If you’re preparing to spend the long weekend touring in your caravan over the Bank Holidays you might want to take a look at the following…
We see a sudden spike in customer claims at this time each year. Typically they involve tyres, towing, wheel locks and weight issues, but most are for accidental damage.
Our statistics show that on average touring caravan owners are more than twice as likely to make a caravan insurance claim over Easter and on Bank Holidays than at any other time of year.
We have put together the following tips for avoiding most common Bank Holiday caravan mishaps.
#1 Check tyre pressures, condition and age
Inspecting tyres for damage and checking tyre pressure before a journey is always sensible if you want to reduce the likelihood of making a claim. If you’re not one of the 70% of people who told us you check your tyres before each journey in a recent poll, you may find that tyres may have become misshapen or lost pressure over time, especially if the caravan’s been stored for a long period of time.
Tyres that are damaged and tyres that are either overinflated or underinflated are prone to blow outs and blow outs can mean even the most competent caravanner loses control of their towing outfit. If the caravan overturns as a result of the blow out it will almost certainly be an insurance write off.
Check out our tyre top tips or find out more on how to protect against blow outs.
#2 Prevent theft whilst on site
Fitting security devices such as wheelclamps and a hitchlock as soon as you arrive on site is a great way to reduce the risk of caravan theft.
Activating an audible security alarm could also prevent theft of contents and break-ins.
Read our guide on how to prevent your caravan being stolen and how to prevent theft of items or take a look at some of the security devices we reward with an insurance discount.
#3 Load carefully
How you load the caravan could not only have a detrimental effect on towing but could also lead to a serious road accident. In extreme cases overloading a caravan is illegal so it’s crucial that you take the time to load correctly.
Looking at the items you’re taking with you, it’s likely they vary in weight and size. Place heavier items in the centre and add the lighter items upwards and around. This will create a centre of gravity inside the caravan and aid stability during towing.
Check out the guide to loading your caravan for details.
#4 Reverse like a pro
Recent studies show that 29% of all touring caravan insurance claims were from customers who had hit immobile objects such as walls, posts and gateposts when manoeuvring or reversing their caravan. Often these accidents occur when the caravan is being taken out or out back into its storage location.
The slightest misjudgement has led to bumps, knocks or collisions which can end up costing thousands. In fact the average reversing repair costs stands at £1819.
Don’t let your caravanning trip start with a bang! Last year we compared some of the best reversing camera systems available to see which features work best and why.
For hints and tips on reversing take a look at our How to reverse like a pro guide.
#5 Fit towing mirrors
A fundamental part of safe, careful towing is making sure you have the suitable towing mirrors.
Investing in good quality towing mirrors will not only make reversing much easier, it will also give you a better view of how and where the caravan is moving on the road during towing.
Towing mirrors also allow greater visibility and help you to spot other drivers or obstacles in good time.
Read Tim Booth’s towing mirrors guide for expert advice.
#6 Check your noseweight
Another essential area to check before any safe journey is the caravan’s noseweight. If the noseweight is too light the caravan and towcar may become unstable causing the caravan to lift the rear of the towcar; and if it’s too heavy the steering may be affected.
Find out how to measure and adjust noseweight.
#7 Prevent snaking and jack-knifing
Would you know what to do if you found yourself in a snaking situation? Snaking is a dangerous situation for any caravanner to find themselves in – it’s even scarier with passengers in the tow car.
Jack-knifing and snaking claims accounted for just 1.6% of claims back in 2012 but despite the low figure, when instances do occur, the cost of the damage to the caravan is often catastrophic – over £8000 on average.
Find out everything you need to know on snaking and jack-knifing, including ways to prevent it happening to you, here.
#8 Check wheel nuts
Accidents where caravan wheels have fallen off in transit have become increasingly common in recent years. It’s not always cheap to repair the damage after wheel detachments have taken place and the potential dangers to other motorists are huge.
Like checking tyre pressures and condition, it’s always best to check tightness of wheel nuts before every journey. If you’re not sure of the wheels’ specific torque, it should be detailed in your caravan handbook.
There’s more advice on wheel nuts, including which products to use, how to recheck the torque once tightened, and the types of wrench available, here.
#9 Extra equipment to prevent mishaps
Why not invest is some extras to help you avoid some of the most common accidents? Check out these gadgets and gizmos:
- Tyron bands – designed to help you stay in control of your car and caravan if your caravan tyres suffer a blowout. 5% discount available
- TyrePal Tyre Pressure Monitors – designed to alert you if your caravan tyres lose pressure 5% discount available
- WSL wheel bolts – designed to prevent wheel theft and detachments
- Wheel lock 10% discount available
- Reversing aids and cameras
- AL-KO Active Trailer Control 5% discount available