Top 5 Things to Look for When Buying a Caravan

There are a number of different factors that you have to take into consideration when buying a caravan; chief amongst these is whether you want to go for a new or a second hand caravan, as well as whether you want a static caravan or a mobile home.

The type of caravan that you choose will also depend on whether it meets different space needs, as well as whether it’s covered by regulations and safety. With any caravan purchase, though, you should focus on checking the condition of a caravan, and on getting a decent deal on your insurance.

1. New or Second Hand?

This is probably one of the biggest decisions that a caravan buyer has to make - a new caravan will cost significantly more than a second hand one, and especially if you’re going for a similar model and year. Second hand caravans are recommended if you’re prepared to take the time to inspect them and shop around for different types - a good second hand caravan should be about 14 years old or less if it’s still going to have practical life in it. For a private sale, check that a caravan is being sold as advertised, something that’s covered by the Sale of Consumer Goods Regulations of 2003 Act.

2. Selecting Models

When selecting the right caravan model for your needs, you’ll need to think about how many rooms you want, and how much space across a whole caravan that you require. Electrical points and the size and fittings of a caravan kitchen are also important to focus on - if buying a Continental, or European caravan, check that the wiring is up to UK standards, and also look to see whether a caravan is the right weight for being towed.

Another key decision that you’ll have to make is whether you want a static caravan at a site, or a mobile home - the former type of caravan is less expensive, in general, but can vary quite considerably in terms of location and costs - expect to pay somewhere between £25,000 and £40,000 for a decent sized caravan, with entry level static caravans starting from around £14,000.

3. Regulations and Safety

Any caravan you buy should be covered by the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS), which provides a way of identifying vehicles and their registration histories. Carrying out a CRiS check before you buy a second hand caravan is particularly recommended if you want to ensure that it hasn’t been stolen. Other safety approaches you can take include installing wheel clamps and hitch locks, and always being careful about where you park your caravan when travelling.

4. Maintenance Checks

Take the time to inspect a caravan for any damage or signs of future problems - issues with water leaks can become much more serious over time, so ensure that you check roofs and all other parts of a caravan where water might get in. Moreover, see whether hinges on cupboards and doors are secure, and that pumps and pipes are working properly. Check for any traces of damp or drafts through windows, and on the performance of gas and electric supplies.

5. Insurance

While there is no legal requirement to get caravan insurance, it’s still a good idea if your current motor insurance doesn’t cover one - insurance is usually a good idea if you have a touring caravan that’s being towed by your car, as well as when your normal contents insurance doesn’t apply to a motor home. Policies can similarly cover areas like emergency accommodation and damage from floods and storms at campsites.

Author Bio: Rob James is an experienced traveller who likes nothing more than to take his caravan around the UK and Europe.  He recommends NACO, static caravan advice specialists, for information and insurance.  Rob likes to blog about his travels and the best ways to maintain a caravan.

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