A RV insurance policy is not all that different from other types of insurance policies. Many of us begrudgingly send off our money every month and only turn that frown upside down if the worst happens and that insurer serves the purpose for which they were paid. That bitter sweet moment when you get money for a claim. The distinct difference between most insurance and RV insurance comes from the array of uses, models, types, and the hodge podge of liabilities that are specific to RV’s. If you think about the different uses and types of RV’s it becomes clear why this can become such a confusing issue: Motorhomes, pop-up campers, truck campers, fifth wheels, travel trailers, and toy haulers. The activities, liabilities and risks for a RV’er could be drastically different from a pop up camper to a motorhome.
Luckily most insurers distinguish between two main types of Recreational Vehicles. The Motorhome (drivable RV) or the Camper (towable RV). This is because any vehicle driven (not towed) must be insured per the laws in each state up to a minimum amount of coverage. Obviously the bare minimum (cheap RV insurance or relying on your auto policy) isn’t necessarily the best way to go. Additional coverage is recommended and may be required if your motorhome or camper is financed or a rental.
If you have financed your RV then the lender will generally require that you carry full coverage to ensure the loan company can recoup their loan if there is a loss. If you are renting a RV you may be covered through your auto insurance BUT you should verify that with your carrier. Rest assured you will be asked by the rental company to purchase insurance regardless. If you happen to have a towable RV then insurance is optional as your auto insurance extends to cover towable RV’s. Its important to remember that many of the features of specialty RV insurance policies (explained in detail below) are worth considering if you have any risk of loss with belongings, custom add-ons, or if you are full-timing.
Some RV’ers are lucky enough to have their RV paid for in which case RV insurance is not required unless you own a motorhome. This by no means you shouldn’t have RV insurance, but if your RV just sits in a garage and has no value to you then by all means self-insure and use the law in your favor.
The Benefits of a RV Insurance Policy
As you shop for RV insurance you will start to notice that many companies have specifically designed policies to suit the needs of a RV’er. These policies typically have the option to include personal items, appliances, fixtures, furnishings, and total loss protection. Many, if not all, that would not be covered under a traditional auto policy. RV insurance tends to have coverage that is similar in terms of cost but offers much more protection due to the limited use profile of the average RV.
Consider the level of loss that a RV represents and the amount of damage a RV could do in an accident. In most cases the losses will be considerably larger than an automobile. RV owners should carefully consider their coverage limits and look for RV specific coverage that can truly protect not only your RV, but your livelihood.
Beneficial Coverage Options for a RV Insurance Policy
Whether you are a full-timer or just travel in your RV for leisure, consider all the items that will be in your RV. As mentioned above, think about the investment you have in your RV and the damage it could cause in a case of an accident. Think about your computers, satellite dishes, clothing, appliances, tools, and jewelry. When purchasing insurance, it only is worthwhile if the things you care about are protected and you are not left with a loss that you cant absorb. Another item not to overlook is that of personal liability coverage. Much like its homeowners insurance counterpart, will protect you if someone is hurt inside your RV or at your campsite and decides to bring legal action. We are not going spend much time on basic insurance coverages as we think many of you will have a understanding from purchasing auto insurance, but Esurance and Progressive both have a great FAQ sections about coverages if you are interested.
We have prepared a simple comparison chart to be used as you shop for RV insurance. Though we cant say its perfect, it should help you keep track of all the difference options and allow you to standardize the information in a way that you can assess. In some cases certain items may not be available if you choose to do a online RV insurance quote. We encourage you to follow up with a phone call to the company if you do in order to double-check that all the features you are looking for are accounted for.
RV Insurance Policy Comparison Chart Download Links:
Personal Effects and Other Belongings
If you go with a standard policy, chances are it will not protect against the loss for the amount or variety of contents you keep in your RV. We all have them: Clothes, dishes, sporting goods, computer equipment, GPS, and tools just to rattle off a few. If you have a homeowner’s policy then its possible you may have coverage for loss there. But, be aware there are common limits and red tape to what will be covered as well as the fact that most homes aren’t susceptible to a collision. If you are full-timing then this is a feature you don’t want to travel without.
A RV is a Size-able Investment, Protect It
With many folks spending as much on their RV’s as their cars or even their homes, calling it anything less than an investment is an understatement. There are some unique features to RV policies that are specifically designed to protect the dollars you have put into your RV. Sure most RV’s and anything you have in them lose value, but not as quickly as if it subject to fire, collision, or some other type of loss. If you lost your RV would you be able to buy another with the same features with the actual cash value from the insurance? What if someone was hurt while inside your RV? With that in mind, a few items to consider while shopping for RV insurance:
- Total Loss Replacement – This is usually only available on NEW RV’s (Up to one year old). If you have a “new to me RV” then other arrangements may be available based on the insurer. Be clear how this feature works in your policy. Its not enjoyable to find this out the hard way.
