The last thing you want to experience with your campervan is to get into an accident and realize you don’t have the right type of insurance. Like many aspects of vanlife, figuring out how to properly insure your investment isn’t so straightforward. Your coverage options are dependent on factors such as how the van was built out and what the intended use is. Here's everything you need to know to make sure you get the right type of insurance for your converted campervan.
Professional vs self conversion
Whether your van was professionally built or not is the first way to narrow down your options for insurance providers. Some insurers won’t cover self-builds. Insurance companies like to mitigate risk and one of the ways to do that is to only cover vehicles converted by a company whose primary business is van conversions. That is not to say you can’t insure a self build. It just takes a little more leg work.
Here’s what you’ll need to get RV insurance for your self converted campervan.
Keep every single receipt for every little thing you put into your van. This is the only way to prove the true full replacement value of your build. We recommend taking pictures of receipts and downloading digital receipts into a cloud folder like Google Drive so everything can be easily shared with insurance companies.
Take pictures throughout the conversion process. Many DIY van builders already do this(gotta keep those Instagram followers happy right?). Having detailed photos of both the process and final product will only help if you get into a situation where you need to make a claim.
Before you try to get RV insurance you’ll need to have re-registered your van as an RV. Your van is still considered a regular vehicle until you go through the process of proving to the state that it has been converted into an RV. Here’s more info on the process of registering your van as an RV.
Full-time or part-time
This is another item that will likely help narrow your insurance provider options. Some companies won’t insure full-time living. It is not recommended to lie about this one. Part time may be cheaper and give you more options but it is considered fraud. Different providers define “full-time” in different ways but the general rule of thumb is that if your campervan is your primary residence for more than 6 months a year then you are considered “full-time”.
Personal item coverage
One important thing to look into is if your RV insurance policy covers personal items. This is anything that isn’t part of the RV build. Things like bikes, gear, computers, cameras etc. The last thing you want is have your van broken into or catch fire and realize these items aren’t covered.
Some RV policies cover this but it is always good to make sure. Just like your build, make sure you have pictures and receipts.
If your RV policy doesn’t include personal items you have a few options. If you are not living vanlife full-time it’s a good idea to check your homeowners or renters insurance. Some providers cover personal property in vehicles.
Another option is personal property insurance. These policies are widely available and usually less than $100 per year.
Consider a Broker
There is a lot to navigate when ensuring your campervan and everything in it is properly insured. Using an insurance broker can be a great option to guarantee that you are getting the proper coverage and there are no gaps. They can also take out the work of shopping around and spending hours on the phone with different providers.