Choosing a Motorhome Sat-Nav
Many of us now consider our vehicles to be inseparable from our sat-navs; we often wonder how we ever managed to get around without them. However, in the last few years the market for good quality motorhome satellite navigation has become quite crammed and there are lots of models all around the same price range competing for your cash; but what do you need, how do you know what is right for your motorhome and how much do you really need to spend to get it right?
Motorhome Specific vs Car Sat-navs
Manufacturers often claim to sell ‘motorhome specific’ or sometimes ‘caravan specific’ sat-navs and usually you’ll notice a bit of a price jump because of it. The main difference is that these navigation systems have facility to enter the height and weight and width of your motorhome.
Any road that then has a restriction on it can be blocked out by your sat-nav, ensuring it doesn’t take you down any path you’re likely to get stuck on. There are other (mostly cosmetic) differences, but the most important feature is that you have this restriction in place. If you’re only driving a small, light, campervan, there may be no need at all for a motorhome specific sat-nav.
Features you Need
The purpose of a sat-nav is that it provides adequate navigation, so make sure you don’t underestimate a package that comes with free updates. The roads in the UK and Europe change extremely regularly and a properly updated sat-nav is essential if you want to avoid being stuck in traffic. Additionally, if you’re planning on travelling abroad make sure your sat-nav will cover you for where you’re travelling!
Often sat-nav packages emphasise traffic management and things like speed camera detection. Traffic information can be an extremely useful thing to have and will certainly save you some time on longer journeys, but don’t be overly concerned about speed camera warnings. Much more common these days are mobile cameras.
Don’t forget to look out for any handy bonus features that may benefit you such as doubling as a dash cam or reversing camera (this is an extremely useful feature if your vehicle isn’t already fitted with parking sensors or a reversing camera.)
What Should I Pay?
Prices for sat-navs range from around £80 up to £800! And there is a lot of variation between those marks. At the cheaper end of the market you’ll find the navigations systems themselves are less precise and you may have to wait some time for your system to start up. You might also find battery life, screen size and route planning options a little more restrictive.
When you get to the higher end, you start finding all these factors improving and you begin to get additional features. Many systems now integrate FM radios, digital television and MP3 tracking. A good starting point is to look to spend around the average £250-£350 mark and then if there are any features you really want like a Bluetooth connection, work up from there.
Doing Your Sat-Nav Research
Doing your research and comparing the market for the different types of sat navs, its features, and its prices is a great way to get the best deals as well as making sure the system will meet your requirements.
One good way to get an idea of the quality and value of a sat nav is to look at customer reviews, this way you can get the honest opinion and thoughts of a product from other motorhome users. However, beware of fake reviews, on websites like amazon are more and more frequently seeing fake reviews, a good rule of thumb when reading reviews is to look for reviews that talk about specifics of the product, if a review sounds generic like it could be for anything, it may not be trustworthy or reliable.
Read articles! Reading motorhome specific articles or blogs posts is another great way to compare many different popular sat nav models. We’ve linked a handy article from Wandering Bird who tested a range of motorhome sat navs listing the features of each sat nav as well as the pros and cons of each device.
Ask your fellow motorhome and campervan peers for their advice. Motorhome forums, groups and social media are a great place to get advice on all thing motorhome or campervan related. You may even find existing threads with a wealth of information and different opinions and views on different types of sat-navs!
Before you go splurging on an expensive sat-nav it’s worth considering if you have any other options available. Most smartphones now function as good GPS systems which serve as convenient and often free substitutions, with the right app you might be able to find a way to use your smartphone as a sat nav!
Bear in mind it may not have the same functionality as a specialised navigation system and that GPS will drain you phone’s battery extraordinarily fast. It’s also important to consider that most mobile smartphone GPS applications often require mobile data, so if you’re going somewhere with little signal, you may lose connection. You should also remember it is illegal to use a mobile phone at the wheel of any vehicle in the UK – calibrate it before you set off and use a hands-free holder to make sure you’re within the law.
As a final point, the sat-nav market moves extremely quickly and what is being retailed for £300 today was selling at £500 not too long ago. If you don’t need an upgrade immediately and you’re after some specific features, remember they will all become cheaper in the long run.
Buying a sat-nav is an investment that will save you time and hassle in the future, so buy something to last, but don’t be too concerned with surplus additional features: they might not be worth the extra cash.
Getting Cover for your Sat-Nav
With our motorhome and campervan policies if your vehicle has an integrated satellite navigation system you can take out additional cover for your sat nav! If you have a detached sat nav system it may be worth checking if you can get your sat-nav covered under you home insurance, or to take out a form of gadget insurance.
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We’re a family run business with over 30 years' experience in the provision of specialist motorhome and campervan insurance. With a wealth of awards under our belt, we pride ourselves on providing a friendly and professional service, offering you the most comprehensive cover money can buy - starting from just £220!
We’re a family run business with over 30 years' experience in the provision of specialist motorhome and campervan insurance. With a wealth of awards under our belt, we pride ourselves on providing a friendly and professional service, offering you the most comprehensive cover money can buy - starting from just £200!