Aug 11, 2023 | Club News, Stories

Caravan Risks and How to ‘Be Prepared’ for Them

Every time an Airstream owner pulls out of the driveway, they face the risk of damage to their rig, whether it is the result of an accident or inclement weather.

Unfortunately, several Airstream owners suffered that fate on July 24th in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho when a 35-minute “terrifically powerful storm” did significant damage to numerous rigs who were taking part in Nuts and Ruts: Finding the Oregon Trail national caravan.

Fortunately, there were no injuries.

That incident, understandably, triggered numerous inquiries about insurance coverage for those on the caravan.

I thought it might be beneficial to briefly share some basic information about the various types of risks you face on a caravan and how to best prepare for them, with every member of the Airstream Club International.

Cancellation Risk

Our national caravans operate at cost, with any kitty fee funds remaining being distributed to the participants. If you have to cancel close to departure (it happens and is usually for a medical reason), you are responsible for any unrecovered costs.

If a caravan leader can’t find a substitute to take your place, they will try and cancel, then recover what they can. But many campgrounds and activities have already been paid for, and will be difficult to recover, depending on how close to departure you cancel. The leader may be able to recover some of your kitty fee, but much of it, if not all, will be at risk.

The club has a member benefit deal with a travel insurance company, or you may have a company you use. Depending on the size of the kitty fee, and your own personal circumstances, you may choose to purchase a policy.

Accident Risk

We had a participant evacuated from a caravan this year following a bicycle accident. Again, depending on your personal circumstances (e.g., single traveler, traveling with a pet), you may wish to purchase insurance that will cover your transport and that of your vehicle/pets.

Storm Risk

As I said above, several rigs had significant damage on the Oregon Trail caravan. You need to insure your vehicle(s) and trailers to an amount with which you are comfortable. The club insurance will not cover your loss. In the above case there may be something worked out with the campground but that is not certain. If you have made significant modifications to your rig, especially if it is vintage, you may want to have an “agreed value” policy.

Related to this, years ago I was co-leading a caravan when a participant destroyed a utility pole at a campsite while parking. Your vehicle insurance needs to cover damage to your tow vehicle and the campground (which, in this case, were very nice and did not press the issue).

Club Liability Insurance

If you are acting in the capacity of a club volunteer, the club has a negligence liability policy. The best way to think about this is if you were setting up a table for a potluck dinner, and ran an extension cord to supply power for crock pots. If the cord was not secured, and someone tripped, fell and was injured and then sought compensation, the club policy would cover you.

I hope this information has not in any way dampened your enthusiasm for caravans. Incidents like what happened on the Oregon Trail Caravan are few and far between. I just wanted to make sure everyone is aware of the risks and understands what options are available so they

As we used to say in Boy Scouts: “Be Prepared.”

See you down the road!

John Becker is a member of the ACI Executive Committee, the chairman of the Caravan Committee and a co-leader of the Southwest Adventure National Caravan. He can be reached at jbecker@airstream.org.

<h4><a href="https://blog.airstreamclub.org/author/johnbecker/" target="_self">John Becker</a></h4>

John Becker

John Becker is a member of the ACI Executive Committee, the chairman of the Caravan Committee and a co-leader of the Southwest Adventure National Caravan. He can be reached at jbecker@airstreamclub.org.

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