Campervan vs Motorhomes: What Are The Pros and Cons?

12 July 2024

The differences between campervans and motorhomes may seem difficult to notice at first, but the two vehicles aren’t the same.

There is likeness, because both represent transportable accommodation, but how deep does that similarity truly go?

Campervan vs Motorhomes: What Are The Pros and Cons?

If you’ve dreamed of hitting the open road and going on an epic adventure or huge roadtrip, then you’ve probably imagined yourself cruising around in a campervan or motorhome, but what are the differences between the two?

We’ve put together this helpful guide to lay out the pros and cons of both motorhomes and camper vans, from initial costs and modification, through to insuring your new home away from home.

What is the difference between a campervan and a motorhome?

Motorhomes and campers both represent mobile accommodation, but how deep does that similarity truly go?

On closer inspection, campervans and motorhomes are different both on the surface and below it. Cosmetic differences, the kinds of equipment available, and the lifestyles that go with them – are all factors that should influence whether campervans or motorhomes are the better option for you.

The most obvious difference between a campervan and a motorhome is that a motorhome is built on a larger chassis like a truck and has a self-contained living space.

A campervan has self-contained quarters too but is usually much smaller. Typically, a campervan’s space isn’t divided between the cab and dwelling space either, although you can get curtains to divide the two areas from each other.

When it comes to further distinguishing between them, let’s further explore their definitions:

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What is a Campervan?

Defined as a smallish, self-contained van, a campervan has been equipped for both transport and accommodation. Generally, a camper has no separation between its cab and living quarters, which typically contain facilities for cooking, washing, and sleeping.

For many, the idea of a campervan is popularly associated with a van that has been fitted and kitted, normally as an ongoing DIY job, with a range of equipment, features, and accessories that liken it to an apartment on wheels. When shortened to camper, it can refer to an interest, a lifestyle, or a means of transport closely coupled with camping.
Unlike a motorhome, campervans are commonly built for easy, long-form travel but at a cheaper cost and easier access to things like ferries, car parks, and country roads.

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What is a Motorhome?

While campervans are suited to long weekends or short trips, motorhomes are generally far larger and tend to be geared to bringing comfort on the road. Though mistakenly interchanged with campervans, these are generally modelled around fixed features.

They both share a desire for recreational travel, but motorhomes are larger and use a truck or bus chassis to bring in extra space to the living quarters. The living quarters in motorhomes are much more compartmentalised.

Is a Campervan Cheaper Than a Motorhome?

When it comes to expense, the luxury and scale of motorhomes will usually be costlier than campers. Campervans, being small and adaptable, means they can run at cheaper costs, and generally don’t cost as much to buy initially.

In many areas, campervans are the cheaper alternative to motorhomes, and include potential savings for:
• Fuel economy
• Parts
• Ferry charges

Is it cheaper to tax and insure a campervan or a motorhome?

Generally, when it comes to the broad costs of ownership, campervans are the cheapest option of the two. Even with tax and insurance, campervans tend to run on more affordable premiums, especially when you partner with a specialist insurer like Just Kampers Insurance.

However, motorhome insurance may not cost nearly as much as you think. Since motorhomes aren’t generally driven nearly as often as normal vehicles, are driven at lower speeds, and are mostly on the roads during the summer when the weather conditions are better, they’re often not seen as such a high risk by insurers, so you can get some great deals on motorhome insurance.

For example, we can insure a motorhome from just £245, which is a great deal which often catches people by surprise, as they expected it to cost more.

The Benefits of Motorhomes

Ideal for a more luxurious, comfortable escape, motorhomes can give their owners a sense of relaxed travel. These are often kitted out with an array of luxurious fixed features – depending on whether it’s a coach-build or A-Class. Either way, the vehicles integrate comfort into function with compartmentalised areas, like kitchens and bedrooms.

Motorhomes are larger, wider, and roomier. The obvious sacrifice is cost, as they generally run on a more expensive economy for areas like fuel use, or parts. You may also find it challenging to negotiate narrow roads, busy towns, car parks, and vehicle height/weight restrictions, but a bit of planning can help you avoid a lot of these issues.

The main functionality of a motorhome is its self-containment, incorporating many creature comforts. It’s less rugged, somewhat durable and can withstand testing journeys, much like its smaller, sleeker counterpart – the campervan.

The Benefits of Campervans

The classic camper, especially Volkswagen buses, are iconic vehicles and have been touring since the 1950s. They’re iconic in culture, but beyond that, campervans are known for being practical modes of transport with built-in, custom living quarters.

Modern campervans, like those converted from the Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter, are every bit as enjoyable and comfortable, and arguably more reliable.

Many campervans have different roofs, such as pop-tops, or expanding roofs. This adjustability of space sets campervans apart, as users can customise their living quarters. Pop-tops, for example, can expand the space of your vehicle once it’s stationary, which can be ideal for camping excursions when you need a bit more room.

Aside from adjustable space, especially in the living quarters, and different modification options, campervans are preferable for those who plan on driving a lot. Campers tend to be smaller, easier to drive, and easier to park. The smaller sizes of campervans make them better suited to camping and being outdoors.

For more information about tailoring insurance policies to your campervan or motorhome, whether you’re after affordable premiums or something with that little bit more protection, consider coverage from the experts at Just Kampers Insurance.

Click here for more information on motorhome insurance, or you can click here to learn more about campervan insurance.

If you’ve got any questions, or need any additional information, then get in touch with our friendly team of experts here at Just Kampers Insurance. You can call us on 01256 444546 or click here to arrange a time for us to call you.

For more information about tailoring insurance policies to your campervan or motorhome, whether you’re after affordable premiums, or something with that little bit more protection, consider coverage from the experts at Just Kampers Insurance.

Written by: Jason Sims

Jason is a Marketing Executive at Just Kampers who is a fully-fledged VW enthusiast, with over 20 years’ experience in keeping Volkswagens old and new on the road, he currently owns a 69 Cal Look Beetle, and enjoys attending VW shows and Camping with friends and family.

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