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Old 02-12-2018, 09:39 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3L T444 Navistar Diesel Automatic
Insured and registered as of today!

Ok, I went into this experience with a little trepidation after having heard some of the horror stories related by other skoolies here and on other forums.

It was so painless and effortless that I am laughing at myself now for having been afraid at all.

DISCLAIMER: The following events depict my personal experience, your experiences may vary.

Basically on a whim, and because I am a member, I decided to try out AAA for my insurance; along with a couple of other companies, including one that specializes in skoolies.

I sat down with a lovely gentleman who I could tell from the get-go had my best interests in mind.

We discussed my situation and he asked all the right questions.

"Have you started the conversion?"
"How much have you done?"
"Are there any special modifications?"
"Will it be a primary residence?" (He gently prodded me to answer 'no' to this, btw)

A series of Q/A sessions later and he's got me with basic liability and uninsured motorist insurance at the rate of $130 a year!!!!

I will be bumping up to a more substantial coverage soon which will cost me $330 a year.

Nobody else I talked to could get me a rate even close to that.

His unique take on how to get the best rate was to declare the vehicle as a bus conversion to an RV for pleasure purposes.

It is not a mobile home, it is not a commercial bus, it is an RV.

Unfortunately they couldn't process my registration, so it was over to the DMV from there.

Three and a half hours later, I was able to register the bus as a recreational vehicle at a total amount of $535.

Make sure that the agent at the DMV understands that it is not a school bus anymore and that it will not be used for common passage. He almost charged me the commercial rate which was over $2,000!

Because I bought the bus in Arizona, I had to pay a state tax which was refunded to me at the time of registration in California, where that tax is exempt.

So all total, I paid out $200 dollars today to get insured and registered.

The down payment for the insurance was $40 and the registration was only $160 after the tax deduction!

Just fyi, I am in Southern California.
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:09 PM   #2
Traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Good job, Mike. Smart to avoid commercial reg in Calif.

I pay about the same/yr for insurance 500/250. Surprised they gave you tax money back- I thought Calif was poorest State in the Union, despite having 77/100 wealthiest zip codes.

Big sigh of relief, eh?
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:13 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3L T444 Navistar Diesel Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Good job, Mike. Smart to avoid commercial reg in Calif.

I pay about the same/yr for insurance 500/250. Surprised they gave you tax money back- I thought Calif was poorest State in the Union, despite having 77/100 wealthiest zip codes.

Big sigh of relief, eh?
Huge sigh of relief, I was actually thinking that I would have had a lot of trouble.

Yeah the tax on this type of purchase is exempt in California, so I got it all back. The dealers who sold me the bus told me about this so it wasn't a surprise but you never know...
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:15 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikej42 View Post
Ok, I went into this experience with a little trepidation after having heard some of the horror stories related by other skoolies here and on other forums.

It was so painless and effortless that I am laughing at myself now for having been afraid at all.

DISCLAIMER: The following events depict my personal experience, your experiences may vary.

Basically on a whim, and because I am a member, I decided to try out AAA for my insurance; along with a couple of other companies, including one that specializes in skoolies.

I sat down with a lovely gentleman who I could tell from the get-go had my best interests in mind.

We discussed my situation and he asked all the right questions.

"Have you started the conversion?"
"How much have you done?"
"Are there any special modifications?"
"Will it be a primary residence?" (He gently prodded me to answer 'no' to this, btw)

A series of Q/A sessions later and he's got me with basic liability and uninsured motorist insurance at the rate of $130 a year!!!!

I will be bumping up to a more substantial coverage soon which will cost me $330 a year.

Nobody else I talked to could get me a rate even close to that.

His unique take on how to get the best rate was to declare the vehicle as a bus conversion to an RV for pleasure purposes.

It is not a mobile home, it is not a commercial bus, it is an RV.

Unfortunately they couldn't process my registration, so it was over to the DMV from there.

Three and a half hours later, I was able to register the bus as a recreational vehicle at a total amount of $535.

Make sure that the agent at the DMV understands that it is not a school bus anymore and that it will not be used for common passage. He almost charged me the commercial rate which was over $2,000!

Because I bought the bus in Arizona, I had to pay a state tax which was refunded to me at the time of registration in California, where that tax is exempt.

So all total, I paid out $200 dollars today to get insured and registered.

The down payment for the insurance was $40 and the registration was only $160 after the tax deduction!

Just fyi, I am in Southern California.
The AAA website does not have International as an option on the Makes and won't let me continue without entering the make. Maybe if I drive to Carson? This really sucks.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:03 PM   #5
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Have you tried an independent insurance agent? It works for most of us.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:22 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Have you tried an independent insurance agent? It works for most of us.
I called the local progressive agent this afternoon and was told there is no such thing as commerical for personal use.

Tomorrow I'm calling a broker.

I'm also trying to figure out what is the absolute minimum I could do to get them to say ok, it's converted. I can take stuff up there with me when I go get it and put it in the bus. Can I just stick an air mattress, a 5 gal bucket maybe with some curtains clipped up around it, a couch and a propane gas stove and say voila! my camping RV is ready to roll!
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:37 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2martins View Post
I called the local progressive agent this afternoon and was told there is no such thing as commerical for personal use.

