From caravan towing bangs and prangs to collisions with pigeons, overhead barriers and tractors – plus, flooding, stolen windows and caravans rolling into ditches – let’s see what the most common caravan insurance claims were at Caravan Guard last season.
We’ve delved into all of our settled claims from January 1st to October 31st, 2023 to bring you our top five touring caravan (and folding camper) claims, as well as revealing the costliest claims – highlighting the importance of a caravan insurance policy.
In 2023, the majority of claims were reported from April to August with 14% of all caravan claims happening in July.
The highest value claim was for a caravan theft – with more than £45,000 paid out after a caravan was stolen from outside the owner’s home!
Not every caravanning trip will go smoothly. The average cost of all touring caravan claims, ranging from bumps and scrapes, to damage from accidents whilst towing, theft, fire and stormy weather, was more than £4,000.
#1 Accidental damage
Accidental damage is by far the most common caravan insurance claim – making up almost half of all settled claims (46 percent). On average, caravan claims for accidental damage cost £2,541!
The costliest was when a caravanner drove through floodwater and water got into the caravan. The payout for this claim was a whopping £37,065!
But manoeuvring and reversing mishaps were the most common causes of accidental damage, with many knocks and scuffs involving gates, posts, walls, and even trees – on campsites, at home or in storage. Numerous caravans collided with overhead barriers on campsites.
These common claims highlight the importance of caravanners checking their surroundings when towing, pitching up, and taking their tourers home, particularly when reversing into a tight spot.
“This is where a caravan reversing camera can come in handy to give you an extra pair of eyes,” said Caravan Guard’s Claims Liaison Manager Steph Bentley. “Equally, having someone to guide you and your caravan when reversing and manoeuvring as they can see those hidden hazards. In some cases, the damage caused can be really extensive, but even less costly damage can mean your caravan is out of action for a few months whilst it’s in for repair or waiting for parts.”
We settled a number of caravan insurance claims after caravanners had not wound up all their corner steadies before setting off, plus claims for damage to braking systems because owners had left their caravan handbrake on when towing.
Towing over uneven ground, and getting too close to other vehicles or barriers on the road also led to some costly caravan insurance claims.
Other caravanners scraped their caravans when towing – one on a central reservation, another on a coach in heavy traffic and one policyholder collided with another caravan on a campsite. A horse box also got in the way of one caravan!
Towing down narrow lanes can also be hazardous with several claims for damage from hedges, trees, walls and even tractors.
Some more unusual accidental damage claims included the roof of a folding camper flying off when towing, and a pigeon flying into a caravan aerial. Two claims were for exploding air awnings; a caravan side was damaged by a speed camera box; and 10 caravans were damaged by falling or overhanging tree branches.
We also settled claims involving other vehicles, some on the road, when vehicles have gone into the back of caravans or there have been collisions on campsites, in storage or at service stations.
Two per cent of accidental damage claims were inside the caravan – one after toilet chemical spilt from the loo whilst towing and stained the floor, and others for dents in worktops caused by items falling out of overhead lockers!
#2 Storm damage
We’ve had our fair share of bad weather recently and even the summer of 2023 was no exception with Storms Antoni and Betty bringing strong winds and heavy rain to the UK. Then Storm Agnes and Babet brought more wet and windy weather in autumn.
The weather accounted for a fifth of our caravan insurance claims from January to the end of October 2023.
The biggest casualty was caravan awnings, accounting for 66 per cent of storm damage claims, including two for snow damage – highlighting the importance of making sure your caravan insurance policy includes storm cover for awnings.
On average, damage claims to awnings caused by stormy weather damage cost £2,856! Often not only does the awning need replacing, but the caravan gets damaged at the same time as the awning is knocked into it, and the poles scratch or even puncture the side panels.
But the costliest weather-related caravan claims were for flooding in October 2023. A £37,000 caravan, and its contents, were damaged by floodwater on the owner’s driveway. Other caravans were flooded on campsites and in storage yards with the average caravan claim for flooding costing £13,734.
In June 2023, we also settled a handful of claims after a hailstone storm in Europe, highlighting the importance of EU cover when caravanning abroad.
