Taking A Caravan To Europe? Travel Tips From Towergate Insurance

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As the school holidays get underway, caravan-owners may be tempted to head to Europe for some sun. To help them prepare for their journey, caravan insurance provider, Towergate Insurance, has put together some handy tips.

Check the caravan tyres as well as your car - if they’re worn, cracked or balding, it can lead to poor handling and breaking, reduce the fuel consumption and potentially cause a blow-out. Europe’s minimum summer legal requirement is 1.6mm tread depth across the full tread width. When the tyres are cold, check their pressure, ensure valves aren’t leaking and that the valve cap is properly fitted. If you’re setting off on the first trip of the year, look for any winter damage and if you’ve been away already, is there any salt damage from road gritting?

Know your caravan’s weight and keep within its limits. A heavy caravan will put more weight on the tyres, affect towing performance, reduce stability and result in less fuel economy. In order to keep the centre of gravity low, store luggage close to the caravan’s axles, put heavy items in the boot of the car and tow with empty water tanks.

In most European countries, it’s mandatory to keep the following in the car whilst driving; two warning triangles, a first aid kit, high visibility jackets for all occupants, GB stickers on the vehicles, headlamp strips, marker boards for caravans over 12m in length (compulsory in Spain), two breathalyser kits (now a legal requirement in France), appropriate children’s car seats, a minimum of third-party insurance, photo-ID such as a driving licence or passport and insurance documents.

Satellite Navigation devices that can detect speed cameras or police radar are prohibited in some countries, so disable them before you set off. Have Euros to hand for the tolls, dip your headlights, remember the speed limits are in km per hour and not miles and jot down the emergency service number which in general across Europe, is 112.

Keep your prized possession and its contents safe when unoccupied. When stopping at service stations and lay-bys, engage the hitch and wheel lock, lock windows and doors, hide valuables and if possible, park it next to other caravans.

Before setting off, mark your valuables with your caravan’s CRiS number (its 17 digit identity number ) – it provides evidence the property belongs to you if it is recovered. A range of accredited security devices are available including; dna marker kits, micro dots, electronic tags, etched ID numbers and tracking devices.

Check your insurance covers you when abroad. Most policies include 30 days’ European travel, some, like Towergate Select and Choice, have 365 days European cover. Ensure it includes emergency travel home/repatriation if involved in a crash and the caravan cannot be towed, or replacement accommodation should you wish to continue your holiday.

Make a note of the roadside recovery and claim numbers and programme them into your mobile, taking into account the international dialling code to the UK (0044).

Towergate Insurance has a series of guides to keep you and your caravan safe on its website. To find out more visit http://www.towergateinsurance.co.uk and click on caravans, tips and guides or for a insurance quote call 0844 346 0423 .

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Francesca Breeze
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