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What’s the difference between motorhome and campervan insurance?

10/01/2024

If you’re the proud owner of a motorhome or campervan in the UK, you’re part of a community that cherishes freedom and adventure. But to fully enjoy your journeys with complete peace of mind, it’s important to have the appropriate insurance and understand the nuances of motorhome insurance and campervan insurance

With so much variation on the market, the lines between campervans and motorhomes are more blurred, and it can be difficult to tell them apart. Having said that, the most obvious difference between campervans and motorhomes remains to be their size and shape. 

In this guide, we’ll help you to easily distinguish between a motorhome and a campervan so you can learn how these classifications affect your insurance. This makes it easy to find the right coverage and you can even pick up some tips on how to find cheaper policies for your motorhome or campervan insurance. 

What’s the difference between a campervan and a motorhome?

The motorhome and campervan community has boomed in recent years with the rising popularity of staycations. And the classification of your vehicle has far reaching implications, affecting not only your insurance but also your options for parking and navigating narrow roads. And if you’re a first time buyer, understanding the distinctive features and advantages of each category is especially crucial to choosing a vehicle that perfectly aligns with your travel style.

What defines a campervan?

Campervans are characterised by their compact size, essential amenities, and versatility for spontaneous travel. They are often more budget friendly and suitable for those who prioritise simplicity and ease of driving over luxurious comfort. 

Here’s how you can identify a campervan and understand its unique features and benefits:

1. Compact and essential – Campervans are known for their compact and pragmatic design. They visually resemble traditional vans and are typically built on van sized chassis, making them easier to manoeuvre.

2. Basic amenities – While campervans offer basic camping amenities like a bed and cooking facilities, they can lack the spaciousness and comprehensive living quarters found in motorhomes. This simplicity can be appealing to those who prefer a more streamlined experience.

3. Agility and ease of travel – Campervan’s smaller size allows them to navigate the narrow roads you’ll no doubt run into if you are travelling in the UK. It can also make it easier to fit into tight parking spaces or obscure spots for stealth camping.

4. Cost effective – Generally speaking campervans tend to be more cost effective than motorhomes in terms of fuel consumption, maintenance, ferry charges, tolls, taxes, and insurance. But of course, this depends on the model and type of campervan you own. 

5. No toilets (most of the time) – A lot of campervans do not have space of facilities for a toilet. However, with more self built campervans, a lot of people are choosing to include this feature or use portable cassette or compostable toilets. 

6. Variety of sizes – Campervans come in various sizes and styles, from classic models, micro campervans and self built campervans. These can appear as normal vans from the outside and are much more diverse than motorhomes. 

Examples of campervans: 

  • Micro campervans – these are typically built in vans like the Renault Kangoo or Citroen Berlingo. 
  • The classic campervan – these are usually modelled after the original Volkswagon bus.
  • Self built campervans – these are commonly built in vans with high roof space like the Ford Transit, Renault Master and Mercedes Sprinter 
  • Ready built campervans  – popular models include the Fiat Ducato Camper or the Peugeot Boxer Camper

What defines a motorhome?

Motorhomes are typically more luxurious than campervans. They are typically larger than campervans and the body of the vehicles are custom built as motorhomes and use a larger chassis than you’ll typically see on regular road vans.  

Here are the unique features and benefits of motorhomes:

1. Living space divide – A lot of Motorhomes have a clear divide between the living and driving sections of the vehicle. This separation enhances the feeling of being a home on wheels and allows for better climate control in the living space. However, more recent models might take advantage of swivel seats to expand rather than separate the living space. 

2. Over cab storage – Many motorhomes have additional storage or sleeping space over the cab area that makes them easily identifiable on the road. This optimises the use of space and can serve as extra sleeping quarters or a convenient place to store luggage, camping gear, or other items.

3. No back doors – Unlike many campervans, motorhomes often have no back doors. This is great for outdoor enthusiasts who want to attach bicycles or other sports equipment to the vehicle. And it can also enhance security by reducing access points to the motorhome.

4. Full facilities – Motorhomes come equipped with comprehensive amenities, including a kitchen, bathroom, and often multiple sleeping areas. These facilities mean you can enjoy the comforts of home while exploring the great outdoors.

5. Comfortable for extended trips – With their spacious interiors, motorhomes are well suited for long journeys, including full time living on the road. They are distinct from most campervans in that they can have space for up to five or six people to sleep, so are often a better option for families. 

Examples of motorhomes:

  • Motorhomes are less often self built. But one might be classified as a motorhome if it is built on a lorry chassis or in an old ambulance.
  • Common motorhomes in the UK include the Swift Escape, Bailey Autograph, or Rapido 8000dF

Quick rules of thumb to know the difference between campervans and motorhomes: 

  • A campervan uses a typical road van chassis but a motorhome needs a wider and longer one. 
  • A campervan is built into an existing van body whereas a motorhome has a body that is purpose built to function as a motorhome.
  • A campervan usually has less space so might not have all the features and amenities of a motorhome.
  • A campervan is generally more fuel efficient and economical to run than a motorhome.
  • A campervan can be easier to manoeuvre on narrow roads and tight spaces than a motorhome.
  • A campervan typically sleeps fewer people, maybe 2 or 3, whereas a motorhome can comfortably sleep up to 5 or 6 depending on the size. 

What do I need to know about Motorhome and campervan insurance?

