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campervan conversion
  1. Campervan
26th March 2021

Planning a campervan conversion: all your questions answered

Everything you need to know about your first campervan conversion project.

Car Insurance from just £125 per year

A modest motorhome could set you back around £50,000 and that’s why it’s a good option to consider buying a regular van and creating a DIY campervan conversion.

The team at Sterling insurance knows just about everything there is to know about campervan conversions and here they offer some words of wisdom before you knuckle down for your maiden motorhome project.

campervan conversion

Which are the best vans for a campervan conversion?

If you don’t yet own the van that you plan to convert, you had better shop wisely when buying second-hand. Just like with any car you buy, you will want a good runner and something that is economical.

For your campervan conversion you’ll need something with ample headroom and of course, a longer wheelbase will mean more surface area on which to plan your on the road living quarters.

Good vans for campervan conversions include:

Volkswagen T5 or T6

The VW is a legend when it comes to road trips and laid-back stayaways and you will find the T5 and T6 among the easiest vans with which to create a campervan cpnversion. 

Mercedes Sprinter

A bit more expensive, but the Sprinter comes in a range of roof heights and wheelbases. And it’s a Mercedes so it’s no slouch and it comes with lots of creature comforts in the driver’s cab.

Fiat Ducato

The Ducato is very spacious which will help you squeeze in all the extras you want to make your campervan break enjoyable. 

What makes a van a campervan and not just a van you sleep in?

Your campervan conversion becomes a legal motor caravan when you’ve registered it as such with the DVLA

Motor caravan is a special purpose M-category vehicle constructed to include living accommodation which contains at least the following: 

  • Seats and a table
  • Sleeping accommodation which may be converted from the seats 
  • Cooking facilities
  • Storage facilities

This equipment must be rigidly fixed to the living compartment.

External permanent features will normally include:

  • Two or more windows on at least one side of the main body (this does not include windows on the driver or passenger doors) to provide a reasonable amount of daylight into the living accommodation
  • A separate door which provides access to the living accommodation of the vehicle (this excludes the driver and passenger doors); a window on this door counts as a separate window on the main body
  • Motor caravan-style graphics on both sides of the vehicle
  • An awning bar attached to either side of the vehicle
  • A high-top roof (this does not include a pop-top elevating roof)
campervan conversion

What DIY skills will I need to convert my campervan?

You will have to incorporate mechanical engineering, design, carpentry, electrical skills, carpet fitting, plumbing, and decorating into your campervan conversion project to get the finish you’re looking for. 

How much will my campervan conversion cost?

The cost of your campervan conversion will depend on a number of factors, not least the size of the vehicle and your level of DIY skills.

If you get professionals in to do the job you could spend anything from £4,000 to £15,000 for a top end finish.

You can economise with DIY campervan conversions by using cheaper cuts of wood, off-cuts of carpet, recycled items, and fabricating your own bed and other furniture. An average DIY job would set you back around £2,000. 

The level of finish you are looking for will probably depend on how much you intend using the campervan. If it’s just for the odd weekend fishing trip with mates you may consider doing it on the cheap but if it’s for a grand tour you’ll want to splash out on all the comforts of home. 

What else should I take on my first campervan trip?

Campervan holidays are all about enjoying the great outdoors so don’t forget to pack a picnic table and chairs and a barbecue for some lovely alfresco dining.

An auxiliary tent or awning is also very useful to create extra storage space — you can never have too much storage space — or for extra sleeping space if your campervan conversion is a little too crowded. 

Will my campervan conversion need extra insurance?

When you convert a regular van into a campervan and have it registered as such with DVLA, you will need to take out specialist campervan insurance. 

If you go to an intermediary such as Sterling insurance you can get a campervan insurance policy that will match your precise needs. Prices start from as little as £165 a year and you will get cover for personal possessions up to the value of £2,000 and free European Green Card for up to 90 days travel. 

There are also optional extras for breakdown cover, camping gear insurance, keycare, misfueling  protection. Call 0344 381 9990 for a quote. 

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