What Kind of RV is Right for You?

By Diane Tait

Image courtesy of wikimedia
Living in Florida you see a lot of RVs on the road. Why not, since the Sunshine State is one of the most popular winter destinations in the US.  With mild winters and 1,350 miles of coastline to explore, what’s not to like?  But even a number of those who live in Florida either own an RV or are thinking about buying one.  For those of you who are toying with the idea of joining the ranks of RV owners, you need to know choosing an RV is no simple matter nowadays.  While there are only really two types of RV, motorhomes and towables, there are many derivations of class and creature comforts.  Add to this the expenses associated with owning an RV and you could wind up busting your budget before you even get to hit the road.  

      1.      Does size count? You bet it does.  The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the sticker price, not to mention the fuel consumption, maintenance and insurance premiums. 

      2.      Must you have a motorhome? – While some people want all the comforts of home when they go RVing, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to buy a motorhome.  Today, there are a number of other options, including spacious fifth-wheel campers to more modest truck bed campers that can convert your pickup into a rolling Motel 6.  If you do want a motorhome, which class best fits your budget: A, B, or C?

Class A motorhomes are more like buses than other RV’s.  They range in length from 26 to nearly 50-feet.  With that kind of space, you won’t have to give up any of the comforts of home.  Priced from $80,000-$500,000 new, class A’s aren’t built for bargain hunters.  They also take some getting used to from a driver’s point of view.  Unless you drive a big rig or a school bus for a living, you’ll need to learn how to corner, back up and park these beasts.  Make a mistake while behind the wheel and you could be in a world of trouble.

Class B motorhomes are based on the family van.  While they won’t sleep 8, like their bigger brethren, a family of 4 will be quite comfortable.  Ranging in size from 16-21 feet, there isn’t a steep learning curve to drive these RVs.  The sticker price on new class B motorhomes is a bit easier on the wallet, ranging from $40,000-70,000 new.

Image courtesy of wikimedia
Class C motorhomes fit comfortably between Class A & B in that they’re bigger than van-based Class B motorhomes, yet smaller than bus-like Class A’s.  The price for Class B is middle of the road as well, ranging from $50,000 - $130,000 new.  While easier to drive than a Class A, these RVs are still bigger than van-based Class B motorhomes.  That means it takes a bit of adjusting to driving a vehicle that is between 20-32-feet in length and about 10-feet tall.  Don’t try doing the limbo in the burger drive-thru in one of these.

      3.      What can you tow? –  If you are amenable to a towable, you need to find out how much weight your vehicle can pull.  While you might have your heart set on that fifth wheel, your current car may only be able to tow a popup camper.  Try to tow too heavy of a trailer and you could wind up needing a new transmission on your car.

4.      How low can you go? – If you want a travel trailer, but don’t wish to purchase a new car, you could be in line for a micro camper.  While you won’t be able to sleep a family of 6 (or even 4) in one of these tiny trailers, if you’re looking for a less expensive way to go car camping, these are worth a look.  Great for solo or couples camping, these babies will only set you back between $12,000-$30,000. 

Image courtesy wikipedia

What you need to consider – There are a number of other considerations than the sticker price when determining the cost of owning an RV:

a.       Fuel – The bigger the motorhome, the more fuel it burns. A 10,000 mile round trip in a Class A motorhome can set you back as much as $5,000 in fuel alone.
b.      Parking – If you are unable to park your RV in your driveway due to association fees, expect to pay between $2,500-$5,000 per year to park.
c.       Campground Fees – Unless you plan on only parking your RV in a Walmart parking lot when you travel, don’t forget to factor in campground fees. 
d.      Insurance – Unless your RV is a class C towable that you own outright, you are required to carry insurance.  Depending on the worth of the RV, how often and where you plan on driving it and your driving record, the cost of insurance could be anywhere from $350 per year to $2,000 a year or more. (Before you buy an RV, it’s a good idea to talk to your insurance agent.)
e.       Maintenance -  Just like any other vehicle, RVs need routine, ongoing and emergency maintenance.  The bigger and more elaborate your RV, the more you can expect to shell out to keep it road worthy.   While this expense can vary depending upon the class of RV, a set of 4 tires for a Class A motorhome could set you back $2,500. 
f.        Nothing beats firsthand knowledge – If you have never owned an RV, it would be a good idea to talk to other RV owners.  They will be able to relate their experiences and insights that could prove invaluable to helping you decide which class of RV is right for you.

If you still need help deciding which RV is right for you, call your insurance agent or check out the Which RV is Right for You Quiz provided by Camper’s Inn RV.

Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance.  To find out more about how you can save money on RV insurance, go to her site or fill out the form at right.


  1. It's amazing how vast the range of campers is nowadays.

  2. I am looking to get a smaller travel trailer soon and this advice is valuable, thanks!

  3. It's time for a vacation. The leaves are beautiful up north and the fish are biting in the Keyes!

  4. I've always wanted to pack a bunch of my friends and get on an RV and ride through a couple of different states. This is a dream of mine and hopefully it can be fulfilled sooner than later.


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