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Old 09-27-2023, 06:28 PM   #1
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Where are you guys getting insurance?

I'm interested in buying a bus and converting it, but this situation with trying to find insurance is having me second guess the idea. I looked through previous threads and did some searches and called up the recommended agencies (State Farm, National General, etc) but it seems that nobody wants to insure a school bus driven by a person whether it has been converted or not. Several agents have told me that Progressive does them, however, their page says they don't insure converted busses (didn't call and ask about pre-conversion).

For reference I found a bus I like in OR and need to transport it to ID and was just trying to find a commercial vehicle for personal use policy to be able to drive it home. I really don't want to invest $$$ into building out a bus if it's going to be a PITA to insure or completely unable to insure. However, there are a ton of you guys out there and I hope you're insured, so spill the beans, who's giving out insurance?

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Old 09-28-2023, 12:51 AM   #2
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Progressive Commercial will, indeed, write a Commercial Vehicle for Personal Use policy for your drive home. I currently have 3 such vehicles covered with them and I pay about $68/month here in Arizona (per vehicle, for liability only).
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Old 09-28-2023, 01:03 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Progressive Commercial will, indeed, write a Commercial Vehicle for Personal Use policy for your drive home. I currently have 3 such vehicles covered with them and I pay about $68/month here in Arizona (per vehicle, for liability only).
Thatís good to know. Are yours converted?
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Old 09-28-2023, 09:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by teardrophotel View Post
Thatís good to know. Are yours converted?
Right now, these are not yet fully converted. But I've had converted, unconverted, and in-progress conversions all insured with them...and they have never once asked for the status or photos or any info about the use, besides my vehicle info (make, model, VIN, year) and my expected range of operation (which you can pick from a minimum of 50 miles to whatever max you want...I think I have my default set to 200 miles right now).
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Old 09-28-2023, 10:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Right now, these are not yet fully converted. But I've had converted, unconverted, and in-progress conversions all insured with them...and they have never once asked for the status or photos or any info about the use, besides my vehicle info (make, model, VIN, year) and my expected range of operation (which you can pick from a minimum of 50 miles to whatever max you want...I think I have my default set to 200 miles right now).

they asked me here in ohio if my bus insured with them was still a bus or converted.. this is the first time I got asked if the bus was original or not.. ive had them since 2016 on that bus
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Old 09-28-2023, 11:51 AM   #6
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As I've stated before on other threads. I've been taking a tally of success rate of people getting insured vs those having issues. The one common factor I see in all of them are:


The ones who get insurance easily:
1.) Has multiple items they are already paying insurance on. A.k.a, a home, 2 cars, or multiple buses, etc, then goes to insure a bus and have no issues with insuring it, even heavily customized. This helps greatly in them giving you trouble vs just accepting it without complaint. (I know many of you are using this as a home and sole item to pay insurance for, and this doesn't help you, but it is the truth.)

2.) It is Re-titled as an RV. This is important. A Bus is a commercial vehicle period in the legal sense, and on paper for the insurance companies. It's expected to be on the road far more and it's huge. If you can go to your local DMV and get re-titled to RV, Insurance companies are far more likely to give you insurance, and at a much cheaper rate. Because RV's are not driven as often as a commercial vehicle on the road. (it doesn't matter if you tell them you'll only drive it a few times a year if it's a commercial bus, but if it's an RV, it's on the road far less and on paper it looks far better and they are far more likely to insure it.)
3.) NEVER, and I mean NEVER volunteer information about what you are doing with it. Doesn't matter what you plan to do with it in real life, if they do not ask you the question, do not answer it, or volunteer it, and keep your answers concise and to the point, do not Embellish your responses. Answer only what is asked, and be honest. even if they ask you a question you think will ding you, if they get a hint you are hiding something that affects their decisions, so be calm but only answer what they ask for.
4.) Take an early picture of the bus pre-conversion. An early picture pre conversion makes the bus look safer to them, and they will ask for a picture for underwriting when considering insurance. Ask for a dollar value for liablility and full coverage, and they'll put that on their internal notes that it was already basically ready to set up for you. You can do this long before you get an official plan in place to get the process started.





