What is Recreational Vehicle Insurance,
and why do I need it?
Motor homes, campers and recreational vehicles, or RVs, fall somewhere between houses and vehicles, which put them in a unique risk and insurance category. Many RV policies will carry much of the same protections as a standard auto policy may, such as collision, theft and vandalism. However, RVs may also need some additional protections, such as awning replacement. RV policies will generally have options for liability, collision, comprehensive, under and uninsured coverage, roadside assistance, medical payments and towing/labor coverage. Some additional coverages that are available from most carriers include:
- Awning Replacement. A lot of motor homes, campers and RVs have awnings attached to their exterior. This coverage will cover replacement and installation costs.
- Vacation Liability. Provides premises coverage while using your RV as a temporary residence, while parked in a campground for example.
- Replacement Costs and Scheduled Personal Effects. While some of your belongings may be covered by your homeowners policy while on the road, this coverage will allow you to list specific items in your RV or camper, such as a TV or other valuable installed in vehicle.
- RV Safety Glass Replacement. Many RVs and campers utilize safety glass, not covered usually with a standard auto policy.
What does Recreational Vehicle Insurance Cost?
Rating factors for RV insurance will vary by carrier, but type of RV, age and condition of vehicle will almost always be key factors, as well as driving records and claims histories. Luckily there are multiple carriers who offer discounts, such as multi-policy/multi-vehicle, safety course completion, good driver and claim-free renewal discounts.
What are Common Recreational Vehicle Claims?
The top five common claims, according to most insurance carriers, for recreation vehicles include:
- Tire failure.
- Collisions with low overhands and bridges.
- Failure to retract steps, awnings or antennas.
- Animal infestations.
How Can I Reduce My Risk?
Reducing the risk of an accident is part driver, part vehicle and part everyone elses’ responsibility. While you can’t control what another driver does, you can influence them. Driving aggressively, using your horn too liberally and distracted driving are known to antagonize other drivers, often influencing them to drive poorly as well. Taking measures such as getting quality driving instruction, maintaining your vehicle and keeping it safe to drive as well as driving defensively, will not only help keep you and your passengers safe, but will likely reduce your auto insurance premiums, as well.
Taking simple precautions could help mitigate risks. For example, making a "Take-off Checklist," listing all required steps to be taken prior to driving, and posting it near driver. The list could include checking external equipment like awnings and satellite dishes as well as for low pressure in tires and fuel level. When RVs are in storage or simply not in use, periodic checks should be made to assure mold, animals or other environmental exposures like strong weather are not affecting its condition. A slow leak could lead to much bigger problems if left unchecked. Arguably, the most important mitigation solution is take RV driving safety courses. Driving a large vehicle is different from driving a standard auto, simple manuevers such as turning, backing-up and parking become slightly more difficult, for example.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who does my insurance policy cover?
Most policies will cover you, your passengers and the driver and passengers of a vehicle with which you had an accident. Note that most policies include and most states require, liability coverage, without which only you and your passengers will be covered in the event of an accident.
- Can I get insurance coverage for the personal stuff inside my RV or motor home?
Yes, it's called personal effects coverage and, in most states and carriers, up to $3,000 is included on a policy at no extra charge.
- Do I really have to pay for insurance on my RV or motor home when I'm not even using it? Like, when it's put away for months during the off-season?
Some carriers offer what's called the "storage option" which allows you to pay a reduced premium during the months your RV is in storage, or not being used.