2 in 3 touring caravan claims due to accidental damage

More than two-thirds (67.7%) of touring caravan claims are as a result of accidental damage, with driver error being a primary cause, according to Compass, a specialist provider of caravan and leisure insurance.

Although the majority of car insurance policies cover a vehicle while it’s towing a caravan, they almost certainly won’t cover damage to a caravan in the event of a collision, be that with another vehicle, or a stationary object.

While some accidental damage claims are unavoidable, many can be prevented. Compass is calling on touring caravan owners to plan ahead and brush up on their towing skills over winter, prior to heading out on the roads again at the start of the new season.

Karen Stacey, Managing Director, Compass said: “There are a number of preventative measures that touring caravan owners should be aware of to ensure they keep their holiday home, themselves, and others safe.

“Many of us have become reliant on SatNav to get us to where we need to go. However, the routes mapped out may not account for unexpected road closures, tight, winding lanes, or low bridges, all of which can leave even experienced drivers in difficulty when towing a caravan.

“Caravan owners should also make themselves familiar with the dimensions and weight of their caravan, as well as knowing how to hitch it to ensure that it is secured to the vehicle before setting off.”

Knowing your caravan’s numbers

The Mass in Running Order is the weight of a caravan measured in kilograms when it leaves the factory. This is essentially for the empty caravan itself with very little inside, and can usually be found on the weight plate inside the caravan door.

The Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), or Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass is the total weight that can be towed when the caravan is full of the owner’s belongings. Compass Insurance warns that while food and clothes weigh very little, leisure batteries, and motor movers, awnings, and other essentials can quickly add up.

It’s also helpful to know the tourer’s noseweight to ensure there is not too much force being exerted on the caravan’s hitch head.

And then there are similar measurements for the car itself – how much weight can a vehicle safely tow and how much weight can the car itself hold in terms of baggage and people? Compass warns that these figures will be in the owner’s manual and should not be second-guessed, particularly when towing another vehicle.

Karen Stacey continued: “Even on a wide open road, drivers should not underestimate how cumbersome and awkward it can be to tow a caravan, let alone on smaller country roads as they approach their destination. Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) accredited training courses are available to those who want to improve their confidence when towing a caravan, and some insurers will offer a discount upon successful completion.

“We also strongly recommend that caravan owners take time to practice manoeuvring after buying a new car or caravan to refresh their skills, even if they already regularly tow, as different makes and models can handle differently.

“Not only will improving your knowledge and skills keep your caravan safe, it will also ensure that your insurance is valid, and will help to keep everyone on the UK’s roads safe, too.”

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