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The Do’s and Dont’s of Insuring Your Canopy

I remember a time when a canopy was a fiberglass piece with a dodgy rotary vent mounted proudly on the top. Usually white in colour and hung off the back of a light utility of some description – housing the pet dog, tradesman’s tools, footy gear and all other manner of paraphernalia that the owner wanted stored but didn’t really want to smell from inside the cab!

We consider ourselves the luckiest people working in the 4WD industry. Every day we get to see some of the most amazingly customised vehicles across this great country and, most importantly, get to give these highly invested and proud owners the very best coverage for their toys.

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But I digress – let’s get  back to that humble old dimply surfaced white canopy on the 84 Hilux. If you haven’t noticed, the world of canopies has come a LOOONG way! These days the old fibreglass units can now be colour coded, included as part of your factory security system and house practical internal lighting. They can even be had in a smooth, non-dimply finish! Generally this sort of canopy goes over your “styleside” or “pickup” type ute. Often with a set of drawers in the bed of the tray, a fridge on top and the remaining necessary electrics.

Next, we see tray-top canopies. Often they encompass the floor of the canopy with gullwing doors and secure to a trademan’s tray. These pods are often delivered empty or can be manufactured to your liking. With all manner of shelving welded-in or built in afterwards allowing for fridge slides, housing of battery’s and battery management systems as well as all the accompanying electrics. Some will go as far as to incorporate bedding options which can be as simple as a roof top tent and as intricate as a pop top camper.

Finally, the holy grail – the custom tray and canopy setup. Here we’re talking about a cab chassis (or a wagon chopped into one!!) with a custom build to spec tray. Aluminium or steel, stretched or shortened depending on purpose and it will at times encompass the canopy also. Often we find these to be the setups that have the most resource invested. Custom dog boxes, pop top campers, fitouts for storage of gear and fridges and intricate electrical systems. These can be jack-off units, or integrated units that aren’t designed to be removed

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Either way you go, each of these types of canopy is a significant investment into your rig. Joe average down the street might have a canopy and not think twice about it, but if you’ve spent your hard earned into making the setup suit your touring or camping needs – then you do care and you do want it covered. So why would you go to a vanilla insurer? This one goes back to the modification/accessory question. It’s unbelievable but we still get people who think they are covered for the 15,000 canopy that sit atop their 45,000 Ford Ranger. This is until you walk them through the process and with a few simple questions uncover the fact that they’re only insured for $45,000 all up. This works fine if you have damage that needs to be repaired – but what if your rig was stolen or totalled? Queue the jaw drop, that realising glance upwards then the “Ok so how do I get a quote”.

The mainstream insurers, even the so called 4X4 “specialists” will push the above lines – don’t believe it until you see the overall sum insured be reflective of your investment! Ponder this, if you were to lose the lot today, would your insurance policy allow you to get back to the same position? Take a moment to read through the way Club 4X4 value your vehicle, including the modifications and accessories you make!

Bench with self-locking drawersThe other thing to consider is your coverage if your canopy is removed. As mentioned earlier – you can specify a canopy to be a “jack-off” type unit, I’ve even seen some use gantries to remove and store the units when not in use. Generally, the only way your canopy unit is going to be covered when it’s not on the vehicle is if it is covered as a separate asset like a slide-on camper. Not one that’s talked about often but growing in popularity with the increasing number of dual cab utes being sold in Australia.

The good news is, whether you want your canopy covered as a slide-on camper or not, you’re going to get the right coverage with Club 4X4. If it’s going to be static, you can be sure we will give you the right financial coverage for your investment. If you want to ensure it is covered when it is off the vehicle, then we can insure it as a slide on camper and give you a 10% multi-policy discount too!

Ask your insurer what they cover your camper for!

Happy Touring!

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Comments 10

  1. John Kent

    I tried to get a quote from Club 4×4 for my Ranger and slide on canopy/camper before my reinsurance was due. I received no satisfaction or any proper quote for either so went back to my current insurer. Club 4×4 asked for a valuation of the canopy/camper. How do I get that when only 2 have ever come up for sale second hand (because they are so good people keep them and the 2 sellers were upgrading to a newer model)?

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      Author
      Kalen

      John,

      sorry to hear that. Sounds like we are either dealing with a custom piece or a company that was only around for a short time. In these cases it is extremely hard to value the item appropriately.

      There are many online organisations that for a small fee, will value your camper/caravan or trailer. Sounds to me like for such a special piece, a small payment to ensure appropriate coverage is a small price to pay.

      Also, if it is currently insured for a value that you feel is appropriate we should have offered you the option of sending through your current insurance paperwork with an agreed value.

      In any case, if you would like us to call you back John please send an email to [email protected] and attention your email to Kalen Ziflian

      CHeers

      Kal

  2. Andy

    I have a Nissan D22 2013 Vehicle. For almost 40 years i have had my vehicles insured with the RAC. When i bought this vehicle it was 18 months old. RAC would not insure the Navara because it did not have a high safety rating. If i hit an Hyundai small car rated at the top rating, it would right it off instantaneously, unfortunately. I had to source another Company who gave me a full comprehensive cover throughout Australia. The strange thing is when i ask questions about my policy, i m speaking with somebody in South Africa. They have assured me that i am covered ALL over Australia, but IF I WAS TO MAKE A CLAIM, there wold be questions. Who can you trust these days?

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      Author
      Kalen

      Hi Andy,

      If you were talking to someone in South Africa you weren’t talking to us 🙂 If you were talking to someone on the phone to Club 4X4 it would have been someone in Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia!

      Kalen

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      Author
  3. Ray Laidlaw

    Not so long back I had my 100 series extended and a canopy added to my specs. All done by specialists in their respective fields. All up it added approximately $35,000 to the vehicle. I went to my usual insurer and told them what I had done and they told me my vehicle was worth no more with these modifications and so no further cover. I approached Club 4×4, and yes a few questions and photos later (which was very simple really) I received full cover for all my add ons. Very happy.

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  4. Chris

    “Generally, the only way your canopy unit is going to be covered when it’s not on the vehicle is if it is covered as a separate asset like a slide-on camper.”

    Vague and uninspiring comment. This is definitely an area where a progressive insurance company could distinguish themselves.

    1. Post
      Author
      Kalen

      Chris,

      Not sure why you’re so disenchanted by this comment.

      If your jack-off canopy is sitting in your front yard, off your vehicle, and someone drives over it, or steals it, it wont be covered. If you have it covered as a slide-on camper than it would be.

      Happy to delve further if you need too.

      Kalen

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