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Old 06-15-2017, 04:04 PM   #1
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HELP - Built Mega-Skoolie at Maine Shipyard - Cant find Insurance

Hey everyone, I have not finished detailing the build and the website to present it on yet, so this build has been a little under the radar other than a couple photos by Charlie on his instagram when he came to visit and help.

Its not done yet, but we had to do a photoshoot, so the photos at the bottom are from two months ago, everything taped up to look done, no floor and lots of missing things, but it looks ok enough.

some older build logs that im trying to catch up: https://www.instagram.com/mobilemural/

2004 International 3800
DT466E Allison MD3060
Title from Wyoming


So right now, i have not re-titled or registered it since I bought it almost two years ago in Colorado. Its still a school bus. I have all original paperwork, title, bill of sale etc.

The bus is being built in Maine, but they said in order to register there I would have to be a "legal resident" so that sounded like too many hoops to jump through. I am a resident in California, and thought, ok maybe ill get it registered there. I called Good Sam/National General directly, once they saw the photos they had like a thousand problems with it, the wood burning stove, the roof rack the back awning blah blah blah
I read on here to go to local insurance agents, so i did that here in my hometown, Fresno, CA, and they all tried and all got rejected. They said my conversion wasnt considered "professional" because it was built at a shipyard not a "RV Conversion" company.

So now... im sorta just scratching my head. I am open to registering it/insuring it ANYWHERE, but where do I go? How the heck do I get this thing on the road!? I really need some help!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Busphotos - 6.jpg (267.2 KB, 69 views)
File Type: jpg Busphotos - 3.jpg (98.2 KB, 62 views)
File Type: jpg Busphotos - 2.jpg (347.9 KB, 61 views)
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Old 06-15-2017, 05:26 PM   #2
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If you intend to end up in the New England area anyway I've heard Vermont is the easiest place to register a bus as a motorhome. Once that's established you should be able to transfer to Maine eventually.

I don't know why Vermont is easier, but apparently you can do the whole registration by mail within a number of weeks if your paperwork is straight.
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Old 06-15-2017, 06:15 PM   #3
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Just go the medford or maybe ashland dmv with about 300 usd after you get insurance from national general online n printed off via email. however, bus has to be there as all they do is inspect the vin number. I have done 3 busses that way both at dallas and silverton. All one does is change the title from bus to RV. One can also do the same with a semi, as one of my friends built his rv on one after he extended the frame
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Old 06-15-2017, 06:38 PM   #4
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I've had five buses in Oregon. Previously it was no sweat to get a bus insured as an RV or as a van with car plates. It is easy to register as an RV, however the insurance is the problem for a "self-built motor home."
Perhaps some insurance companies are starting to bend a little on that rule. I believe Cross was able to get RV plates and insurance on his bus.
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:45 PM   #5
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Maine is (was?) one of those easy states. I'm betting a "legal resident" means "PO box". I V'e know a few people over the years to have their cars or trailers registered in Maine. And if I can offer another piece of advice, stop telling them everything. Don't show the ins. people your fancy photoshoots showing a stove-don't say BUS-play dumb + tell them just what they ask. "Hi-i'd like to get a quote for insurance on my CAMPER." And go from there.

Beautiful build BTW.
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Old 06-15-2017, 09:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwarf36 View Post
Maine is (was?) one of those easy states. I'm betting a "legal resident" means "PO box". I V'e know a few people over the years to have their cars or trailers registered in Maine. And if I can offer another piece of advice, stop telling them everything. Don't show the ins. people your fancy photoshoots showing a stove-don't say BUS-play dumb + tell them just what they ask. "Hi-i'd like to get a quote for insurance on my CAMPER." And go from there.

Beautiful build BTW.
^^^^ This. Less. is. More.
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Old 06-16-2017, 10:19 AM   #7
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I got my insurance from Progressive Commercial for about $45/month. Do *NOT* bother with the personal Progressive insurance, they will reject you/not know what you're talking about. Ask for "Commercial Vehicle for Personal Use" (I think that's the term). Do *NOT*, under any circumstances, volunteer *ANY* information they do not ask for (which is typically just Year, Make, Model, VIN, and maybe color). Let them simply think this is a bus you're occasionally using as an oversized family hauler.
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Old 06-16-2017, 11:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwarf36 View Post
Maine is (was?) one of those easy states. I'm betting a "legal resident" means "PO box". I V'e know a few people over the years to have their cars or trailers registered in Maine. And if I can offer another piece of advice, stop telling them everything. Don't show the ins. people your fancy photoshoots showing a stove-don't say BUS-play dumb + tell them just what they ask. "Hi-i'd like to get a quote for insurance on my CAMPER." And go from there.

Beautiful build BTW.


I had friends of friends at DMV in Maine and they said I needed 6 months of proof of residency which was a maine property with bills sent to my name.

Also, I dont understand how you guys are avoiding photos? Every single insurance agent I talk to wants photos of the vehicle, and once I send photos, thats when they ask questions. I am not giving them any info until they ask.
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Old 06-16-2017, 11:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ozthemost View Post
Also, I dont understand how you guys are avoiding photos? Every single insurance agent I talk to wants photos of the vehicle, and once I send photos, thats when they ask questions. I am not giving them any info until they ask.
I told my *Agent* that I had just purchased my bus and needed insurance long enough to move it and get it registered/titled. It still had the seats in it, and for all intents and purposes it was just like it was when it left Carpenter in '87 (minus the color and addition of A/C).

