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Old 08-21-2021, 11:08 AM   #1
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Should I raise the roof or bail out?

I bought a 77 passenger bus intending to raise the roof about 10 inches. Need room for insulation and headroom cause I'm not short. Since buying the bus and starting the conversion one big concern has me in doubt, insurance! I'm worried that the roof raise will prevent me from being able to get the bus insured. My insurance guy found me a "commercial vehicle for personal use" policy liability only, until it becomes an RV. He also stressed the build must be done professionally....



I'm worried that I'm going to be stuck with a part time home on wheels I can't insure.


Might just keep the current policy and run that way, I can live with liability only but a roof raise is mandatory.



Thoughts please, thanks!
John

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Old 08-21-2021, 11:28 AM   #2
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I went to the greatest of trouble getting mine insured. Without a roof raise. So your concerns are valid.

If I were you, Id play safe. Go to a metal fabrication shop, a body shop, someone who could reasonably be argued to know something about how to tack metals together correctly.

Have some sort of paper, an invoice, a pro forma invoice, a statement, who knows - that they have participated/overseen the work.

If it costs you $500, that would be the cheapest insurance youd ever buy.
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Old 08-21-2021, 11:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bert06840 View Post

Have some sort of paper, an invoice, a pro forma invoice, a statement, who knows - that they have participated/overseen the work.

If it costs you $500, that would be the cheapest insurance youd ever buy.

Thank you Bert, that is a good idea. I'll check into it.
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Old 08-21-2021, 12:41 PM   #4
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If you only need liability, roll with it as is. Raise the roof. Likely a sign off by a welder will not do. They'll want your electric signed off, your plumbing, etc. by all licensed contractors. Easier to find another insurance company. State Farm works well with us.
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Old 08-21-2021, 01:55 PM   #5
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I don't understand all the trouble with getting insurance. I just called State Farm and done.
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Old 08-21-2021, 01:59 PM   #6
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I don't understand all the trouble with getting insurance. I just called State Farm and done.
The less fortunate don't have State Farm. I empathize with those who have to deal with issues gaining insurance. SF is easy peazy.
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Old 08-23-2021, 09:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by T-Bolt View Post
I don't understand all the trouble with getting insurance. I just called State Farm and done.

It's state to state. I'm also in Indiana and State Farm was great. No questions asked and they have pictures of my bus with the whole tail cut off and it turned into a toy hauler. State Farm in other states wont even look at buses.


It sucks really.
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Old 08-23-2021, 09:06 AM   #8
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I don't understand all the trouble with getting insurance. I just called State Farm and done.
State Farm wouldn't even talk to us about coverage in South Dakota. Called 3 different agents and were shut down by all 3 as soon as we mentioned the word "bus".
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Old 08-23-2021, 10:20 AM   #9
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In MI I found that Allstate will insure. My soon to be old Insurance Broker could or did not find policy within his 20 Ins.Co. network. So, call around!
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Old 08-23-2021, 11:41 AM   #10
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State Farm wouldn't even talk to us about coverage in South Dakota. Called 3 different agents and were shut down by all 3 as soon as we mentioned the word "bus".

Is it titled as an RV? See.. I really think it has a lot to do with how it is presented. If you tell them it's an RV and go through the details of it, then provide them pictures.. you might get better results.


A lot of people call up insurance companies and the first thing they say is "I've got an old school bus that I turned into a camper"... yeah no.



Instead... if you took the time to title it as an RV in your home state, it should go more like this.. "Yes I've got a 2004 38' IH RV that I need to get a policy on" As you go into the details of the build, tell them everything it has. Then send them pictures.


"Bus" scares a lot of insurance companies. Big liabilities when it comes to privately owned buses. Answer the questions they ask... Provide pictures.


I'm lucky enough to be friends with my agent so he watched the whole build and knew everything I was doing along the way. We sent detailed info and pictures in and didn't have any problems. He never used the phrase "bus conversion" to them as far as I know although the pictures clearly show it as such.



YMMV
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Old 08-23-2021, 11:55 AM   #11
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Don't remember where, but there is a guy on youtube that insulated on TOP of his roof between the roof and solar array.
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Old 08-25-2021, 08:46 AM   #12
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I appreciate you all for replying to this post thanks!



The insurance folks I called (around 12 of them) did freak out when I said school bus, I'm now calling it my RV I'm going ahead with building my RV and then finding insurance.


Thanks again!
John
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Old 08-25-2021, 08:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr4btTahoe View Post
Is it titled as an RV? See.. I really think it has a lot to do with how it is presented. If you tell them it's an RV and go through the details of it, then provide them pictures.. you might get better results.


A lot of people call up insurance companies and the first thing they say is "I've got an old school bus that I turned into a camper"... yeah no.



