Buying a school bus is only half of the headache: Getting school bus conversion insurance is a whole new can of worms! We’re going to elaborate on some of what we uncovered when finding bus conversion insurance for one of the harder states: New Jersey.
How to Get Bus Conversion Insurance
Since getting registered was so easy, getting bus conversion insurance should be a breeze, right? Yeah, THINK AGAIN. We spent DAYS calling multiple insurance companies and getting constant denials. School bus conversions are tricky, and most agencies don’t want to insure them since they’re “homemade”.
We came across Allstate Insurance and talked to Kelly Newsome in Florida. Kelly is experienced with the skoolie underwriting process and put us in touch with an NJ state representative. Ultimately, we got quoted for a bus conversion insurance plan that included roadside assistance for $160 per month. The issue was that the company required a personal auto insurance plan to know that the bus wouldn’t be used as a “personal” vehicle. So, we’d have to pay another $80 a month for auto insurance. They also required us to have our Vermont registered bus transferred to NJ registration. The price and time were just too much for us and we had to opt for something else.
Our next go-to option was National General which provided very general insurance for about $30 a month. Besides the price, we’d be able to keep our current car insurance and remain as a Vermont registered RV. Seemed perfect, right? Yeah, nothing is THAT easy! National General did require “proof” of a fully converted RV including:
Photo of the Back of the Bus to Front
Photo of the Front of the Bus to Back
Once they saw that we had a roof deck and solar panel rack (insurance companies really don’t like those), we were quickly denied our bus conversion insurance.
So, Skoolie Insurance Solution if You’re in NJ or Another Difficult State?
We wound up securing an address from family and were able to get insurance from Allstate in Vermont. The state’s rules were different and we didn’t have to get a second auto plan. On top of that, the price was cheaper (even with roadside assistance) at approximately $110 per month.
Side Note: While they couldn’t really help us in our state, Auto Insurance Specialist (AIS) is also a great resource that will provide you access to multiple insurance providers with great coverage and rates. According to AIS, the following are what insurance companies base their decisions on:
- Your bus must show living quarters similar to an RV. Stovetop, sleeping quarters, and possibly a bathroom space(but not required).
- You cannot live in it full time.
- Your bus must be in good condition. It cannot appear that it is a makeshift job and should meet professional standards. AIS, among other companies, may require the bus to have its decals removed and yellow paint covered.
- The insured driver must be a good driver and have a clean record within the last 3 years.
- You must have active personal auto insurance and will be asked for proof because they do not want people driving their bus as a “primary” vehicle (work commute or for personal errands).
- The policies available are usually only liability and uninsured motorist protection and do not usually include comprehensive, collision or any contents coverage.
- Wood stoves or the “appearance” of are not allowed.
Bus conversion insurance is tough, and sometimes certain states are easier than others (NJ is difficult). The best option is to keep calling around and being patient! Luckily, Allstate processed the underwriting within a day and we were able to LEGALLY drive our converted bus after an entire week’s headache!