The Simple Caravan Insurance Guide: What to consider when buying your first touring caravan

08/10/2014

Buying your first touring caravan is an exciting and also, at times, daunting experience. With so many different makes, models and styles to choose from, finding the right caravan for you will take considerable time and research. Owning a caravan is a great investment so it is worth spending that extra time doing the research at the beginning. To help you make your decision we have put together the following short guide with a few key points to consider.

 

Buying your first touring caravan is an exciting and also, at times, daunting experience. With so many different makes, models and styles to choose from, finding the right caravan for you will take considerable time and research. Owning a caravan is a great investment so it is worth spending that extra time doing the research at the beginning.

To help you make your decision we have put together the following short guide with a few key points to consider.

 

What do you want from your new caravan?

Before you start looking for your first caravan you need to think about what you want from your caravan and what needs you have to fulfil. Key questions to think about are:

Are you looking for a caravan that you can travel abroad in or just for UK based holidays?

This will impact on the style of caravan you go for as some are better suited for travelling abroad than others.

Are you looking to travel with children and/or pets?

This will impact on the size of caravan you are looking for and perhaps the additional facilities it offers. Practical Caravan magazine gives awards for small families and large families when reviewing caravans to help you make your decision.

How long will you go away in your caravan for at a time?

This is important when considering living space and the facilities included. If you plan to go for long holidays in your caravan you may want one which has more space so you don't feel too cramped. You will also need to consider the amount of storage space the caravan offers.

 

What size caravan can you tow?

Before buying a caravan it is vital that you check the limitations on your driving licence to check what size you can legally tow. If you are unsure visit the Government website for all the rules and regulations.

You will also need to check the weight your vehicle can tow. This is usually listed in the handbook for your vehicle or on the specification sheet. Alternatively, the vehicle identification number (VIN) plate on the car may list the gross train weight for your vehicle.

The gross train weight is the weight of the fully loaded car plus a fully loaded trailer. This weight must not be exceeded when towing for safety reasons.

 

How much do you want to spend on your caravan?

Once you have confirmed what you want from your caravan and also legally what size you can tow, it is time to decide what budget you have. Remember to calculate any extras that you may need to purchase such as touring caravan insurance, and any maintenance you will need to do to the caravan such as new tyres and regular services. You may also want to keep a bit aside for any future additions to your caravan, such as an awning or a caravan mover.

If your budget means you are looking to buy a second hand caravan make sure you request all documentation and check the seller’s details. All post-1992 caravans manufactured are part of the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS), and have a unique 17 digit vehicle identification number (VIN). When a vehicle is sold the new owners details are sent to the CRiS (much like the DVLA for cars).

You can contact the CRiS to make sure the owner is who they say they are and check whether or not the caravan has any outstanding finance.

 

Choosing the type, make and model of caravan

With so many different types of caravan available, let alone make and model, choosing one can seem a bit of an overwhelming task. We would recommend attending a caravan show if there is one near to you so that you can see lots of different caravans in one place and compare them. For a list of all the caravan show dates for 2014/2015 visit The Caravan Club.

If you are unable to attend a show it might be worth thinking about joining an online caravan forum where you can ask for people’s recommendations and experiences of particular makes and models. Just remember it can come down to personal preference so always do further research to find the right caravan for your personal requirements.

Buying a caravan is not only a financial investment but also a lifestyle choice.Remember, you are buying a caravan to use year on year so it really is worth investing the time and research into finding the right one. Give yourself plenty of time before the holiday season starts to find and buy your caravan so that you don’t feel rushed in to making a decision.

 

Happy shopping!