So, we bought a motorhome.
Great, right? Yes, but really we’ve just paid a sum of money and still don’t have anything to show for it. Well, we have an invoice, so I guess that’s something!
Buying a motorhome was a huge step on the path to our dream, but it was just one step of many to come. Since paying for the motorhome we’ve had quite a number of things to do including: insurance, registration, condensing our life down to fit, and more. Our plan was to pick up the motorhome around April 18th, giving us time to pack, test it out, and resolve any last minute issues. But plans have a tendency to fall through.
Of all the things to do, I was most worried about the insurance and registration. In order to register a second hand vehicle in Belgium, you actually need three signatures: the seller, the garage which performed the technical inspection, and the insurance company. Frank, our contact at Vanomobil, sent us a copy of the registration form, with the first two signatures (seller and garage), along with the details from the technical inspection. Now we just needed insurance before we could register our new home.
Motorhome insurance is somewhat specialized and not every insurance company provides coverage. I requested quotes from five Belgian insurance companies, who said they provide motorhome insurance, and received a response from only two. During my discussions with the insurance companies, I learned our situation is an even more special case. Apparently, most people buy a motorhome while still owning a house and car. Motorhome insurance rates are therefore much lower if you combine all your insurance needs. Otherwise, you get hit with a pretty steep insurance bill. Since we have neither house or car, you can guess how this ended. To add further insult, contents of the motorhome are insured, for free, up to a certain amount of euros (€4000, €5000, …) but only if you have household insurance. If you don’t have household insurance, then your contents are not insured. And no one I’ve spoken to can even sell me extra content insurance. Sigh.
In the end we selected Ruwelka for our insurance as they seemed to have the most comprehensive solution and were also quick to respond to my (numerous) questions.
The next step, in Belgium, is to meet with the insurance agent and have them register the vehicle using the Belgian motor vehicle online registration. However, as it seems to happen with us, the online process encountered an error which could only be resolved by taking the registration papers directly to the motor vehicle registry offices. And of course, the afternoon I went to submit the registration, the office was closed. Apparently the office works through lunch and closes at 14:30! A government office open at lunch time!? Hard to believe in Belgium, I know.
By Monday morning the registration was completed, the new license plates were being sent to Vanomobil, and we had our temporary insurance papers, covering us until July. We could now arrange to pick up the motorhome. I contacted Frank at Vanomobil to see if we could pick it up on Saturday, April 18th. Not possible. He said they still needed to get the technical inspection done, finish up the work we agreed, and then they were having an open house. The earliest would be April 27th, just three days before we depart! Yikes!
So on April 27th we will finally pick up our new ‘home’. The days afterwards will be so busy with getting out of the apartment there will be no time to test it out. For now it is enough to just get our hands on the keys and figure out where to park it. After that, we can only hope there are no problems and that we are quick to learn!
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