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Old 05-13-2019, 02:57 PM   #1
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Red face Just got our bus, feeling stuck...

Hello, I recently registered, but have been following / lurking on the skoolie community for a few years now. My husband and I have been attending Tiny Fest Midwest, and we were finally able to purchase our (short)bus!! Basically someone ran into my honda while we were stopped in traffic, which totaled my little car, and gave us the incentive to take out a loan with my bank to get going. I guess its happening whether we're ready or not


Its a Diesel 2008 Ford Startrans, originally a 9 passenger bus for a church here in Polk County, Iowa, very well taken care of <3 (see attached photo) (having trouble uploading)

Before deciding to purchase the bus, we expressed with my insurance company that it was going to be a motor home conversion (currently Titled as a Class C Motor Home) But they are insisting that it be insured as a commercial vehicle. It weighs 11,500lbs, and of course is less than 16 passengers.
I spent, close to, 2 hrs on hold calling my local DOT trying to figure out what I should do, and they said I need to tell them its a camper, not a "bus". And that it does not require a CDL.

I'm feeling pretty cornered and a little lost. Can you guys welcome me and my husband with some links to topics that might relate to my situation? I'm feeling so lost that I might consider selling it if someone is up for the challenge, I'm just not in a position to argue with them :/
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:12 PM   #2
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Are the seats still in it?
Has there been any RV fixtures put in it?
If so, pics to your insurance folks might help although getting insurance on a previous bus or commercial vehicle is problematic lately. Don't get discouraged by a refusal, keep shopping around and you should be okay.
Looks in good condition from your pic. Good luck going forward...
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:25 PM   #3
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In NJ and some other states, you can't insure a bus as a motor home you have to register it as a motor home and insure it as a commercial vehicle but use it for non commercial purposes. Your insurance company may be correct. Try giving Allstate a call. That's who I use. I pay $50/mo
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:50 PM   #4
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I use progressive. $250 a year.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:51 PM   #5
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So, how would you go about starting the conversation with an insurance company if I wanted to shop? The title has "bus" listed under the 'Style'. Is this where it should say camper or something...? How honest with you are with them, and how much detail do you go in?

CMORGANSKOOL -
I think that's what might be the case. It just didn't make any sense to me, and considering that a "remodel" isn't really common for insurance, I was thinking maybe there was some mistake. Why would it be considered a commercial vehicle, if it was an RV for personal use with no more than a driver and passenger seat?

(Its been a while since I've been in forums, so I'm having trouble uploading images. I'll keep uploading as we go, but I'm not sure if the files are too large, or if I've got a spotty connection?)
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:22 PM   #6
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The seats are all out, and we've been staging the space. Nothing is permanently bolted down, yet. Hoping to put in a tiny stove (of sorts), RV sink, hand shower, fridge, and composting toilet.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiFox3 View Post
So, how would you go about starting the conversation with an insurance company if I wanted to shop? The title has "bus" listed under the 'Style'. Is this where it should say camper or something...? How honest with you are with them, and how much detail do you go in?

CMORGANSKOOL -
I think that's what might be the case. It just didn't make any sense to me, and considering that a "remodel" isn't really common for insurance, I was thinking maybe there was some mistake. Why would it be considered a commercial vehicle, if it was an RV for personal use with no more than a driver and passenger seat?
It is not considered an RV by the insurance company unless you have 4 of the 6 requirements for it to be considered an RV :

Cooking appliance with onboard fuel source
Gas or electric fridge
Toilet with exterior evac
Heat/AC with power other than engine
Potable (drinkable) water supply
110v power supply

Until then it is considered a commercial vehicle for private use. Even though it's still considered commercial a CDL is not required if its under the weight requirement.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiFox3 View Post
So, how would you go about starting the conversation with an insurance company if I wanted to shop? The title has "bus" listed under the 'Style'. Is this where it should say camper or something...? How honest with you are with them, and how much detail do you go in?

CMORGANSKOOL -
I think that's what might be the case. It just didn't make any sense to me, and considering that a "remodel" isn't really common for insurance, I was thinking maybe there was some mistake. Why would it be considered a commercial vehicle, if it was an RV for personal use with no more than a driver and passenger seat?

