There are often special considerations for caravans, such as security requirements. When we look into these complaints, we’ll decide whether your insurer:
- should reconsider your claim
- should accept your claim
What is caravan insurance?
Caravan insurance covers one of the three main types of caravans:
- Static caravans or mobile homes. These are caravans that are pitched at specific locations, such as campsites or caravan parks, often on a long-term or permanent basis.
- Touring caravans. These caravans are towed by motor vehicles and can be transported to different destinations.
- Motorhomes, campervans or ‘motor caravans’. These are vehicles in their own right and are often built using a truck or van chassis.These may also be covered by standard motor insurance.
Caravans come in all different shapes and sizes, but they normally have common features including living space, and amenities such as cooking and sanitary facilities.
You can read more on the minimum requirements for a vehicle to be classed as a motorhome on the gov.uk website.
Most caravan insurance policies are designed to cover loss or damage caused by one or more of the following events:
- theft or attempted theft
- extreme weather conditions
- accidental damage
- malicious damage
- third party liability (but not as a result of you towing your caravan, as that will be covered by your motor insurer, provided you’ve made sure your policy provides cover for towing)
Some policies also include insurance for additional items, such as bicycles or fridges.
Types of complaints we see
You may decide to complain about your insurer because:
- they haven’t dealt with your claim correctly
- your claim has been wrongly rejected
- the claim settlement you’ve been offered isn’t fair
- the standard of repairs made to your caravan is poor
What we look at
We’ll listen to what both you and your insurer have to say to find out what happened. We might ask for evidence like:
- police reports
- registration documentation
- visual evidence, such as photographs
- the policy terms and conditions – and whether any significant or unusual terms were made clear to you
- any conflicts between the policy summary and the policy wording
We’ll also look at any advice you were given, and whether there were any significant or unusual exclusions in your policy.
You can read more about how we look into the following complaints:
- If your claim was wrongly rejected
- If you’re unhappy about the settlement you’ve been offered
- If you’re unhappy with the standard of repairs carried out
If your claim was wrongly rejected
You may have made a claim on your caravan insurance that you think has been wrongly rejected. In these types of complaints, we’ll look at whether:
- you were the owner of the vehicle, or had an ‘insurable interest’ in the vehicle and its contents
- there was loss or damage to the vehicle, and if this was caused by an insured event
- any security conditions have been breached – and if these conditions were made clear when you bought the policy
- there were any significant or unusual terms and conditions in your policy
Disputes about ownership and ‘insurable interest’
Your insurer might dispute whether you actually owned the caravan and/or its contents. We’ll ask you for proof that you were the owner, which may include:
- invoices, receipts or a finance agreement for the caravan
- any registration documents
- evidence of the vehicle’s contents – such as receipts, instruction manuals, packaging or photographs of the items
We also see cases where an insurer questions whether someone had an ‘insurable interest’ in either the caravan or its contents. If you didn’t actually own the vehicle, you may still have an insurable interest if you:
- rented the caravan
- borrowed the caravan from someone on the condition that you’d be responsible for any damage
In these cases we’ll ask to see proof of the insurable interest – for example, a rental agreement.
If you’ve proved that you own or have an insurable interest in the caravan and your insurer has still rejected a claim, we’d expect them to show that a condition of the policy has been breached.
Loss or damage
If your rejected claim involves any loss or damage to your caravan or its contents, we’ll look at the following evidence:
- police reports
- evidence from the campsite owner or caravan park manager
- visual evidence, such as photographs
- reports from a loss adjuster
We might also ask you to provide any information or evidence that we think could be relevant.
A lot of caravan insurance policies say that theft will only be covered if you’ve taken certain security measures. These will vary from policy to policy, but they normally say that your caravan needs to be:
- fitted with a certain type of alarm
- fitted with a certain type of lock, such as a hitch lock
- fitted with a certain type of wheel-clamp
- kept at a storage site that meets certain specific requirements when it’s not being used
We consider all security requirements to be significant terms. They’re not always easy to understand, and claims can be rejected if they’re not met. We’ll check that your insurer or broker clearly explained these to you when you were sold the policy so that you:
- were able to make an informed decision on whether the policy was right for you
- knew what you need to do to make sure you’re fully covered for theft
We don’t think it’s enough for the conditions to just be included in the policy document or in the small print at the back of the policy. They’re important – so they must be highlighted in the policy summary or key facts document or on the policy schedule.
