Campervans are so versatile, adaptable and functional that it’s easy to see why they are such a popular choice for those embarking on a UK adventure.
But campervans are not a small investment in either time or money, so it’s vital you ask all the questions you can before handing over your cash.
The team at Motorhome Protect love insuring campervans and have put together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from prospective owners. From 12v power to campervan insurance, we’ve got it covered.
Which campervan should I buy?
Undoubtedly, the number one question and perhaps the trickiest. You’ll need to ask yourself who will be using the camper and why, how often you plan to use it, and where you’ll be going.
Think about your budget, too. Buy from a well-known manufacturer you trust (perhaps ask friends and family for recommendations) and if you’re looking for a conversion then choose a company you know does good work.
In terms of models there are great campers based on the Mercedes Sprinter and Fiat Ducato but you’re never going to go far wrong with a Volkswagen Transporter.
They hold their value well and if you’re looking for a camper to take you anywhere your heart desires then you’ll have to go a long way to beat the VW T5 or VW T6.
How much is a campervan conversion?
Many owners looking for the perfect camper to fall in love with often go the route of getting a van converted themselves. This lets you take elements of the best examples you’ve seen to produce one that’s just right for you.
The ultimate cost of a campervan conversion will depend on many things: the original purchase price; the extent of the refurbishment needed; the quality of the finishes you decide to use and more.
A DIY conversion could cost as little as £500-£1,000 while professional fit outs can reach an eye-watering £40,000! Just make sure you get the right campervan insurance if you’re taking on a conversion or restoration project yourself.
What do 12v and 240v mean in a campervan?
12v power in a campervan refers to the internal power source. This is usually a leisure battery, separate from the main starter battery, often supplemented by a solar panel.
The leisure battery is charged when the engine is running and is used to power things like lighting, the fridge, travel appliances and so on.
240v power refers to what your campervan receives when it’s ‘hooked up’ to mains power at a campsite. This power source allows you to use everyday household items like hair dryers in your campervan.
How long does a campervan leisure battery last?
Without charging through the engine or a solar panel, most leisure batteries will generally last around two days. However, allowing the battery to go flat is not recommended as it affects the battery life.
Even if it does go flat though you’ll still be able to start your van and charge it, as the leisure battery is separate from the main starter battery.
Can a campervan tow a caravan?
Just like a large car or people carrier, a newer campervan can indeed tow a caravan.
The normal towing and weight regulations apply, but if you add a tow bar then your campervan should be up to the job.
This is often seen as the ideal set-up, with the campervan used as a day van for expeditions and the caravan used for living and sleeping in.
Can I drive a campervan on a standard driving licence?
If you have a standard UK driving licence and passed your driving test before 1997 you can generally drive anything up to 7.5 tonnes.
Campervans are usually below 3.5 tonnes so you can drive them on a standard driving licence but always check with the DVLA first to make sure your particular licence is suitable.
If you’re over 70, check out our top tips for driving a motorhome or campervan here.
Are campervans easy to drive?
It depends on their age. Old VW campers may not have the braking, acceleration or turning circle that you’re used to in more modern vehicles.
But if you’ve got a relatively new campervan, then it should drive more like a normal car.
You may wish to add extra mirrors or a reversing camera if you’re having problems with handling a larger vehicle.
Are campervans suitable for children and pets?
It wouldn’t be much of a holiday if you couldn’t take the kids or the family dog!
Children love the sense of fun and adventure you get from travelling on the road, while your four-legged friend will love being so close to you.
However, depending on the age and number of children or pets you have, then your camper might not be large enough or equipped to safely accommodate them.
What do you do for toilets and showers?
It really depends on the model. Having an on-board toilet or shower gives you that bit more independence (also handy if you're travelling with kids). But these can cost a lot more.
Most classic VW campers don’t have toilet facilities and are best for shorter adventures. Fortunately, you’re never far from a campsite with hot showers and clean loos in the UK.
Can I park up and sleep by the side of the road?
There is always a lot of discussion among campervan fans about wild camping rules.
In Scotland the right-to-roam laws mean you can pretty much camp anywhere. However, the situation is that in England and Wales wild camping is not allowed without the permission of the landowner.
Fortunately, with such an extensive network of well-equipped campgrounds you shouldn’t have too far to travel.
If campsites aren’t your thing, Brit Stops is a popular membership scheme that offers free access to a network of hosts who are only too happy for you to stay overnight.
Check out our recent blog on whether you can park up everywhere for some more info.
Why do I need campervan insurance?
Campervan insurance is a legal requirement like car insurance. Depending on the level of cover you choose it can insure against accidental damage, loss and theft and even cover campervan contents.
Insurance tailored to your campervan
If you’ve any further questions then call the specialist insurance team at Motorhome Protect. They’ll be sure to find the very best policy suited to your particular vehicle, needs and budget.
Policies for campervans arranged through Motorhome Protect can include the following benefits:
- Cover for camping personal effects up to £3,500
- Up to 6 months to complete a self-build conversion
- Unlimited mileage cover
Call Motorhome Protect for a quick quote today.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.