Buying a camper van in the UK

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by karead, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. karead

    karead Read Only Funster

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    We are Canadians who live full time in our 28 ft motorhome. We have spent the last five years touring Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

    We are flying to the UK in June and are now thinking about buying a small camper van to tour Europe for a few months. We see a lot of relatively cheap units for sale that would suit our needs.

    Questions...

    1) Many adverts mention MOT "paid" and tax "paid" until certain dates. Can somebody explain what this means and what costs would be incurred after such dates.

    2) Is it a simple process for a foreigner to buy and register such a vehicle? Or would it be better to have UK relatives buy it for us and then "borrow" it from them for a few months?

    Thanks...I'm sure more questions will be forthcoming, but only just starting to research the idea.

    http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com
     
  2. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    Hi there,

    MOT is the Ministry of Transport Test. It is a safety test carried out annually and it is illegal to drive a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate. It costs anywhere between £25 and £55 to get one depending on the Garage.

    The Tax is a disk you put in your windscreen. It is usually around £200 ish per year. Can be as low as £165. You need this displayed at all times.

    Owning a vehicle in the UK just requires a Valid address for you to get the registration documents registered to.

    You will also need to organise insurance. I think this will be the hardest bit for you. Not sure how to go about this for someone not a uk resident...

    I am sure someone else will be along shortly to give you more details..
     
  3. Bushtrekker

    Bushtrekker Read Only Funster

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    My wifes uncle did that.

    My wife's uncle lives in Australia and his grandson is a professional tennis player, so a couple of years ago they came over to take him round the circuit. To avoid hotel costs he bought a motorhome, in fact as far as I know he still has it. He left it with a friend here when he went back.

    I also heard something on the radio a few years back about a guy who owned a motorhome in the States and flew out at the start of each season, so it's certainly possibly either way.
     
  4. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    Remember to check what vehicle weights your Canadian license will cover in the UK. They made some changes to the UK license back in1997, beore that date people could drive up to 7500kg max weight. After 1997 a UK license will only allow up to 3500kg.. So you will see some reference in adverts to weights.
     
  5. Bushtrekker

    Bushtrekker Read Only Funster

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    Good point.

    I'm old enough to have 'Grandfather Rights' and my licence covers me for anything up to 7.5 tonnes, but yours may not.
     
  6. wizzer59

    wizzer59 Funster

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    Hi and welcome guys:thumb: I don't think there will be any problems with you buying a van over here, after all loads of people from all over the world do it all the time, I presume you will be buying second hand? but you will need a UK address of some sort i would think, anyway HERE is a link to our Driver and licencing agency who should be able to answer most of your questions:thumb:

    PS Have read some of your blog by the way, very enjoyable:Smile:
     
  7. stagman

    stagman Deleted User

     
  8. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi, and welcome to the forum ..

    As already mentioned, you only need a UK address to register the vehicle.. so you could use a relatives address.
    From other posts on this subject it would appear that getting insurance is the biggest headache..

    I had a Google for insurance for non EU residents and came up with this site

    UK Car Insurance for Drivers With EU / Foreign / International Licences

    hope you find it of some use ..

    Good luck with your plans :Smile:
     
  9. jaygee

    jaygee Funster

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    If you have relatives over here the easiest option may be to get them to buy it and insure it for you to drive, they can then sell it on when you are finished.
     
  10. spannermanwigan

    spannermanwigan Read Only Funster

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  11. karead

    karead Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the replies...the research continues...
     
  12. Johns_Cross_Motorhomes

    Johns_Cross_Motorhomes Trader - Motorhome & Accessory Sales

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    Your best bet is to have relatives as the registered keeper and have you added to insurance as additional driver.

    You will need to make sure the van has a long MOT to cover the period you will be away and you should have European recover in the event of a breakdown etc.

    Hiring would not be a cheap option !

    Be very wary of buy back schemes, I have heard stories of people being well ripped off when they try and return the van

    Peter
     
  13. karead

    karead Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the advice Peter. No, we will not be renting, nor will we be doing any "buy-back" schemes. I'm pretty mechanically inclined so have no issues with buying an older vehicle at the right price and with a little luck being able to sell it for what I paid for it when we're finished with it. Does sound like it will make more sense to have it registered and insured in a family members name and having me added as a driver.
     
  14. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    Just a minor issue, you cannot insure a vehicle in somebody elses name in the UK legally. If you make a claim on the insurance it will be invalid and wont pay out, leaving you criminally liable for any claim against you:Wink:
     
  15. karead

    karead Read Only Funster

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    I don't see where anybody suggested that.
     
  16. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    Just read that back and it doesnt make full sense.
    What I meant was if you insure a vehicle in the name of a third party or add somebody to insurance who will be the sole driver, not the policy holder it becomes illegal. Much the same as parents insuring a car in their name but it being for the sole use of their children. People still try this to save on high insurance premiums payable for inexperienced drivers. When caught many plead ignorance, saying its what everyone else does. Still illegal though and they get fined


     
  17. karead

    karead Read Only Funster

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    So what you're saying is that it would be illegal for my relative to buy a vehicle and then lend it to me for a few months to tour around Europe , even if he included me as a driver on his insurance?
     
  18. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi karead, sounds like you have the best idea.:thumb:Start your homework now (price wise) on both Autotrader -http://motorhomes.autotrader.co.uk/ and Ebay --http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/Campers-Caravans-Motorhomes-/121904/i.html?_nkw=Motorhome&_catref=1&_mPrRngCbx=1&_sop=&_trksid=p3286.c0.m1538
    to get a idea on how much to pay :thumb: Never pay asking price :BigGrin:
    Insurance wise if a British family member insures it for you expect anything from £300 to £500 for a yrs cover but be careful as some will only give 30 days for euro cover IE outside UK but you can start your 30 again after returning :Doh: others will cover 60 days and others all year so a little planing may be needed :thumb:
    You will soon run out of free posts so pay the £10 to become a full member and you can ask as many Questions as you like :thumb: It will be the best tenner you will spend :Wink:
    When you get nearer the time you can always ask thoughts on what to buy or even tell me/ us your budget and preferences to do a quick search and we could suggest a short-list for you to go look at when you arrive :thumb: As you say hopefully you can buy-use and sell without loosing money or at the very least loose very little :Wink:
    Vans are starting to sell now,and around October sales stall again for the winter.
    terry
     
  19. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    If you were a named driver on the policy and drove it occasionally that would be fine. However what you describe is more a prolonged tour, where you would be the main/only driver. This would invalidate the insurance and make it illegal, so yes

    Im not picking a fight here, just wanted to ensure you were aware of the way UK insurers work, and the possible danger of doing it the wrong way:thumb:
     
  20. karead

    karead Read Only Funster

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    No worries, I understand what you are saying. However, I think when the time comes I will simply tell the insurer what I am doing. Not trying to do anything underhanded. Just the simplest way.
     
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