At the time I was unsure what my plans were for the bus, so doing the RV insurance wasn't really an option.
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Old 06-16-2017, 01:10 PM   #10
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I've had the same insurance agent for almost 20 years. I guess that helps but finding an honest and good insurance agent is hard to do.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:14 PM   #11
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Don't mention camper,RV or anything like that. I am insured and registered as a bus for private use.
It is a commercial policy but for private use for something like 50$ for 6-months.
I doubt I will ever try to re-title as an RV/camper because why? It is built to be used as one and it is still my RV no matter what the registration says.
Don't have to re-title as an RV unless you want to be able to say I have an RV?
I say I have an old school bus that I made into an RV just not to the DMV or insurance company.
Good luck
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
Don't mention camper,RV or anything like that. I am insured and registered as a bus for private use.
It is a commercial policy but for private use for something like 50$ for 6-months.
I doubt I will ever try to re-title as an RV/camper because why? It is built to be used as one and it is still my RV no matter what the registration says.
Don't have to re-title as an RV unless you want to be able to say I have an RV?
I say I have an old school bus that I made into an RV just not to the DMV or insurance company.
Good luck
This sounds pretty good, but are there any downsides? Like licensing requirements? If it is not an RV doesn't that require special drivers licenses and endorsements which vary state to state? From what I read, once you can title it an RV you get out of a lot of the restricting licensing rules of it being a commercial vehicle.

Also, how does this play out if a major accident happened and it was clearly discovered to be an livable home/bus. Is there any risk the insurance company could deny claims?

and then another worry is, how do I insure a regular old "school bus" for the true cost of my improvements/replacement? I've spent A LOT more than the typical build and can't imagine them accepting a number even close to what has been put into this build.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:05 PM   #13
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im on progressive commercial for personal use policies for both busses.. I didnt volunteer anything... told them my VIN, that they are busses and that I wasnt using them for commercial use.. and got a policy.. full coverage with declared value on BOTH busses for less than $1000 a year...

dont go online, dont go to the consumer section, CALL, it will come up as international '380' in their system. its a BUS ...
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:06 PM   #14
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that is one awesome skoolie build!!
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:20 PM   #15
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First, it's not likely you're going to insure you bus for anything above liability. We're generally only offered liability in our bus policies.

Your bus, being already built, is a bit of a unique situation particularly including your interstate move. You'll figure it out, but not without headaches.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:12 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
First, it's not likely you're going to insure you bus for anything above liability. We're generally only offered liability in our bus policies.

Your bus, being already built, is a bit of a unique situation particularly including your interstate move. You'll figure it out, but not without headaches.
my progressive policy is declared value full coverage.. (keep your receipts, this does work.. as I got a great payout after my first bus burned because I could show receipts of what id done to it)..

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Old 06-19-2017, 03:28 PM   #17
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Interesting. That's not even an option here through Progressive.

It seems the sentiment is this state has had enough of hippy buses. There is absolutely no distinction between well done buses and the older OMG hippy buses billowing smoke as they pass by.
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:05 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
First, it's not likely you're going to insure you bus for anything above liability. We're generally only offered liability in our bus policies.

Your bus, being already built, is a bit of a unique situation particularly including your interstate move. You'll figure it out, but not without headaches.
State Farm offers me full coverage.

Maybe the best course is to ask the agent or carrier that you are working with?
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Old 06-21-2017, 05:08 PM   #19
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This sounds pretty good, but are there any downsides? Like licensing requirements? If it is not an RV doesn't that require special drivers licenses and endorsements which vary state to state? From what I read, once you can title it an RV you get out of a lot of the restricting licensing rules of it being a commercial vehicle.

Also, how does this play out if a major accident happened and it was clearly discovered to be an livable home/bus. Is there any risk the insurance company could deny claims?

and then another worry is, how do I insure a regular old "school bus" for the true cost of my improvements/replacement? I've spent A LOT more than the typical build and can't imagine them accepting a number even close to what has been put into this build.
Hey JollyRoger, I was wondering if you had any more info on registering/insuring as a commercial vehicle and then driving without a CDL. All the research I did said if i don't re-title it as RV/Camper/Whatever there will be issues with special licenses and endorsements. Do you know anything about that? Or have any experience with police officers? Do you drive your bus around a lot? I plan on driving almost every day in it, and its going to draw a lot of attention, i have to be 100% legit.
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Old 06-21-2017, 05:10 PM   #20
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State Farm offers me full coverage.

Maybe the best course is to ask the agent or carrier that you are working with?
Hey Steve, that sounds awesome, did they ask you to send photos?

I have contacted 3 agents that specialize in RV insurance and they all say when they go to just do a quick "click and print" my bus type is not listed anywhere. So that requires them to then send photos to underwriting. Which is where everything is falling apart.

Looking for anything that couple help... i am still striking out at obtaining insurance.
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