Insurance for very basic conversion - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 02:50:PM Thread Starter
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Insurance for very basic conversion

Hey forum, I need some help.

We are on track to buy a used 2017 350 passenger wagon with the goal of tearing out the back seats and installing a basic bunk--no kitchen, just a bunk with storage underneath. This will be a personal/business vehicle. The family will use it about 40% of the time, and it will be a work vehicle about 60% of the time. When it's used as a work vehicle. Because of the business aspect, we want to make sure insurance is airtight, and we're up front about how it will be used. But no one--not USAA, Progressive, State Farm, local insurance broker, Geico--no one will even give us a quote. They say they just can't do that, and it's not because of the business aspect--it's because we want to be able to sleep in it while using it for business.



None of this makes sense to me. We WANT to pay them money to insure the vehicle! Any advice???
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 03:23:PM
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Insurance companies insure based on risk of the various activities you'll do in a vehicle. So they ask you a bunch of questions to assign you to the appropriate check box. If your use case doesn't fit neatly inside one of those boxes, their process fails, and you fall through their flow chart to Denied.

Homeowners insurance covers your belongings in a personal vehicle. Business insurance covers the contents of a commercial vehicle. Who are you going to call with a claim?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 03:29:PM
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It is just a van. It doesn't qualify as an RV. Don't mention the temporary bunk. If they were to ask, just say no permanent fixtures.

Is there any aspect of the insurance where you have a need for covering the bunk? If not, it is just a van. Give them a photo of it, without the bunk.

It would be easy to guess they are shy about insuring any DIY vehicles as there is no control over safety a manufacturer is insured for, nor any actuary tables to apply to generating a quote. There may even be a sketchy claim problem where they have insured a DIY as only a van and then had the insured expect them to cover the expenses of their conversion that was damaged. All of this is what likely adds up to their resounding NO.

Just tell them it is a van that will be used for both business and family travel, hauling, etc. Don't mention anything out of the ordinary so your quote can fit the pigeon holes they fill in to generate a number. If you later decide to make a full conversion, some states have a qualification process to designate an RV. Then you can approach RV insurance companies.

As you describe it, this will not be an RV. It is just a van that came off the production line. Insure it as such.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 03:35:PM
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Insurance companies classify these vans as commercial vehicles. We had the same issue with our Sprinter passenger van. American Family issued as a personal vehicle for a while but stopped after a two years. Because we used the van for the wife's child care we ended up getting a commercial policy through Metropolitan Insurance Co. They were by far the most reasonable priced. They cover our personal use too.

It works but it sucks taking out extra seats when we want to camp so I'm ordering a Transit cargo van to convert. Then I'll insure it as an RV.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 04:17:PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, all. We're still trying to figure out if it's possible to insure it the way we want to. As with everything related to starting a sole proprietorship out of your home office, it is complicated.



It is definitely a commercial van, not an RV. We had planned to install some specialized equipment--bunk, gear mounts, removable desk--that would be used for the business. I'd go your suggested route, Travlin, but we don't want to withhold any information that could result in claims being denied or increasing our personal liability in the event of a crash or theft. We'll check out Metropolitan.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 05:05:PM
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Is it typically less expensive to insure a cargo van vs passenger wagon?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 05:09:PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Campervan Man View Post
Insurance companies classify these vans as commercial vehicles.
Both West Bend and State Farm asked me if it was for commercial or personal use and I said it was a personal vehicle. They were happy to insure mine as personal use.

2017 T-250 Oxford White Cargo 148" HR EB 3.31 LSD.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 05:21:PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Campervan Man View Post
Insurance companies classify these vans as commercial vehicles.
Both West Bend and State Farm asked me if it was for commercial or personal use and I said it was a personal vehicle. They were happy to insure mine as personal use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyrannosaurus View Post
But no one--not USAA, Progressive, State Farm, local insurance broker, Geico--no one will even give us a quote.
@Inkog 's answer makes sense to me. You're falling off their checklist by saying 60/40 commercial/personal. State Farm didn't blink an eye at insuring my van as personal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyrannosaurus View Post
It is definitely a commercial van, not an RV. We had planned to install some specialized equipment--bunk, gear mounts, removable desk--that would be used for the business. I'd go your suggested route, Travlin, but we don't want to withhold any information that could result in claims being denied or increasing our personal liability in the event of a crash or theft.
If they ask about added equipment, I would be truthful and tell them everything you added. I bet if you say it's for commercial use, they won't give you a problem - all the commercial users have added equipment. I was just visited by a State Farm claims evaluator and he had a little Chevy van (the rebadged Nissan NV200) and it was outfitted with a desk and office chair.

2017 T-250 Oxford White Cargo 148" HR EB 3.31 LSD.

Last edited by Eiko; 08-09-2018 at 05:42:PM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 05:39:PM
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I got a quote from Geico for $888/yr for a new 2018 T350 Cargo as a personal vehicle on my multi-vehicle policy. This covers up to $5k in modifications. They told me they would need to verify any modifications if I wanted more coverage. I think I will self-insure if over the 5k. Personal belongings are covered under my homeowners.

Last edited by Inkog; 08-09-2018 at 05:41:PM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 06:05:PM Thread Starter
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Okay, we may be overthinking it.



Since it's going to see business use, it's sounding like we need personal vehicle coverage AND an additional auto policy under business insurance to protect the (extremely tiny) company from litigation. This is starting to sound like it's more of a business question than an insurance question. Thanks for the input, folks.


Edit: Yep, just heard back from State Farm again. Sounds like they'll do it. We'll just have to do personal insurance and treat it, insurance-wise, like an employee driving a personal vehicle for work purposes.

Last edited by tyrannosaurus; 08-09-2018 at 09:28:PM.
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