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The door on the "wrong side " seemed to matter when I tried to insure mine .....please post the name of a French insurance company who will cover your UK van ..lots of caravan owners would love to know one ......My  house insureres are one of the biggest not just in France but all over Europe and they would not cover my UK made van ..."door on wrong side " they said .....I dont think French companies want to know about UK vans  and the "wrong side door " is their get out .

..I gave up in the end and the van sat in my garden unnused .uninsured  for two years ...the UK insurers only cover you for a limited number of days while they think you are touring ...ask them to cover you while your vans  in your French property garden and watch them run for the hills .  My van is back in the UK  towed back last month covered by a UK company ...but only from the day they knew it would be on the road heading back for the UK .....I wish you luck     If I were to go in for caravanning from my French home in the future..... I would seriously consider selling the UK one and buying a French certified van that I could get insurance for .   

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"The door on the "wrong side " seemed to matter when I tried to insure mine .....please post the name of a French insurance company who will cover your UK van ..lots of caravan owners would love to know one ......My  house insureres are one of the biggest not just in France but all over Europe and they would not cover my UK made van ..."door on wrong side " they said .....I dont think French companies want to know about UK vans  and the "wrong side door " is their get out . "

If the caravan has been registered in France what's the problem? I was not asked which side the door was on when I insured my ex UK caravan, nor were any of the friends I know with ex UK caravans.I just had to supply the insurance company with a copy of the Carte Gris.

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[quote user="sid"]

I'm currently going through the registration process for a Lunar Clubman caravan of 1989 vintage. I can assure you that everything  SD has told you is correct.

There's enough red tape to put you off, particularly if you don't like speaking French on the telephone, but you just have to make a list of the jobs and work your way through them. I've found that the people at the DRIRE and Bureau Veritas are very helpful.

The issue of the positioning of the door is, in fact, a non-issue! It doesn't matter.

With a more modern 'van, with a manufacturer's certificate of conformity, it should be relatively straightforward.

As to the question of weight; there are not many caravans (in fact, none that I can think of!) with a PTAC (max loaded weight) of less than 750kgs, so insurance and registration will be essential.

Sid

[/quote]

Whilst we shall be trying to register a 2004 van at some point in the future would be interested in what was required for compliance in order to register your van.

Paul

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Paul

I'm sorry about the delay in replying, I've been away.

Our 'van is 18 years old, a Lunar Clubman 390-2, but we've had it from new and it's in great condition and we're very attached to it. I didn't realise before we moved here that it would even need a carte grise, it was something that I must have missed!

Because it was built in 1989 before much of the European conformity legislation was established, and we had no supporting documentation, the French authorities will want to satisfy themselves that that it is constructed in a way that will not cause a hazard when used (gas and electrical systems) on site, or when towed on the road (chassis, brakes, lighting), before they will issue a carte grise.

With a modern caravan, as with a modern car, the manufacturer supplies a European Conformity Certificate, which shows that the caravan is built to a common set of agreed standards, and by producing this your registration should be a straightforward process at the Prefecture with no need for an inspection.

Sunday Driver has been a tremendous source of information and advice, and I am very grateful because I think I might have given up before now. As it is, the finishing line is now in sight. This week all my documentation was approved and I'm waiting for an appointment for an inspection - which they wanted to do next week but unfortunately I'll be in UK - so it'll be early July instead. This test will cost approx 80€ (I haven't got the exact figure to hand).

The main work I had to do was fitting orange side reflectors (3 each side) and white front reflectors (2), and also fitting side marker lamps (1 each side) high up towards the rear of the caravan; these are bi-colour with a white and red lens. I had to make an identification plate and rivet it in a visible position on the front right hand side of the A-frame, and also 'punch' the chassis number next to it. The plate shows the make, model, serail number, and unladen and gross weights. I also changed the internal mains plug sockets to French style ones. The caravan hasn't been used for a while so I also changed the gas bottle to a French one and replaced the flexible hose (date expired) and regulator. 

I wrote to Lunar explaing what I was doing and got a very useful and helpful reply which included an "attestation" (with a copy in French), confirming that the caravan had been built to the early standard EN1645. I think this document has been the key in easing my way through the red tape!

Next I made an appointment with Bureau Veritas and took the caravan for inspection. The guy there checked the size of the living compartments and the sizes of the ventilation grilles and the doors. He checked that the gas appliances had labelled individual cut-off taps. He noted the reference numbers and type number of the gas regulator, and he checked the general condition of the electrical system, battery charger etc. The test took about half an hour and cost 179.40€ and I came away with my certificate.

SD suggested that I compile a dossier for DRIRE and I think this is a good advice; it shows that you have been methodical in your preparation and presentation. The front page shows name and address, phone number etc, and the main details of the caravan - make, model, length, width, serial number, unladen and max laden weights. Inside I inluded photographs of all the identification plates I could find; including the axle, towing head, chassis and my new home-made plate and serial number markings. This makes it easier for the inspector to check the axle type etc. Photos of the caravan from the front RHS and rear LHS enable you to point out the external lighting modifications. My 'van doesn't have reversing lamps (not obligatory for that year of manufacture) but if it had had one reversing lamp and one fog lamp, they would need to have been swapped so that the fog lamp is on the right. I also included a copy of the NCC certificate and a copy of the purchase invoice. I made a second dossier for myself so that I could leave one with the DRIRE official.

My insurer, AGF, has agreed to insure the 'van, but I need to supply the full registration number once I have obtained it. I've asked about the door being on the left and it is not a problem. I can't understand why this question is raised so often; to my simple mind the logical way of looking at it is that French cars have doors on the left, so why should it matter? It's not as if anyone would be travelling in the caravan because that's illegal anyway!

