What You Need to Know About RV Insurance
By Diane Tait
If you have been considering purchasing a recreational vehicle, you might be wondering what kind of insurance coverage you need. That’s a good question, since RVs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are literally the size of a bus, while others are as small as a minivan. Then there are fifth-wheel RVs that have to be pulled along by another vehicle. Before you start negotiating with an owner or dealer over the cost of an RV, you owe it to yourself to learn about the ins and outs of RV insurance.
What are the minimum requirements? – That depends on the state in which you live and the class of RV you own. If you drive a Class A, B, or C motorhome, you’ll need to have it insured much the same as an automobile.
- Collision – This is the portion of the policy that covers damages to your vehicle caused by an accident on the road.
- Comprehensive – This covers damages caused by such things as theft, fire, animals, vandals or acts of God. If you park your RV in the woods and a tree falls on it, this is the portion of the coverage that would pay to repair or replace your camper.
- Liability – Covers damages done to another party if you cause an accident, including bodily injury and property damage. Every state in the Union with the exception of New Hampshire requires a minimum amount of liability coverage. However, when you consider the damage that can be caused by an RV, the minimum may not be enough.
- Additional Coverage – Due to the fact that RVs carry more valuables than do traditional automobiles, you might like to ask your insurance agent how much it would cost to cover everything inside it. Other options like towing and roadside assistance are also a good idea since paying out of pocket to have an RV towed can be prohibitively expensive.
- What’s Emergency Vacation Expense Coverage? – Even if your RV is a fifth wheel, you may want to look into this option. That’s because if your RV or trailer is so damaged that it needs to be towed to a garage for repair, you won’t be able to stay in it until the repairs are complete. In this event, you would be forced to pay quite q bit for other accommodations. Depending on the amount of time it takes to repair your RV, you could find yourself shelling out thousands of dollars for hotel expenses and rental car costs. If this is a covered claim, you could be reimbursed from $750 to $7,500 depending on the plan you choose.
How much does RV insurance cost? – Just as no two RVs cost the same, when it comes to insuring them there are several factors to consider:
1. The value of your RV. – Obviously, a $150,000 Class A motorhome is going to be more expensive to insure than a micro camper worth $15,000. However, the cost is not the only factor that affects RV insurance rates. The make, model, year, and mileage are also taken into consideration since a brand-new camper is more roadworthy than one that is older or has 100,000 miles on the odometer. Before you sign on the dotted line, you should take the time to talk to your insurance agent about the cost to insure the RV you covet. You should also need to speak to your lender about their insurance requirements if you hope to qualify for financing.
2. The state in which you reside. - This difference alone can be significant. For instance, North Carolina residents pay less than $1,000 a year in premiums on a Class A motorhome, while the same coverage in Michigan costs almost five times as much.
3. Your driving record and RV experience. – Even if you have a spotless driving record and have never had an accident, expect to pay a higher premium when you first drive an RV. Just as it takes a teenage driver years to master the art of driving a car, insurance companies know from experience that it will take new RV owners time to master the art of maneuvering their rolling vacation home.
4. How often do you intend to use your RV? = In a move that at first seems counterintuitive, the more you use your RV, the more it costs to insure it. Insurance companies realize that more frequent use increases the likelihood of an accident.
5. Where will you store your RV? – Depending on where you live and store your camper when it isn’t in use will affect the cost of coverage, especially if you intend to park it in the street or on your driveway as opposed to a secure facility.
Is it a good idea to self-insure an RV? – Not if you intend to take it on the road. Even if you own a fifth-wheel or aren’t required by your state to insure your RV, if it’s ever involved in an accident, you could find yourself facing fines, tickets, lawsuits or even having your camper impounded. Another reason to insure your RV is due to the learning curve inherent with large or articulated vehicles. Two of the most common kinds of RV accidents involve sideswiping other vehicles in parking lots and failure to clear an overhang at the gas pump or fast-food drive-through. When you consider the value of the camper itself plus the likelihood of something happening to it, the small amount you initially save by self-insuring isn’t worth the high cost to pay for damage done to or by your RV.
the Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance. To find out more about how you can save money on boat insurance, go to her site.