- Custom Mods and Equipment – Near and dear to many of our readers hearts, this is vital coverage for anyone who likes to tinker with their RV. You know who you are. Upgraded Water Filtration System? Solar Panels on the Roof? Custom Cabinets? Additional Batteries? If any of this stuff sounds like you then be sure you have coverage for it. Most policies will only cover up to a thousand or so dollars. After a couple of mods you can blow through that in no time.
- Vacation Liability Coverage – Something worth looking into. Usually part of many “full coverage” policies, comes this feature which includes a set limit of $10,000. Its designed to pay for costs associated with injury or property damage if an accident takes place while the RV is used temporarily as a vacation residence.
RV Roadside Assistance
Many should be familiar with this from their auto insurance policies. The reality is that offering this service for a car vs. a RV is a totally different animal. The equipment and facilities needed to tow and service most RV’s are a very different from most auto services. If you have RV roadside assistance you can rest assured that the insurer will have a large network of service and repair facilities only a phone call away. Aside from the normal mechanical issues many of these services will help even if you get trapped in mud, snow, or sand within a reasonable distance from the road.
When you have an accident. damage to your car, or you are simply without transportation. If this happened in a R,V then you may also be without a place to sleep or call home. Ask if your RV insurer offers emergency expenses coverage which will cover expenses while you stay in a hotel, rent a car, and wait for the RV to be repaired.
Bus Conversions and Vintage / Rare RV’s
If you’re the owner of a converted bus or “schoolie” as they are referred to. You may be in the same boat as a rare or vintage RV owner in that its very difficult to assess a vehicles worth with no mainstream established market for that vehicle. Specialty RV insurers have come up with a way to accommodate these unique RV’s by using a method called AVC (Agreed Value Coverage). Aptly named, your coverage would span from the value of the bill of sale or from some type of appraisal for insurance purposes.
Considerations for Full and Part-Timers
If you are a full-timer then you will probably need specialty full-timer RV insurance. Its that plain and simple. In many ways its serves as a homeowners policy in terms of the coverage and protections it offers you. It will most likely cover liability (with consideration for medical payments) for accidents that may occur in or around a RV while its being used as a residence (Insurance talk for full timing). Owning a full-timer RV insurance policy also clears any confusion that can arise if the RV insurance company questions how the RV was being used during the loss. If you don’t specifically have coverage for using the RV as a residence, legally the RV insurance companies have grounds to deny your claim if you are in fact full-timing in the RV.
As you can imagine there is an additional expense for a “full-timer” package as many RV insurance companies refer to it. Some RV’ers find that its unnecessary which we think could be an oversight. Almost everyone who owns a home has insurance to protect that dwelling, the fixtures, appliances, and belongings with in it. When you live full time in a RV its really no different than owning a sticks and bricks home and choosing not to insure it. Without being covered by full-timing insurance, a RV’er is willingly susceptible to a incredible loss. One that many of us are not prepared or financially able to recover from.
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When it comes to leisure travel or part-timing in a RV, many decide to opt out of additional RV insurance past any state required minimums. The great part about specialty RV insurance policies is that some have a pause button or more formally a “suspend” feature. This option allows the insured to suspend portions of coverage when the RV is not being used which can lower the costs considerably. This is a premium feature that only specialty RV insurers offer. This is why it is present on our comparison chart available for download that we introduced earlier.
Ever call a big box store like Target or Wal-Mart to ask about an electronics product or anything specific? The quality of service for specific products is embarrassing. Some insurance companies are no different. We think dealing with a company that has specially trained RV specialists handling claims and service is a huge deal. Someone who knows how a travel trailer connects to a truck or how a generator works in a motorhome can offer quite a helping hand. Telling a claims representative about your fancy retractable awning or the swing arm mounted outdoor TV should be something that a RV specialist wont question.
State of Residency
Keep in mind that the State of residency that you choose could have a large impact on the features, availability, and the expense of a RV insurance policy. There are many unique ways to choose a state of residence, particularly if you are a full-timer. There are more than just RV insurance advantages. You will find state tax (income and otherwise) and registration fee advantages. Many RV’ers use a mail forwarding service to establish residency in another state, though it seems the regulators are cracking down on this. Because the RV insurance quotes, regulations, and advantages will vary so much between states it may take quite a bit of research to decide what to do with your state of residency.
When comparison shopping for RV insurance, it pays to do your homework. Don’t be afraid to get in the weeds when discussing discounts. Some insurance companies offer discounts for taking a driver’s safety course. Others may offer discounts for anti-lock brakes or a RV with a security system. Some companies may offer discounts if you are a member of a motorhome club, such as FMCA, AAA, or Good Sam. Others may be able to offer discounts for RV type and model, registration state, amount of coverage, where the RV will be stored/reside, how it is used, RV ownership history, multiple policy discounts, claim history, age, marital status, if you’re a home owner, and your credit score just to name a few.
