I realised there is much to consider in the area of insurance and registration with the DVLA.
Despite the reputation of white van man ,white vans are relatively cheap to insure as statistically they are less likely to have an accident than a private car. There are some issues when deciding to insure a self-build campervan as you will be(hopefully!) turning it from one vehicle to another,somewhat slowly.You need to insure with one of the specialist insurers who factor this in.Several are found easily on the internet.
I got a no hassle quote from Sheild,for a price cheaper than my car,including cover for 3 months per year anywhere in Europe, with Europe wide breakdown cover included.Extensions to these time periods are easily obtained but you just need to pay an additional premium.3 months per year should suit nicely as I plan to be in Europe for part of this insurance year,and part of next.
The only issue is that the cover stipulates that my conversion must be complete in 3 months,with photographic evidence.Complete means being re-registered by the DVLA as a "motor caravan",and for this one needs certain minimum requirements to differentiate your conversion from an ordinary white van that you simply camp in the back of.There seem to be some compelling advantages for getting your van re-classified:The following is lifted from www.campervanlife.com/building/legal:-
Why Re-register as a "Motor Caravan"? Although you do not need to re-register a campervan conversion, here are the benefits of doing so:-
- Cheaper Insurance - Generally leisure vehicles such as campervans are cheaper to insure than panel vans. This is because they generally have fewer claims, do fewer miles and are not used for commercial use. Keep in mind that you can still get your self build insured as a campervan even if the vehicle is registered as a panel van. Campervan insurance is generally 10% - 50% cheaper than van insurance.
- Contents Insurance - Vehicles registered as campervans generally have better contents insurance than panel vans. This is because a campervan contains personal belongings such as mobile phone, laptops, jewellery, etc. Whereas a panel van typically contains tools and parts for commercial use.
- Might be able to travel faster - Vans with an unladen weight of under 3050kg can travel at a maximum of 60mph on a dual carriageway. But this increases to 70mph on a dual carriageway for vehicles registered as campervans. All other speed limits remain the same. Vehicles with a unladen weight over 3050kg (i.e. all 3500kg vans) have no change in speed limit when re-registering as a campervan.
- Cheaper MOT - Class VII vehicles (between 3000kg and 3500kg) registered as camper vans come under the cheaper and less restriction Class IV MOT rules. When inspecting the vehicle the MOT tester has to test the vehicle "as it is presented". So if a campervan is presented, that would normally be class VII, even if it is not re-registered as a campervan, the MOT tester should test is as class IV vehicle.
- Might get cheaper ferry prices - Travelling on a ferry is typically cheaper for a campervan or motorhome than a commercial van. Most ferry companies look at a converted campervan and are happy for it to pay the cheaper campervan price. However, a few ferry companies will use the DVLA log book classification to determine whether to price the vehicle as a commercial vehicle or not.
The one thing that I would add to this is that very occasionally campsites get a bit shirty if you turn up in what looks basically like a white van,and ask you to prove that you are registered as a motorhome.For a vehicle to qualify as a 'Motor Caravan' in the UK in the eyes of the DVLA the following permanent fixtures must be present:
- Sleeping Accommodation
- There must be a bed with a minimum length of 6ft or 180cms
- The bed must be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation area
- The bed must be permanent or converted from seats (the bed can fold away during the day)
- The bed fixtures must be secured directly to the vehicle floor and/or side walls, unless it is over the drivers cab compartment.
- There must be a horizontal sliding door or an outward opening rear or side door.
- Seats and Tables
- There must be a seating area for diners to sit around
- The table can be fixed or detachable
- The table must mount directly to the vehicle floor or side walls
- The table mounting must be secured as a permanent feature, either bolted screwed or welded. The table itself can be detachable.
- Seats must be secured directly to the vehicle floor and/or side walls
- The seats must be secured as a permanent fixture, either bolted, riveted, screwed or welded
- Permanently secured seating must be available for use at a table
- Water Container
Note: DVLA do not state any requirements regarding water storage. However, most insurance companies state that the water tank should be onboard, or under the chassis. However, some insurance companies are happy with an external water container that can be moved, such as those used with a caravan.
- The vehicle must have an onboard or external (e,g, under the chassis) water container
- Note: The insurer Adrian Flux requires the water container to hold 6 gallons / 27 litres.
- The vehicle must have at least one cupboard, locker or wardrobe
- The cupboard must be an integral part of the living accommodation area
- The cupboard must be a permanent feature, either bolted, riveted, screwed or welded
- The cupboard must be secured directly to the vehicle floor and / or side walls
- The vehicle must have cooking facilities powered by fixed gas, electric hob or microwave oven
- The cooking facilities must be secured directly to the vehicle floor or side wall
- The cooking facilities must be a permanent feature, either bolted, riveted, screwed or welded
- Gas and electric hobs must have a minimum or 2 cooking rings. Microwave ovens must have a power source (don't just fit one that can't be used)
- Gas cooking facilities with remote fuel supplies must have the gas supply pipe permanently secured to the vehicle structure
- Gas cooking facilities with remote fuel supplies should have the gas bottle, fuel reservoir secured to the vehicle structure
- The vehicle must have at least one side window
- Since 2011 the DVLA are now asking that the vehicle look like a motor caravan from the outside
Wow! ,3 months to completion sounds pretty optimistic to me ,but that's the challenge............At least the van's got some rear doors and a sliding side door so that's one down !