The ones who do not get insurance easily:
1.) Do not have insurance period prior, were not insuring other cars, or a home, and want to live full time in a bus. ( This is the reality of the current state of insurers, sorry it just seems to be the case ).
2.) You volunteered more information than was asked for. You may accidentally say something that is going to make them worry. For example, a deck on the roof. When I went in for insurance, they didn't ask, and I didn't tell but I wholly plan on adding a deck on the roof, they didn't ask if I was going to have solar panels on the roof, so I didn't tell them. They did ask if I was going to have a bathroom, and I stated "I planned to go all out and have an enclosed water proof and water tight stand in shower with a full flushing toilet." I made it sound like it was going to get taken care of and not leak by using words like water tight and water proof so that they aren't worried about me asking insurance to fix it down the road, and I said it confidently which is important. They are trained listeners and listen to the inflection in your voice and often make decisions based on that inflection. If you sound unsure, they're going to be unsure in insuring you so say it in a way that will insure them. Remember they want as little liability as possible with you.
3.) People who did not go through the trouble of changing the title to an RV. Most states have to legally change if a request is made, but the process is not easy in most states. They require pictures, and receipts to show you put money into this to convert it. They won't go by pictures alone. They do ask for pictures, but you could of just taken pictures of a similar bus from someone else, they want to know you have committed to this becoming an RV before some states will change the title. If it's truly an RV they will change it, and this process can take a month in most states. As a bus it's a commercial vehicle, and some insurance companies will insure it while titled as a BUS if you state I wish to do "commercial vehicle for personal use". This is going to cost you more just as paying the government a commercial registration is going to cost you nearly 10 times more to register, insurance will cost more as well. So you have every incentive to work towards changing the title over to an RV. Insurance is cheaper than most cars on RV's because insurance companies are convinced they don't go out on the road nearly as often and so less liability that you will wreck it. (I realize some people live in their buses before fully converting it, and you will not be able to convert to an RV, and this is why it's difficult for you to get insurance, and why you should first work to full conversion, or enough to have a bed, kitchen, sink, and bathroom, and send pics with copies of receipts of purchases of materials for the RV conversion to the DMV to get that title changed to RV first before applying if you can. It's just reality.)





Other common stories I hear are, if you do a roof raise, or have a deck, or a bathroom in it, they won't insure it. My insurance at State farm didn't care that I had any of those things, and were fine with it.


You may say well maybe he just talked with the right guy at the right time. That may be true, however, as I've said, I've seen others with success and I always ask them if they had any other multi-line items already insured with the company. The answer has almost always been yes, they insured it without much issue.



I believe the reasons for this is due to the fact that you have to think of an insurance company as a Bank. They essentially are. If the Insurer has hooks in you already, or you have hooks in them by providing them previous prior business for years on other items, they want to keep that steady income stream and do not want you to leave to another insurer because they chose not to insure your Bus. So they usually give you no problems in these circumstances it seems.


Ultimately:

They see a Bus as a HUGE liability for them. It's huge, heavy, if you wreck into someone, you are very more than likely going to cause far more damage than you would if you were just in a car. Which equates to them forking out more money. A.k.a, chances are far greater due to the size and weight. If a Bus is the first thing you are trying to insure and they aren't making that money up from other line items you've been paying insurance for, they are less likely to take on that liability to keep you as a customer. This is what I've observed over time from people here and on other forums.
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Old 09-28-2023, 01:18 PM   #7
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Good Sam/NGIC, now Allstate. I insured in 2018. I had called
Them multiple times in advance of getting a bus. Told them I needed insurance and if they were going
To insure me, I wanted to know their requirements and their prohibitions.

Have a home address
Have a primary vehicle that’s not the bus
Have a good driving record

No full timing. Max 6 months a year
No deck
No racks (solar attachment OK)
No wood stove
No structural modifications
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Old 09-29-2023, 07:05 AM   #8
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I have state farm. Its considered a personal passenger vehicle.
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Old 10-01-2023, 01:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Progressive Commercial will, indeed, write a Commercial Vehicle for Personal Use policy for your drive home. I currently have 3 such vehicles covered with them and I pay about $68/month here in Arizona (per vehicle, for liability only).
I am in Flagstaff trying to get back to Kingman. Literally no one will insure me. I'd be interested to know if you have a local agent you can refer me to so I can get coverage.
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Old 10-01-2023, 02:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkaleikini View Post
I am in Flagstaff trying to get back to Kingman. Literally no one will insure me. I'd be interested to know if you have a local agent you can refer me to so I can get coverage.
No, I just call the Progressive Commercial number. 888-806-9598

I know that some states have different rules, so a Commercial Vehicle for Personal Use policy may not be written in every state. But I'm in AZ as well, so you shouldn't have any problem getting the same type of policy through them.
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Old 10-04-2023, 04:14 PM   #11
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As my chevy/collins is not a rv yet I have a basic com inssurance as its tagged with com plates its costing me $1300/year for progressive ins.
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Old 10-04-2023, 05:40 PM   #12
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I have Progressive. I had it in Washington State and now Florida. You can't call any ol' agent though. I can't remember who my agent was in WA, but I'll see If I can find a contact #...you might give them a call and see if either a) they can talk your local agent through the process -or- b) maybe give you the number of someone they know who already knows.

Also, just to be clear, I was able to title mine as an RV from day 1. I was fortunate that the bus was local to me and so it was cheaper/easier just to have it towed to my house (it was like 15 miles). OK...also, it wasn't running either, but still...

Anyway, let me see if I can dig up an agent phone number who actually knows what they are talking about!

