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Old 03-16-2012, 02:43 PM   #1
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Default Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

Hi there,

Thanks for a great forum, been picking up a lot of stuff the last day or two. I have been thinking a Class B or B+ would be a good fit for me, but need to know some things in order to lay my plans to best effect.

I'm in Ontario, Canada, and am finding auto insurance frigging ridiculous, this means an extra vehicle as a tow vehicle for a trailer is out of the question at ~$1500 a year, changing a DD for a gas hog with any reasonable tow rating, would probably cost the same extra in gas, due to having to daily drive it, BUT having seen that RV insurance on a smaller RV is around ~$500, this becomes a rather more attractive option.

However, being mechanically minded ( and fairly competent) and a cheapskate, the idea of converting a van myself comes to the fore. So I was wondering what sort of hoops I have to jump through to get a conversion recognised as an RV by Ontario insurance companies. I saw someone elsewhere mention that when it's got cooking and plumbing facilities, it's taken as an RV in their state, but would like some comments on the Ontario situation. In particular, if I started with an "overnight" conversion van that maybe just had a bed and a fridge, whether it would qualify as an RV straight off or not. Anything that I have to insure as a regular van is gonna be ~$1500ish again for ins. Is there extra difficulty if you pick a base vehicle that is not a Ford/Dodge/Chevy fullsize van, that is more common as an RV, for instance if I decided to go a bit more compact and convert an extended Astro/Safari.

Also, being mechanically minded ( and fairly competent) and a cheapskate, the idea of fixing up an older B/B+ is attractive. Is it looking like I should "avoid like the plague" certain features, like built in propane tanks rather than removable ones, to keep the regulatory cash grabs and official interference to a minimum? Also with much older ones, 70s, 80s, in interior shots I've seen, passenger seat belts do not seem to be much in evidence. Will I be having to retrofit to modern shoulder belts to carry more than 2 people? (I guess they can hide in the cushions)

Also concerning me in which path to take, is that I may want to travel into the US, and how reasonable or unreasonable a fear is it that, a custom selfmade conversion is gonna get ripped apart at the border going either way? In a contraband search or something. It's probably a risk for any vehicle, but wondering how much more of a target it might make you with something that didn't "come from the factory like that".

Another consideration, safety and emissions inspections and licensing, is there a maximum weight for "carlike" treatment, i.e. safety when you transfer ownership, e-test every 2 years. Again I'm concerned with minimising official interference and cash grabs. I had this vague idea that once you get to a 1 ton platform, it had to be registered commercial, get safetied and e-tested more often or something, have cab clearance lights and reverse beeper and other stuff. Or is it based on GVWR, or does being an RV exempt it??? And if I do a conversion to something heftier, how do I get it officially seen as an RV?

Lastly, does anyone know if the new regulation about older vehicles (20+ years) requiring a valuation for transferring ownership/paying tax applies to RVs and/or vans or just cars?

Okay, lastly for real, just thought, does anyone know of complications regarding the new regulations about driver licensing for mini-buses used for church groups, homes etc, that requires the driver to have a special license, not just a G, just thinking that if I get a passenger van to convert, then if it shows up as a mini-bus in the data banks eternally, I don't wanna be pulled over every few days just to find out if I've got the correct license or not. Though I'm thinking it didn't apply to private owned, private use passenger vans.

So, if any Ontarians or ex-pats (ex-provs?) could clear any of this up for me, it would be much appreciated,

Thanks,

Flashman.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

My first move would be to contact my insurance agent and ask what is their understanding as to what constitutes an RV.

Alternatively you could e-mail an insurance company such as Aviva, what insures RVs, and ask them for their definition.

I guess all the Ontario RVers must still be in Florida, since no one responded!

Good Luck.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

Thanks Hallibagger, unfortunately, the insurance industry up here has a bit of an attitude problem, among all it's other problems. They don't have to answer customer inquiries politely and accurately, because they expect you to come back begging to be allowed to submit your humble application... on a good day you get a polite non-committal brush off... though I guess I might try the specialists. Even brokers seem to be complete a-holes.... seriously even government departments have better customer service these days.

