How to insure a converted school bus

School buses converted into recreational vehicles for personal use can be eligible for insurance, but it may be difficult to find an insurer who will underwrite a policy. Many insurers, including Progressive, won’t insure converted school buses at all. If you're planning a DIY "skoolie" conversion, look to obtain insurance during the conversion period so your vehicle is covered throughout the project. Once you’re ready to hit the road, reassess your coverage based on how you use the bus.

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What is a bus conversion?

A school bus conversion, also referred to as a "skoolie" conversion, happens when you transform a standard school bus or transit bus into a customized living space or home-on-wheels. The renovation typically results in a sleeping area, kitchen, and bathroom. Some conversions feature added amenities to make the vehicle more personalized and self-sustainable, such as insulation, solar panels, and skylights.

What factors impact converted bus insurance?

Many insurers only offer coverage for commercial buses. If you’re converting a school or commercial bus into a vehicle for recreational use, your eligibility for insurance coverage could depend on the following factors:

  • Who converted the bus? While you might be knowledgeable about making the necessary renovations, some providers will extend coverage only for conversions completed by a professional.
  • How old is the bus? Before investing in a conversion, explore your available insurance options to determine what makes and models can be covered.
  • How sound is the converted bus? The condition of your converted bus, including the need for motor-related repairs, may affect an insurance provider’s ability to cover the vehicle. While not all insurers need to confirm the bus's mechanical state, you may want to initiate a safety inspection so it can be potentially registered as motorhome with your state’s department of motor vehicles.

What class of motorhome is a bus conversion?

A school bus conversion may be considered a Class A motorhome if it was built on a commercial bus chassis and offers significant space and amenities. Because a converted bus can be driven and doesn’t need to be towed by another vehicle, it will be insured as a motorhome and not a travel trailer. A good way to tell if the vehicle was a former school bus is if there are windows near where every seat used to be.

Learn more about the differences between motorhomes and travel trailers.

Can you get insurance for a converted school bus?

Progressive won’t insure converted school buses, including short buses. If you're planning to convert a bus, a local insurance agent may help you determine the type of coverage you need and direct you to an insurance company that covers converted buses. Find an insurer that can cover your initial drive from the place of purchase to the property where the bus will be stored. Nearly every state requires RV liability coverage before you can get behind the wheel of your converted bus.

You may also need coverage while the bus is being renovated, whether it’s a DIY job or a professional conversion. This conversion period — from purchase through renovation — can often be covered by a policy that insures a commercial vehicle for personal use. Keep in mind that the bus is considered commercial until it's officially registered as a motorhome.

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