How to Insure your self build project or Caravan

Ensuring you are able to insure your self-build project when it is completed is important to consider at the beginning, as is making sure the premium is reasonable. There are a few steps the self-builder can take to take care of this. essentially the goal is to demonstrate the project is fully compliant with all relevant Regulations and Standards. It is wise to find your team of ‘Certifiers’ at the beginning before you start your build – to clarify what they want to see when they provide a certificate at the end.


Whether it is a vehicle (eg motorhome) or a trailer (eg caravan) you need to ensure that the design and build can be certified. For example a caravan chassis needs to be designed by a competent professional such that a Professional Engineer will be able to provide a Compliance Certificate. The document VSB 1 which can be found here is intended to assist manufacturers of trailers with an aggregate trailer mass of 4.5 tonnes or less to understand the Australian Design Rule (ADR) requirements applying to the most common types of trailers. In addition to the design and construction of the chassis, this certificate will check other aspects of the design such as

  • the choice of and location of marker lights, licence plate lamp
  • reflectors
  • the suspension
  • the braking system
  • tyres and rims
  • drawbar
  • 12 volt coupling
  • tyre placard
  • overall dimensions et

Any gas installation must be designed and certified by a Licenced Gas-fitter to demonstrate it is compliant with the latest gas regulations – AS/NZS 5601.2.2020

The 240 volt electrics system (and ideally the 12 volt system too) should be designed and certified by a qualified electrician.

Getting a Quote

Several insurer’s offer Cover to home-made vehicles and caravans under certain conditions. We spoke with CIL Insurance (Tel 1800 112 481) and customers would be required to provide the following information

  • Clear photos depicting the vehicle’s condition (4 external photos – each outside wall & 2 internal photos showing the sleeping & kitchen facilities)
  • The vehicle must already have electric & gas installed / converted to Australian standards and the customer must provide the appropriate certificate if requested or in the event of a claim
  • To determine an agreed value for the vehicle which may be what the customer wants to insure it for
  • If unable to provide a value your customer must provide a valuation from an independent caravan valuer.

As before, it’s a good idea to research Insurers at the beginning of the build so you can be ready when the time comes.