Insurance for Self-Build Campervans & Motorhomes

What Is Self-Build Campervan Insurance?

When it comes to purchasing a motorhome, there are a number of types you can choose from – including coach-built motor caravans, A Class motorhomes, Low Profile, American motorhomes, campervans and race trucks. However, for some, there is nothing better than creating something truly personal by building their own motorhome.

By building your own campervan or motorhome from scratch, or converting a standard van into a campervan, you are totally invested in creating the ultimate personalised vehicle – which is what makes it such an exciting project for those that have the time and inclination to do so. This therefore involves sourcing your own parts from manufacturers, enabling you to make the necessary modifications and conversions required to create your perfect self-made motorhome ready for the road.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that you need insurance for this type of vehicle – and given the bespoke nature of self-built campervans and motorhomes, you will need to go to a specialist insurer that can offer cover tailored to your unique vehicle.

Motorhome and Campervan  Insurance
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History of the VW Campervan

History of the VW Campervan

View the entire history of the iconic VW Campervan, from its inception in 1947 all the way through to the latest redesign. 

I've Converted/Built My Motorhome Myself. Do I Need Self-Build Insurance?

If you’ve converted a van into a campervan or built a vehicle from scratch, you’ll need to get the correct form of insurance.

As stated on your V5C form (vehicle log book), a converted campervan is no longer classified as a standard van – and your insurance will need to be altered as a result.

Essentially, to take your new self-build/converted campervan or motorhome on the road, at the very least you’ll need third party insurance – just like motorhome insurance.

However, if you’ve spent a lot of time making meticulous alterations and modifications to your vehicle, you’ll probably want to have it protected under a converted campervan insurance policy that is specifically built to cater to bespoke conversions.

In addition to this, you will need to consider that your DIY campervan or motorhome conversion needs to meet certain criteria for it to be classed as a campervan or motorhome – and therefore insurable as one.

Does Self-Build Campervan Insurance Cost More?

Costs may increase depending on your personal situation.

The process of quote retrieval is treated on a case by case basis; therefore, costs tend to fluctuate depending on the finer details of each conversion – as some conversions will have different requirements to others.

If you’ve made any changes to your vehicle, it’s important to declare this to ensure you’re sufficiently covered for your specific vehicle. Equally, if you’ve purchased a self-build campervan or motorhome that was already converted prior to purchase, you should let us know before getting a quote as this could also influence the price and level of cover.

It’s also important to bear in mind what changes do and don’t directly qualify as modifications. For example, spray painting your vehicle a different colour probably won’t make any difference to your premium, however, other changes like changing the suspension, engine or steering capacity are likely to impact your insurance.

Either way, it is important to let us know of any changes, big or small, prior to getting a quote for camper conversion insurance.

Requirements for a Campervan Conversion - When Does a Van Become a Campervan?

Self-build motorhomes and campervans are extremely popular among those who have a keen interest in motorhome conversions, as well as mechanics who enjoy having the freedom come up with their own designs and layouts for their vehicles.

However, there is some government-enforced criteria that each vehicle needs to meet in order to be classified as a motorhome, which includes:

  • At least one bed with a minimum length of 6 feet or 1800mm. This can be converted at night from seats used for other purposes during the day, but must be permanently fixed within the body of the vehicle (can be made up from other fixed seats within the vehicle).
  • There must be a permanently enclosed fixed means of storage, i.e. wardrobe(s), cupboard(s) or locker(s).
  • Permanent fixed water installation to be connected to a fixed water storage tank or container.
  • Seating arrangements for diners to sit at a table (table may be detachable but must have permanent means of attachment to the vehicle).
  • Sketch showing floor plan of the vehicle's interior.
  • Fixed cooking or heating facility powered by gas or electricity (installation must have an engineer's report and/or electricity and gas to be certificated, and in the event of a claim or audit a certificate must be provided).
  • Vehicle to be registered as a motorcaravan with the DVLA and have an updated V5C, which MUST be available to supply in the event of a claim or audit.
  • A door that provides access to the living accommodation.
  • A minimum of one window on each side of the habitation part of the vehicle.

Furthermore, all the features added to the vehicle must be a permanent installation meaning that if any further alterations are made they must be compliant with the above criteria. This is especially important when it comes to motorhome and self-build campervan insurance policies as if modifications are made without prior notice your policy could become void.

You can see the full list of guidance for converting a vehicle into a motorhome on the Department for Transport website.

What Criteria Do I Need to Insure My Self-Built Motorhome?

Here at Comfort Insurance, we appreciate that each motorhome owner is looking for something special when it comes to their vehicle – which is why so many choose to modify their motorhomes or invest in a self-build motorhome or campervan. In order to accommodate these owners, Comfort Insurance offers comprehensive motorhome insurance that can cover modifications made to your vehicle.

However, there is certain criteria that needs to be met before you can be considered for a self-built motorhome insurance policy.

First of all, if you are looking to insure a converted campervan, you need to double check that your conversion qualifies you for campervan insurance (as outlined above).

We also strongly recommend that you notify us of all modifications you have made so that we can provide a quote based on a policy tailor made to suit the requirements of your vehicle.

Vehicles not registered as motorhome/motorcaravan can be considered, but are on a case by case basis and will require photographic evidence (as outlined below) for underwriters to consider in order to make an underwriting decision.

Photographic evidence required a minimum of 5 recent photographs consisting of:

  • One showing the front and one of the side of the vehicle with the number plates in full view.
  • One showing the rear and the second side of the vehicle, again clearly showing the number plate.
  • One of the interior from front to back of the motorhome, one of the interior from the back to the front of the motorhome and one general photo of the overall interior conversion.

Additional photos will be accepted if this helps on the underwriting of the risk, but the minimum of 5 photos must be included in order to be considered.

If you are thinking about modifying your motorhome or even investing in a self-build motorhome, then call us today and see how we can provide you the best cover for your needs!

How Do I Get My Converted Campervan Reclassified?

Once you believe your van to campervan conversion is complete from a modifications perspective, the next step is to get the vehicle legally reclassified.

For the conversion to classify, the newly modified vehicle must meet the criteria outlined above – in terms of what should be included for the vehicle to classify as a motorhome. In short, this includes seats and a table, sleeping accommodation, cooking facilities and storage facilities.

Campervans and motorhomes fall into the DVLA category of motor caravan – and this should be correctly reflected in the vehicle’s V5C log book. Once the conversion has been completed, you must send the log book back to the DVLA for body type amendment, so the vehicle can be identified properly.

Photographic evidence of the new conversion, along with a detailed description of the work carried out including receipts, should also be sent to the DVLA so that they can approve the change.

Can I Get Insured on a Part Converted Van or Motorhome?

Unfortunately, we are no longer able to accept home or privately converted vehicles in course of conversion - we can only accept such vehicles once the conversion is complete. Ensure that you have photographic evidence of the conversion set out below prior to inception as they might be requested as part of an audit trial or in the event of a claim.

Please refer any conversion that you are unsure if the meet our policy requirements.