*Disclaimer-this is just our experience (in the state of FL) and in no way represents what everyone will go through. Each state is different and your insurance may require more/different things. Call and ask!*
One of the big questions we had while debating on getting a school bus was how would we get insurance and get a license plate for it (that was a whole separate journey). Did we even qualify for RV insurance being a mostly homemade bus? How much would it be?
We knew we needed insurance before we could register the bus and get a license plate so we started by checking out our two favorite online resources for school bus conversions: skoolie.net and the skoolie subreddit. Both mentioned GEICO, Progressive, and National General. I started making phone calls. GEICO (who I had recently switched to for insurance for our regular car) and Progressive used to cover conversions but no longer do – bummer. I had hoped that Geico would cover it and then we would only have one bill to pay for insurance. State Farm was also a no go. National General, however, would cover conversions but we had to provide pictures of the fully converted bus which would then be sent off to an underwriting office who would determine what amount they were willing to insure.
National General never specified how “done” they wanted the conversion to be. They never asked about bathrooms, kitchens, power, water, sleeping areas-any of the things that I expected them to require. Not that it mattered anyway, we were planning to live in it full-time so we had put all of those things in. Nor did they require an in-person inspection which I 100% thought would be required. They also didn’t require receipts proving that we had been working on and converting the bus (I don’t remember where we read this but we saved everything, sorted by month, just to be on the safe side).
Once we were “done” enough for pictures (there are some minor weekend projects left to do-the trim, baseboards, the outside ribs need another coat of paint, the garage area needs a ceiling…that kind of stuff) I took about 16 pictures of the bus. Our agent wanted a picture each of the front, rear, driver’s side, and passenger side of the bus along with several pictures of the interior. I created a folder in Google Drive and gave him access to it (I figured that would be easier than sending 3 emails of pictures). From there he sent everything to the underwriters office. The quote came back earlier than anticipated (he warned it could take 48-72 hours to get everything back and we had our quote in about 4). They were willing to cover personal injury but nothing for property damage for $55 a month. So basically if we get into an accident our medical expenses and those of whoever else is involved are insured but the bus itself is screwed. Yeah! We had been warned that was mostly the case with skoolies so it wasn’t surprising. And it’s totally understandable-they have no real way of knowing exactly how good your construction skills are, how well everything is bolted down, etc from pictures alone and that would be too risky to insure.
It only took 6 months but the bus finally has insurance. Up next, tag and title!