I'm just a bit skeptical about even bothering, because numerous times in the past, I've been buying vehicles, had a short list of 2 or 3 with nothing much to pick between them, so I'd phone some insurance companies, 90% wouldn't quote me now, they'd take the details and get back to me... (Don't remember it ever happening) and 10% would quote me right now, provided I had VIN and license plate number... yah, until it's in your name they won't talk.

Well that's how it went before kanetix.ca did online quoting, which saves me from wanting to turn homicidal maniac every time I need to insure something.
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

Hi Flashman,
When I first insured my used Roadtrek with the local insurance agent the price seemed way too low and I went into the agent and tried to explain that it was a Roadtrek not a Dodge van and they showed absolutely no interest. They said they just send the VIN number to the Insurance company with no explanation. I tried to explain that RT took a $30k, stripped, Dodge van and sold it to the public as a $80-100k Roadtrek RV. I even took the agent out to look at the vehicle and show her the difference between the RT and a Dodge van. I guess she decided that, perhaps, I did know what I was talking about and she came back to me with a quote from Aviva that was more in the $ amount I figured it should have been!

Try calling Aviva or Progressive and see what you can get out of them. I see that GMAC provides the coverage for the Good Sam group, they might be worth a try.

At this rate with the warm Spring we should be on the road by this weekend!
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

You asked earlier what defined an RV.

Wikipedia's definition is: "A recreational vehicle is any vehicle, whether towed or driven that has a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area. Recreational vehicles include: motor home (class A, B, and C), travel trailer, fifth wheel trailer, popup trailer, and slide-in camper."
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

I thought huh, it got more expensive? Ran one of my vehicles on the kanetix quoter with a picton post code, came up at 800pa vs 1500pa here (Without multiline or other discounts) (I was comparing rates thus far assuming an older sub-$20,000 value unit, which is where I got $500ish, guess recent $80,000 one is gonna be a bit more)

That wiki definition specifies bathroom, that kicks out a lot of popups, small trailers, older B's and C's... in fact.. there's many popups that don't really have a "kitchen" per se.. but those are trailers, and last time I had one it was like a buck extra on my auto policy for liability.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashman
Hi there,

