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UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020
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A caravan is another term for a camper you tow behind your car. Unlike an RV, which is a vehicle unto itself, a caravan requires another vehicle to move it from place to place.
For the adventurous, caravans are fantastic alternatives to hotels. They offer more flexibility on where you stay and can save you money if you use them often.
Before setting off on a trip with a caravan in tow, you’ll want to be sure to have your insurance squared away.
Not all personal auto insurance policies cover you for towing a caravan. Even if yours does, it might not provide all the protection you need. The following explains the different types of caravan insurance available and what each cover.
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Caravan Insurance Types
You can structure your insurance policy in many ways. Some policies only provide the bare minimum liability coverage which provides protection if you cause damage to someone else’s vehicle or person.
The most advanced policies cover everything from storm damage to a crash with an uninsured driver.
Depending on your policy, your coverage might or might not extend to the caravan you’re towing. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a separate policy for your caravan. These policies include property insurance and content coverage.
Liability coverage pays for damage to another vehicle or injury to another person. You need this insurance in case you’re the one at fault in an accident. In fact, every state but two (New Hampshire and Virginia) require it to drive legally.
Different states impose different minimum required coverage amounts. A total of $25,000 for property damage and $50,000 for bodily injury is a common minimum.
If your caravan isn’t covered by liability insurance and it causes damage to another vehicle or person, a couple of things will happen.
- First, unless you’re in Virginia and New Hampshire, you’ll receive a citation for driving without insurance.
- Also, and perhaps worse, you’ll have to come out of pocket for damages.
Let’s say you back into another driver with your caravan. The person’s car, valued at $25,000, is totaled. The driver also claims whiplash and submits medical bills totaling $10,000.
Without liability insurance, you’re looking at coming up with $35,000 on your own. You can even have your wages garnished and assets seized to pay the balance.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Many states, such as Florida, have no-fault laws governing auto accident injuries. No matter who’s at fault in an accident, each driver must seek compensation for bodily injury from their own insurance.
PIP coverage pays for your injuries in no-fault states, most of which require you to have it.
When you’re at fault in an accident, liability insurance pays for damage to the other vehicle. But it doesn’t cover your own vehicle. You need collision insurance for this.
Collision coverage pays for damage to your car in an accident. You’ll need to consult with your policy or your insurance agent to determine if your collision policy covers towing a caravan.
Auto accidents aren’t the only way in which your car or caravan can get destroyed. Vehicle damage also occurs in bad storms and from vandalism or theft. Since these aren’t collisions, you need a separate type of coverage to protect you.
That’s what comprehensive insurance is for. It covers you for vehicle damage that isn’t related to an auto accident or collision.
Property insurance is a separate type of coverage that applies to just your caravan, not your actual vehicle. You can usually find it as part of your homeowner’s or renter’s policy and not your auto insurance policy.
However, not all homeowner’s or renter’s policies extend coverage to caravans, so you’ll need to verify this.
A property insurance policy insures you against damage to the caravan itself. If you back into a light pole and dent your caravan, your property insurance policy would help cover the damages.
But it doesn’t cover any of your belongings inside the caravan that might have been destroyed. For this, you need content coverage.
Chances are, your caravan carries some valuable items while you’re traveling. These might include:
- entertainment equipment
If you only carry property insurance on your caravan, the items inside are not protected.
You need content coverage to protect your valuables. This insurance pays for damages to anything inside your caravan in an accident. Like property insurance, content coverage is typically part of your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.
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What’s Included in Your Policy?
There is no standard answer for what kind of caravan coverage, if any, your existing policy includes. That’s why you should comb both your auto policy and your homeowner’s or renter’s policy before your trip. If the policy isn’t clear, contact your agent for clarification.
What if your existing policy doesn’t cover towing a caravan? Or what if it does, but the coverage is insufficient? Your insurance company might offer supplemental coverage for your caravan.
If your current company neither provides coverage in your policy nor offers it as an add-on, you’ll have to buy it from a different insurer. Many insurance companies sell caravan coverage as a standalone policy.
Renting a Caravan
Renting a caravan presents a tricky situation. Even if your insurance covers towing a caravan, you’ll need to double-check and see if this extends to rented caravans. A chance exists that it doesn’t.
If this is the case, you can buy insurance from the rental company but it might not be the cheapest option. You should compare the rental company’s insurance cost with buying a standalone policy on your own.
If you’re an adventure-seeker, a caravan can provide you with endless fun but it’s a liability as much as it is an asset. You need good insurance to protect yourself if something goes wrong.
Your auto insurance policy may or may not cover towing a caravan. Make sure you know your coverage and, if necessary, how to upgrade it to give you the protection you need.
Also, make sure you don’t overpay for coverage. Compare quotes right here to find the best rate.