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If you are planning a summer adventure and want to prioritise comfort, investing in a caravan may be the right choice. It does not have to be a costly endeavour, you can choose from a wide range of used caravans. This will help you save money and still provide the experience you are pursuing. Once you’ve made the right purchasing decision, don’t forget to compare caravan insurance cover.

This guide is for anyone looking to purchase a used caravan or camper van.

Used caravan or used camper van

The first decision you will have will be to decide between a caravan or a camper van. There isn’t a clear-cut winner as to which is the better option. Ultimately, it will depend on what type of holiday or experience you are searching for.

A camper van will likely be a more suitable option if you plan to tour a wide area or travel to a number of different camp sites. This will also require minimal effort on your part when you arrive at your destination.

Alternatively, if you are planning on staying at the same place for a number of weeks, a caravan may prove to be a more cost-effective choice. This comes with an additional benefit, you have the option to separate the car from the caravan. This makes it more flexible when travelling to specific locations on your holiday by setting the caravan as a ‘base’.

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Choosing the right used caravan size

A larger caravan offers more spacious freedom. Easier access to washing facilities and kitchens with additional equipment can be a positive. It’s easier to converse with family and friends with this level of comfort.

You will need a much larger and more powerful vehicle to move a larger caravan, travelling on the road and at camp sites can also be challenging. Check the maximum weight limitations before choosing, consider how powerful your vehicle will need to be to tow it.

Carry out your own research

Carry out as much research as you can about any caravan before buying. Think about how much caravan insurance will cost, common problems experienced by campers, and the style or layout that would best suit you.

It’s a good idea to speak to a caravan dealer, a specialist advisor will be able to answer any questions you have along with providing useful tips and expert advice on what to look out for and what to avoid.

Who’s the used caravan seller?

Make sure you are purchasing from a legitimate seller. Caravans that are purchased from a dealer will likely be priced a little higher, although you will benefit from a warranty and some legal protection if any issues arise.

If you contact a private seller, ask them about the caravan directly. This will give you an opportunity to ask any questions and fully inspect it before parting with your money. It is essential that you are able to view the caravan before buying, whether this be on a business premises from a dealer or at the seller’s home address if it is a private sale.

Double check

It is important to double check the following:

  • green-bullet-pointCheck for any damp
  • green-bullet-pointCheck that doors and windows are operating correctly
  • green-bullet-pointCheck the condition of the chassis and running gear
  • green-bullet-pointCheck if the gas and electrics are fully working

The small things

It can be quite costly to customise the caravan you have just purchased with all the accessories you want. It can be a good idea to purchase a caravan or camper van that has these included already. Even if you have to pay a little extra, it can save you money in the future. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • pink-bullet-pointBattery chargers
  • pink-bullet-pointGas bottles
  • pink-bullet-pointElectrical connections
  • pink-bullet-pointHitch locks
  • pink-bullet-pointExternal batteries
  • pink-bullet-pointTelevision equipment

The history

Ideally, you should look to see if it has a formal service history, this can include previous receipts or invoices for work carried out. Find out as much as you can. If the current owner has a copy of the original handbook, this could indicate that the caravan or camper van has been well maintained.

Ask the seller about how much use the caravan has, what distance it has travelled, be cautious of caravans that have been static for very long periods of time. It can be difficult to get an accurate age for the caravan, a HPI check will confirm its age if it is a newer model.

Caravan and camper van HPI checks

If the caravan was manufactured after 1992, it will be registered on the CRIS (Caravan Registration Identification Scheme). We strongly recommend that you carry out this check, this will provide you with further information such as:

  • green-bullet-pointThe true identity of the caravan or camper van

  • green-bullet-pointIf there is any outstanding finance

  • green-bullet-pointIf it has been reported as stolen

  • green-bullet-pointPrevious record of insurance write off

Finally, after you have carried out all the necessary research and made all the appropriate checks, we hope you enjoy your next adventure.

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