How does home-conversion insurance work in Oz?

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 18:44
ThreadID: 92296 Views:2935 Replies:8 FollowUps:6
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Hi guys,

I'm from the UK - emigrating to SA in June. Me and my wife have always had campers (VWs) here, and we're thinking it'd be a great way to get about in Oz and see a bit of the place.

Ideally I'd like to buy a van and do a conversion myself, but I'm wondering if there are any insurance issues with that? Here in the UK, some companies (more and more), won't insure a home-converted van, or make it incredibly expensive/difficult to do.

Also, is it very expensive to run two vehicles in Oz? At first we were thinking we'd just have a camper van as our day-to-day car, too, but with 3 kids as well, that's a pretty big van! We'd rather have a car and a van for the weekends, but only if it doesn't cost the earth.

Any advice much appreciated!


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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 19:02

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 19:02
Really depends on your financial situation, plenty here even retirees run two vehicles, the motorhome/camper and small car to run around in.
Can't speak for SA but in NSW it typically costs about $1000 to 1200.00 to register and comprehensively insure a vehicle for someone on lifetime 65% no claim discount.
No problem with home converted vehicles either, the CMCA (Camper and Motorhome Club of Australia have their own insurance scheme with good rates for campers, motorhomes and tug/caravan combo's.
AnswerID: 479461

Follow Up By: WPB - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 19:08

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 19:08
Thanks, Ozhumvee. Is the registering a vehicle you mention in your post something you have to do just once, or is it a year-on-year cost? I realise I'll have to check this out for SA, but how does it work in NSW at least?

And thanks a lot for the pointer to CMCA - that sounds very promising!


FollowupID: 754936

Follow Up By: mynance - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 19:45

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 19:45

Vehicle registration includes the tax disc and third part personal insurance to cover any injuries that a may occur to another person plus a nominal defender fee for those who are not registered.

Some states do have an MOT but not Qld.

FollowupID: 754943

Follow Up By: Steven G1 - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 20:58

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 20:58

Yes, registration is paid annually. In some states you will have to have a registration sticker fixed to the windscreen. Should have no problems converting, many people do this.

Cheers Steve.
FollowupID: 754952

Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 19:41

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 19:41
Check out camper trailers instead of a camper van. With our drier and warmer climate than the UK I think you will find they are a much more cost effective family friendly means of getting out and travelling
Campers as you call them are things that are used by retirees, permanent travellers and more cashed up European "backpackers"
Have a look at the web sites for Cavalier or Cameron Camper Trailers (both Adelaide based), progressing up scale to TrakShak camper trailers and beyond. There are probably over 100 or more brands, those are just three.
There is also an article under "Topics " on this web site which will provide more details.
We do a fair bit of travelling and I can't remember ever seeing an Aussie family using a "VW style camper'
If you are into DIY (do it yourself) you can buy a basic one and outfit it yourself. There are at least two monthly Camper Trailer magazines here which have sections on camper trailer modifications.
AnswerID: 479464

Reply By: Member - Minty (SA) - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 20:06

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 20:06

If your thinking of converting an old Kombi van, these are now considered collectors items and fetch good money. Try and look at what you might pay for a pre or post conversion vehicle.
AnswerID: 479467

Follow Up By: Steven G1 - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:03

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:03
Hi Minty,

Two adults and three kids in a converted Kombie van!

Squeezie :)

Cheers Steve
FollowupID: 754955

Follow Up By: Dave B ( BHQ NSW) - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:23

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:23
One thing that comes to mind with me is the 3 kids in the back of the van.
I imagine getting seatbelts for them would be an issue with the mounting points etc.
Getting a workable design camper for 5 people and complying with the seatbelt regs. might be a problem.


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FollowupID: 754956

Reply By: Member - Keith Berg - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:14

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:14
You might be a lot better off with a camper trailer and a mediium SUV with room for the family and as well as being a good runabout during the week. For camper trailers have a look at and get a feel for what's available. Then look second hand. Youll probably get a 4WD vehicle and a camper for less than a basic Kombi.
You'll love it here! Welcome aboard.
AnswerID: 479478

Reply By: cruza25 - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:14

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:14
Hi wpb,
We are from uk and live in Adelaide. Like others have said, maybe look at a 4x4 with a tent or camper trailer. We just used to have a box trailer and tent for many years but now have a Adventure camper trailer, made here in Adelaide. This is great for a family and means you can leave camp setup whilst exploring or going off to the beach etc. there a some great places around sa including the finders ranges. Good luck cheers mike..
AnswerID: 479479

Follow Up By: D&G - Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 09:59

Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 09:59
Hi wpb

We also live in Adelaide having emigrated from the UK many years ago. Would echo Mike's comment - we also have an Adventure trailer and have used it for 5 months away last year. We bought our Adventure as a second hand model direct from the maker - really pleased with it and with the after sales service from Paul and his Dad. Good luck with the move
FollowupID: 754981

Reply By: Member - res.q.guy (Vic.) - Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 06:46

Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 06:46
Hi Will
My father just converted a Mercedes Sprinter van into a camper / motorhome, here in Melbourne, Victoria, himself. To get it registered and insured, he had no problems. When the conversion is done you need an electrical certificate to say the 240v wiring is all ok, a Plumbing certificate to say the gas installation is ok and has no leaks, and an engineering certificate, to say the conversion it's self is ok. From memory a cost of about $2200.
AnswerID: 479500

Reply By: pop2jocem - Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 09:24

Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 09:24
Hi Will,

Welcome to Oz (when you get here)
Difficult to recommend vehicles when I don't know your personal situation and financial resources but my take on this would be to look at getting a 2WD or 4WD car depending on whether you want to go to out of the way places or just stick to the bitumen. That way you can buy a caravan (3 kids) that can be left parked up and used when you want to go touring. A caravan rego is a lot cheaper than a motor vehicle and you will not have to take a somewhat more cumbersome vehicle for daily commuting.

AnswerID: 479510

Reply By: WPB - Monday, Mar 12, 2012 at 22:12

Monday, Mar 12, 2012 at 22:12
Thanks everyone who replied - really helpful input from you all.

It certainly seems like a trailer makes the most sense. I'll do some thinking now I've got some facts.


AnswerID: 480217

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