School Bus Conversion Resources

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ReleaseTheKraken 01-14-2015 05:56 PM

LF Insurance input, ONTARIO, Canada
 
Insurance in Canada seems a bit more challenging than those reporting from the US. I understand there are ING, and GMAC and Good Sam. We don't have those options. Moving on....

For those who have secured insurance here in Canada, please shed some light.

The issue stands while it remains a bus, to transport home:
- As a titled bus, it must be commercial
- Commercial insurance can't be temporary, and costs $4,500 a year. To cancel, you forfeit 25%. Meaning temporary insurance would be $1200, and have to be paid in full and then refunded. So that's 3 months of insurance to cover the max 10 day Temporary transit permit from MTO.


There appears to be a few options once it is titled as an RV (I see State Farm mentioned, and WayFare, Echelon General, however would LOVE for people to chime in and share options for others), but what options exist to just get it home?

Equally, the driver's licensing. As a motorhome, not an issue...it's a G. But as a bus, my insurance company spewed me such contradictory information, claiming the need for an F. The vendor was emphatic there was a way to do it with a G, (was it if the bus is vacant?). If anyone has insight, I'd love it.

Happy karma back to you for responding :)

gbstewart 01-14-2015 06:57 PM

man, this is getting complicated, you can drive a full size bus with a G if there is no passengers and its under 11000kgs check it out on the mto website. I work at a school and some times have to bring the bus into the shop and I have a G so I did check with mto. Insurance is a big pain!! Im with Allstate. Are you trying to get insurance just to move it and do the conversion? If its not far what about just towing it to where you are going to do the work on it then get the insurance as a RV?
gbstewart

ReleaseTheKraken 01-14-2015 07:52 PM

Thank you!!! :)

You have hit the nail on the head with the licensing. There IS this mysterious statement somewhere with the MTO about empty buses and the G license. I just need to dig it up and try not to be smug as I present it to my insurance company. Your insight is the same as the vendors...now I just have to dig on the MTO site.

I suspect the only option is to tow it home and then convert. Or toss in a potty, heater, Generator and ice box when I go pick it up and call it an RV from day one ;)

I appreciate the lead for insurance as well. Once it's titled an RV I suspect things will be a wee bit smoother.

jazty 01-14-2015 10:27 PM

I'd advise to change the title to an RV as soon as possible. It'll make life easier for getting insurance and a safety. Changing the title can also be a pain in the arse, though. The trick is to find a ServiceOntario with knowledgeable staff (good luck!). I was living in Ottawa when I was working out those details and the huge downtown ServiceOntario with 30 desks was useless. I ended up biking further south to a suburb and the lady had it done in 10 minutes.

Essentially, you have to vouch that the bus is no longer going to be used as a bus and that it has 3 or 4 RV type things; such as a cook top, toilet, bed, fresh water tank, sewer tank, etc. In my case they gave me a blank piece of paper and made me write something about declaring the bus an RV and not a bus and signing at the bottom. It seemed incredibly unofficial, but they stamped it, filed it away and gave me the new ownership.
My bus at the time had none of the above mentioned items permanently installed, but I did have a portable marine pooper, a camping cookstove, and a mattress so I didn't feel too bad about the ordeal.

jazty 01-14-2015 10:29 PM

Oh, and as for insurance, RSA Group will insure damn well anything if you're willing to pay. http://www.rsagroup.ca/. I used them to get things going, but eventually cancelled because it was $130 a month. For an RV?!? Yowsers..

ReleaseTheKraken 01-14-2015 10:35 PM

Thanks Jazty! I'm grateful for your reply.

I had heard this stories where things can just happen! I know what I am doing tomorrow...off to a rural ServiceOntario to get an RV title.

We have the marine pooper, the fridge, the power source, the heater, and a futon...you assured me that's enough to have the guts to try :)

Question, when you say blank piece of paper, do you mean a blank form or your write your own statement? I'd like to look official-ish if I'm not walking in with glossy prints of a complete interior.

"In my case they gave me a blank piece of paper and made me write something about declaring the bus an RV and not a bus and signing at the bottom. It seemed incredibly unofficial, but they stamped it, filed it away and gave me the new ownership."

