy for you as a customer to just take your policy to a new insurer if they try to increase the premium. The one thing that does increase premiums is large scale weather events. In such cases, premiums will go up for the whole region across all insurers. So when you go to renew your policy next year after being in a weather event, you might find the premium goes up. But when you compare against other insurers, their price is similar. This is why. Its not because you made a claim, its just that the insurers average costs have increased.
- Read your caravan insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), and check against the points above. Its worth re-reading it every couple of years, or anytime it changes.
- Ensure your van is serviced and maintained professionally with written records, to avoid any possibility of claim being denied based on maintenance.
- Know your weights
- If you’ve had an accident/incident – come in and see us, and we’ll discuss the best options for you.