Caravans and the law FAQ

14 January 2015

Read our guide to understanding the law around caravans, including legal information on towing, going abroad and where you can park your caravan.



Do I need a license to take a caravan on the road?

No. However, depending when you passed your driving test, there are strict variations/restrictions on the load that you are allowed to tow. If you passed your driving test before January 1, 1997 you can drive a car with caravan or trailer up to a combined weight of 8.25 tonnes. For further details visit, Gov.UK's page for towing with a car.

Are passengers allowed to ride in a towed caravan?

Absolutely not. It is not only illegal but extremely dangerous, and to even consider it, highly irresponsible. The stability of a towed caravan, even in perfect driving conditions, is of the utmost importance. Any unexpected shift in weight could cause a potentially lethal accident.

Do I need caravan insurance?

Your car must be insured by law. Not so a touring caravan. However, it would be very unwise not to have it covered. Your caravan could be damaged by fire, road collision, even storm damage.

Can I park my caravan on the public highway?

This is something of a grey area, and it’s best to check with both your local police and council as to policy. It may also affect any insurance cover you may have. The main consideration is, is it deemed to be causing an obstruction? If the police and/or local council say it is, then it will have to be accommodated elsewhere. A caravan must be lit if it’s parked on the highway overnight, with the nearside facing the pavement with rear lights facing oncoming traffic.

What is the maximum speed limit when towing a caravan?

Obviously you must adhere to designated speed limits. The maximum on a single carriageway is 50mph, while 60mph is the maximum on a dual carriage way or motorway. It is illegal to tow a caravan on the outside lane of a three-or- more lane motorway.

Does my home insurance cover my caravan contents?

It is possible. It is always best to check, however, and ask your insurer specific questions. For example, if your caravan were to free itself and injure someone, or if they simply tripped over an unlit awning rope at night, would you be covered against a personal injury claim?

Does my road recovery plan cover me while towing a caravan?

You may find that while the plan covers your car breaking down, should the problem be related to the caravan - wheel problems or a shunt into the rear of the caravan, for example – then you’ll be directly responsible for recovery costs. Again, it’s always best to check.

How do different European laws affect my use of the caravan abroad?

Each country has different rules regarding caravans/trailers, so check before you set off for a European jaunt. Not just your destination but the countries you’ll be travelling through.

If you don’t have a GB x 12 stars EC number plate then you must affix a GB x 12 stars sticker to the rear of the caravan. In Spain and Italy, you must have a specific ‘marker board’ attached to the rear of the caravan (available from raymac.co.uk if it’s over 39’, while some countries demand you carry two warning red triangles.

If in doubt, carry two of everything, from hi-vis jackets to marker boards (which must be clear, even if you have a bike rack at the back). And do check your insurance cover. The cost of bringing a damaged caravan back from Europe could prove daunting.

For comprehensive insurance check out Saga Caravan Insurance.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.