Beginners Guide to Motorhome Ownership – Buying Your First Motorhome

One of the first things to decide when buying a motorhome is whether you want a new or second hand vehicle. On the one hand, with a new vehicle you get the feeling of being the first to own it and the safety of a manufacturers limited warranty, on the other hand, a pre-owned model can often be picked up with big savings against list price just a year or so after manufacture.

Everyone’s different, but most first time buyers opt for a second hand motorhome as the financial investment is less – and it gives the chance to find out whether motorhoming suits you without being left out of pocket.

Another initial consideration is your budget. Think about what you would like to spend and also what you are willing to spend as a maximum, this gives you a price range to work within and means you’ll be less tempted to overspend.

There are motorhomes available in all shapes and sizes, and to fit all budgets, so think carefully about which type of motorhome suits you best – is it a small panel van conversion or a large A-class or American RV that takes your fancy? If you’re only buying the motorhome for short holidays then a small or medium sized motorhome would most likely meet your requirements, but for those intending on travelling for months at a time a larger, better equipped motorhome may be what’s needed.

Finding a motorhome which meets your requirements can be tricky, and you’re unlikely to find one which ‘ticks all the boxes’ straight away – the key is prioritising your needs. Write a list of things you need from your motorhome, not features as such but just broad requirements you have of your new investment, things such as ‘sleeps 4 people comfortably’ or ‘small enough to drive in European cities’. You can then use this list to figure out which models suit you best and which features are most important to you – doing things this way round ensures you aren’t convinced to buy a motorhome with fancy features you won’t use.

When you’re looking at a prospective motorhome, and particularly when buying second hand, make sure you test out all the features before buying – that doesn’t mean cooking a three course meal, but it does mean pulling out the beds, stepping into the shower area to test its size, opening and closing cupboards, sitting on the sofa etc.

When looking at second hand motorhomes you need to scrutinise the fixtures and fittings even more, making sure you check the water runs properly and all the electrics are working as they should – it only takes a minute to fill up the water tank to test the system, and any person serious about selling the motorhome will be happy to do this.

Never buy a motorhome without seeing the water system, electricity and motor running in full working order, and always go for a test drive which includes roads which you can get up to 50mph on, as some problems won’t make themselves known at low speeds. Don’t be offended if the owner won’t let you drive though as not many people have ‘any driver’ insurance and it’s still the sellers responsibility if anything happens. If you do sit in the passenger seat on a test drive, simply keep an ear out for any unusual noises from the engine, wheels or brakes and an eye on the driver’s hands – are they working hard to turn the wheel? Do the gears change smoothly and easily?

It’s also vitally important that the waste water system is clean and works properly, this should have been done by the seller prior to them putting the motorhome up for sale so get them to show you how the cassette is removed from the toilet unit so you can see whether this has been done – it’s not a job you would want to do after buying!

Make sure you shop around for the best deal, look online at plenty of models but don’t make any decisions until you see the motorhome first hand, no matter how many pictures you look at you won’t get a true feel for the interior spaces until you look around in person. When you’re ready to buy try and use local dealerships with good reputations, that way if anything goes wrong you haven’t got far to go for repairs or advice. It’s also a good idea to check out the insurance costs as you may find some of the larger motorhomes come with larger premiums. Always opt for a specialist motorhome insurance policy rather than a standard motor policy as this will give you more comprehensive cover.

How to Get Good Insurance For Your Motorhome

After purchasing a Motorhome, and questioning insurance companies I thought it would be easy to get insurance but did not take into consideration the specifics of the bus. To have good insurance for your motorhome there are some companies that are worth considering and other companies that will not even take on board insuring a RV/Motorhome.

How To Find A Company That Will Insure Your Motorhome

After purchasing a Motorhome you will need to consider which Insurance Company is the best for insuring your Motorhome or RV. It’s not only illegal to drive without insurance, it would be down right dangerous and very expensive. Imagine if your Motorhome caused an accident, and you damage another vehicle or even worse – damaged more than one vehicle. Even if you are not at fault it does not make sense to drive around without insurance. So what type of insurance do you need for a Motorhome?

Tips On Finding Good Insurance For Your Motorhome

When you are searching out insurance companies there are a few key features you will need

  • Will it cover you for accidental loss or damage to your motorhome
  • Will the company offer reasonable cost for towing the motorhome if it was broken down?
  • If the Motorhome gets stolen, would the company replace the motorhome until insurance is paid out?
  • What about if you are towing a boat? Will it cover the insurance of a boat and if so what length does the boat have to come under?
  • Will the company cover contents insurance?
  • What about stolen credit cards from your motorhome, will the insurance company cover them?
  • If your fridge or freezer was to break down, will there be a cover for spoiled food?
  • What about liability cover? If you live permanently in the Motorhome will the company cover bodily injury, death or illness to other people and loss or damage to other peoples’ property
  • What about cover for your vehicle that you are towing? Will the insurance company cover both the Motorhome and towed Car?

It pays to shop around for the best deal when you are searching for Motorhome Insurance, and to ask the company any questions that you do have. If you are not sure what your policy covers in your insurance then its best to read your Insurance Policy or even better if you do a Google search online.

