What you should consider before buying a caravan

Written by Nick Grant


Published on 8th May 2018


Last Updated on 27th February 2024


Read time: 4 minutes

Touring caravans

Buying or renting a caravan can be a fun, but a daunting prospect. From the type of caravan to purchase and its specifications, to the insurance you need, all the way through to getting it on the road, the first time buyer has a lot to consider.

Factors to consider when choosing a caravan

The main factor in what type of caravan you choose to purchase is your budget. A brand new caravan may seem like a great idea, but like any vehicle, as soon as it leaves the dealership it will immediately depreciate in value. That’s fine if you plan to own it for the vehicle’s lifetime, but if you need to sell it then it may be impossible to recoup the initial expense. Instead, you could consider a second-hand but still a recent model as it can be more competitively priced.

It’s easy to be led astray and impulse purchase something out of your budget, so before shopping around you should decide what features i.e. grill, oven, overall size, number of beds, are essential for you and stick to it. Additional specifications may seem like a great idea in the spur of the moment but will drive the overall cost up significantly.

Another consideration is whether you can tow it. If you passed your test before 1996 then no worries, you can tow all sizes by default. If you passed after 1997, then there are limitations unless you complete an extended driving test. In short, your car and caravan should not be greater than 3500kg so anything under that is fine for driving. Luckily, your luggage and belongings are not included in this calculation so working it out is a matter of adding the weight of your car to the weight of any potential caravan.

You’ll also need to factor in whether or not your car is powerful enough to tow your desired caravan. Most vehicles can tow their own weight but to be safe, you should subtract 20% from this weight limit. You don’t necessarily need a bigger caravan anyway. The larger it is, the harder it’ll be to tow so you should really only buy one to accommodate the people regularly using it. If it does prove too small then you can always size up at a later date.

Touring caravan

Finally, and perhaps the most important consideration is where to buy your caravan from. While many caravan owners will use Gumtree or Facebook selling pages to advertise their caravan, you should be cautious if you choose to approach a private buyer. Caravan dealerships have regulations they need to follow and private sellers do not, so make sure to carry out a HPI check and check the caravan against the Caravan Registration Identification Scheme. Just like buying a car, you should check the service history but also you should make sure there are no signs of damp.

With all this on mind, buying from a caravan dealer may be a safer option, especially for a first time buyer. They’ll be able to advise you and offer warranty and service options.  Remember, if a deal seems too good then it probably is!

What about insurance?

Once you’ve chosen your caravan then the next step is to make sure it’s adequately insured. At Intasure, we can provide you with caravan insurance cover for your caravan and its contents. Caravan insurance can be complex, for example you’ll need to consider cover for legal liabilities and if you let your caravan then there can be other insurance requirements there too. You should also consider how to protect yourself and your valuables should a crash or theft occur – instances which can be difficult to predict. We offer a no-jargon insurance policy which is underwritten and administered in the UK through our helpful and knowledgeable staff.

The Intasure policy includes*:

  •  Loss of use – up to £25 a day following an insured incident
  •  Personal accident cover – up to £20k
  •  Emergency Removal cover – removing  a disabled caravan following an insured loss
  •  Cover for your furniture and awnings if lost or stolen – up to £500
  •  Cover to get you, your car and your caravan home following a serious injury or illness – up to £1k
  •  European cover – up to 180 days as standard which can be increased to 270 days
  •  Cover for liability – up to £2.5 million

If you’re interested in touring caravan insurance or getting a quote then please call 0345 111 0680 to find out more.

*Policy limits and exclusions may apply, please see policy wording for full terms and conditions.

**The opinions and views expressed in the above articles are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.

Nick Grant is a Business Development Manager at Intasure with 10 years of insurance experience.