Choosing an RV Insurance Company
If your brain isn’t toast yet after thinking about the in’s and out’s of RV insurance coverage then its time to find the right RV insurance company. When choosing a RV insurance company it doesn’t always make the most sense to decide just on price. Consider the reputation, the level of service, availability, flexibility of coverage options, cost and everything we have mentioned above before making your decision. We know that some of you rolled your eyes while reading that last sentence because you are only concerned with the cost! More power to you! There are many ways to find your next RV insurance company. But, most RV’ers choose to either use an agent/agency or they choose to do the research and comparison themselves.
Using an Agency or Agent
The easiest for beginners is to rely on a agent or agency to do the heavy lifting. We encourage you to talk with other RV’ers and friends to find agents or agencies that are well regarded. Try to find an agent or agency that specializes in RV’s if possible. Especially if this is your first RV insurance policy. As with anything, shopping around is the best way to ensure you get a fair deal. For your convenience we have listed some of the largest and most reputable RV specific insurance agencies at your service.
|General Agency||Website||Contact #||Description||Insure Full-Timers|
|RV America Insurance||Link||1-888-803-5999||Multiple RV Insurance Companies Quoted at Once||YES|
|Gilbert RV Insurance||Link||1-888-784-6787||Multiple RV Insurance Companies Quoted at Once||YES|
|RV Insurance Solutions||Link||1-866-417-1639||Multiple RV Insurance Companies Quoted at Once||YES|
|Overland RV Insurance||Link||1-800-677-4027||Multiple RV Insurance Companies Quoted at Once||YES|
|Twin Peaks Insurance||Link||1-800-507-8467||Multiple RV Insurance Companies Quoted at Once||YES|
|Explorer RV Insurance||Link||1-888-391-5955||Multiple RV Insurance Companies Quoted at Once||YES|
|RV Insurance Professionals||Link||1-877-784-6787||Multiple RV Insurance Companies Quoted at Once||YES|
Going it Alone
You know who you are and most of us here at DoItYourselfRV are no different. We take pride in being thorough and resourceful. At times even to a fault. If you are going to do the work yourself you may as well have a list to work off of. Below is a list of the available RV insurance companies we could find with their websites and their contact information. Be sure to print off or download our RV Insurance Policy Checklist if you want an easy way to track the quotes you receive. Good luck!
|Company||Website||Contact #||Description||Insure Full-Timers|
|Progressive||Link||1-800-PROGRESSIVE||Highly Rated and Great Service||YES|
|Good Sam RV Insurance||Link||1-888-514-1116||Highly Rated and Great Rates||YES|
|Geico RV Insurance||Link||1-800-909-4246||Wide Range of RV Insurance Coverage||YES|
|Blue Sky RV Insurance||Link||1-866-4842583||RV Specialty Insurer and Highly Rated||YES|
|GMAC RV Insurance||Link||1-800-462-2123||Underwrites Good Sam RV Insurance||YES|
|AllState RV Insurance||Link||1-800-255-7828||Sold Through Agents Only|
|The Hartford RV Insurance||Link||1-888-279-3169||Underwrites AARP Insurance Program||YES|
|MetLife RV Insurance||Link||1-866-482-5546||Sold through Agents Only|
|Esurance RV Insurance||Link||1-866-455-1980||Great Automated Website||YES|
|SafeCo RV Insurance||Link||Through Agent Only||Sold through agents only, part of Liberty Mutual||NO|
|Allied RV Insurance||Link||Through Agent Only||Nationwide company sold through agents||YES|
|Farmer's RV Insurance||Link||Through Agent Only||Great reputation, multiple policy discounts possible||YES|
|AAA RV Insurance||Link||Varies By State||Different agency and contact based on state||YES|
|National Interstate||Link||PDF of Contacts by State||Commercial trucking Insurer that also covers RV's||YES|
|USAA RV Insurance||Link||1-800-531-8722||USAA Members Only|
|Foremost RV Insurance||Link||1-800-237-2060||Speciality Insurer for Multiple Insurance Products||YES|
|MBA Insurance||Link||1-800-622-2201||RV Specialty Insurer||YES|
A Conclusion: RV Insurance Policy Guide
Finding the right RV insurance can be one of the more stressful and labor intensive items on your RV “to-do” list and we are sensitive to that fact. We created this guide in hopes of helping you sort through the overwhelming amount of marketing fluff that is out there and getting the information you can use to make a clear and educated decision on what you really need. We many not have covered everything, but we didn’t intend for it to be anything but useful. We hope you decide to cut us some slack because no one would want to read an article that had EVERYTHING there is to know about RV insurance! Including us!