The best insurance policy is one that aligns with your individual needs. Finding a policy ensures you have the right protection in place for your motorhome or campervan in the case of accidents or damage. So taking your time to explore your options means you can drive and travel with confidence, knowing you’re covered.

What are the similarities between campervan and motorhome insurance?

When it comes to insurance, motorhomes and campervans in the UK share some common ground. One of the main ones is the legal requirement to be insured before driving on public roads. 

The options for road cover for campervans and motorhomes are also the same and include:

  • Third party insurance – This is the lowest level of coverage required by law to drive on UK public roads. This covers damage to third party persons, vehicles, and property.
  • Third party, fire and theft insurance – This covers damage to third parties and if your motorhome or campervan is stolen, or damaged in a fire.
  • Fully comprehensive insurance – This can be the priciest insurance option, but it also gives you the most coverage. This covers your motorhome or campervan, you and your passengers, as well as third party, theft and fire.

The typical add ons for these insurance policies are also similar because the vehicles are used for the same purposes and so are typically exposed to the same risks. The extras or add ons for your insurance will vary depending on what insurer you choose, but common options include: 

  • Agreed value cover – This option is important for self builds or campervans and motorhomes with modifications. This insures your vehicle to an agreed upon value as the market value may not reflect the true value if you were to sell the vehicle. 
  • European cover – Of course, this is an important addition if you plan to travel to Europe. 
  • Personal possession cover – If you plan to live in or take lengthy stays in your vehicle this covers any personal items you take along. 
  • Gadget cover – With the option to live and work remotely out of motorhomes and campervans now, this cover protects gadgets like laptops, cameras or phones. 
  • Salvage retention – This lets you keep ownership of your vehicle and makes sure it is returned to you in the event that it is written off by your insurer. This can be particularly valuable for self built vehicles.
  • Breakdown cover – This can be added with roadside assistance so you can get to a garage for repairs quickly.
  • Legal expenses – This covers legal expenses you might face following an accident or incident.
  • No claims discount protection – This lets you claim without losing your no claims discount.

When it comes to insurance costs, these two types of insurance also share similar factors that will affect your insurance premiums. Insurance premiums for both motorhomes and campervans are influenced by several factors. 

These include your driving history, your vehicle’s size, age and mileage, your location, and any security measures you have taken to protect your vehicle. All of these can play a role in determining the cost of your insurance.

If you are concerned about costs or the level of coverage you need on your insurance policy, you can use our quote form to connect with insurers who can talk you through specifics before you commit to a policy or price.

What’s the difference between campervan and motorhome insurance?

While both motorhome and campervan insurance covers recreational vehicles, the specific needs and costs can differ significantly due to the size, features, and usage of the vehicles. It’s essential to choose insurance that aligns with your vehicle type and intended use to ensure adequate coverage.

These types of insurance vary upon a few important factors including:

1. Vehicle value – Motorhomes are generally larger and more expensive than campervans. And as vehicles are typically insured against their market value, these insurance policies can be more expensive too. 

2. Usage considerations – If you plan to embark on long, extended trips or even use your motorhome or campervan as your primary residence, it can affect the type of coverage you need. With a more people using motorhomes as their full time residence, this may require more comprehensive coverage.

3. Contents coverage – Motorhomes often house more valuable contents due to their size and amenities. To protect your belongings, consider comprehensive contents coverage.

4. Conversion quality – Campervan conversions can vary widely in quality and complexity. When selecting insurance, ensure that your provider understands the specifics of your conversion to provide appropriate coverage.

5. Storage and security – The security of your vehicle plays a significant role in insurance premiums. Motorhomes may require more comprehensive security measures due to their size and value, potentially impacting your insurance costs.

How can I get cheaper motorhome and campervan insurance?

At Quotezone, we’re experts in comparing insurance and helping you find the right cover and price for you. If you have bought insurance before you might already be aware of some of the factors that insurers use to set your insurance premiums. But here are a few things that you can do if you want to find cheaper insurance for your motorhome or campervan.

1. Know the level of coverage you need – Knowing which level of coverage best suits how you use your vehicle means you won’t overspend on excessive coverage.

2. Choose the drivers carefully – Only insuring drivers who have clean licences and are over the age of 25 can keep down premiums. 

3. Build a no claims discount – Building a no claims history can get you future discounts from insurers and save you money in the long run.

4. Pay your premium annually – If you can afford it, it can help to pay annually as you will save on the interest providers usually charge on monthly premium payments.

5. Choose higher voluntary excess – These can get you cheaper insurance. But it’s important that you are still willing and able to cover these payments in the event of a claim.

6. Compare quotes from various insurers – Compare motorhome insurance or campervan insurance quotes to make sure you are getting the best possible price. 

7. Add extra security – This can be adding an alarm system, tracking devices, wheel clamps or simply storing your vehicle off the road. These measures can deter or reduce the severity of damage or theft.

8. Proactively protect against claims – Simple things like good vehicle maintenance and regular servicing can help prevent avoidable claims and keep down premiums. 

Finding insurance at Quotezone.co.uk

In the world of motorhome and campervan insurance, understanding the differences between the two types of vehicles is essential to making informed decisions on your insurance. 

By assessing your needs, shopping around, and considering the unique factors associated with your motorhome or campervan, you can find the right insurance coverage to protect your investment and enjoy worry free adventures on the road.

Get quick and easy comparisons across motorhome insurance and campervan insurance now at Quotezone.co.uk


This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes

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