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Motorhome vs Caravan

March 27, 2023
Caravan insurance

If you are torn between buying a motorhome or caravan then look no further than our article which weighs up the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Motorhome and touring caravans in a park

Motorhome vs caravan. What are the pros and cons?

If you’re stumped on whether to drive your holiday home or tow it behind you, we’ve considered the pros and cons of motorhomes and caravans, to help you make up your mind about which tickles your inner free spirit the most.

Which is better – a caravan or motorhome?

We can’t answer that question… because they’re both great! That’s why over 2 million people in the UK holiday in motorhomes and caravans every year, so whichever you choose, you’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of on-road adventurers.

Here are the main points we will cover:

  • What's the difference between a motorhome and a caravan?
  • The pros and cons of a motorhome vs a caravan
  • Depreciation
  • Insuring a caravan or a motorhome

What’s the difference between a caravan and a motorhome?

The fundamental difference between the two is that a touring caravan must be towed by a vehicle while a motorhome combines vehicle and living space. Both have the same basic facilities: a bed/beds, kitchen, bathroom and seating area.

If you need the use of a car without taking your living space with you everywhere you go, you may lean more towards a touring caravan. However, if you like the idea of an all-in-one, without the worry of towing then a motorhome could be right up your driveway.  

touring caravan and motorhome park

What are the pros and cons of a motorhome?

Motorhome Pros:

Leaning more towards an all-in-one? Here are just a few of the benefits of a motorhome over a caravan:

  • Hassle-free: setting yourself up for the night in a motorhome cuts out the faff of detaching and securing a caravan – you can simply pick your spot and make yourself at home.
  • Convenient: everything you need is in one place – so there’s no need to dash to the car in the pouring rain.
  • More manoeuvreable: Corners and winding roads will also present less of a challenge compared to negotiating a hairpin with a caravan in tow.
  • Easier to drive: while you will need to contend with a large, tall vehicle, you’ll avoid all the pitfalls of towing.

Motorhome cons:

On the other hand, there are a few ways a motorhome may come up short when compared to a caravan, such as:

  • More expensive: a new motorhome will set you back significantly more than a new caravan, depending on the make and model you choose.
  • You’re limited to one vehicle: if you just want to do a day trip or pop to the shops, you will have to pack up camp and set up again when you return.
  • Tax: while rates vary depending on weight, you will have to pay road tax on your motorhome.

What are the pros and cons of a touring caravan?

Touring caravan pros:

Here are just a few reasons why caravans are a popular choice, with more than 500,000 on the UK’s roads:

  • Flexibility: A caravan is great because you can detach it from your car, freeing your vehicle up for grand adventures or even just trips to the shop. It also means your destinations don’t have to accommodate a large vehicle.
  • Affordability: in general, buying a touring caravan and insuring it costs less than a new motorhome. Buying second-hand can mean even better deals.
  • Space: being able to chuck all the stuff you don’t need in your car can free up more room in your caravan, so you won’t be constantly tripping over boogie boards and raincoats

Touring caravan cons:

Like anything, there are also some disadvantages to touring caravans compared to a motorhome:

  • The weight your car can tow: You’ll need to think about whether your car can tow the weight of a touring caravan. If not, you may need to replace it or get a second car.
  • Towing requires skill: An unavoidable aspect of owning a caravan is that you’ll have to get used to driving a much heavier outfit. This can be daunting, especially if you don’t have much experience.
  • Less maneuverability: Squeezing down narrow, winding country roads or parking with a caravan in tow is no mean feat. It’s unlikely a touring caravan will be able to go everywhere a motorhome can.
  • Strain on your car: Towing can put extra stress on both you and your car, particularly when not done well, causing wear and tear on the chassis, suspension and engine.

Is it easier to drive a motorhome or tow a caravan?

Yes, a motorhome is usually considered easier to drive and manoeuvre, simply because it is one (large) vehicle with a wheel at each corner making it stable. Towing a caravan involves controlling two moving objects that are connected yet independent of each other. This requires a significant level of skill and awareness on the road.

Which depreciates faster, a caravan or a motorhome?

Caravans and motorhomes actually depreciate at roughly the same rate.  

Both hold their value much better than a car, which can lose over half its value in the first three years alone. Both lose approximately 20% in the first year after they’re purchased, and then between 10% and 15% in the years after that.

The rate of depreciation is mainly (but not only) affected by age and mileage and will plateau as the years pass – as long as you keep your vehicle in good condition.

Insurance: motorhomes vs caravans

While both caravans and motorhomes afford you the freedom to roam, they differ when it comes to insurance.

Touring caravan insurance is not a legal requirement, but it's the only way to protect your trailer in case of damage, theft and accidents. On InsureMy, the average cost of touring caravan insurance is just £140.47 a year.

As a vehicle in its own right, insuring a motorhome is a legal requirement. You can choose what features are included in your policy but, as a minimum, you will need third party liability cover.

Because motorhome insurance is covering both a vehicle and the accommodation, it is understandably more expensive but still good value.

Get motorhome or caravan insurance quotes in minutes

At InsureMy, we compare motorhome and caravan insurance quotes from our trusted panel of insurers to find you the best cover at the lowest price – get quotes for touring caravan insurance  or motorhome insurance today.

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