In the following blog post, we’ll share our van life insurance experience.  We converted our brand new van from a commercial vehicle, to a motorhome, in Ontario, Canada.  We have a 2021 Ford Transit. 2021 Ford Transit – Van Life Insurance Ontario

Step 1 – Add Van to Auto Insurance Policy

Before we picked up the new van at the dealership, we had to have insurance for it. So we called our provider (RBC Insurance) and added the van to our policy. They needed to know things like make, model, etc., the van’s VIN, and all the details of the leasing company (name, address, phone number). The only type of insurance they could add for our Ford Transit was insurance for a commercial vehicle. Personal use vehicle insurance was NOT an option even though we said we just wanted it for travelling. They gave it to us on the promise that we would not make any physical changes to the van. In other words, any modification to the van makes the insurance invalid, and any claim that we might have made would have likely been rejected. It was a risk we had to take.

Once the van has been added to the policy, the dealer wanted the name of the insurance company and policy number.

Step 2 – Pick up the Van!

This step was easy and fun. The dealership took care of obtaining the plates from Service Ontario. They were commercial plates. Again, this was the only option for the Ford Transit cargo van.

Step 3 – Build out the Van

We worked on it for 2 months. We added a bed, a sink, and an electrical system. A small fridge, a hot plate for cooking, and an emergency toilet.

Step 4 – Change vehicle CLASS at ServiceOntario

We found two channels on YouTube that helped us a lot with this step. “Road to Pitches” made a video with their experience of changing their box truck class to motorhome, and also “Bruce & Krista” shared the letter that they took with them to Service Ontario to do the paperwork.

In summary, MTO requires 4 of the following 6 for a vehicle to be classified as a “Motorhome”:
(a) cooking facilities,
(b) a refrigerator or ice box,
(c) a self-contained toilet,
(d) a heating or air-conditioning system that can function independently of the vehicle engine,
(e) a potable water supply system that includes a faucet and sink, and
(f) a separate 110- to 125-V electric power supply or an LP gas supply;

We have all 6. So we wrote our letter and took it to our Service Ontario office, along with the vehicle registration.  Here’s the letter we used:


I, <name>, make statement that:

In accordance with the Vehicle Registration Manual section 3.1.3, my 2021 Ford Transit cargo van has been converted to a Motorhome, as defined in the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, section 1038, as evidenced by the presence of:
1) Cooking facilities (electric hot-plate)
2) Refrigerator
3) A self-contained toilet
4) A heating system that functions independently of the vehicle engine
5) A potable water system that includes a faucet and a sink
6) a separate 110- to 125-V electric power supply

The vehicle described meets the criteria for Motorhome Class.

Vehicle Details:
2021 Ford Transit (R2X)
250 HR AWD
148” Wheelbase
3.5L EcoBoost V6
10-Speed Transmission

<name>   <date>

We explained that we wanted to change the classification of our van from Commercial to Motorhome. The lady made a call, got a little help and was able to proceed with our request. We removed the black commerical plates from the van and received the regular blue personal license plates, with a new registration certificate.

Step 5 – Update Insurance Policy

We called our insurance company, and they rejected the van. They could not insure it because the work inside the van was done by us, and not by Ford. We then called Dejardins Insurance, gave them all the information they needed, and they gave us a quote. We transferred everything over to them, and we now we’re all set. Our van is classified as a Motorhome AND we have proper insurance on the van.

2021 Ford Transit – Van Life Insurance Ontario

Yours Truly …. Yula