Thanks for a great forum, been picking up a lot of stuff the last day or two. I have been thinking a Class B or B+ would be a good fit for me, but need to know some things in order to lay my plans to best effect.
Budget usually determines what course you steer when considering an RV. Got a number in mind for
a B/B+ RV already complete, which might need some additional "tweaks", versus what you might
spend on a DIY project? We've had some ambitious people on here recently who ultimately found
that buying the RV and fixing the problems with it probably costs less, with less heartburn, than
trying toi build one from scratch. Not saying t can't be done, but if you're not familiar with RV
basics it will likely be a "challenging" project. Still, it's up to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashman
I'm in Ontario, Canada, and am finding auto insurance frigging ridiculous, this means an extra vehicle as a tow vehicle for a trailer is out of the question at ~$1500 a year, changing a DD for a gas hog with any reasonable tow rating, would probably cost the same extra in gas, due to having to daily drive it, BUT having seen that RV insurance on a smaller RV is around ~$500, this becomes a rather more attractive option.
So are Hallibagger and I. I just bought a 2009 F150 with a mind to switching from a class B to a TT.
With the 4.6L 3 valve V8, it gets slightly better mileage than the 2010 Ranger 4.0L V6 I traded in.
It also insures for a couple hundred more per year than my Roadtrek, and as I understand it, a TT
is insured entirely based on replacement value, like a class B. Having said all of that, I'm paying
around $700/yr for a 2002 Roadtrek, with a replacement value around $40,000. That's what RV
insurance is really about, as I understand it.
btw, once your vehicle gets older than 15 years, the amount they will pay if you write it off is
greatly reduced. Check with Wayfarer Insurance. They're RV specialists, are very approachable,
unless you give them a reason not to be, and they cover their customers with Aviva as the
underwriter, as Hallibagger suggested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashman
However, being mechanically minded ( and fairly competent) and a cheapskate, the idea of converting a van myself comes to the fore. So I was wondering what sort of hoops I have to jump through to get a conversion recognised as an RV by Ontario insurance companies. I saw someone elsewhere mention that when it's got cooking and plumbing facilities, it's taken as an RV in their state, but would like some comments on the Ontario situation. In particular, if I started with an "overnight" conversion van that maybe just had a bed and a fridge, whether it would qualify as an RV straight off or not. Anything that I have to insure as a regular van is gonna be ~$1500ish again for ins. Is there extra difficulty if you pick a base vehicle that is not a Ford/Dodge/Chevy fullsize van, that is more common as an RV, for instance if I decided to go a bit more compact and convert an extended Astro/Safari.
Ask an RV insurance company what the "official" definition is and what they will or will not insure.
I don't think there are any experts on the legalities on this forum, but I could be wrong. If it was me
asking the question, I would appreciate any opinions or advice, but certainly wouldn't bet the farm
on it.
Try Wayfarer or Kanetix, or whatever RV insurer will answer the question. Since you're also in
Ontario, you could also ask at an MTO licensing office (Service Ontario).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashman
Also, being mechanically minded ( and fairly competent) and a cheapskate, the idea of fixing up an older B/B+ is attractive. Is it looking like I should "avoid like the plague" certain features, like built in propane tanks rather than removable ones, to keep the regulatory cash grabs and official interference to a minimum? Also with much older ones, 70s, 80s, in interior shots I've seen, passenger seat belts do not seem to be much in evidence. Will I be having to retrofit to modern shoulder belts to carry more than 2 people? (I guess they can hide in the cushions)
I would go with an older B/B+ if it were me (I did, actually), and deal with whatever it needs down
the road. If it was manufactured by a current or former RV converter, and hasn't been modified by
any owner prior to you to make it illegal, it should probably be legal in every respect for the year
it was built and/or converted. You could take it to a class B RV shop to get an opinion on all the
on board systems, and their legality, before you part with your cash, as a suggestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashman
Also concerning me in which path to take, is that I may want to travel into the US, and how reasonable or unreasonable a fear is it that, a custom selfmade conversion is gonna get ripped apart at the border going either way? In a contraband search or something. It's probably a risk for any vehicle, but wondering how much more of a target it might make you with something that didn't "come from the factory like that".
We got searched the 2nd time we crossed into the USA, and twice at the Hoover Dam but that's normal
if you want to drive across it. Other than that, they sometimes poke their heads in or may even open
the toilet room door to see if we're smuggling aliens, but that's been it. If you look guilty, or the van
looks like it might be mechanically unfit, or you give them any other reason to search you, it will happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashman
Another consideration, safety and emissions inspections and licensing, is there a maximum weight for "carlike" treatment, i.e. safety when you transfer ownership, e-test every 2 years. Again I'm concerned with minimising official interference and cash grabs. I had this vague idea that once you get to a 1 ton platform, it had to be registered commercial, get safetied and e-tested more often or something, have cab clearance lights and reverse beeper and other stuff. Or is it based on GVWR, or does being an RV exempt it??? And if I do a conversion to something heftier, how do I get it officially seen as an RV?
If it's built on a standard commercial cargo van chassis, as far as I know it's a car when it comes to
emissions checks. I think you should ask the Service Ontario/MTO people when you get some more
specific details on what you'll actually be driving. It's a "how long is a piece of string" type question
until they have a specific chassis year/make/model to assess. Again, I'm no expert and these are all
just my opinions, but I would expect it falls under the same rules as a cargo van. I have to get my
Roadtrek on a 2002 Chev 3500 Express van chassis checked at the same intervals as my F150 and
my wife's Cavalier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashman
Lastly, does anyone know if the new regulation about older vehicles (20+ years) requiring a valuation for transferring ownership/paying tax applies to RVs and/or vans or just cars?
No idea. I'm not familiar with that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashman
Okay, lastly for real, just thought, does anyone know of complications regarding the new regulations about driver licensing for mini-buses used for church groups, homes etc, that requires the driver to have a special license, not just a G, just thinking that if I get a passenger van to convert, then if it shows up as a mini-bus in the data banks eternally, I don't wanna be pulled over every few days just to find out if I've got the correct license or not. Though I'm thinking it didn't apply to private owned, private use passenger vans.
To drive most self propelled RVs, you only need a G license until the vehicle weight exceeds 24,000 lbs.
and at that point, I believe you need special B license possibly with a Z (air brake) qualifications as well.

