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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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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.
 

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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.

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.

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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
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.
 

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Go back to State Farm and tell them "commercial business" use with xx miles per year.


I have my HR extended as a "personal vehicle" only thing on my policy was "fitting limited to $1000" without a separate rider (i.e., things mounted permanently).



When I told my agent "dog rescue hauler" it was a red flag as to who will be driving, it the rescue was using the full vehicle time, etc. Explained personal vehicle, but our rescue doesn't allow me to transport crated dogs in the back of a pickup, hence the van. They were fine with that!
 

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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?
I agree on this, insurance rate will be depend on risk factors involved with your car, you might need to ask different companies for best rate as you'll get different quotes depend on your area you're living
 

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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?
I agree with this, it totally depends on the risk factors involved and past record of the driver, most of the companies have different rates according to car models and condition of the car
 

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I had contacted the insurance agent a few months back about adding coverage for the conversion stuff. She contacted the insurer and was told they don't do DIY RVs and that I would not be able to renew the van when the coverage expired. After checking with the independent agent's other companies, no takers. This included Geico and Progressive.

Got the official letter today. On next month's policy expiration, the current company will not renew it for ALL of our vehicles. Reason - "Does not meet underwriting guidelines"

Guess I'll be talking to State Farm tomorrow.
 

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Is there a reason to go beyond regular auto insurance? The stuff bolted to it can't be THAT expensive that it needs to be insured. I wonder about getting a generic policy that covers things you own, regardless if they are in your house or in your van? Maybe bundling it with auto insurance isn't the "best" way to go.
 
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Is there a reason to go beyond regular auto insurance? The stuff bolted to it can't be THAT expensive that it needs to be insured. I wonder about getting a generic policy that covers things you own, regardless if they are in your house or in your van? Maybe bundling it with auto insurance isn't the "best" way to go.
The question is would the Insurance Company honor your van policy if they weren’t aware of the items added for a conversion if you made an accident or theft claim? If something came loose in an accident and caused damage to the van or persons in or outside the van would they use the lack of conversion declaration be an excuse not to honor the van policy? At a minimum one should be carefully reading the policy and pay particular attention to the exclusions.
I wonder if you would need flood insurance if your vehicle was damaged during a flooding event 😵‍💫
 

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Yeah, the reason is about how it could appear that I misrepresented the vehicle and the insurance company might use that to reject a claim. Not so worried about stolen items, but were I involved in a collision with injuries, etc. being rejected might become quite significant.

Just received a quote on the van from National General and they more than double what I had been paying for Basic Liability, Uninsured, 500 deductible Comprehensive, plus $4k for stuff - $1200/yr. Without the $4K for stuff - $800+ which is still 1.5 times what I had been paying.

Waiting on State Farm's quote to move all cars and property policies to them. Then, will get a van-only quote like with National General. (likewise, now having National General quote the whole enchilada)

At this point I'm on the cusp of looking into self-insurance options. :confused:
 

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Uninsured, 500 deductible Comprehensive, plus $4k for stuff - $1200/yr. Without the $4K for stuff - $800+
Incremental cost of $400/yr to insure $4000 worth of stuff seem to me to be a lousy bet, especially compared to the level of insurance you are getting for the first $800. I assume liability is a significant portion of that $800. Other than theft/fire/flood the odds of a total loss on that $4k is quite low. If the vehicle is totaled, you might still be able to recover a good portion of the value of your stuff.

You might look into just shopping around for insurance as a plain old van and stay self insured for the stuff. Then look to see of there is any thing in the policy that voids that coverage based on how you are using the vehicle.
 

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I am not so worried about the van or contents. I would be worried about a van accident involving injuries to persons. These types of accidents can be very expensive and if an Insurance company can get out of paying you would be on the hook for big dollars. You could potentially lose everything. If you are totally upfront with your Insurance Company and read the small print in the policy you should be ok. I all depends on how much risk you are willing to take.
 
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