After cancelling the initial insurance, could I ask who you went with in the end?

jazty 01-14-2015 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReleaseTheKraken (Post 97685)
We have the marine pooper, the fridge, the power source, the heater, and a futon...you assured me that's enough to have the guts to try :)

Sounds good to me! :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReleaseTheKraken (Post 97685)
Question, when you say blank piece of paper, do you mean a blank form or your write your own statement? I'd like to look official-ish if I'm not walking in with glossy prints of a complete interior.

The lady walked over to the printer, opened the tray and pulled out a blank piece of paper and handed it to me. Strange? I thought so! She essentially said, "Just write that it's now an RV and has some of these things". I did my best to throw in as much legal speak as I could into the declaration, but it was nothing fancy.

I'd like to hear gbstewart's experience with this. Was it similar for you?

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReleaseTheKraken (Post 97685)
After cancelling the initial insurance, could I ask who you went with in the end?

I haven't re-insured it yet, actually, so I haven't been driving it... much. A drive here and there on empty backroads or to get it from worksite to worksite. A big trip is looming, though, so I'm back in the same boat as you. I'll be calling Allstate this week.

gbstewart 01-15-2015 09:31 AM

Ok, this is how I did, I bought the bus from the company that does the bus service for the area, and it came with a safety check:D, I got all the paper work for the bus , then I went to my insurance company at the time and they charged me $1200.00 for the first year and I had to have it converted in that time frame. So now I had the pink card, the ownership and the safety check.
I went to the MTO and told them I was converting it into a RV, she made a couple of calls, then just registered the owner ship in my name as a motor home , and said I had 90 days to change 60 % of the color . I slapped my plates on and drove home.
Then after the year was almost up the insurance called me and said I needed to get a appraisal to show it was done, which I did. Now in the eyes of the insurance it was a RV. I later changed insurance company and got a better price, keep in mind I have 3 vehicles and 2 houses insured with them.
gbstewart

jazty 01-15-2015 09:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gbstewart (Post 97712)
Then after the year was almost up the insurance called me and said I needed to get a appraisal to show it was done, which I did. Now in the eyes of the insurance it was a RV.

Where did you go for an appraisal to prove it was an RV? Just a typical auto appraisal shop?

gbstewart 01-15-2015 10:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jazty (Post 97716)
Where did you go for an appraisal to prove it was an RV? Just a typical auto appraisal shop?

It was a company that checks out your car if you are in a crash, he came from an other town and went to my house and took pictures of my bus, and I had to pay about $150.00 for it. I'm sure the insurance company has some one on speed dial. BTW my insurance is $220.00 a year :D
gbstewart

jazty 01-15-2015 10:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gbstewart (Post 97720)
It was a company that checks out your car if you are in a crash, he came tfrom an other town and went to my house and took pictures of my bus, and I had to pay about $150.00 for it.

Excellent.

Quote:

Originally Posted by gbstewart (Post 97720)
I'm sure the insurance company has some one on speed dial. BTW my insurance is $220.00 a year :D
gbstewart

Wooeee!! Now that's a gorgeous rate!

Thanks gbstewart.

ReleaseTheKraken 01-15-2015 07:10 PM

Thanks for all of the local information, guys. It's very helpful.

I'm back reporting that I officially have an RV :)
Say it with me: Yayyyy!!!

It's non-plated but I have a new ownership as a Motorhome.

I went to a more rural Service Ontario and brought a statement of what I did to it, signed, as well as the safety (original copy, not faxed in, nor email...:( I had to go get that and come back), and bus ownership. They were stumped and took a long time to find the information on the MTO site listing the 4 of 6 things. If I were to do it again, I would have that information printed off to share.

The only snag was questioning if I needed a UVIP (Used vehicle information package). The final answer was no, but for the sake of $20 I should have just had one ready for them. What happened is that phone calls were made and with more people involved I was questioned as to how fast we did this major conversion, with only 6 days between purchase and completion. I explained it away and we left with the paperwork in hand. We had to pay tax on the purchase and what I think was a $14 fee.


On to insurance...and we are hitting snags.

