There are a number of ways to modify your motorhome nowadays. Minor touches can make the motorhome more homely but more dramatic changes such as changing the fuel type, chipping or remapping the engine, altering the motorhome suspension or adding alloy wheels can affect its look and overall performance.
There can often be some uncertainty on whether you need to make your insurance provider aware of such modifications or if they affect the cost of your motorhome insurance.
Let’s tackle both these areas as we explore some of the most common motorhome modifications in detail.
Engine remapping or chipping
Engine remapping or ‘chipping’, is the process by which a vehicle’s Engine Control Unit (ECU) is programmed to be more economical and in some cases improve performance through increased brakehorse power (bhp) and torque.
We can’t speak for all insurance providers but for Caravan Guard customers, engine remapping or chipping has no affect on their motorhome policy so long as the modification is carried out by a professional and doesn’t increase the motorhome’s horse power by more than 30%.
That said it’s still vital that you inform your insurer when you’ve had your motorhome’s engine chipped or remapped.
If you’re looking to have your motorhome engine’s chipped, the remapping page on the Phantom website could be a good place to start.
Those of you who want to give your motorhome a little power boost, may want to consider a turbo charger. Turbochargers can enhance a motorhome engine’s horsepower whilst still maintaining a balanced loading weight.
Again, they won’t affect your insurance as long as your original motorhome’s horse power is not increased by more than 30%. That said you should always inform your insurance provider if you’ve had one fitted.
LPG Gas Conversion
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as Propane, is widely used in motorhomes. Converting your motorhome to LPG means it benefits from an additional fuel system that’s considered more eco-friendly.
Although it’s called a ‘conversion’ the motorhome’s existing fuel system remains intact but because the cost of LPG is significantly less than regular petrol, it can be a far more economical option.
Adding an LPG gas convertor to your motorhome is not seen as a big risk increasing factor by Caravan Guard and as such there is no specific premium load.
However, we’d recommend notifying your insurer when you fit an LPG convertor as it will need to make a note of the modification on your policy records. You may wish to add the cost of the LPG conversion to your motorhome’s insured value and this may result in a slight premium increase.
It’s recommended that conversions are carried out by an approved UK LPG installer.
Air suspension systems
In recent years air suspension systems have become increasingly popular with motorhome owners looking for a smoother, more controlled drive and easier levelling.
Fitting a system to your motorhome will increase its stability on motorways and in strong cross winds. Increasing the air pressure this way also alleviates ‘sagging’ on the rear suspension caused by overloading. Steadiness at roundabouts and cornering is also improved.
If you modify your motorhome using an air suspension system you must inform your insurance provider. It’s not considered a ‘performance enhancing’ modification and therefore won’t incur a large increase on your insurance premium but it’s still important to keep details of the vehicle up-to-date on your policy. Although you may again wish to add the system’s cost (which could be between £500-£1000) to the insured value of the motorhome which may add a few pounds to your insurance price.
Systems should always be fitted by a professional. Depending on the make, model and chassis type, fitment can be completed on the same day.
Popular air suspension systems include Airide and Drive Right. The AS Air Suspension system – another common choice – is a slightly more expensive option and comes with a built in compressor that can be operated from the driver’s seat.
If you are a Caravan Guard customer, upgrading your motorhome’s tired rims to shiny new alloys will not result in a crazy hike in your insurance policy but a set of expensive wheels could significantly increase the overall value of the motorhome so you must let your insurance provider know when you plan on having them fitted.
After all, making sure the sums insured on your motorhome policy are accurate is always important to ensure you are fully covered in the event of a claim!
Being able to use cruise control in your motorhome is sure to make those long journeys more enjoyable. That’s because they allow the driver to switch to ‘cruise’ mode to maintain a consistent speed.
If cruise control is retro fitted to your motorhome it must be professionally installed to have no effect on the policy. Don’t forget you have to let your insurance provider know if you do decide to fit cruise control.
Modifications made to cater for a disability do not pose a great insurance risk so won’t be penalised in terms of insurance cost. They must, however, meet DVLA conditions for licence and should always be professionally fitted. Like all other modifications these must be made known to your insurance provider and should be reflected in your motorhome’s insured value.
For more details about our cover, click to read our motorhome insurance policy document.