Hiring a car with a towbar: Information for towing caravans and trailers

We are living in the sharing economy. These days we are happy to share taxis, homes, even our pets with complete strangers! This development offers great opportunities – especially with caravans. Instead of purchasing your own, you can rent or borrow one, and set off on a great holiday adventure.

In 2014, people in the UK took 13.3m holiday trips camping and caravanning, spending £2.1bn during their trips and these numbers are only growing. But as caravanning becomes more popular we’re receiving more and more questions about how car insurance works and how best to protect your caravan when either being towed by a rented vehicle or the caravan itself is hired. And that’s why we’ve listed the most popular questions below:

Can I tow a caravan or a trailer with a rented car?

Hire A Car With A Towbar article

Urban living today means many of us want small efficient cars which are perfect for commuting and squeezing into small spaces. But unfortunately these are not great for pulling caravans. That’s why some caravanners prefer to simply rent a car when they want to take their caravan out.

Not all rental services will let you attach tow bars to their vehicles. So you must find out whether you are allowed to do this before renting the car. In most instances, your caravan will be protected on a third-party basis as part of your car cover.  Most importantly though, make sure you have received the green light from your car hire company to do this.

When you rent a car, the price includes insurance – which will cover you for accidents. To ensure the safety of your most precious belongings, there is contents insurance available to you for protection against theft.  After that, I4CH offers a range of additional car hire excess products to make sure you are looked after in most cases when renting vehicles.

When you’re towing a caravan however it’s important to remember that you have caravan insurance in place too. If your caravan is stolen for example, your car insurance rented or otherwise, won’t cover you for this. See our article on how best to cover your caravan

Does my car insurance cover me if I rent a caravan?

Got a towbar on your own car but want to hire a caravan? Here’s how the insurance works for this:

As long as you have a form of car insurance, your caravan is automatically protected under third party cover. Third party protection will cover you for accidents that are your fault, but only for the damage you cause to others not yourself or your property.

With rented caravans however, the insurance cover comes as part of your rental agreement. Part of the fee for renting covers the insurance while you’re using it. So while the third party cover protects damage to others, the caravan insurance protects the caravan as well. So if you were to damage the body you would still be covered.

Don’t forget to always check the features, exclusions and excess at the time of renting.

Does my cover apply if I’ve rented a car and rented a caravan?

More and more people are test driving caravans by renting them before deciding to outright purchase one. For this reason, people need to rent both car and caravan to do so. Here’s what you need to know for this… 

Rented cars will be covered by the rental insurance outlined above, but make sure you’re allowed to tow a caravan before renting.  A rented caravan is insured as part of the rental cost… So that’s car insurance and third party liability on your car cover and contents and damage cover provided by the caravan insurance.

Does my cover apply if I’ve rented a car and borrowed a caravan from a friend or family member?

Many customers are coming to us because they’ve had the opportunity to borrow a caravan from a friend or family member. The problem here is that not all of us own cars capable of towing a caravan so instead choose to rent a vehicle in order to still jump at the opportunity! Here is how you stay covered in this situation.

As it says above, if you’ve found a rental car to tow your borrowed caravan then from this angle you have no worries. The car cover can accommodate you towing a caravan. The friend you have borrowed the caravan from should also have their own caravan insurance too. So as long as you haven’t rented the caravan from them, and have indeed borrowed it, then the correct insurance is in place of the caravan itself.