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Insurance for camping in the UK

Travel insurance isn’t just for holidays abroad. If you’re planning a camping trip in the UK, find out how it could protect your trip and what other cover you could get for your adventure under canvas or on wheels.

Derri Dunn
Derri Dunn
Updated 28 April 2021  | 5 min read

Do I need travel insurance for camping in the UK?

Most of us see travel insurance as essential cover for medical treatment overseas, and you won't need cover for hospital care while you’re camping in the UK, thanks to the NHS. 

But there are lots of aspects of travel insurance that can be useful for a UK break as well, particularly if you’re a camper as you’ll probably be bringing a lot more with you than the average holidaymaker.

Travel insurance could give you some useful cover for theft or loss of your gear and reimburse you if you have to cancel your trip.

UK camping’s never been more popular

Bookings for January-April 2021 rocketed 500% compared to 2019 and stays were nearly 12% longer too.

What insurance do campers need?

The right insurance for your camping trip depends on who’s going, what you’re bringing and where you’re staying.

As well as travel insurance, you might need the right motor insurance for a campervan or gadget insurance if you’re taking your phone and tablet to a festival.

Insurance for staying in a tent

If you’re holidaying under canvas, a UK travel insurance policy can cover you if you need to cancel because of something like illness, jury service, a bereavement or a fire or flood at your home. As long as your accommodation and travel costs like bus or train tickets are pre-booked and paid for you should be reimbursed.

Travel insurance also usually covers you for loss or theft of your luggage and possessions, but this cover isn’t always tailored around camping. For example, you usually can’t claim for any items left unattended, so you wouldn’t be covered for the loss or theft of your tent and its contents any time you’re not in or next to it.

You might also have some cover for your possessions away from home with your home insurance, but again, unattended items probably won’t be covered. Check whether your policy has personal possessions cover and check the single article limit as well. 

If you want more cover for your tent and camping equipment, you can take out camping insurance from a specialist provider with cover designed just for campers. As well as covering your possessions, some insurers will even provide a replacement rental tent so you can continue your holiday.

Insurance for caravans, trailer tents and folding campers

Again, your travel insurance can cover the cost of your pre-booked campsite stay if you need to cancel your trip.

Your personal possessions and luggage will also most likely have some cover under either your travel insurance or possibly your home insurance. But due to the insecure canvas construction of trailer tents and folding caravans, your property could be classed as left unattended when you’re away from your pitch and excluded from cover. 

To make sure you have the cover you need, consider taking out caravan insurance. There are policies to cover all kinds of towable camping units and their contents.

Although your car insurance usually covers you to tow a trailer, it’ll only pay for damage caused by your caravan in a claim and won’t cover damage to your caravan itself. You need to take out caravan insurance to be covered for damage or the total loss of your trailer from an accident during towing.

You should also check your breakdown cover before your holiday to make sure your policy includes recovery of your caravan along with your car.

Cover for static caravan holidays

Static caravan owners should consider static caravan insurance to cover their second home, but what if you’re just going away for a week or two in a rental?

Your travel insurance should cover you for cancellation and your possessions won’t be considered ‘unattended’ when left in a locked park home, so you’ll be covered for loss or theft of luggage too.

Insurance for motorhomes

You need motorhome insurance to be able to legally drive your second home on wheels. It usually includes some cover for personal possessions as well, including for camping equipment like awnings and gas barbecues.

Travel insurance could still be a useful addition in the UK to protect you from cancellation, as long as you pre-book your accommodation.

If you’re just driving from place to place and finding a campsite when you get there, travel insurance won’t offer a lot of extra protection on top of a good motorhome policy as cancellation cover is only for anything you’ve already booked and paid for.

Campervan insurance

You’ll need to insure your campervan in the same way as your motorhome and your policy will cover you in a similar way.

Just be careful if you have a modified or part-converted van to make sure you get the right insurance and your policy’s valid. You might need to go to a specialist insurer to get quotes.

Glamping insurance

Glamping can describe all sorts of camping units, from canvas yurts to gypsy caravans and shepherd huts.

You’ll probably need to consider travel insurance in the same way as you would for a static caravan holiday, but be careful if you’re in something like a bell tent without lockable doors – your possessions might not be covered by travel insurance as your insurer could class them as unattended out in the open.

Where can I camp in the UK?

Wild camping’s illegal in most of the UK – you need to stay in a campsite or somewhere that you have the landowner’s permission.

Wild camping is allowed in Scotland and some national parks in England and Wales, including Exmoor, Dartmoor and Snowdonia, will allow you to camp if you follow the rules and seek permission

How to choose the right campsite

Campsites vary wildly in what they offer. They can be anything from a farmer’s field with a tap to a well-equipped site with shop, café, family shower rooms, adventure playground, games room and more.

Unless you have a caravan or motorhome with a loo, you’ll probably want a site that has at least a toilet and shower block, and a dishwashing area.

Make sure you read some reviews before you book to make sure you get what you expect – here are a few things to look out for when choosing:

  1. Year-round site: One for the hardened campers who like a Christmas getaway under canvas, perhaps. Or for those with a heated caravan.
  2. Dog friendly: Lots of sites will allow your four-legged friend, but not all. Make sure you check for any extra charges and the maximum number of dogs you can bring as well.
  3. Adult-only sites: Not all sites allow children either. If you don’t have kids, you might choose an adult-only site for a peaceful break.
  4. Near a beach: If you’re not bringing the car or you don’t want to drive when you get there, make sure the beach is on the doorstep.
  5. Swimming pool / fishing / activities: Check out what’s available if you want plenty to do without leaving the site.
  6. Electric hook-up: If you don’t want to camp off-grid, make sure you choose a pitch with an electric hook up and bring a campsite plug unit to connect your tent, caravan or motorhome.
  7. Family sites: Playgrounds, pools and activities are all useful to keep the kids happy. Some large sites might even have a kids club where you can leave them and get a few hours’ peace to yourself. If you’re bringing small children, you might want to choose a site with laundry facilities too.
  8. Pubs with camping: Some pubs let you camp in a field next door. They tend to be basic on facilities but inexpensive and you’ll have food and drink on hand for your stay.
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