Perhaps the most convoluted additions to obtain apart from the van, has been insurance. When full timing you will find there is no one insurance policy which covers EVERYTHING! Sure Comfort and others provide insurance for full-timers, but beware if you have bikes, or perhaps mobile phones, or a lap-top – these don’t get covered.
Now if you are keeping your primary residence with your contents insurance while you travel, you’ll undoubtedly be able to use this, however for us this is not an option as we have rented out our house. So we are left looking for ways and means to cover our other chattels.
After looking around I tried TSB as they have a Pick and Protect approach where you buy insurance for the things you need to protect, like gadgets, bikes, contents, etc. On first inspection their bike insurance looked perfect, so I decided to give them a call. A very pleasant Scottish young man called Jerry took my call and I described what we planned to do with our motorhome – he became very excited and asked me if we planned to go to Scotland and do the N500? I said we did, he then recommended visiting Glencoe and Loch Etive – something we have now added to our list….thank you!
Now don’t get me wrong, this was all useful stuff, but was I going to be able to get insurance? He took all the details and we discussed our plan and that the bikes would either be locked in the motorhome garage or locked to a bike rack on the back. Fortunately they treat the motorhome as an “immovable object”, so this was ok! But with insurance there are always wrinkles, if somebody steals the motorhome with bikes attached they are no longer covered as it obviously was not so immovable after all.
They also don’t cover “bikes with motors” – ebikes to you me, which is a bit of a challenge since Lisa is planning on getting an ebike (hopefully a review of this in the future). By now we had struck up a good banter and it seems that ebikes can be added as a “special” – except there is no coverage for Northern Ireland (more on this later). Next we needed some more details – address – sure, so we are using Lisa’s daughter’s address as our postal address, which is fine, but of course we are going to be travelling with the bikes 365 days/year, at this point there was some consternation in the TSB call-centre – would the underwriter (Aviva) be happy with this or not. Jerry put me on hold to find out. A few minutes later he came back, I was expecting that we would not get cover – but at least we had a nice chat about Scotland. However to my surprise they were ok covering us and we proceeded to the amount of cover. My bike is only worth £600, so their closest cover is £750 and I elected a £75 excess. Since Lisa does not yet have her ebike we could not add it to the policy, but once we have it we can call up and they will add it to the policy.
The upshot of this is that we do have bike insurance now to cover us full-timing around Europe (but not Northern Ireland – if you want to find out why not read this). The insurance quote was £28 for the year for my bike, this will probably triple when we add Lisa’s bike. But I have to say that TSB were very helpful and I would not hesitate to recommend them.
We have opened a joint Nationwide FlexPlus account, this costs £13 a month (£156/year if you are not good with numbers!) and for this, you get a range of useful benefits – for us the travel insurance, breakdown and mobile cover are brilliant. The breakdown cover will cover motorhomes up to 8m in length, which is great because ours is just under at 7.5m.
We need to think about whether we want to insure any other items, such as the bins, at some point for older items insurance no longer pays.