All you need to know about bus conversion insurance

Refurbishing an old bus for recreational purposes can be both a rewarding and frustrating affair. On the positive site, you have the opportunity to fully customize a big space and turn it into a cozy “home on wheels”. Completing a creative project of this magnitude can be very fulfilling, at least until you have to insure it and the insurance providers have ridiculous demands to ensure that it’s safe and roadworthy, or overcharge you just for liability coverage.

To avoid insurance frustrations at the end of a long, tiresome, and expensive bus conversion project, here are a few things to keep in mind about shuttle bus conversion insurance:

  • Although many insurance providers offer liability insurance, most are not willing to offer comprehensive insurance because of risks such as inexperienced workers for DIY conversions; lack of inspections that may lead to electrical or water damage; and the age of the vehicle, among others.
  • Multiple underwriting issues may arise when insuring a converted bus for recreational purposes, such as the vehicle gross weight. Vehicles with a gross weight of over 12,000 lbs are only eligible for insurance as commercial auto – not private automobiles. You need to apply your state’s weight requirements to qualify for the right insurance policy.
  • The modifications you make also determine the insurance policy that you are eligible for. For instance, removing all the seats from your shuttle bus – such that it remains empty – would make it ineligible for an RV policy, yet installing a bed, sink, toilet, and other custom features would qualify it for an RV policy.

Lastly, keep in mind that different insurance providers have different interpretations for body styles. A split-box style, for example, could be categorized as either a commercial truck and written on a commercial policy, or a personal truck, and written on a personal auto policy.

Generally, your refurbished bus may only be eligible for a commercial auto policy because of its weight. This policy offers physical coverage, including roadside and towing coverage, but does not cover the contents of your vehicle. To get contents coverage, you need to qualify for an RV policy. So make sure to get professional help from your insurance broker before starting your bus conversion project.


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