CHOOSING A CARAVAN: THE 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW (Part 2)
In this part, we’ll take you through more of the essential criteria you need to consider, from warranties and insurance to accessories and upkeep.
Read on for the second part of our top 10 tips for choosing a caravan!
#6 DECIDING ON A NEW OR A USED CARAVAN
This point is very much tied with our first piece of advice on choosing a caravan – establishing a budget. In some cases, your budget may mean that you’re priced out of the new caravan market. However, many quality used caravans are virtually indistinguishable from their newer counterparts!
Whilst they may not have all the latest gizmos and gadgets included and sometimes feature ‘interesting’ colour schemes, they’re an affordable alternative for many caravanners. The most important thing to bear in mind when buying a used caravan is the condition of the van. Whether you’re buying from a dealer or a private seller, check the interior and exterior carefully for signs of damage and wear and tear. Here at Tamar Caravan Centre, we buy and sell a fantastic range of quality pre-owned caravans from a number of well-known brands. This means we can offer our customers a number of fantastic options.
If your budget means you can opt for a new caravan, then you have a little more flexibility. As we recommended in the first part of this guide, it’s best to choose your caravan based on the layout. If you’ve fallen head over heels for a specific configuration that’s not available in a current season model, then go for the second-hand model!
#7 ACCESSORIES & EXTRAS
It’s essential to consider the kinds of accessories and extras you’d like to fit or use when you’re touring. For example, would you want to increase your living space whilst you’re pitched up? If so, then an awning would be a great option for you! Awnings can provide you with a covered space to dine and relax in, serve as a storage space for equipment or double up as a bedroom.
Optional extras come in many forms, depending on the manufacturer and dealership. These range from little luxuries such as TVs and integrated microwaves to security features such as alarm systems and motor movers. For Swift caravans, these extras take the form of the Lux pack, the Diamond pack and the Plus pack. When you’re choosing a caravan, try not to get too hung up on these extras – it’s far more important to focus on the layout and your budget!
Other extras such as waste and water carriers, hook-up cables and wheel locks are classed by many as necessities, so it may be a good idea to purchase a ‘starter kit’ from your dealer to save you some money on these purchases. We’ve got a comprehensive range of caravan accessories and extras available from our online shop and our Plymouth shop. What’s more, our team are always on hand to provide advice and recommendations if you need it.
#8 WARRANTY & GUARANTEE
This may seem like a pretty obvious point, but when you’re choosing a caravan, make sure you’ve considered the length of the warranty and guarantee that comes with it.
If you purchase a new caravan, then it will come with a manufacturer’s warranty. The length of this warranty will vary depending on the brand, though Swift provide three different warranties (four if you’ve purchased an Elegance or Elegance Grande) with their new model caravans. These warranties cover parts and fittings (3 years), the body shell (6 years), the extended body shell (10 years) and water ingress (Elegance range only, lasts a lifetime).
When purchased from a dealership, a second-hand caravan will typically come with a 6-12 month warranty.
#9 INSURING YOUR CARAVAN
Whilst you’re not legally required to have caravan insurance, it’s a sensible idea to invest in it. As caravans are quite a sizable financial investment, protecting it is highly recommended. You wouldn’t forego house or car insurance, so you shouldn’t skip out on insuring your caravan either!
You can tailor your insurance policy to meet your specific needs, but it’s recommended by the AA that your insurance includes contents cover, accidental damage, new for old replacement coverage and cover for European travel. We recommend shopping around for a good deal, which can be done online through comparison sites or through an insurance broker. You can do this speculatively before choosing a caravan or once you’ve taken ownership of your caravan.
#10 UPKEEP & MAINTENANCE
Much like your car, caravans need annual servicing and regular maintenance. It’s essential to find a reputable caravan service centre you can rely on. They can carry out annual servicing, repairs and accessory fitting and you’ll know your pride and joy is in safe hands. Servicing costs can come as a bit of a shock to new caravanners. So, we recommend either saving monthly for these costs or finding a service centre (like ours) that offers a monthly payment plan for servicing.
Basic maintenance is something that you can do at home to ensure your caravan is kept in great condition. Checking the tyres (wear and air pressure), the headlights, battery and handbrake should be part of your pre-travel checklist. There are plenty of videos online that can show you how to perform these checks – as well as many others.
STAY IN TOUCH
Thank you for reading our guide to choosing a caravan! Check back next month for a brand new blog on choosing the right awning for your caravan!
Please call us on 01752 341133 (or leave a message on our answerphone) with any questions or queries you may have. Alternatively, you can email the relevant department through our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
You can stay in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the latest news and updates on reopening and our services. You can also take a look through our caravan tours, maintenance tutorials and how-to guides on YouTube, or via our Help & Advice page.