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Old 03-20-2017, 02:18 PM   #1
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NJ Insurance

Anyone have experience getting insured in NJ recently? I've contacted over 30 different agents with no luck...I'm at my wit's end! All advice welcome & appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:29 PM   #2
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As you know insurance varies from state to state. Many of us have had success using the following phrase. "I need a Progressive commercial policy for private use." Mine was about $400 for a year.
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:48 PM   #3
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No one will insure as an RV. Your best bet is "Commercial for private use," and just leave it at that, since insurance companies allowed in NJ base of VIN and not title.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:42 PM   #4
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Scooternj; So NJ is similar to OR for insurance purposes I take it? You're correct, this one says "van" on the title which apparently makes it a commercial policy because of the size of the vehicle, but for private use. Many insurers seem to not even know about the Progressive commercial policy for private use. I'd certainly never heard of it before. I've had a number of buses in the past and some were registered as motorhomes, but for some reason the rules have changed.

My paranoia; Why is Progressive the only insurer selling these policies these days? Progressive does undersell these commercial policies to other insurers, which doesn't really make sense if the other insurers couldn't sell policies to us directly.

Annie; Hope this information helped. On a side note I just renewed for my second year under the Progressive commercial policy for $334. It actually went down.
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Old 03-20-2017, 06:42 PM   #5
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Scooternj; So NJ is similar to OR for insurance purposes I take it? You're correct, this one says "van" on the title which apparently makes it a commercial policy because of the size of the vehicle, but for private use. Many insurers seem to not even know about the Progressive commercial policy for private use. I'd certainly never heard of it before. I've had a number of buses in the past and some were registered as motorhomes, but for some reason the rules have changed.
Pretty much. We also can't pump our own gas here. NJ is fussy about *who* they let insure in the state. For the longest time GEICO wasn't allowed, but currently are. GMAC/NatGen was banned from the state for insurance scams and fraud.

As for commercial policies, and this is from my cousin who's VP of a family-run independent insurance agent, most underwriters don't like insuring buses. Won't touch them with a 10m cattle prod. That's why Progressive Commercial seems to be the popular 2d run for us for now.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:10 PM   #6
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To many hippies wrecking heavy buses after installing water tanks and VW buses on the roof?

We've all seen freakishly unsafe hippy buses that amaze everyone as they go by billowing smoke. Still that freedom is, or was, the same thing we're after now but hopefully more tastefully. I'm really impressed with what people are doing on this site.
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Old 03-22-2017, 02:15 PM   #7
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I currently have a commercial policy for personal use with Progressive but was told once the seats are taken out we will no longer qualify for commercial and will need to get other insurance. I've called Progressive multiple times and every person has told me they can't give me insurance for a converted school bus - not personal, not commercial, not RV.
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:37 PM   #8
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I've got the same problem here in Oregon. That's why my title says "VAN." It's a big damn van, but it's a van. This particular bus was a wheelchair bus, and as such had only a couple seats for the attendants that helped handicapped people get locked down. The DMV said without seats this did not qualify as a bus, and purchasing seats was was unreasonable expense, so it's a van. It has standard car plates, and I also have a Progressive commercial policy for private use. The policy is just liability because that's all the offer on this type of policy.

As a self built motorhome I'm not eligible for insurance in this state. The older buses previously registered and insured as motorhomes are grandfathered in, to my understanding. I have no idea if that grandfather clause is effective following a title transfer to a new owner.

I was initially repulsed at the idea of using a commercial policy, but was told that it's only because of the size of the vehicle. I have a lot of farm trucks and they don't require a commercial policy as far as I'm aware.

You get better results from the independent insurance agents. My insurance agent had never heard of a commercial policy for private use, and they're not young agents. Insurance agents say no if they aren't aware of that particular policy.

Now here comes the pain. This "VAN" can not become a self built motorhome. However I can reasonably do virtually anything small van owners can do without violating the motorhome qualifications. My furnishings will be modular, having a section for a sink, fresh and greywater. Another module for cooking and storage, and another for clothing and personal items. Each module is removable so this vehicle can become a big damn van again as quickly as it takes to unload the furnishing modules. That means no frame mounted propane tank, no permanently mounted fresh, grey and black water tanks. Vans aren't supposed to have a toilet, or at least not plumbed in because you can't have the disposal tanks anyway. As you've read you can go composting toilet. There's ways around the insurance problems.

Look up the DMV requirements that would make your bus a motorhome, then start looking for loopholes to enable you to use your van like a motorhome without it actually becoming one.

The insurance agents were concerned with my intended use of this vehicle. As a mobile "fishing shack" intended for camping use at high mountain lakes was an acceptable use. There are lakes everywhere so I can go every where. I'm a lousy fisherman and I haven't caught a fish since I bought this bus/van.

I'm am making the interior much more van style in appearance by having plywood ceiling and walls as well as the original flooring. Don't want it to get pretty like a motorhome.
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Old 03-23-2017, 05:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Annie View Post
I currently have a commercial policy for personal use with Progressive but was told once the seats are taken out we will no longer qualify for commercial and will need to get other insurance. I've called Progressive multiple times and every person has told me they can't give me insurance for a converted school bus - not personal, not commercial, not RV.
Definitely talk to an independent agent. They know the system inside and out, and can figure out how to smooth the system.

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Look up the DMV requirements that would make your bus a motorhome, then start looking for loopholes to enable you to use your van like a motorhome without it actually becoming one.
Unfortunately, NJ's requirements make modularity difficult:
Quote:
 Remove most seats from the bus : In order for the bus to be converted to an RV, the customer must make the following modifications to the vehicle:
 Remove emergency lights including the side mounted stop sign
 Repaint the exterior of the vehicle (Cannot remain any shade of yellow)
 Install a permanent bed or sleep sofa
 Install a permanent sink or bar sink (Must be in working order)
 Install a permanent stove or microwave

Color photographs
o Exterior photos must completely/clearly show all 4 sides of the vehicle. of the interior and exterior after the conversion.
o Interior photos must completely/ show the bed, stove/microwave and sink.
Pencil tracing or photograph clearly showing the complete VIN plate
This information was provided to me by a wonderfully helpful young lady in Trenton, who emailed it to me when asked. (There are bureaucrats at NJ MVC who *are* helpful)
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Old 03-23-2017, 02:20 PM   #10
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You don't happen to know any independent agents that might insure a converted school bus do you? Everyone I've spoken with has recommended the same thing but so far I haven't come across anyone - independent or not - who will insure us. Thanks!
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