Owning a static caravan is a great way to take more holidays, at much shorter notice, and much cheaper than is normally possible.
However, if you’re thinking of buying a static caravan, then there are a number of things you should you should consider prior to investing your hard-earned money.
Unlike touring caravans, static caravans are subject to a number of geographical risks in the site where it is kept. The risk of such unforeseen events as falling trees, storms and flooding are overlooked by many people, despite how commonly they occur. There is also the risk that during the winter pipes can freeze and burst causing major headaches to static caravan owners.
When you have found a site you are interested in, it is important that you check with the owners whether the site has ever been subject to flood or storm damage. If it has then this could prevent you getting reasonably priced static caravan insurance for a caravan on the site.
Even if the site owners say it has not suffered flooding you should also check if the site is in an area that is at risk of flooding. To do this you need to know the post code of the site. If the site is in England or Wales, visit the Environment Agency website and input the post code into the box on the right hand side of the screen. If the site is in Scotland then you should check on then Scottish Environment Protection Agency website.
You can also check on Google maps to identify more precisely where the site and particular caravans are and then refer back to the flood map for a more precise indicator to the flooding risk presented. Areas that in particular can be problematic in terms of insurance because of flooding are Norfolk and Lincolnshire, low-lying coastal areas of North Wales, and sites close to major rivers such as the Avon and the Severn rivers.
You will find that nearly all static caravan/holiday home sales are of sited caravans. The sale will be made either by the owner in the case of a second-hand caravan (with the permission of the site owner), or by the site owner themselves.
Occasionally it may be possible to buy a site without a van upon it an arrange with the site owner to have it sited there. In such circumstances they will expect a significant payment for allowing the siting of a caravan as they would have expected to make a profit on the sale of a sited caravan.
As a result you will pay thousands of pounds more for a sited caravan than an unsighted caravan. But you should bear in mind that the amount of insurance should cover the true unsighted retail price of the caravan plus the cost of resiting a replacement caravan, along with the value of any additions such as storage containers, sheds and verandas, if it is damaged beyond repair or destroyed. You should also include an amount to cover contents and replacement of any equipment. You will find that some policies require that you include costs required for site clearance also.
In your contract there will be rules dictating what must happen in the event of your caravan being destroyed. This may be that the caravan must be replaced with a brand new equivalent model of caravan. If this is the case then you should buy a new-for-old caravan insurance policy, otherwise you may find that your policy falls an expensive way short of what is required.
You should bear in mind that signing up for a static caravan should not be undertaken lightly. The contract can be onerous, and you should seriously consider getting a solicitor to look over it, and make sure that you fully understand what you are signing up to before you put pen to paper. You should in particular make sure that:
- You have security of tenure
- You understand what will happen if you ever want to sell the caravan, and are happy with it.
- You check if there are rules that force you to buy a new caravan after a set number of years.
A very useful publication from the Office of Fair Trading called “Guidance on unfair terms in holiday caravan agreements” can be found at their website.
If you do purchase a static caravan with the intention of renting it to people then you should ensure your insurance policy protects you against loss of income should your caravan should become uninhabitable. If you don’t then you could be hit with a nasty double whammy: the excess of any repairs; plus the loss of income while the caravan is being repaired.
You should also have liability insurance if you rent your caravan to people. Should someone get hurt as a result of something that is deemed to be your fault, then you could have the misfortune of finding yourself thousands of pounds out of pocket. Liability protection will make sure that any medical and court costs you may incur as the result of such an accident will be paid for.
Make sure that you get yourself informed if you are thinking of buying a static caravan, and make sure you have the right insurance policy. As with most things in life it is always better to shop around for your static caravan insurance, as this could save you a good deal of money. There are a number of excellent insurers on the market, ready to offer you just what you need.