I hope this is of some help. I think that for your 2004 caravan it will be straightforward if you have the conformity certificate and you check the lighting requirements re foglamps.

For anyone else contemplating this process, don't be put off by the red tape, just work your way through the list of jobs, be patient, and make an effort to be polite and speak in French whenever possible.

If you have any other queries please email me.

Happy caravanning

Sid

 

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Sid ..........Thank you for posting that AGF will cover you.........I am with Generali a big company and they did not want to know .....also a broker was not able to find anybody to cover my van  ....I got the impression they thought I was likely to stop at the road side to brew up and step out of the van into the passing traffic as they made an issue of the door .. as I posted earlier I think some companies just dont want look at UK made vans .... glad you have got it all sorted out... hope you enjoy your times out in the Clubman
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  • 1 year later...
A big thank you to Sunday Driver and Sid for all their helpful advice regarding registering a UK caravan in France.  Between you both, you have answered all my questions ![:D][:D]

We have just been very kindly presented with a Conway folding caravan, weighing in at 680kg which we can't wait to register and start using.  The language being no problem, it simply remains (I hope!) to be very methodical about providing the right information and photographs.  In fact we have found in other instances, that bending over backwards to provide as much info as possible, means we get taken much more seriously.

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Callie

Wow, the thread is resurrected! [:D]

I hope you get on the road soon. We've used our caravan this year, for the first time since we arrived here 4 years ago. It was superb, and brought back many happy memories of holidays in years gone by.

As before, if you have any more queries please email me.

Sid

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You do have to wonder exactly what the French are trying to prove or achieve with all this rigamarol [8-)]

Caravanning is hugely popular and thousands upon thousands of foreign ones ply the roads of France, and many other european countries, every year with, I'll wager, proportionally no more or less significant incidents concerning gas and electricity than occur with French vans.

 

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Ernie, please......you know the French must keep people employed.....one way or another......particularly les fonctionnaires ! [;-)]

Yes, Sid, looking forward to the day we can take our present out for a spin.  We've always used a tent before so this is going to be the height of luxury ! !

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I don't think the French are trying to prove anything, to be honest.  They're just following EU regulations which insist that all caravans have to be safe for people to live in and that they don't gas or electrocute themselves whilst doing so.  The thousands of foreign vans you mention will all have gone through similar 'rigmaroles' to comply with these safety standards.

You'll be pleased to know that even your own van will have been constructed to a standard which is designed to keep you safe......[;-)]

 

 

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[quote user="ErnieY"]

You do have to wonder exactly what the French are trying to prove or achieve with all this rigamarol [8-)]

[/quote]

Possibly they are trying to promote their home-grown caravan industry ? Rules is rules and no-one is compelled to introduce a foreign caravan into France - it is a matter of choice.

John

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I can't dispute what you say SD and an ostensibly noble cause it is, however, as you yourself say, foreign vans will, in both theory and practice, also comply with the regulations and therefore be equally safe in their standard condition.

Given that, what reasonable safety based motive can the French have to insist that they conform to their particular interpretation, protectionism and revenue generation as mentioned are 2 obvious candidates. The reverse scenario of importing a foreign van into UK does not give rise to the same obstacles and we all know how infuriatingly and blindly the UK authorities promote and tow the 'elf and safety' line [:-))]

Judging by the 'optional' approach frequently adopted by the French in other areas of safety, the distinct lack of proper or adequate PPE worn by building and construction workers being one obvious instance, it would seem hypocritical in the extreme for them to claim to be in vanguard of the safety culture ! 

I thank you for your concern for my safety and welfare BTW [:D]

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[quote user="ErnieY"]

Given that, what reasonable safety based motive can the French have to insist that they conform to their particular interpretation, protectionism and revenue generation as mentioned are 2 obvious candidates. The reverse scenario of importing a foreign van into UK does not give rise to the same obstacles and we all know how infuriatingly and blindly the UK authorities promote and tow the 'elf and safety' line [:-))]

[/quote]

Sorry, but your comments suggest that you are not aware of the actual position regarding caravans.

All new caravans sold in the EU since (IIRC) 2003 must have EU compliance certificates (EN 1949, EN 721 and EN 1646-1) covering their gas and electricity systems for the prevention of risks of fire, explosion and asphyxiation.  Those certificates are recognised and valid for registration in France, so for a late UK caravan, no additional checks are required.  However, older UK caravans don't come safety certified, so it's no surprise that the French will want to have them examined.  Nothing to do with those tired old chestnuts of protectionism or revenue generation...

Imports into the UK are different because, unlike France, there is no registration system in place in the UK to control compliance.  At least in France, you get a type approval certificate confirming that the chassis and braking systems are up to scratch and that the gas and electricity systems are unlikely to kill you. 

On that basis, I don't see how making sure an older caravan is safe to use can honestly be described as an 'obstacle'...... 

 

 

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You're quite right SD, I was unaware of that so thank you for putting me right.

Even in the light of this revelation I still think it a bit unfair to insist an older van be made compliant with current French standards when it would be a fairly simple procedure to inspect an existing configuration. Despite the differences in equipment a competant and experienced examiner should be able to make a reasonable appraisal of it's safety.

If safety is the primary concern then I wonder why it is that there there are no ongoing or repeat checks. What guarantee is there that a 10 year old French caravan will be less unsafe than it's UK counterpart ? 

 

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The actual procedure is just a fairly simple inspection of the exisiting configuration by a competent and experienced examiner...[;-)] 

In most cases, older vans do comply and where they don't, it's usually just a matter of making some minor alterations before one receives the certificate.

Regarding ongoing checks, once the basic system has been certified as being safety compliant, the responsibility for its maintenance is down to the owner.   No different to,say, a domestic gas boiler.

 

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