Motorhome insurance and party girl on a baggage carousel.

Motorhome Insurance

One subject that appears regularly on motorhome forums is whether it is possible to obtain motorhome insurance when you want to leave your motorhome in Spain and fly back to the UK. When we wanted to fly back to the UK from Alicante in Spain for a few days we rang several car parking companies at Alicante airport to ask about security so that we could satisfy ourselves that our motorhome would be safe and secure.

Once we found somewhere that we were comfortable with we called our motorhome insurance company, Comfort Insurance, to ask whether they would continue to insure the vehicle whilst it was parked up for 6 nights. They came back with the answer that, because we had to leave the vehicle keys with the car park, they would insure the motorhome provided that the vehicle keys were kept in a safe. When I asked the car park about a safe they said that all keys were kept in an office that was occupied 24 hours a day. I called Comfort Insurance again to explain this, and was expecting a negative response, but to my surprise, and after referring the matter to underwriters, they agreed to insure the motorhome for an additional premium.

The car park, Royal Parking, at Alicante airport has 24 hours CCTV, a secure fence and gate as well as staff members on the premises 24 hours a day. As a paranoid motorhome owner I was reasonably happy that our motorhome would be safe as I also have a GPS tracker, additional locks on the rear garage and habitation door a Cat 1 alarm and additional window alarms and good motorhome insurance. There is only so much you can do to secure any home and  determined thieves will always find a way in if they really want to. All you can hope for is to reduce the risk. Our motorhome was safe and sound when we returned!

New Ryanair baggage policy

We flew back to the UK on 15 January, the same day Ryanair introduced their new cabin baggage policy. Unless you buy priority boarding you cannot take a small suitcase on board, only a very small handbag or laptop. Your suitcase will be tagged at the gate and put in the hold with the checked in bags. When I heard about the new Ryanair baggage policy I was sceptical that it would work but I must say that I think it’s a good move. Everyone got off the plane much quicker and the luggage arrived on the baggage carousel within 10 minutes.

Benidorm party girl on  a baggage carousel.

Talking of airport baggage carousels, how does a woman end up on one? The answer is because Alicante is the airport all the hen night groups fly into for Benidorm. You can spot them and hear them a mile away. They wear silly hats, sashes and slogans on their t-shirts as well as sing out of tune. The group on our Alicante flight were fairly well behaved but the non stop drinking eventually took its toll at Alicante airport baggage carousel when one of the women threw herself at her suitcase and somehow ended up on it!

The next part of our motorhome journey

After arriving back at Alicante airport we drove an hour south on the motorway to Los Alcazares and spent two nights on a campsite very close to the runway of Murcia airport. The Spanish equivalent of The Red Arrows are based here and everyday they took off over our heads. Luckily this only happened during the day.

Los Alcazares is a coastal spa town on the Mar Menor lagoon, famous for its mud bath treatments. The highlight of our visit was lunch at La Encarnacion, a beach front spa hotel built in 1904 and still maintaining many of its Art Deco features.

Our plan is to follow the Spanish coast south, with deviations inland to Granada, Ronda and Seville, until we reach Portugal. Life in our Motor home is very comfortable and Spain is cheap. Last night we had fillet steak in the campsite restaurant for only 14.95 Euros and it was as good as or better than many English restaurants where the same meal would be twice the price.

Our motorhome parked at Los Alcazares
Two old men on a bike – Cycling in Los Alcazares
La Encarnacion hotel

Motorhome insurance – A bit of a nightmare.

As an ex insurance underwriter and insurance claims handler I know a thing or two about risk and how insurance companies operate, so when I started calling some specialist motorhome insurance brokers I was surprised about how difficult this was going to be. Nowadays, insurance underwriters don’t think for themselves because all they do is enter information into a computer system and that computer says yes or no and provides the cost. There is no flexibility built-in so if you don’t quite fit then the system can’t cope and you get a no!

In total I made 4 calls and here are the results:

Firstly, I called Comfort Insurance. As you know, to get a quote for insurance you have to answer a lot of questions about lots of things such as accidents/claims, convictions, age, occupation, vehicle details, address and most importantly how often you will use the motorhome and where it will be stored.

Comfort Insurance turned out to be the most knowledgeable and helpful about the circumstances that I outlined. These were that we are selling our home and going touring in Europe for between 6 and 12 months. During that time we will have a postal address at my daughters and go on the electoral roll there. Comfort Insurance class this as a “full timers” rate and actually don’t need you to have a UK address.

This is what the proposal documents said:

  • Proposers must maintain a full UK residence, either through ownership or long-term rental (of at least 9 months) unless a full-timing rate has been agreed and paid.
  • This address must be the one at which the proposer is on the electoral roll, (unless a full-timing rate has been agreed and paid) and also the one that appears on the driving licence and vehicle documentation.

I was very impressed with the cover that they provided. It was unlimited mileage for 365 days in the EU.

A further search on Google unearthed a company called Adrian Flux. They were advertising themselves as motorhome insurance specialists but after I explained what I wanted  they declined to quote.

The third insurance broker I called for a motorhome quote was Safeguard Insurance. This is when the whole thing got a little confusing because they wanted to know where I would keep the motorhome when I returned to the UK to visit relatives. I explained that we would probably be staying on a local campsite and would not be leaving the motorhome on a driveway. Safeguard said this was not acceptable and that whilst in the UK it must be stored in a secure compound or on the driveway of our registered address. This seemed mad to me because surely it’s safer to stay in the motorhome than leave it on a driveway. It’s as though they are saying you can’t use it in the UK!

Finally, I called a company called Caravanguard. Again they were advertising in Motorhome Magazine as motorhome specialists but they would only offer a maximum of 9 months in Europe.

It seems that insuring your motorhome if you intend to travel extensively in Europe is very difficult. There is clearly a market for this type of cover and in my view if you are using your motorhome long-term then there is less risk of it being stolen than leaving it on a driveway.

The most expensive quote was from Comfort Insurance but the others fell short of providing exactly what I wanted. It’s a real shame in my view that there are no other insurers that I can find who will offer so-called full-timers cover but it was certainly a learning experience making the time-consuming phone calls!