Whether you are a family on a much-needed holiday to the coast, a bunch of friends looking for an adventure on the open road, a couple wanting a romantic getaway or just looking to break away by yourself – using a caravan can be a great way to travel.

It can potentially give you the freedom to stay in numerous places across the country and travel on your own terms.

Buying your own caravan can be a big investment, not just because of the upfront costs involved but also for the ongoing maintenance, registration, storage and repair expenses that come with owning one.

So, what are your options when it comes to financially protecting your much-loved home on wheels in case it is involved in an unexpected incident like an accident on the road, or damaged by fire while at a caravan park?

What is caravan insurance?

Caravan insurance can provide a level of financial cover for accidental loss or damage to your caravan while in Australia. Depending on your policy, it may also cover theft of your caravan, or legal liability for damage to another person’s property caused by the use of your caravan.

You can typically purchase insurance to provide cover for your caravan while it is traveling on the road, when it is on-site at a caravan park, or when it is not being used for a certain period of time. Some providers may also offer cover for a trailer, camper trailer or horse float under a caravan insurance policy.

Do you need caravan insurance?

Caravan insurance is typically not a legal requirement in Australia. However, without caravan insurance you could leave yourself financially vulnerable for damage or loss to your caravan should an accident occur, or if it is stolen. It is worthwhile doing your homework to determine whether the cost of caravan insurance is worth it for you, bearing in mind the potential risks of going without it.

What can caravan insurance cover?

Coverage offered by your caravan insurance will vary depending on the policy and level of cover you choose, but in general, it may provide some financial protection for loss or damage to your caravan caused by or arising from:

  • Accidental damage
  • Theft or attempted theft
  • Fire
  • Storm and flood
  • Earthquake
  • Vandalism or a malicious act by a third party
  • Emergency repairs, accommodation and transport
  • Food spoilage
  • Storage costs
  • Towing costs
  • Choice of repairer
  • Contents up to a certain amount
  • Liability cover for death or injury to another person and for loss or damage to someone else’s property.

What does it not cover?

Exclusions for caravan insurance will vary depending on your policy. Some common exclusions that may apply include loss, damage, injury or death arising from:

  • Deterioration, depreciation, rust, corrosion, mold, or wear and tear of the caravan
  • Vermin
  • The lawful seizure or confiscation of your caravan or any part of it
  • Acts of war or terrorism
  • Faulty design, or mechanical or structural failure in the caravan
  • Fusion of electric motors
  • A failure to secure your caravan, or leaving it in an unsafe position
  • Using your caravan for an unlawful purpose
  • An intentional act by you, a family member, or a person who has your permission to use your caravan
  • Pre-existing damage
  • Water escaping from a shower recess or shower base
  • Scorching or melting where there was no flame

Optional benefits

Most caravan insurance providers will offer some optional benefits or extras you can add to your policy. These benefits will usually come at an additional cost to your insurance premium. Some of these benefits may include:

Contents cover

Some insurers will ordinarily only provide cover for your contents up to a certain amount, whereas some may not cover them at all. If you want to take out contents cover beyond what your policy offers, you may be able to purchase this through your provider as an optional benefit. You may also be able to specify particularly valuable items on your policy so you can cover them for what it would cost to repair or replace them. Keep in mind your insurer may exclude certain items from your policy such as sporting equipment, computers or cameras. Check your exclusions for details.

Lay up cover

Your provider may allow you to add cover for your caravan while it is not being used, and to do so at a reduced premium. This is known as lay up cover. This option typically allows you to maintain certain cover at a reduced premium for the months you know you will not be using your caravan. However, this cover may only apply if you keep your caravan in a safe and secure spot while it is not being used, such as a carport or lockable garage. It may also only be available for a certain period of time, such as six months. Check with your provider to see what is available.

Annexe cover

Some providers may not cover your caravan’s annexe (if you have one) under their standard benefits for caravan insurance, or they may apply restrictions on the sorts of coverage they offer for your annexe. An annexe is usually a caravan extension made out of vinyl or canvas material with walls, windows and a roof or awning over the top of it. If it is not included in your standard benefits, your insurer may offer annexe cover as an optional extra for an additional premium.

Considerations when choosing caravan insurance

Before you take out caravan insurance, read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of each policy thoroughly so you are aware of the terms and conditions involved, including the benefits and exclusions, and any additional excesses that may apply.

If you are buying caravan insurance from the same provider you use for other insurance policies, such as your car insurance, it could be worth checking to see if you are entitled to a multi-policy discount.