-JB
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Old 10-04-2023, 08:03 PM   #13
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I have State Farm. I also have my house and cars with them. They had to call another State Farm agent who has done it before, but no problem..
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Old 10-05-2023, 07:03 AM   #14
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Update on my last comment. I have finished my RV conversion. Changed the title and got RV insurance through State farm. Liability only $50 a year.
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Old 10-05-2023, 09:06 AM   #15
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Once the bus is decommissioned just cover the word school bus and cover up stop on the flip out stop signs. Now Commercial Insurance I was looking at a school bus and just for liability was $33 a year I think. Once it's converted into an actual RV then look up roamly rv insurance. They have great prices and you get Towing Insurance roadside assistance travel interruption if your RV or buses in the shop for repairs if the repair shop won't let you stay on the property they have Hotel expense coverage.

Courtney from Roamly 512-877-5338, my email is courtney.fitzgerald@roamly.com once you get your bus you don't eat Commercial Insurance. I'm curious are you getting your bus from Isaac in Oregon
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Old 10-05-2023, 09:11 AM   #16
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You can get a Transit permit and I believe your regular Auto Insurance will cover the bus while you drive it home. That way you don't have to register it in Oregon and then register it in Idaho
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Old 10-05-2023, 09:47 AM   #17
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"Yes" on Lazy Farmer and JayB.

I have a $1,000,000 liability policy through State Farm that costs just under $70 for a whole year. A million because of (Heaven Forbid) the potential to do serious damage. I also insure the home and 4 other vehicles, so it knocks it down. Can't believe how cheap it was for fairly stout liability insurance. I don't need a Cadillac plan, I won't crash doing a couple thousand miles a year and only me driving it judge-sober. If I total it..... start again, unlikely.

My insurance provider expressed to me that valuing a Skoolie is difficult at best, so my assumption is if I went to comprehensive & collision my premium would skyrocket exponentially.

State Farm also gave me a policy to transport from MO and didn't charge me for it. I was not liking that, yet it was hard to complain. He produced the paperwork. I like a money exchange to occur. Insurance on my insurance, you know what I mean?
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Old 10-05-2023, 11:30 AM   #18
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USAA Commercial

I just got insurance through USAA Commercial for my 2005 Bluebird All American. Unconverted and still titled as a bus. From talking with them it sounds like they will not cover a non-professional conversion. Professional I didn't find out but sounds doubtful.
$198 for 6 months in Arkansas.
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Old 10-07-2023, 08:42 AM   #19
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"Yes" on Lazy Farmer and JayB.

I have a $1,000,000 liability policy through State Farm that costs just under $70 for a whole year. A million because of (Heaven Forbid) the potential to do serious damage. I also insure the home and 4 other vehicles, so it knocks it down. Can't believe how cheap it was for fairly stout liability insurance. I don't need a Cadillac plan, I won't crash doing a couple thousand miles a year and only me driving it judge-sober. If I total it..... start again, unlikely.

My insurance provider expressed to me that valuing a Skoolie is difficult at best, so my assumption is if I went to comprehensive & collision my premium would skyrocket exponentially.

State Farm also gave me a policy to transport from MO and didn't charge me for it. I was not liking that, yet it was hard to complain. He produced the paperwork. I like a money exchange to occur. Insurance on my insurance, you know what I mean?
Roamly might be the Cadillac of insurance policies. However to have a schooly you need a commercial tow truck I called around and it starts at about $375 with a 4-Hour minimum depending on the distance. And another place quoted me $400 per hour and no mileage fee. Having comprehensive is a good idea because it will help pay for medical bills and it will also cover you if the other driver doesn't have insurance. Good driver or not accidents happen. Having an older School Bus and if it's involved in any kind of an accident you're not going to give you very little money to repair it or they will consider it totaled. Just like on a car. There are a lot of places that will ensure RVs and schooly's
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Old 10-07-2023, 09:23 AM   #20
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if you total a bus conversion its prudent to have carried declared value insurance like I have always done with classic cars.. you keep your receipts, pictures of your build out and finished skoolie.. if a loss occurs and the ins compasny wants to deny the declared value you can show how your stated value is correct.. the more you can show things that were put into it and that it actually looked fantastic and shows thew items you have receipts for, the more the case you make to the ins co is valid.. and yes if an ins company low balls you on a declared value loss you can sue them.. and people do win... in fact simply getting an attorney to send a later often triggers the mt oquit low-balling.. so yes I carry full coverage wit hstated value on every one of my busses and have records of all the things I do to them as far as improvements, upgrades, and restoration.. as well as pictures along the way...


a guy in the hotrod club I still hang out with.. got in a seemingly simple fender bender with a corolla a couple years ago.. the corolla turned illegally into a lane that was continuous for the traffic in it.. tangled with the streetrod.. both cars tangled up on the sides and stopped.. the airbags went off in the corolla.. both drivers crawled out their rigs to talk.. while talking, the corolla dashboard caught fire.. both cars burned up.. the corolla driver's insurance wanted to give them like $1500 for the hotrod.. the declared value was 35k... hagerty offered 17k... after showing all the work, pictures, receipts, trophies hagerty instantly bumped up to 27K.. after haggling they ended up someplace around 30.. without all the documentation.. he wouldve been screwed.... i mean he was screwed anyway because the car took years to build.. so DOCUMENT your skoolie build! and keep records..
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