How to minimise your insurance costs without affecting your cover

By: John Mack, Photography by: John Mack

John Mack reveals the tricks you can use to minimise your insurance costs.

How To Minimise Your Insurance Costs Without Affecting Your Cover

Are you one of the many caravanners who are fed up with the ever-increasing cost of your caravan’s insurance premiums? Do you just pay your annual insurance premium and then forget about it until next year. I certainly did until I decided to phone my insurer and voice my displeasure at the continually spiralling costs. Especially as I had a claim-free record for the 11 years that we had been on the road, and had just ‘retired’ from full-time travelling to only doing trips away when we felt we needed a break from home.

I was advised that the basic premium could not be changed but there were some things that could be done to lower costs. Probably the most significant of these was by taking on more risk. After 11 years without a claim I felt confident in upping my excess fee from $200 to $600. This could be changed at any time with just a phone call.  I could have saved even more money by upping the excess to $1,000, but in this case it would be ‘fixed’ for a period of one year.

Next, as we were no longer travelling full-time so would have the van unpacked and at home, I changed the ‘contents’ cover from $30,000 down to the minimum of $1,000. Again, similar to the excess cover this could be changed at any time. You can also minimise your annex cover when not travelling. Also be sure to advise your insurer whether you have a full annex or just a roll-out shade.

Then you have to make decisions about whether you want to have an ‘Agreed Value’ or ‘Market Value’. Obviously with an agreed value you know exactly what the insured sum is – but there are limits. You cannot artificially inflate to a value above a reasonable market figure unless you can convince your insurer with some specific arguments – maybe it is a rare model or you have many extras, etc. With the sum insured for ‘market value’ it will be down to what the insurer thinks is a fair market value – you may have to justify with evidence when you go to make a claim.  

The insurer will also have repair value limits above which they will write off the caravan rather than meet the repair costs. In this event the caravan ownership reverts to the insurer. Should you wish you can probably negotiate a reasonable buy back price if you believe there is value to be gained from recovering parts or equipment from the caravan.

Then there is the knotty problem of devaluation – where each year your insured value goes down and the premium goes up. This always seems like a double whammy but it is usually based on facts – your pride and joy is one year older and therefore less valuable (to the market) and inflation and repair costs have pushed your premium up. There is not a lot you can do about this other than contacting your insurer and arguing your case. 

So how much difference do these suggested changes really make? Well, my premium for the coming year was $1,834 based on an agreed value of $84,500. With the changes described it dropped to below $1,200 – a significant saving of over $600 per year. And, all it takes is a phone call when we want to hit the road again to reset or adjust our cover. How easy is that!