We find that most people will comply with security requirements if they know about them. So, if they weren’t clearly highlighted to you, we’re likely to say it’s unfair for your insurer to rely on these to reject your claim.
Your insurer may have rejected your claim because they say you gave them incorrect information. For example, if you incorrectly told your insurer that your caravan was fitted with a certain type of lock.
In this case we’d ask your insurer to show us that cover was only valid only on the basis that you had these specific locks.
Most insurance policies normally include conditions about the storage of caravans and motorhomes. Specialist storage sites are often away from residential areas or main roads, so any thefts are likely to be deliberate. So insurers normally apply strict conditions and security measures for the site security. They may say the site needs to:
- be properly fenced and securely locked
- be alarmed
- have CCTV and security lighting
- have some type of security patrol and/or a resident caretaker
- be an ‘approved site’
The definition of an ‘approved site’, will vary between policies. In some cases, it means the site must be approved by the Caravan Storage Site Owners' Association (CaSSOA). But other policies will need the site to have a particular standard of approval from the CaSSOA, such as being gold registered.
Approved sites normally have a better level of security, so if your vehicle wasn’t stored in an approved site, this may affect the claim.
Claims should only be rejected if a breach of conditions is actually related to the theft. If the theft would have happened anyway, regardless of whether the security requirements had been met, we’d normally uphold the complaint.
Significant or unusual terms and exclusions
Policies sometimes include lots of terms and exclusions which can significantly reduce the cover provided.
If there’s a particularly significant or unusual term in the policy, we’d expect your insurer to have clearly communicated this to you when it was sold. We’re likely to uphold a complaint about a rejected claim if you:
- weren’t made aware of the term or exclusion
- might have acted differently if you’d known about the term or exclusion, and been in a better position as a result
If the significant term was only mentioned in the policy or renewal document, we’re unlikely to agree this was enough to bring it to your attention.
Most caravan insurance policies are based on ‘indemnity’. This means that in the event of a valid claim, your insurer has to put you in the position that you were in before the loss or damage happened. They can do this by:
- arranging the repairs
- replacing the items
- offering a cash settlement
However, if you have a ‘new for old’ policy, you’ll get a new caravan or motorhome for the lost or damaged one if it’s been written off.
If your insurer offered you a cash settlement instead of repairs, we’ll check that this was written in the policy terms. If it was, we’ll ask both sides for estimates for the cost of repairs to make sure the amount offered was fair.
If your caravan or motorhome is treated as a write-off, we’ll use specialist trade guides to work out the correct market value. However, this can be difficult as not all trade guides offer valuations for caravans, so we’d expect your insurer to provide additional information or evidence to show how they got to that valuation.
Read more on our approach to vehicle valuation.
You might be unhappy about the standard of the repairs carried out, or how long they’ve taken.
Caravan and motorhome often require more specialised repairs, and depending on the damage, they can take longer than other motor vehicles.
If your insurer arranged to repair the damage, we’d expect them to have made sure that the repairs were carried out to a good standard and done in a reasonable amount of time.
We’ll look at photographic and expert evidence, as well as your statements, and decide whether we think the repairs were satisfactory.
Read more about vehicle repairs.
How to complain
If you have a complaint, you need to talk to the business first and give them a chance to put things right. They have to give you their final response within eight weeks. If you’re unhappy with their response, or if they don’t respond, then speak to us.
Find out more about how to complain.
Putting things right
If we think your claim has been wrongly rejected, we’ll tell your insurer to meet the claim. We’ll usually decide that 8% interest should be added on top.
If we decide that the cash settlement you’ve been offered wasn’t fair, we’ll tell your insurer to compensate you with the correct amount.
We may decide your policy was mis-sold because you weren’t made aware of a significant exclusion or limitation. In this case, we’ll usually tell your insurer to reassess the claim as if the exclusion or limitation doesn’t apply.
People don’t normally use caravans or motorhomes all the time. So if you’ve been unable to use your vehicle because of the complaint, we’ll consider how this has affected you. For example, you may have had to pay to hire a replacement vehicle for a planned trip. We may consider an award to reflect this, as well as compensation for any poor service that you may have experienced.
Read more on our approach to compensation.
Caravan is stolen from a storage site, but insurer says security conditions have been breached
Customer complains about mis-matched repairs after caravan is damaged