Tomorrow I'm calling a broker.

I'm also trying to figure out what is the absolute minimum I could do to get them to say ok, it's converted. I can take stuff up there with me when I go get it and put it in the bus. Can I just stick an air mattress, a 5 gal bucket maybe with some curtains clipped up around it, a couch and a propane gas stove and say voila! my camping RV is ready to roll!
They are going to want to see some or all of the following:

Permanently mounted:

Sleeping quarters
Cooking facilities (including running water)
Food storage (incl. fridge)
Toilet (some will demand a black tank, most should accept cassette toilet)
110V supply installed
Seating arrangements (including seatbelts for all in an RV - most states)

That would satisfy most. They won't be too bothered about "quality" but they won't accept your bedroll and a JetBoil either.

It's a bit of a moveable feast so it's best to ask them directly.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:53 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
They are going to want to see some or all of the following:

Permanently mounted:

Sleeping quarters
Cooking facilities (including running water)
Food storage (incl. fridge)
Toilet (some will demand a black tank, most should accept cassette toilet)
110V supply installed
Seating arrangements (including seatbelts for all in an RV - most states)

That would satisfy most. They won't be too bothered about "quality" but they won't accept your bedroll and a JetBoil either.

It's a bit of a moveable feast so it's best to ask them directly.
I don't understand why on earth they would want all that for liabilty insurance. I don't want comprehensive, just liability. Later, I might change, but for now, that's it. I understand why the state would want all that to say it's an rv.

At this point it seems like I should put seats in it and take a picture, get progressive insurance and then take them back out. That's ridiculous.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:00 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2martins View Post
I don't understand why on earth they would want all that for liabilty insurance. I don't want comprehensive, just liability. Later, I might change, but for now, that's it. I understand why the state would want all that to say it's an rv.

At this point it seems like I should put seats in it and take a picture, get progressive insurance and then take them back out. That's ridiculous.
Because without all of that, it's not an RV in their eyes.

You can call around and ask.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:17 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikej42 View Post
Ok, I went into this experience with a little trepidation after having heard some of the horror stories related by other skoolies here and on other forums.

It was so painless and effortless that I am laughing at myself now for having been afraid at all.

DISCLAIMER: The following events depict my personal experience, your experiences may vary.

Basically on a whim, and because I am a member, I decided to try out AAA for my insurance; along with a couple of other companies, including one that specializes in skoolies.

I sat down with a lovely gentleman who I could tell from the get-go had my best interests in mind.

We discussed my situation and he asked all the right questions.

"Have you started the conversion?"
"How much have you done?"
"Are there any special modifications?"
"Will it be a primary residence?" (He gently prodded me to answer 'no' to this, btw)

A series of Q/A sessions later and he's got me with basic liability and uninsured motorist insurance at the rate of $130 a year!!!!

I will be bumping up to a more substantial coverage soon which will cost me $330 a year.

Nobody else I talked to could get me a rate even close to that.

His unique take on how to get the best rate was to declare the vehicle as a bus conversion to an RV for pleasure purposes.

It is not a mobile home, it is not a commercial bus, it is an RV.

Unfortunately they couldn't process my registration, so it was over to the DMV from there.

Three and a half hours later, I was able to register the bus as a recreational vehicle at a total amount of $535.

Make sure that the agent at the DMV understands that it is not a school bus anymore and that it will not be used for common passage. He almost charged me the commercial rate which was over $2,000!

Because I bought the bus in Arizona, I had to pay a state tax which was refunded to me at the time of registration in California, where that tax is exempt.

So all total, I paid out $200 dollars today to get insured and registered.

The down payment for the insurance was $40 and the registration was only $160 after the tax deduction!

Just fyi, I am in Southern California.
what were your answers to these questions:
"Have you started the conversion?"
"How much have you done?"
"Are there any special modifications?"
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:59 PM   #11
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
Technically you should be covered on vehicle purchases by your current insurer. In Oregon it's for the first 30 days following a vehicle purchase. In some states it's less. No your insurer probably wouldn't be happy about it, but having a current insurance card for your other vehicle is usually enough to CYA if you get stopped. Was the purchase date to far back for this to work for you? I know you said it spent some time at the shop. You'd have to check your current insurance rules.

Sounds like you need to take your bus to the GoodWill store.
No, I don't mean to drop of your bus. Fill it up. Make it into an RV by time you hit three GW stores. A hotplate, a cooler and a floormat. Oh yeah, a bucket with a seat on it.

Yeah it's a little bit crazy. There are specific things that work pretty much across the board. Others have more individual experiences getting insured.