Get Good Insurance For Your Motorhome For Peace Of Mind

Once you have good insurance for your Motorhome you will feel more at ease and know that your travel journeys will be one that is safe, and also covered for any incidents/accidents/break downs. A Good Insurance For Your Motorhome Company in Australia is CMCA Motorhome Australia…..remember to ask them question and to see if their policy is the best one for your needs.

Good Insurance For Your Motorhome

After purchasing a Motorhome in June 2010 and shopping around all the Insurance Companies, thinking that we could insure our Motorhome with the company that we have our car insurance with (the bus was too long in length to be covered with that company) we found many companies and policies. Finding the Best one for New Life On the Road took time, but once we were satisfied with their key features we have a peace of mind. Good Insurance For Your Motorhome is all about being safe while traveling, having a peace of mind, and knowing that the insurance will cover you especially if you live in your Motorhome full-time.

Beginners Guide to Motorhome Ownership – Types of Motorhomes

Campervans (VW Campers)

These iconic Volkswagen campervans are still being produced today and have a dedicated following, with a range of clubs and magazines available to enthusiasts.

Campers will generally sleep between 2 and 4 comfortably but are small enough to be driven in cities as well as on the open road, making them famously popular for touring around Europe.

They are available with a huge range of features including raising roofs, windscreen sun visors, surfboard roof racks and chrome trims and fittings – either direct from Volkswagen or through a number of specialist converters.

When it comes to insurance for older models, you may have to consider a ‘classic’ vehicle policy as many specialist motorhome policies have a vehicle age limit

Van conversions

Often referred to as panel van conversions, these medium to large sized motorhomes are built using well known commercial vehicles as a base unit and nearly always feature a sliding side door.

They offer a good amount of space inside and many come with roomy wash rooms and better equipped kitchens than the smaller or micro-sized van conversions.

Many have a double bed at the rear, running across the width of the van, so taller motorhomers may struggle to fit. For this reason it’s important to check the layout and dimensions of the van before buying.

Popular manufacturers of van conversions include: Autosleepers, Bilbo, IH Motorhomes and Murvi

Conventional coachbuilt motorhomes

These are possibly the most common type of motorhome on British roads, and are characterised by their large over-cab hump which often houses a bed or spacious storage area.

These motorhomes are popular as they offer a practical solution for small families or couples wanting to travel throughout the UK and Europe. They typically have a washroom and kitchen fitted as standard, along with room to sleep between 2 and 6 people.

The front end cabs of coachbuilt motorhomes may look familiar – that’s because the ‘base vehicle’ of such motorhomes are popular vans such as Ford Transits, Peugeot Boxers, Fiat Ducatos and Mercedes Spinters.

Popular manufacturers of conventional coachbuilt motorhomes include: Autocruise, Autosleeper, Elddis and Swift

Low profile coachbuilt motorhomes

Very similar in style and features to the above ‘conventional coachbuilt motorhome’ the low profile design does away with the over cab bed in favour of a lower roof and streamlined shape, this gives better clearance and more car like handling.

Tag axle (twin axle) motorhomes

Some very large coachbuilt motorhomes require a third set of wheels to support the weight and length of the unit in a similar way to a ‘twin axle’ caravan, this third axle is know as a ‘tag axle’.

Tag axle motorhomes allow even more space inside but the twin rear axle means that driving them may take a little adjusting to.

A-class motorhomes

These often very large motorhomes are recognizable by having no separate cab area as common with conventional coachbuilt motorhomes, as well as a ‘bus like’ large front windscreen, and are usually imported from Europe or further afield.

Built from scratch on a bare chassis by the motorhome manufacturer you can expect bags of room and home comforts including domestic style washrooms and kitchen fixtures, as well as full sized beds and spacious living areas.

Popular manufacturers of A-class motorhomes include: Frankia, Pilote and Hymer

American ‘Recreational Vehicles’ (RVs)

Coming from the USA these units are typically big, bold and brash – but can offer massive amounts of space, comfort and features including full sized refrigerators and ovens as well as king sized beds and washrooms with domestic spec fittings. Many even feature ‘slide outs’ – which mean certain sections of the motorhome can be extended to create extra floor space.

Typically used for long tours or full timing around Europe or the US these huge units are unrivalled when it comes to luxury and comfort.

Popular manufacturers of American RV motorhomes include: Georgie Bay and Winnebago

Home built motorhomes

Some enthusiasts design and build a motorhome themselves to suit their needs. These can range from simple van conversions up to impressive custom builds and there are a range of websites and clubs dedicated to self builds that provide helpful info for any would be DIYers.

Watch out though as many insurance companies cannot provide cover for home built motorhomes.

Micro motorhomes

These tiny motorhomes are usually conversions of small van style cars and offer limited space for one or two people to sleep, as well as basic cooking equipment and space for a small cassette toilet.

Their diminutive size makes them a breeze to drive, particularly in typically crowded European towns where narrow streets and busy roads make the city centre a no go area for all but these nippy little motorhomes.

Popular manufacturers of micro motorhomes include: Romahome and Drivelodge