If you are involved in a road traffic accident with your caravan whilst travelling in the UK remember that safety is paramount, although its good to inform your insurer as soon as possible.
Much of the major roads network of the UK is now managed by The Highways Agency, via their Traffic Officers, so in the event of any breakdown, or even a minor accident the Agency that comes to your assistance may well be these Officers. They will assist you and try to keep you safe until the matter can be resolved.
If you’re travelling with passengers, you should first make sure that everyone is safe. When serious accidents happen people can become trapped so it’s important to check that all passengers are out of imminent danger.
Next you need to make a judgement on whether the caravan is safe to tow; if it has been badly damaged and for any reason can’t be moved, towing it could potentially cause more damage and put people at greater risk.
Tim Booth, Leisure Vehicles Officer for the AVCIS Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, part of the Caravan Safety and Security Group, tells us: “In the event of an accident it is important that you consider just how safe it is to continue – caravans are complicated vehicles and whilst it may appear after an accident that very little damage has been caused of course damage is not always going to be apparent. If you have your caravan insured then, as a protection for both yourself and other road users, your car/caravan combination should be removed by a recovery firm to a safe place where the caravan can be checked out – and confirmed as safe to continue with. If you do not hold specific insurance for your caravan then your car insurer will on most occasions manage the recovery of the whole combination but remember that their cover provides only third party risk protection (there are as usual variances across policies).”
“Remember that to be able to react to other traffic on the roads you need to be able to see that traffic – whilst the view ahead is important for those towing caravans/ trailers, the view of traffic approaching from the rear is equally important – lorries / coaches / vans passing by can cause unexpected turbulence which can lead to snaking incidents – so always remember to use extension mirrors – not only will this help to keep you safe – it is the law!”
If the caravan is ok to tow simply exchange details with all third parties involved – try and do this as soon as possible to avoid other drivers leaving the scene without providing the relevant information. All drivers involved are legally required to provide their name and address at the time of the accident.
Additional information such as vehicle registration number(s) and insurance policy number(s) are also useful to get hold of, if available. Also make note of the date, location, driving/road conditions and cause of damage – your insurer may ask for this information when processing a claim. Taking photos of the accident scene could also come in handy when making an insurance claim.
If the caravan cannot be towed however, your first priority should be to call your breakdown operator who will arrange for it to be towed to a repairer. If you are insured with Caravan Guard, you should call our 24-hour caravan recovery service helpline on 01422 501 087 and we’ll guide you through what to do*. It’s always useful to keep a copy of your policy booklet in your towing vehicle so that you have these details to hand.
When dealing with a serious collision you must report the accident to the police immediately and notify them of any personal injuries or damage to property whose owner is not in attendance (your car insurance provider will take care of any damage caused to third party property/vehicles and your tow car).
Remember, don’t ever assume or admit responsibility at the scene – details of the accident and third party liability can emerge further down the line.
If a third party is to blame but has no motor insurance there’s no need to worry. Although this may result in loss of no claims discount, you will still be able to claim under your caravan insurance policy.
Once you and your caravan are safely away from the scene of the accident, you should then call your insurance company. When making a claim you will need to provide your name, address and contact details; as well as your policy number (as shown in your policy schedule). Caravan Guard customers can contact our 24 hour claims lines on 01422 501 083 and the in-house claims team will process details of the accident and ensure the claim is resolved quickly and fairly.
If you aren’t currently insured with Caravan Guard then feel free to visit our caravan insurance page for more information on our policy benefits. Existing customers with questions regarding the specific details outlined above can call for further info, or email us using our contact form.
*customers will be required to pay for this recovery service but can claim back from caravan insurance policy underwriters RSA as long as the damage itself is covered by our insurance.