Safe is safe? - Insuring a motorhome: What you need to consider
What is mandatory?
No one can avoid motor vehicle liability insurance. Without it, no car - and consequently no motor home or camper - is allowed on the road in Germany. The liability insurance covers the damage caused by accidents - but only for other people's vehicles (including their drivers and passengers)! So if you cause an accident, you have to pay for the damage to your own car yourself. This can be expensive - especially for a motorhome, which is quickly worth 50,000 euros or more when new. Therefore, you should consider an additional partial or fully comprehensive insurance.
Which insurance makes sense?
If you take out partial cover insurance, you are covered for damage that occurs through no fault of your own: This can be accidents with wild animals or damage caused by animals (e.g. marten bites), it can be damage caused by fires or storms (e.g. dents caused by hail) or damage caused by theft. However, the benefits of the individual insurances differ in detail, which is why you should always check which risks are covered in each individual case before taking out a policy. Especially when it comes to coverage against theft, partial coverage insurance is definitely worthwhile: Statistically, the probability of a camper being stolen is more than three times higher than for normal cars.
A fully comprehensive insurance usually covers the same risks as the partial cover - but goes even further and also includes self-inflicted damage and damage caused by vandalism (including burglary damage). Comprehensive insurance is also particularly worthwhile if, in the event of an accident for which the driver is not at fault, the person responsible for the accident cannot be located or if his or her insurance company does not cover the accident. Here, too, the own comprehensive insurance pays.
Many insurance companies (both partial and comprehensive) also offer replacement value compensation in the event of a total loss or theft of the vehicle. If you want to insure your newly purchased motorhome, you should therefore make sure that the duration of this protection is as long as possible: 12 months is usual, but some insurance companies also offer a longer period.
What are the differences to normal car insurance?
Due to the weight of the motorhome, the impact of the vehicle in the event of an accident is higher - and consequently often the damage. That's why it's sometimes more expensive to insure a motorhome.
However, because motorhomes tend to travel at lower speeds than other passenger cars (given the small engine size with high weight, speeding is not even possible), the probability of rear-end collisions is statistically lower. This in turn has a positive effect on the price of insurance.
Often the motorhome is only used for traveling and is therefore an additional vehicle in the household that must be insured as a second vehicle. With some insurance providers, this is more expensive than insuring the first car, because the discount credited to the no-claims class is eliminated. It is therefore essential to pay attention to the relevant conditions of the respective provider when choosing an insurance policy.
Overall, you can expect a higher price than for a normal car - but that should not deter you, because there are a number of ways to reduce the costs.
When does the insurance become cheaper?
The price of the insurance is influenced, for example, by the number and age of the drivers. If there is only one driver, the insurance is cheaper, while more drivers cost extra. In addition, younger and older drivers pay more, because from a statistical point of view, more accidents occur at this age.
Those who use their motorhome only for summer vacations, but not in winter, should also opt for a seasonal license plate to save on insurance. If the motorhome is moved little, the annual mileage should be correspondingly lower. This also reduces the costs - but only if the set mileage is really not exceeded. If this is the case, it must be reported to the insurance company.
When taking out insurance, it is also an advantage to be able to show a fixed parking space for the motor home in a garage or carport, because then it is assumed that the probability of theft, but also of storm damage, is significantly lower. A roof made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic is also more robust against hail than aluminum. Many insurance companies therefore also take the material into account and grant corresponding discounts for vehicles that are extensively built with elements made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic. This means that anyone who owns a camper with a pop-up or high roof, or has it retrofitted, can save money, because SCA roofs are made of this resistant material.
The frequency with which the premiums are debited can also provide for a small surcharge: Paying the premiums annually is somewhat cheaper than semi-annually or monthly.
In addition, it should be checked what discount options are available. Some providers grant discounts for certain occupational groups (e.g. for civil servants). Others offer a discount if you have already taken out motor vehicle liability insurance with the same provider.
In the case of comprehensive insurance, the no-claims bonus can usually also be used. Who is already for a long time accident-free on the road, this can be considered accordingly also with the camper insurance.
Finally, it is often possible to agree on a higher deductible in the event of a claim and thus reduce the insurance costs. However, this is of course associated with a higher risk that an accident despite insurance will be expensive in the end.
What additional options are available?
Partial and fully comprehensive insurance covers the theft of the vehicle or permanently installed devices such as the on-board computer, but it does not replace the value of stolen items such as iPads, cameras or e-bikes. Homeowner's insurance, on the other hand, usually does not cover anything in the event of theft from mobile homes. That is why it is possible to insure the inventory of the mobile home separately. This is the only way to receive compensation in the event of flooding, fire or theft.
A camping insurance is worthwhile for permanent campers. Here not only the inventory is protected against theft and damage, the insurance coverage also applies when the motorhome is deregistered. However, this camping insurance, although often cheaper than a comprehensive insurance, is not an alternative to the latter, because the damage caused by traffic accidents is not taken into account.
In the event of a breakdown, a letter of protection can help to cover the costs if the motorhome has to be towed to a workshop, spontaneous overnight stays in hotels are required or rental cars have to be organized. Many insurance policies include a letter of protection. If not, frequently also automobile clubs offer protection letters. However, you should make sure that it is also valid abroad.
- Compare different insurances before you take one out.
- Find out about discounts (e.g. for your occupational group).
- Transfer your no-claims bonus.
- If you own a new motorhome, pay attention to the duration of the no-claims bonus.
- Consider how many drivers:inside you declare.
- Consider your motorhome's materials, your parking space and your annual mileage.
- Use a seasonal license plate.
- If you plan to use a ferry, find out if your insurance covers this risk.
- Find out where abroad your insurance applies.
- Insure your inventory separately.
- Pay your premiums annually (instead of semi-annually or monthly).