motorhome vs campervan

What do I need to consider when looking to buy a motorhome or campervan?

If you are new to and/or are thinking about buying your first motorhome or campervan, there are a number of important factors to contemplate when buying a leisure vehicle, whether new or used. A good starting point is to do your research on the motorhome and campervan market – this includes finding a good, reliable dealer. For more insight on this, check out our motorhome manufacturers and campervan converters pages.

What do you need and how large do you want to go?

Identify the features you want in a leisure vehicle and make a list of requirements you’re looking for. This will help narrow down the list so you can find the right vehicle for you. If you’re having trouble choosing between a motorhome or a campervan, you might be interested in our Motorhome vs Campervan – New Buyer’s Guide which details the differences between both leisure vehicle types.

When it comes to motorhomes, there are multiple different internal layouts available to choose between. This also applies to some larger sized campervans; however, many are too small for a rear kitchen and instead feature the classic layout of a side kitchen area and rear convertible sofa-bed. The main types of motorhome layout options include a front lounge, a rear lounge, a bunk bed, an island bed or a French bed.

Make sure you have enough room for sleeping and enough seats to accommodate you and your travelling companions. A motorhome can have anywhere from 2-7 berths, while the smaller size of a campervan normally means the maximum berth number is 5. A standard Volkswagen Transporter campervan is normally equipped with a 2-3 seater sofa bed which can sleep 2-3 people, an extra two berths is achieved with a pop top roof bed.

Consider what facilities and features are a ‘must have’ for your leisure vehicle. For example, do you need full cooking facilities or will a microwave oven suffice? Since living in a motorhome or campervan provides reduced space compared to living in a house, the less unnecessary equipment the better. Many dealers and manufacturers have a ‘try before you buy’ hire service available.

You might want to consider trying out a motorhome or campervan model first before deciding whether it’s the right one for you. We’ve made this possible with our Comfort Discover Hire policy.
A brilliant way to find out about motorhome and campervan related information is to talk to owners themselves. There are multiple Facebook groups related to this which enables motorhome and campervans owners across the world to connect and share tips as a community. Before purchasing your leisure vehicle, make sure to take it on test drives and get used to driving in a larger vehicle.

Never under estimate the amount of equipment that you may end up taking with you in your motorhome. That’s why it’s so important to have a high ‘payload’ which enables you to carry equipment, fuel, water, gas bottles, awning and passengers etc. safely within the overall maximum permissible load of the vehicle.

Things to consider when buying a second hand campervan or motorhome

If you’re buying a second hand motorhome, give it a thorough inspection. Check for any signs of accident repairs, leaks and signs of mould or damp before purchasing. Just like with any used vehicle, it’s important to check the full service history to make sure it’s been properly looked after and to avoid any mechanical issues that may arise once you’ve bought it.

It’s important that the vehicle you’re buying has had the necessary habitation checks for complete peace of mind. This is a detailed inspection of the motorhome or campervan undertaken by a suitably qualified professional that confirms that the vehicle you are intending to buy is safe to live in. The check aims to identify any water, gas, ventilation or electrical issues as well as checking the vehicle’s window and door security. Best practice is for habitation checks to be carried out annually. Insurers require any vehicle is roadworthy and a habitation certificate together with a current MOT Certificate (where required) is good evidence of this.

Buyer beware – do your research

It is recommended that any vehicle you’re considering buying has a HPI check to ensure that It’s important that your home away is what the seller is claiming it to be. A HPI check determines the history of a vehicle and alerts new potential owners to any worrying factors. Features of a HPI check include identifying any outstanding finance, whether the vehicle has been an insurance write-off, or whether the vehicle has previously been recorded as stolen.

Reports of fraudulent motorhome and campervan sellers are on the rise. It’s worth being vigilant when looking to buy a second hand vehicle in a private sale. Fraudsters are using fake advert listings of leisure vehicles to attract buyers. Typically, once the buyers pay their hard earned money to the fake sellers for what they believe to be their new vehicle – they are instead left with nothing. One recent instance we’ve seen is a fake campervan advert that linked to a fake website. This website was a fraudulent copy of what looked like a legitimate company website and had the intention of extracting innocent buyer’s bank account details so that money could be extracted from their account.

It’s important to remain cautious to avoid these scams, remember if something seems too good to be true – it probably is. Take great care if a seller asks for excessive personal information or if they ask for an up-front deposit before you see the vehicle. You might be interested in our Motorhome buying scams and key security blog for more information on fraudulent sellers and how to avoid them.

Whether your desired vehicle is new or used, be sure to ask the dealer or seller to demonstrate everything for you. It’s important to know exactly how everything works in order to avoid complications once you’ve taken ownership of it or when away on your travels. This will also enable you to see that everything in the vehicle is working as it should be.

Finally, one last thing to think about. With the extremely high demand for both new and second hand motorhome and campervans, we are seeing an increase in values whereby they’re worth more than the owners paid for them, in some instances. Don’t forget to insure your vehicle for the full replacement value to ensure that any insurance claim is dealt with on the correct basis.

Why is specialised motorhome and campervan insurance so important?

Once you’ve purchased your dream leisure vehicle, it’s extremely important to make sure it is protected. At Comfort, we’re proud to say we can offer tailored cover to suit your needs. Our comprehensive insurance policies mean you can feel safe with the knowledge that you and your vehicle are fully protected.

Our policies include up to £5,000 personal effects cover, unlimited window and windscreen cover, as well as optional breakdown cover. For the full list of what our insurance covers, visit our motorhome and campervan insurance pages, or call us on 0208 984 0666 and our friendly team of professionals will be happy to help you.

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Comfort Insurance

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!

Comfort Insurance

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!