What is RV Insurance?
Your recreational vehicle (RV) isn’t quite a house, but it’s more than a car—and travelling in it opens up endless opportunities. You get the freedom of traveling to new places, experiencing breathtaking scenery, and roaming the byways and highways at your leisure.
There’s a motorhome for just about any budget and taste—and the same can be said of RV insurance. Motorhome or trailer insurance is different from the conventional auto insurance—that’s why your camper needs custom coverage. An RV insurance policy covers accidental and direct physical damage to your camper or trailer wherever your adventurous journey takes you. Coverage may also extend to your trailer’s permanently installed accessories like antennas, awnings, and satellite dishes.
Whether you’re a rookie RVer, a snowbird, or full-timer, hitting the open road in your camper van is more fun when you carry the right insurance coverage.
How to Choose the Best RV Insurance
Choosing the best RV insurance is similar to shopping for an auto or homeowner’s policy. First, you’ll need to compare providers in your region. Not every insurance carrier is authorized to work in your state—and if it does—it may still not offer RV insurance policies. You’ll want to start by comparing providers available in your area.
After narrowing down your options, proceed to get an insurance quote. Insurance companies have various ways through which you can contact them—an online quote form, a call to one of their insurance representatives, or meeting with one of their local agents. You’ll answer a few basic questions about your recreational vehicle—like how and where you often use it—before your insurance provider creates a custom quote.
Don’t settle on a single quote—obtain multiple quotes from different carriers so that you can widen your net to ensure you’re getting the best rates. Remember to ask as many questions as possible, including your available insurance options and areas you could potentially score some discounts.
After choosing an insurance provider, notify your insurance representative—he or she should help you close in on the policy. And if you already have an existing policy, be sure to cancel it before the new one takes effect.
Why not start with a few online quotes today?
Is RV Insurance Required?
Whether or not you need RV insurance depends on the type of vehicle you own. Most states, however, mandate liability insurance if you’re driving an RV on the road—with state minimum requirements being similar to those of a car. Let’s further dissect the circumstances under which you may or may not require RV insurance.
You may require RV insurance if —
- The RV is motorized. Class A and Class B motorhomes must have insurance, similar to trucks and cars. The rule of thumb is that you must carry insurance if your RV has a motor and can be driven on its own—without being attached to another car.
- You’ve rented the RV. Renting an RV means that it’s now under your control—every responsibility befalls you, including insurance. Ensure your current policy covers RV rentals, otherwise you may have to consider some short-term coverage options.
- You financed your RV purchase. If you’re still making payments for your RV purchase, the chances are that your lender may mandate RV insurance—since you don’t already own the camper outright.
RV insurance may not be required if:
- Your RV is towable. Conventional travel trailers, fifth-wheelers, cargo & trailers, and pop-up campers don’t need RV insurance. Since you’ll typically hook the trailer up to your car, the liability coverage from your auto policy extends to the trailer. Some coverages like collision and comprehensive coverage may not extend to a towable car, so you’ll want to assess your insurance options.
RV Insurance vs Auto Insurance
RV insurance could be likened to auto insurance in that every state mandates drivers to carry some kind of personal liability coverage. On the flip side, RV insurance policies are typically more extensive than their auto insurance counterparts—but what’s the logic?
When an insurance company quotes you for RV insurance, it’s likely it will want to know how many months of the year you spend traveling in the RV, and calculate your premium accordingly. If you’re a full-timer—you’re primarily in your RV for most part of the year—your coverage needs will differ from someone who occasionally drives their car for a weekend road trip. Your full-timer RV coverage would be more of a union between car insurance and homeowner’s insurance.
RV insurance policies typically feature higher threshold limits compared to auto insurance policies. Insurers often equate higher risks with RVs, mainly due to the size and customization levels that go into creating a habitable trailer. As such, you can expect to pay more for a separate RV insurance policy than you would for a standard auto insurance policy.
RV insurance and auto insurance may not always have similar active periods. For instance, you may suspend your RV coverage when your camper van is placed in storage for a long period. For instance, you’d no longer need collision coverage if your RV is decommissioned, so suspending the coverage could be a budget-snipping measure. You’d typically not suspend your auto insurance coverage if your car sits in your parking allay for weeks.
