More people than ever before are looking to private campervan hire over renting from more conventional motorhome rental companies. A number of peer-to-peer campervan and motorhome hire websites have sprung up to meet this demand.
Perhaps you’re considering hiring because you want to try before you buy, or maybe you’re just adventurous and fancy a nomadic get away and enjoy the freedom of the open road.
Either way, hiring a van directly from the campervan owner has many benefits, which we’ll consider along with the potential pitfalls in our guide to private campervan hire in the UK.
If you’re open to the idea of hiring from someone else, read on to learn more.
- Why rent a privately owned campervan or motorhome?
- Best UK private campervan hire websites
- How to rent a campervan through a private hire platform
- Motorhome Hire Excess Insurance
- Private Campervan Hire – Top Tips
- When things go wrong. What to do if there’s damage or an accident
- Conclusion – private van hire can be a great experience
Why rent a privately owned campervan or motorhome?
There are a number of advantages in hiring a campervan or motorhome from a private owner.
You will typically pay less money per night for a private campervan hire than you would hiring through a campervan hire company. Many van owners offer discounts for longer rentals periods.
Whilst a campervan hire company won’t leave you short on the essentials, they can’t provide you with all the kit you’re likely to need. Campervan and motorhome owners have a mountain of gear they use with their vehicle and they are likely to offer it up for hire too.
Private campervan and motorhome owners want to work with you to get your hire underway. They will be as flexible as they can be with the timings to make the hire work.
You will be hiring someone’s pride and joy. There will be a thorough handover and inventory done. Need a lift to and from the station? No doubt your campervan owner will aim to help. There will be little finishing touches you just wont get with hiring through a campervan hire company.
No commercial campervan hire company will cover so many different types of vans. Private hire gives you access to a wide variety of vans.
Looking for something in particular, a classic VW campervan, or something unusual to add a bit of fun? The private hire campervan websites will have you covered.
Best UK private campervan hire websites
The best way to hire a privately owned campervan is to use a peer-to-peer van rental website.
There are a number of well-established and easy to use peer-to-peer campervan hire websites serving UK holidaymakers. They allow you to filter vans by your travel dates, berth requirements, special features, and more.
The table below sets out our recommended private campervan and motorhome hire websites in the UK, their fees, and possible additional costs, that renters will pay for hiring through their platform.
UK Private Campervan Rental Websites
|Service fee: 4% of rental charge
|– Day Insurance: £24/day
– Extra equipment
– Pick up/drop off
– Pets (some hires include)
|Booking fee: 12% (+5% VAT) of rental.
Service fee: to owner for gas top-up and consumables (amount set by owner).
|– Extra equipment
– Pick up/drop off
|£25 service fee
|– Extra equipment
– Pick up/drop off
|£35 admin fee
|– Day Insurance: £20/day (some hires include insurance)
|– Extra equipment
– Pick up/drop off
Note that these fees and extra costs set out above are on top of the actual rental charge. Most peer-to-peer sites also charge the campervan owner a fee per rental based on a percentage of the rental charge.
How to rent a campervan through a private hire platform
Define your requirements
Firstly, consider how many passengers you have in your party and how many berths you need the van to have.
Will you all be sleeping in the campervan or might a couple of you be sleeping in a tent or annexe?
Could you get away with a two-berth campervan and additional annexe hire perhaps?
If you have a particular campervan or motorhome type you would like to try out but it’s neither near you nor close to where you want to tour, don’t rule it out completely. Find out how much the owner would charge to bring it to you and collect again.
It could save you thousands in the long run as you’ll have had a test run of an exact type of van you’re considering buying. You may learn a whole heap about the motorhome you thought you were sold on, but maybe, in reality, it reveals issues you hadn’t anticipated.
Consider hiring near where you want to explore, not necessarily close to home. Quite often campervan and motorhome owners will be flexible in collecting you from a train station or letting you park your own car on their property for the duration of the campervan hire.
Selection and booking process
In terms of usability, the platforms are intuitive and easy to use. Think Airbnb for campervans and you’ve got the idea.
Select the campervan or motorhome you like the look of, add your travel dates and hit request/book. It’s all non-binding at that point. The platform will send a message to the vehicle owner to let them know you’re interested in hiring for those dates.
The price you’re quoted will include all the main items you are being charged for. These are usually:
- The total booking price (the vehicle x the number of nights).
- Service fee for using the website.
- Insurance cost. Sometimes you won’t see a charge for insurance and that will be because the campervan or motorhome owner is carrying the cost and they will be passing some or all of that fee onto you through the nightly fee.
