Looking at buying a campervan? You’re in the right place! We’ve put together this handy guide to the annual costs of owning a camper, so you’re not caught out by unexpected or unplanned expenses.
Whether you want a camper you can take on weekend breaks, or you’re thinking of living the vanlife, there are a few different costs which will pop up year after year that you’ll need to factor in.
Just Kampers Insurance’s guide to the annual costs you should know about before you buy a campervan
The cost of an annual service on your campervan
Like any other vehicle, your camper will need to be serviced each year. This is a cost which you can (and should) plan for, and one that you can help to reduce by taking proper care of your camper.
If you’re thinking of buying an older campervan, like the iconic VW T2 Bay, then it’s entirely possible to service your camper yourself, if you’ve got the tools, knowledge, and experience needed.
More modern vehicles, like the popular VW T6.1, often require specialised tools and equipment to work on, which means you may need to take your camper to a garage to carry out a service for you.
To help you plan for this annual cost, check out what the garages in your area charge for a vehicle service, and take a look at the costs of the parts your vehicle may need.
To help keep the cost down, it’s worth noting that if you insure your vehicle with Just Kampers Insurance, you’ll save 10% on orders from Just Kampers, which can certainly help bring down the cost of your camper’s annual service.
How much is an MOT on a campervan?
As of October 2023, the MOT fee for campers is £54.85 according to the gov.uk website.
However, vehicles first built or registered more than 40 years ago are not legally required to have an annual MOT test. This applies to classic campervans, and could mean that your camper doesn’t need to get an MOT test.
While it’s not a legal requirement, we still recommend getting your classic camper an MOT test, just to help ensure that it’s still working properly and won’t break down on you unexpectedly.
What does it cost to insure a camper in the UK?
Another annual cost to plan for will be the vehicle insurance for your campervan. Again, this is a variable cost which will depend on factors such as the value of your camper, how much you’ll be driving it, and what you do for a living, but if you’re sizing up your options for campervan insurance then you’ll want to get a quote from Just Kampers Insurance.
It’s a bit of a win-win. Since we specialise in vehicle cover for all sorts of campervans, we’ll be able to offer you really competitive insurance quotes. Better than that, though, if we can’t beat your like-for-like insurance quote, we’ll send you a £50 Just Kampers gift voucher, which you can spend here at Just Kampers.
As of February 2022, the average cost to insure a campervan in the UK was £377, which often covers not only your driving, but also things that home insurance policies may cover like some personal belongings.
Naturally there’s no one-size fits all price for vehicle insurance, but here are some guideline prices from Just Kampers Insurance:
These prices are a guideline, and are accurate at the time of writing (October 2023), but may be subject to change.
How Much is Vehicle Tax for a Campervan?
Again, this is a cost which will vary between different people, but should be fairly consistent each year.
The main factors which will affect the vehicle tax rate for your camper are its maximum authorised mass (MAM), engine size, and how you pay.
Here’s a quick guide to help you calculate yours:
MAM under 3,500kg, and engine below 1549cc £200 to £220 per year
MAM under 3,500kg, and engine above 1549cc £325 to £357.50 per year
MAM over 3,500kg, regardless of engine size £165 to £181.50 per year
Vehicles with an MAM below 3,500kg and an engine size below 1549cc pay £200-£220 per year and vehicles with an engine size above 1549cc pay £325-£357.50 per year. Vehicles with an MAM over 3,500kg pay £165-£181.50 annually regardless of engine size.
How expensive is it to maintain and repair a campervan?
A timeless question, with no real answer! Instead, we’ll explain some of the factors which can influence how much you spend to keep your camper on the road.
The general consensus online seems to be that you should expect to pay between about £300 to £700 a year on repairs and maintenance for your camper.
It should be noted, though, that this price will fluctuate year-on-year. If you’ve completed a laundry list of repairs on your camper this year, you’re (hopefully) unlikely to need to do so again next year
Storage For When Your Vans Not in Use
This section may not be important to you if you have enough space to store your camperv on your own land (whether on your driveway or in a garage), but if space is limited for you, don’t let that stop you living out your dream campervan life!
There are many campervan storage facilities across the UK which offer a secure place to leave your van whilst it’s not being used. These sites are flexible with how long you want to store your van there, allowing you to usually pay by the day, month or year. The majority of these places charge around £1-£1.50 per day.
If you’re still researching the costs of owning a campervan before buying one, this is a cost which is well worth factoring in, since you’ll want to keep your beloved camper safe and sheltered while you’re not using it.
For those who’d rather keep their camper nearby, Just Kampers has created their own luxury breathable vehicle covers to help protect your camper, as well as working with Clarke on exclusive Tall and Extra Tall Heavy-Duty Instant Garages.
You may also have annual security costs too, such as paying a monthly fee for a high range security alarm. Having a Thatcham approved security alarm is a very good defence mechanism against opportunistic thieves. but the costs can add up by the end of the year. The Thatcham approved alarms cost from £150-£650 and you will also have to pay a £10-£30 monthly fee.
There are cheaper alarm options including alarms that don’t require you to pay a monthly fee to use them. This will mean sacrificing the higher quality and some levels of protection, but these options will still provide you with some degree of protection and will make a much smaller dent in your budget.
You can also beef up your security with deterrents like the Safe-T Pedal, which locks in place over the pedals in your campervan’s cab, to prevent would-be thieves from driving it away. Security measures can be a great way to help bring costs down, as they’re a one-off purchase which you can use for years to come.
A quick summary of the annual costs of owning a campervan
Hopefully you’ve found this guide useful, and it’s helped you get a better idea of the annual costs that come with owning a camper. As a quick recap, here’s some suggested next steps:
• Take some time to check the costs for a service in your local area, and get a feel for how much different parts and service items cost for the make and model of campervan you’re looking for.
• Get an insurance quote from Just Kampers Insurance, since you’ll get a 10% discount on parts and accessories from Just Kampers to keep your campervan on the road and ready for adventure.
• Check the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) and engine size of the camper you’re looking to buy, so you can calculate the rate of vehicle tax you’ll pay.
• Consider whether you’ve got the space to store your camper on your own property, or whether you’ll need to look at paying to store it somewhere else.
• Find out what security measures come with the camper you’ve got your eye on, and see whether you’ll want to beef them up with products or services which come with an annual cost.