It really looks like Allstate will be the best.
Wayfarer doesn't touch bus conversions.
Echelon is calling us back in a few days, and were pretty pessimistic.
RSA had us calling around to every department possible before we gave up. (Anyone toss us the name of a broker?)
State Farm said no...but it had nothing to do with the bus, but rather a series of tickets. I suspect Allstate will come back the same tomorrow but there may be options.
Our own insurance company seemed to find every road block possible to chalk this up to a bad idea. I should have listened to the warnings here NOT to mention the word BUS to insurance. I was trying to get temp to get it home. Lesson to learn for the next person reading this...

Baby steps, but it's getting closer. Thanks for all the leads so far!!

gbstewart 01-15-2015 07:34 PM

Yayyyy your almost there!! I saw on the co-operators insurance web site that they had bus conversions listed, you mite give them a call as well. When we switched to Allstate, there condition was that I insure another vehicle with them, they ended up giving me a better deal then what I had with my other company(except for my motorcycles). Also I printed off a copy of the MTO website that reads what you have to have to make it a motorhome just in case I ever get pulled over and need to explain things to a cop or mto officer.
gbstewart

jazty 01-16-2015 12:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gbstewart (Post 97744)
I saw on the co-operators insurance web site that they had bus conversions listed, you mite give them a call as well.

Nice find! I just pulled that up on their site as well: http://www.cooperators.ca/en/Insuran...-vehicles.aspx

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReleaseTheKraken (Post 97740)
On to insurance...and we are hitting snags.

It really looks like Allstate will be the best.
Wayfarer doesn't touch bus conversions.
Echelon is calling us back in a few days, and were pretty pessimistic.
RSA had us calling around to every department possible before we gave up. (Anyone toss us the name of a broker?)
State Farm said no...but it had nothing to do with the bus, but rather a series of tickets. I suspect Allstate will come back the same tomorrow but there may be options.
Our own insurance company seemed to find every road block possible to chalk this up to a bad idea. I should have listened to the warnings here NOT to mention the word BUS to insurance. I was trying to get temp to get it home. Lesson to learn for the next person reading this...

If you don't mind me asking, have you received an estimated yearly price from any of the insurance companies yet? I'm curious how widely they vary.

ReleaseTheKraken 01-16-2015 10:44 AM

I did actually. The only one I have so far is Allstate, however they refuse to insure us, not the RV. It's $570/yr with no comprehensive. Comprehensive was $188. The difference would also be our postal code, being more urban that you, our rates are higher.

State Farm looks to have dropped their "high risk driver" option last week, BUTTTTT that Cooperators link appears to be panning out. They have to go through Echelon but in contrast to calling Echelon direct, I got an awesome agent working through Cooperators and it isn't so pessimistic.


I will also be printing off that MTO site to have in the vehicle for when we get pulled over. Great idea!

Our vehicle is ready to be picked up, as soon as we can get some insurance secured....fingers crossed.

ReleaseTheKraken 01-16-2015 11:15 AM

Just to record updates...CAA,
They do have options through Aviva Elite. They do seem to cover some bus conversions however the rules are lengthy. It must have both a cooking unit and a washroom. At this point, we only have a washroom...with both those in place, then the entire thing goes to an inspection where it may or may not qualify.

Bets are hedged on Cooperators so far.

gbstewart 01-16-2015 06:05 PM

So CAA will insure skoolies?
For your kitchen just get a propane camping stove and screw it to a counter top, it will count as cooking unit.
gbstewart

ReleaseTheKraken 01-16-2015 06:22 PM

YES! They seemed a bit more hesitant to do it though. They had a protocol to get approved. Minimum it required a cooking facility so I didn't yet qualify...she did state that it would need an inspection afterwards and was up to the discretion of the investigator.

Cooperators is out. They won't do multiple moving violations.

On hold with RBC now.

ReleaseTheKraken 01-16-2015 06:25 PM

Cooperators will insure, but for us it will be through facility. I predict $500/month. ouch

gbstewart 01-16-2015 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReleaseTheKraken (Post 97805)
Cooperators will insure, but for us it will be through facility. I predict $500/month. ouch

ouch for sure, boy I'm glad I have a clean license :D
gbstewart


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