Secure caravan storage brings peace of mind for you, and for your insurer.
The two most common ways of storing RVs and caravans when they are not in use, the ones that I am aware of now at any rate, are at home and in spaces that specialise in caravan storage. There are other options and I’ll have a look at them as well.
Keeping your caravan at home: Lots of people simply keep their caravan, travel-trailer or motor-home at home. Some are lucky enough to be able to park it in a
dedicated spot on a concrete, or some other hard surface. Others simply put it in the driveway where it shares space with the cars. Wherever you have it, it is generally a good idea to keep it on a hard surface in order that grass and other plant material doesn’t grow underneath it. If it does it will prevent free circulation of air and invite dampness.
Some people like to cover their units with a specially designed caravan cover suitable for their model. This may or may not be necessary, as your caravan is designed to exist outdoors. It may help however by reducing fading of graphics or other damage that may be caused by sunlight.
Check with other owners or with your local planning authority if you need permission to keep you caravan at home. In some places rules and restrictions do apply.
Keeping your RV with Friends, Family or Neighbours: You may have friends, family or neighbours who have some safe secure storage space that they are prepared to give, or to rent to you. This can often be a useful solution, and it is one which we have used in the past. The advantages of doing it this way is that you can often came and go as you wish, enjoy a chat and a cup of tea and keep everything nice and informal. For people who live in a quiet place it can provide a bit of activity around the premises, and if there is always somebody at home it can be a secure way to store your unit.
Sometimes disadvantages occur with this arrangement however. If something goes wrong it can cause stresses and strains with your friends or relations that we can all do without. For instance if damage occurs to your van while it is stored at a neighbours premises or if it is stolen from there, it is not your fault. Neither is it the fault of your neighbour, who was doing you a favour. In this situation relations may become strained and you may lose a good friend or neighbour in the process. This thankfully has never happened to me but I was mindful of the fact when we kept our van at a family members house.
There are some measures you can take when you avail of a kind offer from somebody to store you caravan:
1. Check with your insurance company that they are happy with the arrangement. Describe where it is and give them as much detail as you can. If possible send them photographs of the storage area.
2. Have a look together with your friend, relation or neighbour at where it is stored and try to identify any hazards. For instance, if it on a farm is there a risk of animals breaking in and causing damage. Will machinery be operated in the vicinity and is there a consequential risk of accidental damage to your van. Will people park nearby and is there a risk of somebody reversing into the caravan. Take a little bit of time to have a sensible look around, identify and try to head off any problems before they occur.
3. Is it visible to the general public? Most people are very honest and won’t want to relieve you of your property, but there are a few who will. Firstly check to see if it is in view and secondly check that you have taken all the security measures that you can think of to prevent unlawful tampering or taking away. You’ll get some ideas on how to do this on my caravan security resource page where I talk about some security measures you can take if storing your unit at home. Simly re-apply the suggestions to this situation.
4. Can you get at the thing when you need to without disturbing people. For example if you are late back from a trip away, do you need to ask people to move their cars in order for you to get in?
Most importantly if somebody is helping you out by storing your van, especially if there is no cost to you, you may want to bring something nice back from your trips away as a gift. A stick of rock, a bottle of whiskey, a funny hat or a cheeky postcard may work – it doesn’t have to be expensive and it is nice when somebody shows appreciation.
Dedicated Caravan and Motorhome Storage Facility: This is often the best solution for those of us who cannot keep our caravans or motor-homes at home. There are dedicated caravan and motor-home storage facilities all over the place, particularly near towns and cities and close to popular destinations.
The best of these are very secure, allow you access to your unit at all times and are indoor free from bird damage, dust and rain. Some are operated by various caravan and camping clubs and some by enterprising business people, land owners and farmers.
It is a good idea to approach these facilities with a simple checklist. This will help you to ensure that you are getting what you want:
1. Is the areas secure? Are the units stored under lock and key and does the place have 24hour security?
2. If you are happy with the security arrangements, decide if it is possible to get at your unit if you need to clean it or to retrieve something that you forgot to take home. Will it be easy to load it up before you set out or will it be packed in closely side by side with other units. You need to decide if you want access or not. I like to be able to get in and out in order to clean it and to carry out small repairs and re-organisations. We also like to go out during the winter and some storage facilities do not allow access for this purpose.
3. If the space is outdoors is it underneath trees, a bird nesting area or a roost? Bird droppings can ruin a van, as a friend of mine discovered to his cost. The nice convenient space he had identified for his caravan was directly underneath an area that was popular with birds. The result was a great big hole in the roof resulting in water damage and necessitating the purchase of a new van. Most caravanners that I know love nature, and love getting close to it, just don’t park under certain aspects of it!
4. If the space is indoors, and this may sound strange, but do check that it is dry & that the roof is leak free. There is nothing worse than putting your nice clean shiny caravan into storage and finding when you go to get it that it has developed some nice new black streaks due to gunk being washed off the roof. Also check that the place is free of dust and contaminants. Find out what else is happening in the space & have a think about how it may impact on your caravan. I have seen large amounts of artificial fertiliser stored in the same place as caravans. While in that instance the fertiliser did emit dust and fumes it didn’t appear to have an impact on the vans. You do need to be aware of this dynamic and to act quickly if damage is likely to occur.
The best kind of indoor storage is where the space is secure, well organised, well ventilated, dry, and dedicated to the purpose of storing leisure vehicles.
If you have any questions about storing your caravan, motor-home or other leisure vehicle please e-mail them to me and I will do my best to find the answer for you. I will of course never share your e-mail, contact details or any of your personal information.
Caravan Stored at Home By: Mikey