If the campervan or motorhome owner is happy with the dates they will accept the request and process moves on to the next stage.
Expect to pay anything from £60 to over £200 per day to hire a privately owned campervan or motorhome.
The cost of hiring a van will vary depending on factors including the vehicle type, number of berths, its age, gear provided, and special features. The owner sets the rental charges, and these will also vary according to season.
There will be other expenses that arise throughout the booking process, depending on the platform and your requirements. These include:
- Additional equipment hire
- Cleaning fee
- Pet fees
- Collection and drop off service
- Excess Insurance
All of these expenses are optional and some will be included in the hire price. It really depends on the individual listing.
Campervan rental requirements
Renter ID checks are made to make sure that, as the driver of the campervan or motorhome, you meet the insurance requirements. It also provides maximum security for the vehicle owner against theft or damage costs.
You will need to provide information to the campervan hire website about yourself as the driver. They will usually want to see:
- Your drivers’ licence. You’ll need to send copies of both the front and back of the licence to prove it is category B.
- Identification – an official form of ID is required such as a passport or birth certificate.
- Proof of address – correspondence from your address in your name from a supplier such as a council tax bill or utility bill.
- A DVLA licence check.
- A credit card from which to take an imprint for the security deposit.
You will need to provide the same information for a second driver to be covered as well, should you need one.
You’ll typically need to satisfy the following criteria to be accepted as a campervan hirer:
- 2 years minimum driving experience.
- Between 25-79 years old.
- No more than 6 points on your licence.
If you fall outside of this criteria, it is possible you could still hire a campervan. The platform or the campervan owner would need to approach the insurance company and see if they would be willing to insure you. This is likely to incur extra costs.
How much you will be expected to pay at time of booking varies according to the provider. You can expect this to be anywhere from 30%-50% of the total booking price. This is usually non refundable.
The balance is usually due within 30 days of the commencement of the trip, although some platforms may ask for the balance to be paid within 8 weeks of the start date.
When you leave for your trip, the private campervan hire platform will take an (electronic) imprint of your credit card for the agreed security deposit amount.
This figure is usually in line with the excess set on the hire insurance policy. It will be returned to you within an agreed timeframe assuming no damage or expenses, such as fines or tolls, have been incurred.
Cancellation charges also vary. Usually the closer to the start date you cancel, the less of the booking fee you can expect to be returned. This is commonly zero within 14 days of travel.
New cancellation terms are being employed by these platforms to cope with changing pandemic circumstances. Ask at time of booking.
Motorhome Hire Excess Insurance
Excess insurance cover will cover the often high insurance excess that applies to hire policies.
Whether to take out hire excess insurance is a personal choice. If the hire price is already building up, it’s understandable that adding another ‘per day’ cost is not that appealing.
It is definitely worth considering though as the standard security deposit on motorhome and campervan rental is set from £1,000 – £2,000 depending on the rental and insurance conditions.
What this means for you is, if there is any change to the bodywork, tyres or glass of the campervan or motorhome whilst under your rental period, then it will cost you to restore it to how it was at the time of checkout.
Parking in car parks or anywhere you leave your vehicle unoccupied can lead to unforeseen damage occurring to vehicles. If someone else backs into you and doesn’t leave a note then, unfortunately, the liability of that damage falls to you.
The £1,000 or £2,000 excess amount is also per incident. If you reverse into a pole and then immediately drive forward into a tree, that’s considered two incidents.
That is a lot of money to fork out when maybe the damage wasn’t even done by you.
That per-day extra cost starts to look a lot more appealing when you look it at like that.
Further reading: Excess Insurance for Campervan Hire (a Guide for Hirers)
Private Campervan Hire – Top Tips
There is liability and risk on both sides of the campervan hire agreement so the best thing you can do as a hirer is make sure you have identified what the stumbling blocks are and add adequate protection where you can.
The following list are some top tips to make your campervan rental hassle free:
Breaking down whilst on the road would be an absolute nightmare but it happens. What you need to think about is if the worst happens to you, what protection do you have in place?
All rental agreements will include breakdown cover, but the level of cover varies. This is because some of the platforms provide cover, some of the campervan owners will provide their own and in some cases, as the hirer, if you take out an excess policy with the campervan rental platform it can include access to premium breakdown services.
Check what breakdown cover is included before you sign your hire agreement. Make sure to ask the right questions, such as:
- Will I be liable for any costs?
- Where will the vehicle be towed?
