What Insurance Do You Need To Live in a Van?

Courtney Mihocik
Courtney Mihocik

Reviews Report

  • Insurance for full-time van dwelling is like a hybrid between home insurance and car insurance.
  • It’s recommended to buy additional belongings coverage to protect personal property within the van or RV.
  • Approximately 1 million Americans live in their RVs full time.

You saved up the money and did the work to convert that old van into a habitable home on wheels. However, you still need car insurance to protect not only your new house on the road, but also your belongings and any modifications that were done to join the 1 million other Americans in #vanlife and full-time RV-ing.

It’s easy to get a little FOMO when scrolling TikTok and videos of tours of tiny homes and converted vans. But how exactly does car insurance work if your vehicle is also your house? Do you get car insurance and home insurance at the same time?

The answer is simple, according to Josh Damico, VP of insurance operations at Jerry. 

“Treat your van like you would a house and make sure the valuables inside it are protected. If you are storing valuable possessions, such as jewelry, in your vehicle, you should have a policy that covers vandalism and theft,” Damico explains. “As coverage varies carrier to carrier, you’ll want to confirm whether your insurance covers personal property. Some policies do not cover the property inside your van, only the van itself.”

Even though auto insurance premiums are based, in part, on ZIP code, primary vehicle use, and average miles driven per year, things might get complicated if you plan to wander across the country in your van. Despite this, RV insurance for vans is rated accordingly, says Damico.

Because any vehicle has to have state registration, your proudly nomadic home still technically has to have a permanent address linked to it. This can be a friend or family member’s address — just make sure that they hold any insurance or vehicle-related mail for you.

And, because RV insurance policies are rated for long-distance traveling, van dwellers don’t have to worry about mileage or location, Damico says. 

“As your van moves around, its risk for damage or loss fluctuates. Insurance companies accept this risk and rate accordingly,” he notes. “This could mean your RV policy is more or less expensive than a standard auto policy in the same area.”

Some major insurance companies that offer RV insurance for #vanlife are Good Sam, Progressive, Geico, and American Family. With these companies, full-time van dwellers can choose coverage options similar to home insurance coverage offerings, like personal liability and belongings coverage. 

Just like standard home insurance, the limits for these coverage options can be customized, but it’s recommended to max out limits while still staying within budget. After all, this will be your home and your vehicle. 

“Experts recommend carrying the highest amount of coverage you can afford. You can never have too much insurance coverage on your home,” Damico explains. “You’ll also want to add full coverage with deductibles you can afford. Both comprehensive and collision will protect your van from damage, regardless of fault.”

Damico says that the recommended coverage is at least 100/300, or $100,000 in personal injury protection per person and $300,000 in personal injury protection per accident. 

Once you have the coverage limits set and your new home on wheels is insured, you’re ready to head out on the road. 

For more advice on insuring your RV or van, don’t forget to tap into the resourceful community of other full-time RVers and van dwellers for the nitty-gritty details of living insured on the road.

“One of the best parts about van life is the amazing community of people it brings together,” Damico adds. “Get in touch with fellow van dwellers and find out how they are insuring their vehicles and which carriers they have experience with.”

About the Authors

Courtney Mihocik is an editor for Reviews.com. She graduated from Ohio University with a degree in journalism and a specialization in Russian studies. Her previous editing and writing work can be seen on The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Ballantyne Magazine, and more. In her spare time, she likes to read sci-fi novels and do the New York Times crossword.