Instead... if you took the time to title it as an RV in your home state, it should go more like this.. "Yes I've got a 2004 38' IH RV that I need to get a policy on" As you go into the details of the build, tell them everything it has. Then send them pictures.


"Bus" scares a lot of insurance companies. Big liabilities when it comes to privately owned buses. Answer the questions they ask... Provide pictures.


I'm lucky enough to be friends with my agent so he watched the whole build and knew everything I was doing along the way. We sent detailed info and pictures in and didn't have any problems. He never used the phrase "bus conversion" to them as far as I know although the pictures clearly show it as such.



YMMV
Titled as an RV in SD, was presented as such to State Farm. VIN still shows as a bus so there's no way around that. Was shot down all 3 times by State Farm. Ditto for Allstate and numerous other outfits. Never even got to the "send us pictures" stage. We worked through an agent, too, who was only able to get us Progressive Commercial for Personal. I believe some of the problems she encountered were because it was a converted bus and we were living in it full time....a double whammy.
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Old 08-25-2021, 04:51 PM   #14
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Anything is insurable, well maybe not a manned mission to the Moon or Mars.
The moment you have problems getting insurance on anything whether it be a skoolie, a Greyhound, or that "vicious breed" dog you love, CALL A BROKER. Better yet, call SEVERAL brokers.

I do suspect a lot of issues are indeed from the language used and the way things are presented.

Similar to the "RV parks won't take skoolies" complaints. Many of then talk about how they called ahead and couldn't find anyone that would take their skoolie..... well they haven't seen your skoolie and have no idea if its a "hippie bus" or a $100,000 top of the line build.
Same thing with insurance companies. You want to insure your RV (if it's got RV title). No need to VOLUNTEER that you built it or what it has in it. They'll ask the questions they want answers to and ask for the pictures they want to see. Sure the VIN will come back saying it was originally a BUS. Ours was originally a transit bus, then a school bus, and it's now a MH but the original VIN records say it was a transit bus.


TWO THINGS TO NOTE.....

DO NOT LIE about what you have. For instance if they ask do you have a deck on the roof or a wood stove inside, tell the truth.

ALTERNATIVE BATTERIES. If you have non UL or otherwise certified batteries or electrical equipment be sure that your policy specifically says it's covered with that equipment installed. Some friends had an alternative battery system. They took a DIRECT HIT from lightening and it fried the system which then burned down the rig.....ANY battery system would have likely done the same considering the damage caused by the initial strike.... and the insurance company denied the claim. They suffered a total loss.
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Old 08-25-2021, 04:51 PM   #15
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Get-er-done and someone will insure you if it looks nice; a hack job and no one will touch it. Nice paint will do wonders as well as a nice interior. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm how to keep the word "bus" out of the conversation? Like you said, avoid that word and say to them "Ive got an RV that I rebuilt and am needing insurance", see how far you can get with that and of course let us know the outcome.
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Old 08-25-2021, 04:56 PM   #16
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Deal with a broker or agent. Don’t deal with the insurance company directly because you have no horsepower with them. A good broker controls a large book of business and therefore has way more clout with the insurance company than you do on your own.
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Old 08-25-2021, 06:19 PM   #17
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Do you have a local Farm Bureau? They're who I use. Mine has full coverage for less than my car. I just bought a second bus because my first didn't even make it to the build stage, and all I had to do was call my agent, tell him how much I paid for it and give him the year, make, model and VIN. 5 minute conversation and the new bus is insured. They want pictures as you progress through the build, but I haven't been given any do's and don'ts. None of the other companies I called would consider it here in Utah. Best of luck!
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Old 08-25-2021, 08:36 PM   #18
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As a Canadian trying to insure my bus in Arizona I was getting nowhere. The vin knows its a bus no matter how its titled. I finally went to AAA. Quick and totally satisfied.
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Old 08-25-2021, 09:28 PM   #19
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Great replies again!



Now I feel confident about getting insured when the time comes and that is a load off my mind.


BTW The plate say "Bus" at this time. The liability policy reads: commercial vehicle for recreational use.
Feeling good thanks so much!
John
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Old 08-25-2021, 11:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timeline View Post
Great replies again!



Now I feel confident about getting insured when the time comes and that is a load off my mind.


BTW The plate say "Bus" at this time. The liability policy reads: commercial vehicle for recreational use.
Feeling good thanks so much!
John

As long as the drivers license you have allows driving a vehicle the size of your bus (by GVWR on the data plate) with the type of brakes it has (air brakes sometimes require an endorsement or special license) you'll be good to go and the type of insurance isn't relevant to the PoPo if they pull you over, just that it's insured.
Of course if you're not driving it the license doesn't matter until it's time to take it somewhere.
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