(Its been a while since I've been in forums, so I'm having trouble uploading images. I'll keep uploading as we go, but I'm not sure if the files are too large, or if I've got a spotty connection?)
The law varies per state. Some states require you to convert your bus and get it inspected to change the title to motor home so you can register it as a motor home and inure it as a motor home. Other states require a stated use for registration and the title stays bus. My state let me just change the title by filing a form. You register and insure it however the state law requires.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:05 PM   #9
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KiwiFox3 your giving up too easy, they need to be educated about conversions and how many are out there or it's time to change insurance companies. I assume you have looked at all the other state/insurance problems most here have encountered for ammunition so shoot at the industry. This won't be your last roadblock so toughen up, your end results will make all these problems seem trivial.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
It is not considered an RV by the insurance company unless you have 4 of the 6 requirements for it to be considered an RV :

Cooking appliance with onboard fuel source
Gas or electric fridge
Toilet with exterior evac
Heat/AC with power other than engine
Potable (drinkable) water supply
110v power supply

Until then it is considered a commercial vehicle for private use. Even though it's still considered commercial a CDL is not required if its under the weight requirement.
Check with your state and insurance rep. Don't rely on advice from internet people.
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:42 AM   #11
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Its currently titled as a MH then you tell insurance company you want to insure your MH don't mention its a shuttle bus.
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Check with your state and insurance rep. Don't rely on advice from internet people.

agreed.. as there are 50 states and 100 different laws it seems...



plus the variance we see with insurance companies is very much state-law and risk oriented..



for instance progressive is based in ohio and started their coverage here long before most ever heard of them... also in ohio the hobby of bus restoration / rest-o-mod is very popular and has been long before tiny-homes and converted busses.. my guess is that the risk is much less for busses that are insured and essentially parked more of the time than not.. on average a converted skoolie is likely to be driven more than someone who collects busses.. vehicles out on public roads represent a higher risk of a loss to the insurance company than vehicles parked.. esp since most only carry liability...



state laws in regards to maximum payouts, lawsuit results, judges, and average number of losses per area per vehicle type also affect whether an insurer will cover you.. an actuary-acquaintence of mine tells me it is literally by specific street address at times.. and for sure by zip-code.. and yes in many cases income-level and credit score play a factor.. im not sure how those last ones play in as when im out driving I get cut-off by just as many Beemers as I do old beat up Buicks...



essentially insurance companies only want to insure those people they feel will never ever make a claim... insurers also have access to what is known as the CLUE database which essentially is a way to look up your previous claims history with insurers.. whether the loss be your fault or not...

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Old 05-16-2019, 12:52 PM   #13
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I got a quote this morning from my local agent here in Iowa, he had a photo copy of the title showing it as a bus. $252 through Progressive as a commercial vehicle for non-commercial use. Progressive WILL NOT cover after the conversion. But that gets me home.
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Old 05-16-2019, 01:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by CMORGANSKOOL View Post
In NJ and some other states, you can't insure a bus as a motor home you have to register it as a motor home and insure it as a commercial vehicle but use it for non commercial purposes. Your insurance company may be correct. Try giving Allstate a call. That's who I use. I pay $50/mo
Hey, who is your allstate rep? I'm also in the Philly area and I'm trying to line up liability insurance for my bus (I'm not looking to get RV insurance yet because the conversion is not complete).
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:49 PM   #15
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I had to call several agents before I was able to get liability insurance for my bus while building - and after. An Allstate agent in Florida was able to do liability for the bus/MH for $280 a year. I was able to get the coverage from the moment I drove it off the bus lot. The Bus dealer had it titled it as a Van Conversion then I retitled it as a MH after most of the conversion.
I always recommend calling a few different agents. I was open and honest with them all - and a few snubbed their phone-noses at me with "Umm, we don't insure buses" (I think I imagined them saying "we don't insure bus people" but it was likely just buses) - but eventually one understood.
As mentioned - every state is different - and there are many many differences within each state. I found that some will listen and help and some won't.
Good luck! Don't give up - because it is possible.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:19 PM   #16
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Check with your state and insurance rep. Don't rely on advice from internet people.
Did I say something erroneous?
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:26 PM   #17
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Did I say something erroneous?
No you said what you've experienced.
Folks have vastly different experiences with these things and insurance. It all depends on who you are, where you are, and all that jazz.
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