“Whilst stormy weather can strike at any time, it’s always worth keeping an eye on the weather forecast before towing and when you’re on your caravan holidays,” said Steph. “We recommend taking down awnings if high winds are forecast to prevent awning damage and damage to your caravan and secure items kept inside your awning. If your caravan is on a seasonal pitch use storm straps to keep it securely fastened when you’re not there.”
See our video on how to set up your caravan awning for maximum strength.
#3 Window damage
The third most common caravan insurance claim was for window or skylight damage, making up 13 per cent of settled claims, with the highest caravan window claim costing £4,220 for a broken skylight and water damage to the inside of the caravan.
Many caravan windows were damaged by stones when towing – one by a pheasant – and some caravanners even lost a window on the road!
“We get lots of claims from caravanners reporting cracks in their windows after towing,” said Steph. “A caravan towing cover can add an extra layer of protection to the front window, as will taking care when driving, and trying to avoid things like potholes and big bumps in the road.“
A caravan cover in storage can also offer protection from falling branches and other flying debris.
#4 Road accidents
Caravanning accidents on the road accounted for nine per cent of caravan insurance claims.
Almost half of these road accident claims were detachments, where the caravan has come away from the towing vehicle. Two caravans became unhitched from their tow cars and rolled into a ditch and another went into a farm! The most expensive payout for a detachment claim was almost £30,000!
Sometimes detachments were on the road and others were as caravanners were leaving home, or the campsite, highlighting the importance of always making sure you check your caravan is properly connected to your tow car and that the breakaway cable is in good condition and has been correctly fitted before every journey. See our guide to hitching up.
Fifteen per cent of caravan road accidents claims were for wheels coming off caravans and another 14 per cent for tyre-related incidents, such as blowouts, which can cause significant damage to the caravan wheel arch and sometimes the caravan side, internal floor, wiring and pipework.
“In all the excitement to get on your caravan holiday it can be easy to set off in a rush or be quick to head back home, but it’s best to take your time, and to always carry out all the necessary checks before towing, and then take it steady, particularly when arriving on site or pitching up,” said Steph. “Checking the torque of your caravan wheels and the pressure, age and condition of caravan tyres before every trip can help to prevent these kinds of accidents.”
A tyre pressure monitoring system will also monitor tyre pressures and temperatures whilst towing and Tyron safety bands can reduce damage in the event of a blowout. We offer an insurance discount for fitting these tyre safety devices.
Caravan theft is always a worry and during 2023 (Jan 1st to Oct 31sT) almost nine per cent of our caravan insurance claims were theft-related – the cost of these was a much higher percentage.
The majority of caravan thefts (63 per cent) were from storage sites, so it’s important to make sure your pride and joy is kept in a top-rated, secure storage site, which has controlled access gates that are locked 24 hours a day, high perimeter fencing, as well as CCTV, and that it’s regularly monitored by security staff.
“Make sure you check with the storage site that all security is in place and don’t just assume from what you see,” said Steph. “For example, a gate might be locked when you visit, but this might only be at certain times. It’s really important that the correct information is given to your insurer to make sure you’re fully covered.”
Stolen goods: The average caravan theft claims costs were £20,472.
An oven door and rack were stolen from one caravan. And caravan windows are common pickings for thieves, as well as seating cushions, and even a bumper!
“To protect your pride and joy from theft, as well as choosing a secure storage location, always fit your hitchlock and wheel clamp, or axle wheel lock, and consider extra security, such as an alarm and tracking device,” said Steph. “Make sure these are always activated every time you leave your caravan unattended, particularly in storage.”
Theft protection devices will also help to reduce your caravan insurance. See our caravan security guide.
Not every caravanning trip will go to plan and accidents can happen as well as other events such as storms, theft and fire.
A specialist caravan insurance policy will give you that peace of mind that you’re covered should something go wrong.
And more importantly, it should get your claim settled as quickly and efficiently as possible, enabling you to get back to enjoying your holidays. We’re proud that claimants responding to our claims satisfaction surveys rate the overall standard of claims service received 9 out of 10 on average.
So why not trust us to insure your freedom and find out more about our highly rated caravan insurance cover here.