Winter has passed and we're already well into caravanning season – which is why we've compiled some top tips on how to maintain your caravan with Towergate Insurance, which specialises in static and touring-caravan insurance and motorhome cover.
How to care for your caravan over winter
Like anything that sits outside 24/7, caravans are prone to weather damage. This is particularly true during winter months, when it's likely you're not using it much.
Spring is a good time to check your caravan's health
Cracked taps, split pipes and damage to the water tanks and systems are all fairly common but expensive problems, but with the right care, they are avoidable through correct insulation. Top tips include:
- If temperatures are hovering around freezing point, leave the heating low to keep the inside temperature of your caravan above freezing point
- At night, ensure mains heating is left on so that pipes don't freeze, which can lead to a costly burst
- Wrap your external water carrier in insulating material. Bubble wrap, old duvets and quilted coats all serve as good insulators
- You'll need to change your gas supply in winter from butane to propane, which means that you'll also need to change your gas cylinders and regulator accordingly. Speak to your regular gas supplier about this and be sure to follow safety procedures.
What to do if you're leaving your caravan empty for a long period of time
- Drain down all water systems (including the toilet flush reservoir, water heater and toilet cassette) to eliminate the risk of damaging water systems
- Return taps to the central 'open' position so that they can release any pressure caused by the expansion or contraction of freezing/thawing
- Your driveway is a good place to store your caravan as you’ll be able to keep a good eye on it and will soon realise if anything has happened to it. In terms of insurance, most winter storage locations are considered at the same rate as your driveway but a Caravan Storage Site Owners' Assocation (CaSSOA) storage location will get you a 25 per cent discount on your touring caravan insurance with many insurers including Towergate
- Spring is a good time to do a thorough check of your caravan's health. Ensure that you check the water, gas and electric systems before you drive off for any summer adventures!
How to cover your caravan
Even if you do follow all the above precautions, there is always room for things to go wrong and this is why it's important to know about caravan insurance.
Your car insurance will automatically cover the public liability related to incidents with your caravan. However, if you’d like to insure damage to the caravan itself, or the contents within it, you will need to purchase a separate caravan insurance policy.
There are three main points to cover which most policies will do as standard: third party liability, accidental damage and theft.
- Liability insurance covers you if something happens to someone in your caravan. If you cause damage to another person or their belongings with your caravan, this cover protects you against what could be a large compensation bill. Third party liability, however, only covers a third party (not you). So if you were to have an accident you would still need accidental damage cover to be able to claim for any damage you cause to your own caravan.
- Accidental Damage Cover protects you if you have an accident causing damage – whether involving a third party, or yourself.
- Theft Cover is what it sounds like. However, you may wish to take other precautions against theft by keeping your caravan secure.
How can I keep premiums low?
Security, security, security. There's a whole range of different security devices out there which will help prevent the theft of your caravan and could apply a discount to your policy. This will vary from insurer to insurer so it's worth checking before you buy your security devices, which ones might get you the most money off. This saving is then usually applied every year.
Devices such as anti-snaking devices help prevent damage claims and keeping your policy claim free will also help keep your premium low.
- There are more money-saving tips in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.