Originally Posted by reneemitchell1
I am new here, and really appreciate any advise. I am from New Zealand so wrapping my head around this insurance stuff is a bit of a challenge.
My partner and I will be arriving in Virginia 2019 to buy what we originally planned was a van but now toying with the idea of a short bus and converting it to a camper to travel across the US and down through Central and South America.
Cam someone PLEASE explain to me in dummy terms the insurance process for this, I read so much about registering it as a motorhome but is this compulsary, what are the benefits, is it an easy process, is it recommended that we do this for crossing borders, what would be the alternative to registering it as a motorhome.
We will be staying with a friend in Centreville to do the conversion and it will be registered there if that helps.
Insurance is always a complicated subject.
I am personally using Progressive Commercial (different website from regular progressive) with a commercial policy for personal use. I was able to get insurance in less than an hour, but I had to physically call an agent to complete rather than being able to do it all online. You could certainly call them up if you are willing to pay for a 15-20 minute international call and see what they have to say. I insured my bus when it was still classified as a bus. If I told my insurance agent I was 'converting' it, it may become more complicated since it hasn't been physically converted even though the title has been converted.
If you are going to call them, or try to get a quote online, I would have a VIN number of a school bus that is currently up for auction in the US that is similar to what you want to use, and tell them that you are considering buying it and want to know how much it will cost to insure. (I wouldn't mention you aren't going to be here for a year).
You may have additional problem of not having a US drivers license, and you don't have any insurance history in the US, and that means they may try to charge you the same rate as a 16 year old who just got their license. A lady from Germany was recently complaining about that and that her rate quote from a local progressive agent was significantly higher than one that she got from the website.
As far as I know, insurance you buy in the US is good for the US, and probably Canada, but there is a whole industry at the border that is based on selling people insurance that are going to drive into Mexico. I assume most US policies don't cover you anywhere in central or south America.
I have heard theft in general is a major problem in the border areas, although I don't know how that applies to buses. But regardless, I would not have anything on the outside of the vehicle that you can't afford to loose, and I would be getting away from the border area as quickly as possible.