We published an article back in March about CRiS, the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme, and why it is important for all caravan owners to make sure they are registered. That article covers all of the benefits of being CRiS registered and the checks you should carry out before buying a second-hand van.

Also known as a serial number, VINs (or CRiS number) have been assigned to all caravans manufactured worldwide, since 1992. Every single caravan produced since this date must have the number etched onto the window. Prior to this there were a variety of different numbering systems often varying between manufacturers and so the industry decided to implement one universal coding format to make it easier for all concerned. All codes now comply with the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI) and contain the WMI code, axel type, manufacturer data, date letter and a unique serial number.

While we all know that CRiS is a fantastic resource and we’re sure none of you would hesitate to use it, how many of us know what the codes actually mean? If you would like to decipher the 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on your caravan, here’s how to do it.

What the code means:

Using the sample VIN SGBS000BYA1111111 as an example, this is how to break down the code

SGBS000BYA1111111 – Country code, with SG signifying the caravan was made in the UK

SGBS000BYA1111111 – A third character “B” means it is a Bailey caravan. Use of this character can vary

SGBS000BYA1111111- This part identifies whether the van is single or twin axle

SGBS000BYA1111111 – Optional manufacturer data, usually relating to the model

SGBS000BYA1111111 – Manufacturer details (Bailey for this caravan)

SGBS000BYA1111111 – Year of manufacture. A means 2010

SGBS000BYA1111111 – Optional manufacturer data

SGBS000BYA1111111The caravan’s unique serial number

Manufacturer codes:


AD = Adria

AV = Avondale

BE = Bessacarr - More recent models were made by Swift, so will carry their code

BU = Buccaneer – Later models manufactured by Explorer Group

BY = Bailey

CL = Carlight

CM = Coachman

CP = Compass - May show EX code in some circumstances where van was built by Explorer Group

CS = Cosalt - More recent models were made by Swift, so will carry their code

CU = Sprite – More recent models were made by Swift, so will carry their code

EL = Elddis – Older models may show Explorer Group’s EX code if made before re-branding

EX = Explorer Group – More recent models will show Elddis code

FL = Fleetwood

LU = Lunar

SW = Swift Group

Build year codes:

When checking the age of a caravan, bear in mind that the build year runs from 1st September to 31st August. This means that the build year code on a caravan may not relate to the calendar year in which it was manufactured. For example, any caravan made between 1st September 2013 and 31st August 2014 will carry the 2014 “E” build code.

N = 1992

P = 1993

R = 1994

S = 1995

T = 1996

V = 1997

W = 1998

X = 1999

Y = 2000

1 = 2001

2 = 2002

3 = 2003

4 = 2004

5 = 2005

6 = 2006

7 = 2007

8 = 2008

9 = 2009

A = 2010

B = 2011

C = 2012

D = 2013

E = 2014

Be warned that some European manufacturers use the letter ‘Q’ for their build year code and therefore it would be wise to contact the manufacturer directly if you have any concerns.

VIN Decoder:

If you’re having trouble decoding your caravan’s VIN yourself, just type it into this online decoder tool to find out more about it.

Pre-1992 caravans:

As the mandatory VINs were only introduced in 1992, those caravans manufactured earlier will not display the standard 17 digit code. If you are thinking about buying an older caravan, or need to find the VIN to sell yours on, contact the manufacturer or owners club for information on where to find it and how to read. Common places for the VIN include a metal plate on the A-frame, inside the caravan by the door or on the windows. Any obvious number or letter coding will probably be the old-style VIN.

With several different caravan insurance policies we will have an insurance policy that covers your needs. Why pay any more than you have to for first class cover. Call us on 01480 402460 for a quote.

Useful articles

Take a look at our latest news and guides.

Read articles

Touring caravan insurance - Premier Parks