With half a million caravan users on the road every year and the number ever increasing, there are many that do not know the laws regarding taxing your caravan.
Picture this, you have just purchased a shiny new caravan and want to pack up your gear, get the deck chairs out, rent out a campsite spot and head out on your holidays. However, you don’t know if you can legally tow this on the roads because you’re not sure if you have to pay road tax on it, a relatable scenario for many people who are new to the world of caravanning.
You will be happy to know that caravans do not require road tax full stop, if you own a caravan and would like to take it on holiday with you then you are free to do so without the worry that you will be stopped for a lack of tax on your home on wheels.
This only applies to touring caravans that are designed to be towed and transported via the means of another vehicle, this means that if you own a motorhome you must pay tax relating to the relevant band that you qualify for.
Despite the ability (or lack of) to pay tax, caravan owners need to be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding parking it on the road as there may be some local restrictions in place set by the local council.
These rules are very simple to follow and are mainly common sense orientated, you must ensure that it does not cause any safety issues and doesn’t act as an obstruction in the road to other road users.
It must also be parked in a way whereby the rear lights are visible to oncoming traffic and must be lit to ensure it is more visible under darkness. If the caravan has been detached from its towing vehicle it is especially important to ensure that at a bare minimum one of the wheels has been correctly locked to prevent it from moving using either its brake, a chock, a chain or another device that is suitable.
Provided that these rules have been followed then it is not likely that you will run into any problems regarding your caravan being on the road.
The reason caravans do not have to pay road tax is because they have their own rules for the road, they do not need to legally pay tax, get a yearly MOT or be insured.
Yes, that’s right, your caravan doesn’t need an MOT or insurance for you to legally be able to drive it on the roads, the reason for this is that the law leaves the power in the hands of the owner, they are fully responsible for ensuring that the caravan always remains in a roadworthy state with special checks and servicing recommended once a year.
Insurance is also not required as previously mentioned, it is available for you if you would like to ensure your caravan is fully comprehensibly covered but is not required by law as your car insurance will cover this for you, the issue is that it will only be covered from third party incidents such as someone crashing into you or a third-party causing damage to your caravan. With upwards of 4,000 caravans stolen every year, it is highly recommended to take out an insurance policy for your caravan.
It’s worth noting that although at the time of writing caravans do not need to pay tax, this could be starting to change thanks to ‘clean air zones’ popping up across the UK in cities such as London, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Greater Manchester, Bath, Bradford, Portsmouth, Bristol, Oxford and more.
These ‘clean air zones’ are aiming to improve the quality of air within cities and are charging people whose vehicles do not meet the standards that have been set out, thankfully for caravans it doesn’t look like they will be affected in the near future due to their lack of emissions but motorhome users are set to receive hefty fees for their time in these areas.
The Caravan and Motorhome Club have said that motorhomes that weigh more than 3.5kg could be liable to a £100 charge per day to be able to drive their vehicles in these low emission zones.
So, to clarify, your caravan doesn’t need to be taxed, insured and doesn’t require a yearly MOT inspection, however, it is strongly advised that it is kept regularly serviced to ensure that it is safe to drive and not hazardous to yourselves and other road users. Plus, if you want to park your caravan on the road, this is safe to do so but you must check with the local authorities to ensure that their rules and regulations allow you to do so.