So, if any Ontarians or ex-pats (ex-provs?) could clear any of this up for me, it would be much appreciated,

Thanks,

Flashman.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

Hi

We just bought an 89 dodge ram conversion so have been through all of this. Please advise if you are still needing answers.

Good luck
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

Hello bitzandbytes

I am looking into converting dodge sprinter commercial van into a RV I live in Ontario. Can you please share your knowledge all the steps need to be taken to run the RV legally on road and get insurance. Our plan is to use the RV driving across the boarder as well so any knowledge you can share will be very useful for me.

Thanks
Skanmyth
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Old 01-21-2015, 04:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

Hey guys! Hope im not beating a dead here, but Im about to purchase an older class b motor home, and im hurdling with the insurance aspect. I just called Wayfarer and Kantix, along side a few other companies. Wayfarer seemed awesome, but I ran into a snag, they only insure you if you are 25 years old, and im 23, what a drag. Another asked for licensing for 7 years, which would be 24. The difference between insurance of a motorhome and another recreational vehicle the van would be is huge! About 1000 extra dollars a year, which sucks!

Does anyone know any other good companies to contact, im still fishing around, but any advice is wonderful! By the way, its a beautiful, state of the art 78 Chevy Vandura.

-Thanks Shawn
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: Ontario, insurance, legalities, technicalities etc??

Try to get quote from a broker who sells RV insurance underwritten by Aviva Elite Insurance Co. I've insured the last 2 maybe 3 RV's with them.
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Old 10-18-2015, 08:26 PM   #12
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Did you get any answers to your questions? We want to convert a Dodge Sprinter to an RV and are wondering about the legalities of driving it as well as how to get it insured. My understanding is that no one will insure it if it's a DIY.
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Old 10-18-2015, 09:31 PM   #13
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The DIY van I purchased was licensed & insured in Ontario. No problems at all when I brought it to New Brunswick.

#1 - if there's a significant (can't afford to lose it) amount of money involved then get the converted van appraised for value so you can prove the amount of loss in the event of a claim.

If you don't do that then most likely you'd be paid the ACV (actual cash value) of an unconverted van in the event of a claim.
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Old 10-19-2015, 05:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda01 View Post
...wondering about the legalities of driving it as well as how to get it insured....
The only definitive answer will be from an insurance carrier in your own territory.

opinions from members in different jurisdictions may not apply and may be counter to Ont. regulations.

there is a great range between throwing a mattress and a cooler in the back to installing cabinetry, plumbing, gas and electrical systems in a van- how far are you Guys planning to go?

mike
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkguitar View Post
The only definitive answer will be from an insurance carrier in your own territory.

opinions from members in different jurisdictions may not apply and may be counter to Ont. regulations.

there is a great range between throwing a mattress and a cooler in the back to installing cabinetry, plumbing, gas and electrical systems in a van- how far are you Guys planning to go?

mike
Thanks Mike,

We're planning on driving throughout the States for half the year, the other half in BC. The plan is to completely outfit the van - propane for the stove, solar panels for the electrical, simple plumbing, bed, storage. I will call some insurance companies. Sounds like the biggest issue will be the propane - I'm guessing we'll have to get it installed by a licensed gas fitter. Would I have to call TSSA to get it inspected/certified?
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
The DIY van I purchased was licensed & insured in Ontario. No problems at all when I brought it to New Brunswick.

#1 - if there's a significant (can't afford to lose it) amount of money involved then get the converted van appraised for value so you can prove the amount of loss in the event of a claim.

If you don't do that then most likely you'd be paid the ACV (actual cash value) of an unconverted van in the event of a claim.
Thanks for your reply,

I don't suppose you have any contact information as to who did the conversion on your van?
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Old 10-19-2015, 04:21 PM   #17
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My advice would be to buy a class B RV and start driving until you reach the border of Ontario and don't look back, lest Wynne taxes the wheels, engine and roof right off of your vehicle!
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Old 03-06-2019, 02:42 PM   #18
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The only people we found to help us (and they are very helpful and flexible) is The Co-operators.

This company insures self converted campervans if you meet the Ontario RV registration restrictions.
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