If you’re thinking of buying a motorhome, you probably have a lot of questions that need answering. How do you choose the right model with all the different types available? How much do they cost to purchase? Do you need to be covered on a specific insurance policy?
As specialists in Motorhome Insurance, the team at Brightside know a thing or two about what it takes to live the motorhome life. So, here’s our guide to buying a motorhome.
Types of Motorhome
The hardest decision you’ll face is which type of motorhome to buy. There are a wide range of brands and models to choose from, so the easiest way to start is assessing your needs and requirements.
Motorhomes are split into two camps: coachbuilt and conversions. Within those, you have different motorhome types, all serving different functions. Let’s look at these in more detail.
Coachbuilt are built specifically as motorhomes, with no other purpose but to be driven and lived in. They are further split into over-cab, low profile, and a-class coachbuilt motorhomes.
Also known as Lutons, over-cab motorhomes have an extra area that extends above the driver’s compartment. As you’d expect, they’re fitted with a washroom and toilet, and can sleep anywhere between two and six passengers.
A low-profile motorhome doesn’t have the overhang that an over-cab does, but they make up for it with extra storage cupboard space. Because they fit the same amount into a smaller area, they’re generally easier to handle and better on fuel consumption.
If your plan is to travel long distances, an a-class motorhome is probably your best bet. Their width means they can house a drop-down double bed and provides more space and comfort than any other type of motorhome.
Conversions are exactly what their name suggests: vans converted into motorhomes. While they’re smaller in size than coachbuilts, fixed roof, elevating roof, and high-top conversion motorhomes provide benefits in different ways.
Facilities in fixed roof motorhomes are typically minimal, and they can only usually take two passengers at a time. However, fitting easily in most garages with a low height, they’re ideal for first time buyers.
An elevating roof motorhome is almost identical to a fixed roof, apart from – as implied in the name – an elevating roof. This can offer an extra sleeping area and more height in general, making it feel less cramped than a regular fixed roof.
If you know you’re going to utilise the space of an elevating roof, it might be worth considering going permanent with a high-top motorhome. High-tops generally have at least 2 metres standing room, meaning washrooms and toilets can be installed.
What is the difference between a motorhome, a campervan, and a caravan?
Whether you choose a motorhome, campervan, or caravan depends entirely on the type of travelling you’ll be doing and the length of time you’ll be doing it for.
Caravans tend to offer the same size and comfort as motorhomes, with a wash area, toilet, and living space. The main difference is that a caravan will have to be towed by a car. This is fine if you’re planning on driving to one spot and staying there, but things get tricky if you regularly stop at different locations.
As explained, while motorhomes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they’re most suited to those looking for a longer trip with several stops. They provide comfort for long journeys and can generally home more than two people.
Put simply, a campervan is a smaller version of a motorhome, with less space and therefore fewer facilities. Travellers who love campervans tend to think of the iconic VW and the nostalgia it creates, but other brands and models are available. Realistically, they’re only suitable for one or two passengers taking short trips, so if you require more, you’ll want to invest in a motorhome instead.
The cost of a motorhome is like that of a car or van: it varies wildly depending on size, age, brand, and several other factors.
A 4-berth Auto-Trail Comanche could cost you anywhere up to £100,000, while a Dakota will cost half the price. If you decide to go smaller, a 2-berth Elddis Majestic 105 can be bought for around £30,000 new, and much cheaper used.
To ensure you don’t pay over the odds for a vehicle you don’t need, work out your requirements before you buy. If two of you going on a short trip close to home, a small, affordable motorhome would suffice. However, if you need extra space, more facilities, and a more reliable vehicle, you may need to spend a bit more.
With your prized possession purchased and ready to take you on your next adventure, the final step is to protect it in the event of damage or theft.
A motorhome insurance policy can be designed around your specific needs: whether you own a coachbuilt or converted motorhome, need third-party or fully comprehensive cover, or require any additional insurance such as breakdown or key cover.
When choosing which insurer or insurance broker to take out a policy with, consider the benefits they offer. Do they only provide national cover or European cover, too? Is there a limit on what the value of your vehicle can be? Do they offer a courtesy vehicle in the event of an accident that isn’t your fault? Ensure you ask these questions to make the most out of your motorhome insurance policy.
Compared with regular vans and cars, motorhomes hold their value well. While it depends on the make and model, condition, and whether yours is considered a classic in the future, a motorhome can be a worthwhile investment if it gets good use.
As soon as you buy new, the VAT outlay will disappear, which is why buying second hand is attractive to many. But treat your motorhome well and it won’t depreciate in value too much.
Whether you’ve purchased a motorhome or are building one yourself, you’ll need to insure it with motorhome insurance or just call 0333 4141872 to see how we can help (One Insurance Solution part of the Brightside Insurance Group)