Here’s What You Need To Know About RV Insurance

No one likes to think about insurance. But whether you are heading out for a vacation or live in an RV full-time, insurance is something that you need to consider.

Many times people are tempted to just get the cheapest or quickest coverage just to get that task over with so they can move on to more fun travel plans, but having the wrong insurance or being underinsured for what you are wanting to do can lead to trouble if you end up needing to call on your insurance policy.

Recently I had the opportunity to ask my insurance agent some questions about RV insurance, and in particular what might be needed for full-time RVers. Although our particular insurance company does not cover full-time RVers, he offered some sage advice and things to consider when looking for an insurance policy.

Know what needs to be covered.  Photo by Greg Gjerdingen

Q: What is your number one piece of advice to give to someone looking for RV insurance?

A: Be honest and truthful about your plans, your needs, and what needs to be covered. An insurance agent can’t read your mind and has no idea if you plan to travel with that priceless piece of art, an expensive bike, or are going out of country.

Q: Is an RV considered a vehicle or a residence? Are contents covered or just the vehicle?

A: For many policies, the RV is covered off of the RV insurance and any personal property inside the RV would be extended from your home insurance policy. In the case you have no home or renters policy and the RV is your only home, you would want to talk with your insurance company to make sure they add personal property to your policy and that it would be covered if a loss occurred in your RV.

Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make in terms of RV/motorhome/camper insurance coverage?

A: Not checking with your insurance carrier to see how your policy works in the event of a claim. Not all insurers who cover RVs, camping trailers, or motorhomes are designed to cover them if they are your primary residence.

It is important to check with your carrier to find out if they provide personal liability coverage and coverage for your contents. Additional living expense (money to live somewhere else while your trailer/motorhome is being repaired) is another important consideration if this is your primary home.

Another important question to ask is, “What kind of towing/road service coverage does my policy provide?” A tow for an RV can become expensive quickly. A robust towing coverage can be a huge plus.

Does your insurance cover if your RV needs to be towed? Photo via Youtube

Q: What insurance considerations should you be thinking of if you are looking to sell your home and become a full-time RVer? How would typical “homeowner’s liability” work for something like a dog bite or a fire or theft?

A: Personal liability is an important (and usually relatively inexpensive) coverage that would want to continue carrying. This shouldn’t be confused with the automobile liability (bodily injury, property damage, uninsured, and underinsured motorist coverage) which you are required by law to carry in order to operate your vehicle on public roads.

Ideally, your liability limits would be greater than or equal to your net worth. Personal liability traditionally will cover defense costs and damages for dog bites. Though some policies exclude certain breeds and have a reduced limit for dog bite claims. This is another good reason to talk with your company to confirm what your policy will cover.

Q: How is full-time nomadic RV insurance affected as you move between states, or other countries (travel to Canada, for example)?

A: Again, it comes back to your policy. Insurance is regulated differently in each state and it will be up to your policy contract.

Q: What additional coverage should people consider that would not fall under a typical policy?

A: Most home insurance policies settle losses on a replacement cost basis. This means that if there is a loss, the insurance company will replace the item at today’s cost and not depreciate the item based on its age. Most auto insurance companies settle on an actual cash value basis. Actual cash value is not as desirable as the insurance company will pay what your “used” item was worth.

Some companies will settle trailers/motorhomes on a replacement cost basis. This coverage may only be available for the first several model years but it is worth asking about as it can make a significant difference at claim time.

For expensive items, such as jewelry, art, expensive bikes, ATVs, etc, you should disclose these items to your agent so they can determine if you might need additional insurance riders for these expensive items.

Q: What discounts might be available?

A: Depending on the type of policy, your credit rating and driving record are still major factors that determine the rate. In addition, discounts may be available for things like garaging location or multiple policy bundling (ie home, life, auto).

Q: How is liability handled for things like injuries resulting from someone tripping on the picnic table at your RV spot (that isn’t yours, but may or may not be part of a formal campground)? Bear damage?

A: This is another example of why you want to carry personal liability coverage. People can sue you for many reasons…even for things you don’t feel you are responsible for.

The job of your personal liability insurance is to defend you against lawsuits, frivolous or legitimate. Bear damage losses would be covered as long as you carry comprehensive coverage on your auto policy.

Comprehensive coverage will cover RV theft. Photo via Wikipedia

Q: If there is a total loss or someone steals your RV and it is your primary residence, what would be covered?