A couple photos of your new hippy RV, and Bob's your uncle.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:57 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3L T444 Navistar Diesel Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2martins View Post
what were your answers to these questions:
"Have you started the conversion?"
"How much have you done?"
"Are there any special modifications?"
Me:

"Yes"
"Basically, I've stripped down the bus parts and started on the walls"
"Not at this time"
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:58 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3L T444 Navistar Diesel Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2martins View Post
The AAA website does not have International as an option on the Makes and won't let me continue without entering the make. Maybe if I drive to Carson? This really sucks.
I'd really advise going in and talking to an agent face to face, either at AAA or another insurance agency.

It seems to make a big difference, or at least it did for me.

Also, check out these guys: https://skoolieinsurance.com/

They were fully prepared to get me liability on the spot but I got a better rate with AAA.

They actually called me about 1 hour after I submitted an email requesting more info.
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:07 PM   #14
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikej42 View Post
Me:

"Yes"
"Basically, I've stripped down the bus parts and started on the walls"
"Not at this time"
The guy I talked to on the phone from AAA was very nice and looked up at sorts of underwriting guidelines and said there was no way to do something that weighed what my bus weighs. Is your bus' GVWR lower than mine? Mine's 29K or so and he told me they wouldn't do anything over 12K. It seems unlikely that's just for Nevada as opposed to California.

I wonder what special trick he used?
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:12 PM   #15
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Technically you should be covered on vehicle purchases by your current insurer. In Oregon it's for the first 30 days following a vehicle purchase. In some states it's less. No your insurer probably wouldn't be happy about it, but having a current insurance card for your other vehicle is usually enough to CYA if you get stopped. Was the purchase date to far back for this to work for you? I know you said it spent some time at the shop. You'd have to check your current insurance rules.

Sounds like you need to take your bus to the GoodWill store.
No, I don't mean to drop of your bus. Fill it up. Make it into an RV by time you hit three GW stores. A hotplate, a cooler and a floormat. Oh yeah, a bucket with a seat on it.

Yeah it's a little bit crazy. There are specific things that work pretty much across the board. Others have more individual experiences getting insured.

A couple photos of your new hippy RV, and Bob's your uncle.

I just called USAA and they WILL COVER ME FOR 30 days on a new vehicle!! THANK GOD!! I just have to get the weather to cooperate for me when I can get help going to get it now before my clock runs out.... Didn't snow all winter and NOW it wants to snow!!
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:14 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3L T444 Navistar Diesel Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2martins View Post
The guy I talked to on the phone from AAA was very nice and looked up at sorts of underwriting guidelines and said there was no way to do something that weighed what my bus weighs. Is your bus' GVWR lower than mine? Mine's 29K or so and he told me they wouldn't do anything over 12K. It seems unlikely that's just for Nevada as opposed to California.

I wonder what special trick he used?
He registered it as a pleasure craft, similar to an RV.

Never utter the word 'commercial' to any insurance or DMV agents. It is not a commercial vehicle anymore once you start the conversion.

I honestly have no idea about the weight of the vehicle since it never came up, but it is a 30' International. I'm sure it is at least as heavy as yours is.
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:17 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3L T444 Navistar Diesel Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2martins View Post
I just called USAA and they WILL COVER ME FOR 30 days on a new vehicle!! THANK GOD!! I just have to get the weather to cooperate for me when I can get help going to get it now before my clock runs out.... Didn't snow all winter and NOW it wants to snow!!
Oh congrats! Good to hear, now you have some leeway to find a permanent solution.

It kind of seems that is the norm when we first get started, lots of bandaids until we find that perfect healing agent.
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:22 PM   #18
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikej42 View Post
He registered it as a pleasure craft, similar to an RV.

Never utter the word 'commercial' to any insurance or DMV agents. It is not a commercial vehicle anymore once you start the conversion.

I honestly have no idea about the weight of the vehicle since it never came up, but it is a 30' International. I'm sure it is at least as heavy as yours is.
Mine's a 40' but yours should still be over the limit. And the VIN has it in there, so I have no idea how that worked. Makes me wonder if you will just get dropped later when underwriting sees that? I hope not! Once you get more done you can get it insured anyway, but I can't get anything done with the darn thing in another state!
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Old 02-27-2018, 02:56 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikej42 View Post
Oh congrats! Good to hear, now you have some leeway to find a permanent solution.

It kind of seems that is the norm when we first get started, lots of bandaids until we find that perfect healing agent.
Yeah, but I realized that I will not have PROOF of insurance with the correct vehicle on it, which is what I actually need to get a trip permit from the DMV in Oregon and then to register it in the state of NV.

I'd really prefer to do this completely legally if at all possible.

The broker I called on Friday told me on Monday that he could cover me. I looked at the details and realized the policy said that it was NOT for personal use, only business, and I asked if that was a problem since I DID plan to use it for personal use. He called the underwriter and they will NOT cover me.
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:52 PM   #20
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
Your current insurance card, even though it's for a different vehicle, will cover you legally if you get stopped. The police are not insurance underwriters. They know you have a certain period of time to insure a new to you vehicle but likely are unaware of the commercial vehicle clauses.

I've never even heard of a pleasure craft vehicle in this state, unless it's a boat.

I applaud your sense of honesty, but come on. Have a little faith in the invisibility of buses. Seriously.
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