Ambulance Insurance

Brianpgreen

New member
I'm running into some roadblocks with respect to insurance. So far I'm being told that no one will sell RV insurance on a converted ambulance. It's possible to get commercial policies but they seem to be very expensive.

Any advice?
 

mike.marcacci

Adventurer
I'm running into some roadblocks with respect to insurance. So far I'm being told that no one will sell RV insurance on a converted ambulance. It's possible to get commercial policies but they seem to be very expensive.

Any advice?
I re-titled my ambo as an generic "vehicle" (so, non-commercial) and USAA was able to insure it by just calling them and explaining that it had been re-titled.

Before I did the conversion, I was able to insure it through Progressive without even picking up the phone.

Changing out the classification is a PITA but worth it, since (at least in CA) it saves you on having to pay weight fees.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Brianpgreen

New member
I re-titled my ambo as an generic "vehicle" (so, non-commercial) and USAA was able to insure it by just calling them and explaining that it had been re-titled.

Before I did the conversion, I was able to insure it through Progressive without even picking up the phone.

Changing out the classification is a PITA but worth it, since (at least in CA) it saves you on having to pay weight fees.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
How did you go about getting it done?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

mike.marcacci

Adventurer
California actually has companies that are registered as DMV liaisons (like AAA and Finest City Registration here in San Diego). I just went to the latter and said I wanted to change the classification, and they inspected it right there. You essentially just have to prove that it's no longer suitable for its commercial purpose and it's suitable for human habitation. You'll want a permanent bed platform, some kind of stove or fridge or something to show your intent. Mine wasn't (and still isn't) 100% done, but it is SO obviously no longer a functioning ambulance that they didn't put up any fuss.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
I believe it is one of the few things that is easier here. The government auction indicates the purchaser needs a weigh scale ticket from a commercial scale, and a trip to the insurance agent to change it's use.

I can't personally speak to the OPs question since it had been out of service for 7 years before I bought it. As far as the paperwork is concerned it's an E350 Ford.
 

FDM2012

Adventurer
I have been with State Farm for over 20 years, but when they pulled mine up, they showed it
as commercial and tried railing me. Instead, I called USAA and they showed it as just an E-350,
and I had my insurance within minutes standing in the parking lot of the Ambo dealer, where I
bought it. Less than a hundy per month for full coverage!

Then, once I got it home and got the stickers pulled off and the red lenses taken off, I went to
the DMV and they had no problem in titling it as a Van/Truck.
IF I want to go back to State Farm with it, all I need is running water (almost have it) and they
will now insure it cheaply as an RV.
 

cjken

Explorer
What is your GVW
Mine is 11500 USAA insured it originally but recently kicked it off when they did a vehicle audit.
I had to switch to progressive.
 

FDM2012

Adventurer
My GVWR is 10,700. Of which, I am probably over already with a full tank. Those seats and batteries aren't light....

I will try and weigh it in the next week or so.
 

masukomi

Member
I need help from anyone with a current insurance policy on their ambulance:

Questions: Who are you insured with? Is it a commercial or personal policy? Would you be willing to give me the number of your insurance agent if it's not just via company HQ?

After reading up and seeing multiple reports of people using Geico or Progressive, and generally not having a particularly hard time of it, and contacting our insurance agent... we ponied up the cash and bought ourselves an ambulance. Our agent was wrong about being able to cover it.

We've spent the past week trying to get it insured with ZERO success. No-one will take our money for a personal or commercial policy. I'm not even getting to the question of "how much".

I think we have 2 problems:

1) since i haven't transferred the title yet it's still on the books as an Ambulance. Vermont will let us convert it to a mobile home when we transfer the title, but until then everyone pulls it up sees "ambulance" and runs screaming.
2) even if i get past that part, everyone i'm talking to talks with a "superior" or "coworker" and they all agree that they still wouldn't be able to cover it.

Somehow the simple logic that this is just a really well constructed (safe) box truck can't penetrate the bureaucracy.
Side note: My wife and I aren't veterans so USAA isn't an option for us.

I've called 2 independent insurance agents. I've spoken with Geico. I've spoken with progressive (and both agents have too).

Current state of the world is that we own it, they're doing some work on it, and then delivering it (thank goodness we asked for that) but we can't drive it and if a tree falls on it we're screwed. I'm avoiding the title transfer until we have it because that locks us into a ~6 week blackout period when we can't register it (bureaucracy) and I'd really like to get a trip in with it before every outdoor thing is closed for the season (may be a vain hope at this point). I'm avoiding registering it because it'll be > 7 days until we get it and the window for legally inspecting it will have passed. If we receive it and it still isn't insured I'll do the title transfer and registration and then try calling everyone all over again .... and probably miss the inspection window anyway.

Anyway. Any help with knowing who is actively covering you now with would be greatly appreciated. Even if you're not insured in Vermont, your agent may be able to give me the clues i need to perform the magic incantation that lets me give them money.

I'm aware that companies can get caught up in stupid rules, but DAYUM I was not expecting this level of brain damage. At this point I'm seriously beginning to wonder if i'll have to start an ambulance dealership / company just to insure this thing.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
In reference to Item 1 above and the type of vehicle you are trying to insure:

Why would you expect any insurance company to provide insurance coverage to YOU to insure an asset that YOU do not legally own?

Do you have a Bill of Sale? What vehicle classification is listed on the current title you received from the previous owner/seller?

Go register the vehicle however you plan to do so and then search for insurance coverage based upon your new registration in your name and the new/changed vehicle classification for this Ambo. This along with the fact that you now have a legal insurable interest in the asset that you now legally own and are therefore responsible for should make it much easier to obtain proper insurance coverage.

