RACV urges caravan owners to stay safe this summer

19 January 2016

 

New RACV Insurance figures highlight the need for caravan holiday-makers to be alert and adequately prepared this summer.

The RACV data detailed 1,397 caravan-related insurance claims in 2014/15, with an average cost of $4,960. The most expensive claim paid by RACV was $72,400 for fire damage caused by a fat-laden frypan being left unattended on an active stove after the owner had returned from a trip.

RACV General Manager Insurance, Paul Northey said the causes of expensive repairs or replacement were diverse and frequently surprising. Incidents happened on the road, in caravan parks and often at home.

“The most common damage happened while caravans were being towed,” Mr Northey said. “Drivers should be aware of road and local weather conditions and adapt accordingly. And when they are towing they should anticipate the movement of other vehicles and be alert to potholes and hazards.

“There was also an exceptionally high number of incidents involving fallen branches or trees, particularly during storms. Owners should avoid parking caravans under trees or in areas subject to flash flooding.”

Most incidents did not involve another person or property. One caravan’s undercarriage was damaged when it was towed over a tyre and rim on the road, resulting in a $68,000 claim; another car was caught in a wind vacuum created by a passing truck and jack-knifed, causing $28,000 damage; and in a similar situation a driver lost control on a gravel road while avoiding a kangaroo and hit a fence and tree, leading to a claim for more than $17,000 damage.

The RACV figures showed that thieves continued to prey on caravans, with an increase of 25 per cent in the number of stolen caravans on the previous year. However, theft from caravans decreased.

“Thieves are opportunistic,” Mr Northey said. “It is important that caravan owners be careful to lock up and secure their caravan and contents, whether they are at home or on the road.”

“Caravanning is a wonderful pastime and leisure activity but owners must follow simple rules when towing, choosing a place to park and even when storing their caravan at home.”

“It is also important that drivers prepare their car and caravan before any long trip,” Mr Northey said. “Preparation should include ensuring appropriate insurance cover to help provide peace of mind.”

Please note RACV Caravan Insurance is issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty. Limited ABN 93 004 208 084 Licence No. 227678. This is general advice only so to see if this product is right for you, consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement which is  available by calling 13 RACV (13 7228).

 

Most common 2014/15 RACV caravan insurance claims by type

Claim type

Claims 2014/15

Claims 2013/14

Change

Single vehicle accident, where only the caravan was damaged

755

707

7%

Storm

359

327

10%

Hail damage

57

23

148%

Theft of caravan

51

40

28%

Incident involving another vehicle or property, causing damage to both

50

58

-14%

Fire

25

11

127%

Theft from caravan

16

22

-27%

Damage while parked

11

9

22%

Animal collision

10

14

-28%

Malicious damage

9

6

-50%

TOTAL CLAIMS

1,397

1,277

 

 

The total cost of RACV caravan insurance claims by type in 2014/15

Claim type

Cost of claims

Percent of total

Single vehicle accident, where only the caravan was damaged

$3,327,221

48%
Storm

$1,075,774

16%
Theft of caravan

$635,771

9%
Hail damage

$568,989

8%
Fire

$345,410

5%
Incident involving another vehicle or property, causing damage to both

$333,221

5%
Malicious damage

$58,981

1%
Falling trees

$58,042

1%
Animal collision

$52,684

1%
Damage while parked

$51,415

1%
TOTAL COST OF CLAIMS

$6,928,442

 

 

2014/15 Top 10 caravan incident hot spots

Local government area Claims
City of Greater Geelong

72

East Gippsland Shire

49

Campaspe Shire

44

Mornington Peninsula Shire

41

Bass Coast Shire

36

Baw Baw Shire

35

Knox City Council

31

Yarra Ranges Shire

30

Moira Shire

29

Gannawarra Shire

29


 

Five tips to protect your caravan and its contents

  • Before heading off on your trip or at the start of each season, spend some time practising towing your caravan short distances around your area, especially reversing and “cutting in” as many insurance claims are the result of reversing or turning. Even consider taking a towing course – they are very useful even for seasoned drivers.
  • Install a towing hitch lock or wheel lock to your van.
  • Avoid parking under tree branches or in areas prone to flash flooding.
  • Do not leave valuables in annexes.
  • Make sure you lock your caravan or motorhome windows and door if leaving it unattended, even for a short period of time. Where possible, store your van in a secure yard or garage.

 

 

Written by Liselotte Geary, RACV Public Affairs on (03) 9790 2717
January 19, 2016