A: Again, this comes back to the type of policy you carry. As long as you carry comprehensive coverage, the theft of your RV would be covered. As long as you elected to include personal property on your policy, contents would be covered too.

Q: What other recommendations would you give to people when they are looking to find a policy for either a full-time RVer or recreational RVer?

A: Another “auto” related coverage is personal injury protection (PIP) or med pay (depending on your state). If you carry a high deductible on your health insurance plan, having increased medical payments coverage on your auto policy can be valuable. The medical payments coverage will only pay if there is an auto-related injury but is an option worth exploring.

Check with your insurance agent to ask about their coverage options for your RVing needs, or visit the consumer advocate website for a list of companies that offer insurance plans specifically for full-time RVers.

The post Here’s What You Need To Know About RV Insurance appeared first on RV Life.

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How to Make Sure You Have the Proper Insurance for Your RV


RVs are a great way to travel across the country, and owning one can provide extensive opportunities for your family. However, it is also a huge investment and as you know, it is a serious decision. Other than your usual maintenance fees, you also need to set funds aside for your RV’s insurance needs. There are a lot of factors to consider, and laws vary from state to state so it important to know the basics. This entails needing to know the type of insurance you are purchasing for your RV. Here are a few guidelines we’ve created to help you know you have the proper insurance.

  1. Times RV Insurance
  2. Comprehensive Coverage
  3. Vacation Liability
  4. Full Replacement Cost Insurance
  5. Underinsured Motorist Coverage
  6. Exclusions
  7. How-to Choose the Coverage
  8. Insurance Rates

#1. Times RV Insurance

This is a general requirement in every state, and it covers the same liability it would for any car. However, you would need a special insurance policy if you have an RV that falls under Class A or B (normally for motorhomes). The RV is most likely not under your immediate ownership, and different types of insurance policies are available, whether you are financing your RV or renting one.


#2. Comprehensive Coverage

This is a policy that insures a number of things, including theft, vandalism, and collision. When taking the comprehensive coverage to your RV, you should do thorough research on this topic. Different insurance companies have different packages, and you ought to go for the one that offers the best options. You also need to find out if there are deductible fees that the insurer would deduct from your total claim because most will have this deductible.


#3. Vacation Liability

This will apply if your RV is for recreational purposes. Suppose your RV is on a campsite or a park that is normally considered a temporary residence and someone is injured in the RV during vacation. Because of incidents like this possibly happening, you have to make sure you have vacation liability in your insurance policy.


#4. Full Replacement Cost Insurance

This covers your RV for a full reimbursement in the case that it is stolen. Normal comprehensive covers will pay a depreciated amount, meaning you will only receive what your car is worth at that time when it is being replaced. The best part about this coverage is that you will be reimbursed the full amount you paid for the RV during the initial purchase.


#5. Underinsured Motorist Coverage

This coverage insures uninsured motorist body injury. You and your passengers are covered for injuries that involve physical accidents, such as getting hit by a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or the insurance they have is not enough to cover your hospital bills. The same coverage can insure underinsured or uninsured motorist property damage.


6. Exclusions

Now that you know the types of insurance policies available to you, you need to know what is excluded. Although your insurer understands that you use the RV to travel across the country, most of them will not cover Mexico, in case you are planning to travel down there. Also, travel trailers, non-motorized units and campers are not included in the RV insurance coverage. You would have to take a separate policy, or discuss this with your insurer to advise you accordingly.


7. How to Choose the Coverage

Assuming you just purchased your RV and have no idea about the insurance policy coverage available to you, the above listed are a good place to start. Similarly, you need to involve your agent who will advise you on which are the best coverage depending on your needs, travels, model, capacity, and weight. You can choose a national insurance carrier, a local insurance carrier, or an insurance carrier specializing in RVs.


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8. Insurance Rates

Insurance rates for RVs can be hard to estimate since you can make your own customizations to the vehicle. However, it is good to familiarize yourself with the rates and quotations from the big and small companies. Identify the one with the best competitive rates and offer more for the same premium. Finally, make sure you read through the policy before you sign and make a payment. There might be some hidden clauses that you need to know.

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BEFORE you head to a dealer to see these trailers, download your FREE RV Buyers Worksheet for help keeping track of:

  • The feature must haves that are important to you and your family
  • Which brands or manufacturers you like
  • Budgeting tools including a payment calculator resource
  • Multiple well spaced pages with room for lots of your notes
  • BONUS Resources: Trade-in values, tow vehicle ratings, and finance options

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