I would check with your DMV. I would be surprised if there is not some type of grace period for inspection given the fact that you have not take physical possession of the vehicle. If nothing else you might have the seller change the date of vehicle sale date inspection date on your paperwork if possible to meet the state vehicle inspection guidelines.
 
Last edited:

masukomi

Member
> Why would you expect any insurance company to provide insurance coverage to YOU to insure an asset that YOU do not legally own?

Because, I do legally own it. I just haven't transferred the title. HOWEVER that's irrelevant because we never get that far. We get to "oh, it's an ambulance?!" and the conversation dies.

> Do you have a Bill of Sale? What vehicle classification is listed on the current title you received from the previous owner/seller?

yes, bill of sale, and yes legally mine, and as I mentioned, it's classified as an ambulance.

> Go register the vehicle however you plan to do so and then search for insurance coverage based upon your new registration in your name and the new/changed vehicle classification for this Ambo.

I think you're missing the key point here. I have had the insurance agents check if it was even possible for them to insure an ambulance that was classified as a motor home and the answer is still "no". So, reclassification is largely irrelevant (so far). They don't get to anything more identifying than my name. They usually don't even get as far as looking up the vin.

The level of straight up "no"-ness here is amazingly high. It's not "oh, we could but we got into the fine details and x needs to happen first." It's "oh, we don't do ambulances." The happily tell me they'll do box truck conversions. They'll do bus conversions. They'll do all sorts of things converted to private use motor homes, but not an ambulance. They also won't do an ambulance being used as an ambulance. It's like ambulances are plague vectors to insurance agents "Keep it away!!! Burn it!!!"

> I would check with your DMV. I would be surprised if there is not some type of grace period for inspection given the fact that you have not take physical possession of the vehicle.

I have. They did not indicate that there was one.

> If nothing else you might have the seller change the date of vehicle sale date inspection date on your paperwork if possible to meet the state vehicle inspection guidelines.

The date of sale is irrelevant to inspection. I could wait 2 years before inspecting it if I wanted, as long as I do it within 7 days of registration. The DMV is fine with me transferring the title, and not registering (or inspecting) it, as long as i don't drive it. The DMV is also fine with me never transferring the title as long as I don't drive it. I could use it for modern art for all they care.

To be extra extra clear I've told them that I don't care what kind of policy they offer me, that I don't care if i have to wait until it's reclassified, and that I don't care if i have to start a company to own it. I will jump through whatever hoop they require of me. I spent a little time researching it today and I'm pretty sure I can start an ambulance company legally. I can't get licensed but that's a separate issue.
 

eporter

Adventurer
So if you call an insurance company and give them the vin, and never say "ambulance", they still see it as such? My '97 ambo showed up as an E350. The vins can be funky with cutaway vans, as they're sold by, say, Ford, to an ambo/RV/whatever company and then they outfit/add to/resell it. My 2000 E350 Chinook is titled as that specific motorhome, not a van. I had Geico, I'm in Oregon, and had no issues. Sometimes the trick is NOT saying ambulance. Just call it an RV.

I think you're going to need to physically get it, maybe cover up lights, etc. add a sink/stove/bed (whatever VT requires for Motorhome) and then try getting it inspected/changed. Then go after insurance. Since you already bought it you might as well see what happens.
 
Last edited:

Len.Barron

Observer
A lot of these vehicles were altered when new and so carry that altered designation, my high-top passenger van was that way it is categorized as a "Bus (Not School)" and on the door VIN label it says "Bus". It immediately caused problems when I called AAA to add it to my policy (and I've been with them 25yrs with 4 other vehicles on my policy). I had to call progressive and get a commercial policy, then, low and behold I get my renewal notice from AAA and the van is listed (they had entered the details when I first asked) as one of my vehicles, so I just paid my bill and cancelled the Progressive policy.
I wasn't able to go the RV route with it since I hadn't done anything to the inside yet....getting it changed to "RV" in California is not an easy thing to do..
 

masukomi

Member
> So if you call an insurance company and give them the vin, and never say "ambulance", they still see it as such?

Currently yes that's what the 2 who have bothered to look have said. We're hoping that will change once we transfer the title and reclassify it as a "motor home".

> I had Geico, I'm in Oregon, and had no issues. Sometimes the trick is NOT saying ambulance. Just call it an RV.

Yeah, I'm thinking of revisiting the process after we transfer. The problem that we're trying to avoid is that insurance companies LOVE to weasel out of paying claims if you failed to disclose important facts. My wife used to work for a lawyer and was constantly dealing with this. They could very easily claim insurance fraud and refuse to pay if there was an accident and they discovered it was an ambulance, if they explicitly don't cover ambulances.

> I think you're going to need to physically get it, maybe cover up lights, etc. add a sink/stove/bed (whatever VT requires for Motorhome) and then try getting it inspected/changed. Then go after insurance. Since you already bought it you might as well see what happens.

"In Vermont it is illegal for a vehicle to be operated if it isn't covered by a minimum amount of liability insurance. " So, i can't go get it inspected until i get insurance. BUT the change doesn't seem to be an issue. That's part of the title transfer and the DMV didn't bat an eye when i said i waited to change the designation to "Motor Home".

There is a set of requirements for changes you have to make to qualify as a motor home, but as far as i can tell no-one actually checks if you did them. I'm happy to get it checked if this is required, but so far no mention of that.

I THINK i'm going to have to do exactly what you suggest: change the designation, then just say "rv" and cross my fingers. I'm not sure how long I have to wait between filing that paperwork and it actually showing up as an RV when an external company does a VIN lookup though.
 
Top