Your Guide to Buying a Caravan for the First Time

If you like the idea of going camping in the summer but prefer to have a few more home comforts to hand, then why not consider buying a caravan? The good news is that investing in your own caravan doesn’t have to be expensive, with a huge range of second hand models available to choose from, and many starting at just a few hundred pounds to buy. If getting a caravan or a campervan is something that you’re considering, here are a few top tips to help you get started.

Your Guide to Buying a Caravan for the First Time

Choosing Between a Caravan or a Campervan

The first decision that you will need to make is whether a caravan or a campervan is the right choice for you. In general, this will come down to the type of holidays that you are looking for and the kind of car that you have – bear in mind that not all cars are a suitable choice for towing caravans. If you’re going to spend your holidays travelling between several different campsites or touring a large area, then a campervan is likely to be a better and more comfortable choice, with much less setting up to do when arriving at and leaving destinations. On the other hand, if you’re looking for the cheapest option and only plan to stay at one campsite at a time, a caravan could be ideal as long as your car is suitable for towing it.

Guide to Travelling Around Australia in a Campervan

What Size?

When it comes to choosing your caravan, then you can be sure that size certainly matters. A small caravan may be ideal if you are planning on travelling in it on your own or as a couple, but if you want a more luxurious setting for your accommodation when travelling, you need to be able to house a large family, or you wish to entertain guests in style, then a larger caravan may be what you need. However, consider the downside – if you get a larger caravan, you will need a larger, more powerful car in order to pull it, and it may be more difficult to manoeuvre both on the road and at campsites. Bear in mind that if your caravan is over 2.3m wide, you will need a commercial vehicle to tow it.

California Road Trip: Photo by Benjamin Zanatta on Unsplash

Insurance

Whether or not you will need insurance by law will depend on whether you are choosing a caravan or a campervan. As a vehicle in its own right, a campervan will need to be insured. However, it’s not against the law to have no insurance on a caravan as long as the car towing it is insured, but bear in mind that this will leave your caravan unprotected from damage or theft.

If you plan to use it a lot or are worried that it may be damaged or stolen when parked at your home, the best thing to do is invest in a good caravan insurance policy. Compare caravan insurance first to see what is available out there and get the right price for your needs. You can compare caravan insurance at this site by entering your details and the details of your caravan.

Checking the Seller

Many caravans and campervans are sold privately, but you may also want to consider buying from a reputable dealer, although this tends to be a little more expensive. Make sure that you are able to first visit and check out the caravan at the seller’s home or at the dealership if you are buying from a dealer. If you are buying from a private seller, make sure that they are only selling the one caravan – if you ask about the caravan and they ask you which one, this could be a sign that they are actually a dealer pretending to be a private seller in order to avoid their legal obligations. Bear in mind that buying from a reputable dealer will give you an extra layer of legal protection in regard to the sale and you are more likely to be offered a warranty.

Checking the Caravan

Finally, when you’re going to visit a caravan that you are considering buying, it’s a good idea to know what to look for. Take somebody more experienced along with you if you have never bought a caravan before. Check for any signs of damp and make sure that all the windows and doors are secure and in good working order. Make sure that the chassis and running gear are stable and secure, and that the gas and electrical system are working.

Finally, check the history of the van – the previous owner should be able to provide you with a formal service history. Running an HPI check is also a wise idea.

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