Features, Spotlight

Expert opinion: How to avoid motorhome accidents, damage and theft

A motorhome parked up with camping furniture outside

With the summer holidays nearly upon us, many motorhome owners are looking towards their next trip. However, there are simple things that many owners overlook when it comes to protecting their leisure vehicles, leaving them at risk of accidents, damage and even theft.

CaravanTimes spoke to Nick Long, head of insurance at Lifesure, to discuss the common mistakes owners make and how to avoid them. Here’s what we found out about ensuring you and your motorhome stay safe this summer.

Common motorhome insurance claims

Motorhomers often put their leisure vehicles into storage over the winter months and with a disappointing spring, weatherwise, may not have been out in them very much. Mr Long suggested motorhomes are usually only used for around eight to 12 weeks a year, meaning drivers can become a bit rusty.

He added: “When it comes to driving the vehicle, owners can be out of practice and this can lead to accidental damage claims. For example, drivers can find themselves running into bollards, or other vehicles, scratching paint or knocking off rear-view mirrors due to driving too closely to walls or gates.”

During the summer months, there’s a higher demand for motorhomes, making them an appealing target for theives, as they can be sold on quickly. With vehicles taken out of storage and parked on drives ready for use or positioned at the roadside on day trips, motorhomes are more vulnerable to theft at this time of year.

Protecting your motorhome

Mr Long said the most important thing to do is ensure you have the right insurance in place to cover all eventualities. Make sure you have your insurance policy details and contact details to hand should you need to make a claim on your trip. Here at CaravanTimes we recommend you keep a folder in the same place in your motorhome at all times so you can find them easily.

“Comprehensive cover for vehicles is the most popular as it covers theft and damage caused by fire, damage to other drivers if you have an accident and will pay out to repair or replace your motorhome if it’s damaged in an accident or suffers malicious damage,” Mr Long added.

Maintenance tips for motorhome owners

Poorly maintained vehicles are likely to get damaged and break down, which can jeopardise the overall safety of the vehicle. Luckily, there’s lots owners can do to keep on top of this themselves. Mr Long recommends:

  • Checking the oil and coolant levels and topping up as soon as possible if needed.
  • Making sure your MOT is done and that your insurance is valid and up to date before going on a trip.
  • Having your vehicle fully serviced to avoid issues when you’re on the road.
  • Charging the battery in a motorhome if it hasn’t been driven in a while, otherwise it might not perform correctly.
  • Before taking your motorhome on the road, carry out checks on the tyres to make sure they are in the best possible condition.

Commonly overlooked considerations

Mr Long advised: “Sharing driving duties with another person during journeys is common and checking before the journey that the other driver is insured to drive is very important. It is something that people overlook, but if you are involved in an accident, you will not be insured unless you have made sure the second driver has been added to the policy.”

Relying on the other driver’s ‘driving other car’ extension, if they have their own motor insurance policy can be insufficient, but if you’re unsure, check with your insurer. Understanding who and what is covered is key to getting the most out of your motorhome insurance.

Lifesure also recommends taking out breakdown cover before any trip, as support during unexpected emergencies can reduce the stress exponentially. Knowing you have this back up can help with peace of mind equally during a family holiday or a couple’s break away.

Protecting gadgets left inside leisure vehicles

When it comes to insuring gadgets during a trip, motorhome owners should peruse their insurance policy to check the personal belongings cover. It is often the case that this type of cover won’t protect gadgets, in which case owners should ensure they are covered on their home insurance policy.

Mr Long said: “Most home insurance policies include personal belongings cover that offers protection for gadgets no matter where the policyholder is in the UK. However, we would urge owners to review their motorhome and home insurance policy and consult their insurer or broker to make sure they are fully covered.”

How to avoid underinsurance

Understanding insurance jargon like ‘sums insured’, ‘market value’ and ‘agreed value basis’ is key to ensuring your motorhome is not underinsured. If you have any queries about this, a good insurer should be happy to talk you through the terminology and what it means in practice.

Mr Long said: “We recommend that drivers check their sums insured and speak with their insurer or broker to confirm how their vehicle has been insured. Often vehicles are insured on a market value basis, so in the event that the vehicle is written off, the maximum they will receive from a claim is the total market value amount.

“However, some insurers provide motorhome cover on an agreed value basis, which means that if a motorhome has been insured for £40,000, that is the amount that would be paid out. Drivers should double check this to make sure that they have the correct cover in place and won’t be left footing a hefty bill should a claims payout not meet their expectations,” he added.

About Lifesure

Lifesure was founded by Colin Barnes in 1972 and has recently won the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award for the third year in a row. As an insurance broker, it works with carefully selected partners, such as AXA, Ageas, Allianz, Aviva and LV to provide you with insurance for your motorhome.


Photo credit: Unsplash/lucas Favre