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The Changing Face of Caravanning

Caravans have improved dramatically over the years, and so has caravan insurance
Caravans and camper trailers have changed a lot in the past 60 years. Mention ice-box fridges, vinyl floor tiles or Laminex benchtops to today’s travellers and you’ll probably draw a blank look.

Those things, then common to home kitchens, disappeared years ago in the fledgling Australian caravan industry, as dedicated furnishings and modern industrial construction materials streamlined production.

The challenge of new times and much broader travel horizons have also impacted other related fields, including caravan insurance.

Peace of mind on the road

When skimpy, painted steel chassis, Bondwood external walls and simple leaf-spring suspension was the norm, few people ventured far off sealed bitumen or owned a tow vehicle capable of dealing with the rutted unsealed tracks that passed as ‘roads’ and criss-crossed Outback Australia.

For all these reasons, caravan and camper trailer travellers were not so adventurous and caravan theft was correspondingly in its infancy.

Back then, dedicated RV insurers like CIL Insurance offered relatively basic policies to match these relatively simple caravans and their use. Today these policies have grown to encompass cover for more complex RVs and a plethora of the latest household appliances (covered up to the selected sum insured and sub-limits apply) and modern remote-area power systems, including off-grid 48-volt battery systems (when added to the policy for extra premium) and solar harvesting panels. This is in stark contrast to our forebears, who were happy to be simply plugged into an external 240-volt point, if indeed one was available.

Because today’s caravans increasingly travel far and wide in all weather and in all seasons, they are more exposed to risk, so CIL Insurance policies have evolved over the last 60 years to cover the modern caravan traveller for a range of eventualities unimagined by caravan owners of even a decade ago.

With new challenges posed by climate change, these include the increasing chance of hail, storm (including cyclone) and flood damage, plus accidental loss or damage, theft and attempted theft, and fire and explosion, along with motor burn-out in these much more complicated and expensive motorhomes and recreational vehicles.

Plus, the policy you take out today with a front-line company like CIL Insurance is likely to include things like new for old replacement of caravans less than two years old; alternative accommodation expenses of up to $150 a day if your caravan is not fit to live in following a collision or other insured loss; up to $1000 of included contents cover, along with authorised emergency repairs (up to $1000) if your caravan cannot be towed after a collision or other insured impact – all included in your policy at no extra cost.^

That’s not all. A CIL Insurance policy today offers you a 10 percent discount (before taxes and charges) if you have an AL-KO Electronic Stability Control device fitted to your caravan. It will also cover reasonable costs to collect and later return your caravan to you following a collision or impact repairs, if the repairer is more than 100km from your home, or the removal and storage of your caravan after a collision or impact if it’s unable to be towed – subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of your policy.

Then there are the things you have probably never thought of, such as your personal liability in the case of an accident (a CIL policy, for example, provides covers for up to $20 million) and even cover of up to $500 of veterinary expenses for your injured domestic pet.

A company like CIL has grown with the industry through its considerable evolution over the years and is prepared to understand the risks and to protect its customers from them.

Back in the day

Now imagine you own an older caravan like the 1965 Coronet Princess recently restored by ex-Coronet Caravans owner, Andrew Phillips.

Back in the 1960s, when Phillips, aged 10, began working on caravans for his father, internal bathrooms and the modern caravan conveniences were a rarity, not the norm.

“I remember the first caravan I ever saw with an internal shower was a 1952 26ft Bondwood Aerolite,” he said. “It was a real novelty.”

Phillips, who now runs The RV Repair Centre in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburb of Bayswater, has just completed his six-year labour of love in exquisite detail, adding the restored Princess to his personal collection of around 15 classic caravans dating from the late 1940s to the very last Coronet he built in mid-2020.

The comparison between the old and new Coronets he has built is stark, and a good measure of the progress made in RV construction over the years.

“One of the challenges of restoring an old caravan is that some of the materials are now no longer available,” he explained.

Caravan cover for modern travellers

Fast forward to 2022, and the latest single-axle, full-height Coronet ensuite caravan is built around a strong Meranti timber frame with silver high-profile aluminium cladding as standard, or with Alicom exterior flat aluminium panel walls as an option.

Innovative electronics such as a reversing camera and AL-KO ESC stability control lessen the stress of getting to your destination, while a chassis-mounted, 12-volt deep-cycle battery and incoming charge from a 170W rooftop solar panel, plus two large underbody water tanks and a separate grey water tank, make environmentally responsible free-camping easy.

When you get there, you can reach inside the large upright, three-way fridge/freezer and grab a cool drink, put your TV dinner in the microwave, listen to your favourite music, or watch the TV news, all from the comfort of the lounge/dinette or the inviting coil-spring double bed.

Caravan cover for modern travellers

Sixty years ago you’d be looking for an ice merchant for a new frozen block for your icebox and making the best of the weather!

Then there’s cost. Recent component shortages have led to major price increases for all new caravans, with used caravan prices rising accordingly to previous new-van levels. Either way, you now have a sizeable investment on your tow hitch that will be at risk without insurance cover.

When you consider all the things that could go wrong on a modern caravan trip, consider CIL caravan insurance.

^^Limits, conditions and exclusions apply. Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as CIL Insurance. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. Go to for a copy. Target Market Determination also available. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.

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