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The hidden extras of caravan ownership
18 August 2016

When considering purchasing a caravan to do your next nomad adventure you need to consider all of the hidden costs that go along with it. Here are just a few:

Insurance and registration

Not only do you need to insure and register the car you require to tow your caravan but you also need to insure and register the caravan itself. The amount differs by state and can cost you anywhere from $100 up to over $1,000. Check with your local Department of Transport before purchasing as the size of the caravan purchased will impact the price. 

Insurance costs will also differ according to the state you live in, where you are travelling, size of the caravan and the insurance company you are with. 

Resale and depreciation

Like a car caravans also depreciate in value as soon as you drive them off the lot. Resale value depends on the type of caravan you own and how well you maintain it. Smaller caravans tend to sell quicker and easier than larger ones.

Storage

When purchasing a large item, such as a caravan, you need to ask yourself….. where am I going to keep this? Most caravans require flat land at the rear of a property, preferably under cover. You should store your caravan in a place that you can easily manoeuvre it when trying to get it out onto the road for your next trip. 

Maintenance

Before each trip you need to check that your caravans brake lights are working, that if it has batteries that these are charged, fuses are all working and that you have checked all pumps for water and amenities (if you have a larger caravan with showers and toilets). Caravans should also have a spare tyre, require a jockey wheel and like a car should have a service before every trip.

While the afore mentioned should be considered the biggest considerations that need to be made before purchasing a caravan are:

  • How much will I use the caravan?
  • Will I require a new car to tow the caravan?
  • Would it be cheaper for me to stay in cabins or onsite vans?

I have friends who are avid caravaners but they have noticed lately that a lot of the nicer parks are starting to charge a premium for powered and unpowered sites. With fuel also quite an expense the cost of caravanning isn’t’ as cheap as it used to be. Remember too towing a caravan puts a strain on your car and you will use more fuel towing a caravan than if you were just driving your car. It may also take you longer to get to your destination factoring in that you will have to travel slower while towing a caravan.

I am not against caravans but if you factor in all of the costs above and you aren’t using your caravan regularly it may work out cheaper for you to get a nice unit and not have the hassle of having to pack and unpack your caravan for each trip. I would recommend hiring a van before purchasing for a few trips before making such a large investment. 

Review of Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients

As of July 1 2016 there are now additional medical reviews for Disability Support Pension customers. 

This means that some Australians currently receiving a Disability Support Pension will be sent a letter advising them that they have been selected for a review for payment. This has been put in place to ensure that those receiving the Disability Support Pension are receiving the best support for their situation. Reviews will include a Job Capacity Assessment. A Job Capacity Assessment is used to help determine your medical eligibility for DSP.  It will determine the impact of your medical conditions or disability on your ability to work and whether you would benefit from employment assistance.

Recipients are currently eligible if they:

  • are aged between 16 years of age and Age Pension age, and either
  • permanently blind, or
  • have been assessed as having a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric impairment, and
    • unable to work, or to be retrained for work, for 15 hours or more per week at or above the relevant minimum wage within the next 2 years because of the impairment
    • have been assessed as having a severe impairment or as having actively participated in a Program of Support

Work Bonus

An incentive for pensioners of Age Pension age to remain in the workforce.

Eligibility basics

  • over Age Pension age
  • working for short periods

You are now able to keep more of your income or work for short periods with little or no effect on your pension. You do not need to apply for the Work Bonus, but you do need to let The Department of Human Services know about changes to your earnings. If you receive eligible employment income, they will automatically apply the Work Bonus to your income test.

To learn more about the Work Bonus watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE3M72PiGQ0

*Information provided by the Australian Department of Human Services. 





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