- What reimbursement can I expect to receive?
- What help do I receive to get home?
Do you have your own breakdown insurance that insures you and not the vehicle? Will it protect you in a hire situation?
If you break down, it will be a major inconvenience. It’s both your transport and your accommodation that’s affected.
Do you have your own travel insurance in place? It is likely theft or loss of personal belongings are not included in the campervan hire insurance so it’s worth making sure you are covered.
Some hire policies don’t cover third parties outside of vehicle damage. Travel insurance could therefore give you an extra layer of protection.
In the event of your holiday coming to an unexpectedly abrupt end, travel insurance will make sure you are not out of pocket if a refund can’t be sought from the campervan owner.
Electric, gas, and habitation check
It is unclear whether these checks are officially required from the campervan or motorhome owner. When we spoke to the various platforms, this was not something that was listed as obligatory.
As a hirer, ask for a recent report on the electrics and gas provided in the habitation space. Ask for a carbon monoxide detector to be provided also. If this is refused, make sure to pack your own. Carbon monoxide is odourless and deadly.
Read the small print
Forewarned is forearmed. Know exactly what you are agreeing to. What are those exclusions in the insurance policy? Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it could save you a lot of grief and expense later on.
Asking questions shows you are a careful and thoughtful hirer which builds trust with the campervan or motorhome owner.
Length of hire
The length of your hire is not necessarily the length of your trip. Do you need extra time for packing and unpacking?
What are your obligations as the hirer? Are you to return the van sparking clean, inside and out? This could take a few hours to achieve.
Don’t forget to leave time to refuel near to the drop off location. Refuelling costs will often be taken out of your security deposit, plus an admin fee for the hassle.
One of the benefits of hiring a van through a private campervan hire company is flexibility. This could mean that, unless a van is booked to leave on another hire on the same day as a return, a vehicle owner might just be accommodating on the exact timings.
Make sure you understand the rules around mileage. Every hire will be different. Do ask the question upfront, before you leave of what mileage is considered acceptable. This could be a per-day or total hire amount.
Outside of that mileage might attract a ‘per mile’ extra fee. The over-mileage fee might be only 20p a mile, but if you’ve gone well over, it could be an expensive additional extra you hadn’t planned on.
When things go wrong. What to do if there’s damage or an accident
Being in an accident is a horrible prospect. What obligations you have as a renter of a campervan will depend on the hire platform you have used and the individual hire agreement.
Bear in mind if the damage is internal, it may not be included in the insurance conditions. Often the insurance covers exterior bodywork, the undercarriage, tyres, and glass. Again, check the small print as there are policies which do not over undercarriage, glass, or tyres either.
Internal damage can be costly to fix. For example, something small like the window blind on the sliding door on a VW California Ocean will cost around £350 to repair. It requires very specialist parts, and installation is labour intensive.
If you’re involved in an accident you should report it to the hiring platform and the vehicle owner right away.
Some rental agreements ask that you contact the police and get an incident number as this is needed for insurance purposes.
Make sure you also get a statement from the other party, their insurance details, registration, and their contact details.
Choose your route carefully
If you are not experienced driving a campervan or motorhome, it would be sensible to choose easy to navigate roads to start with.
If you aren’t familiar with the dimensions of the vehicle it would be easy to cause damage by scratching it on low hanging branches or a stone wall on a tight Corish lane. Go for the wider, more main and generous routes.
Any damage you cause to the van could cost you dearly.
Spend some time getting to know the vehicle
Take an hour or so before you head off for your trip, look for a quiet car park somewhere and get to know how the campervan or motorhome drives.
Have a go at reversing it, switch the wipers and lights on, and adjust the mirrors. Take it for a lap around the block to get a feel for the steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes.
Best you know where all the controls are and how the vehicle handles before you are in a position of having to make a sudden manoeuvre.
Plan a few nights stay in advance
Whilst one of the joys of campervan hire is enjoying the freedom of the road, you can’t stay overnight just anywhere.
Britstops is an organisation of pubs and restaurants who have a car park you are free to park in exchange for buying a meal at their establishment.
Most motorway services around the UK will permit you to stay overnight for an extra charge.
Best of all is to arrange a campsite for a couple of nights as they’ll have the amenities you’ll need to give you a good start to your trip and then maybe wing it from there.
Conclusion – private van hire can be a great experience
There are definite advantages in private campervan and motorhome hire over hiring from a commercial hire company’s fleet.
Renting privately can provide a more personal experience, more interesting vans, and maybe save you some money too.