Remember, insurance providers will typically not let an RV owner add their motorhome to an existing personal auto policy. You’ll need a separate policy for your RV.
How to Choose the Right RV Insurance Policies
Getting the right insurance is just as important a step in your RV ownership. You want to get the coverage that fits your needs while getting the best value for your money. Let’s get the inside scoop of how to choose the right RV insurance policies from our experienced RVers.
1. Shop Around
Shopping around will almost guarantee that you’ll get the right policy for your needs. And while you can approach some insurance providers directly, it’s equally a good idea that you check with specialty brokers or agents. They may get you a better deal or customize a more specialized coverage.
2. Double Check the Coverage Limits
Don’t rush to close in on your insurance policy—you could easily miss a few crucial details in the fine print. Double check your policy to see what’s covered in the event of a loss. Most policies will have a standard amount they cover but some will place tighter limits in specific categories. Ensure the policy coverage limits suffice your RVing needs and lifestyle. For instance, you’ll need a higher coverage limit as a full-timer than an occasional camper.
3. Consider Endorsements
Let’s face it; what works for another camper may not work for you. Sufficient coverage for your needs could mean including a few add-ons. For instance, your standard RV insurance policy may not cover the personal property in your camping van—you may need an additional policy for such. While they’re not mandatory, optional coverage like roadside assistance, towing and labor, total loss replacement, and pet injury coverage may bridge the gaps in your coverage needs.
4. Ask Family or Friends
Word of mouth from family members or close friends who’ve previously insured their RVs can help you land a bargain deal.
Types of RVs to Insure
RVs fall into two main categories: motorized and towable RVs—both of which feature living basics like electricity, hot water, and plumbing, though amenities may vary widely.
The three common types of motorized RVs are:
- Class A: Large, spacious and luxurious describe these RVs. They can be up to 45 feet long featuring kitchens, living areas, bedrooms, and bathrooms. They can accommodate up to eight people.
- Class B: These are more mid-sized motorhomes that can accommodate up to six people. Up to 20 feet long, these RVs are popular among small families.
- Class C: Class C RVs are often referred to as mini motorhomes for their emphasis on convenience and compactness.
Towable RV types may include:
- Travel trailer: A travel trailer is the most basic towable RV that offers the best of both worlds for comfort and an all-in-one travel solution. They’re attached to the tow car with a simple hitch.
- Folding camp trailers: Also known as pop ups, folding camp trailers are a practical solution for those who like traveling light.
- Fifth-wheel trailers: Fifth wheelers get their name from the wheel-like apparatus that mounts on the tow vehicle.
What Does RV Insurance Cover?
RV insurance provides the same essential coverage options as auto insurance, including:
- Liability coverage. This coverage pays any injuries or damages you cause to others, and is categorized into bodily injury and property damage liability. Bodily injury liability covers injuries and medical expenses that another person incurs if you’re at fault for the accident. Bodily injury limits are often specified on a per person and per accident basis. Property damage liability covers the cost of repairing or replacing another person’s property and is only specified on a per-accident basis. Liability coverage doesn’t protect you or your RV.
- Comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive insures against physical damage to your RV by causes other than a collision. It may cover things like theft, vandalism, falling objects, and fires. This coverage features a deductible—your portion of financial responsibility before the insurance company pays out the benefits.
- Collision coverage. Collision pays for the damage to your RV if you hit another vehicle or object, irrespective of who’s at fault. Collision coverage also includes a deductible.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist. This coverage extends to your RV if you’re involved in an accident where the person at fault either doesn’t carry insurance or doesn’t have sufficient coverage to pay for the damage or injuries they caused.
- Medical payments. It helps cover medical expenses for you and your passengers after accidental bodily injury while occupying the RV, regardless of who’s at fault.
Besides the basic RV coverage options, insurers often offer several optional policies you may want to add to your standard coverage. These may include:
- Roadside assistance may cover 24/7 emergency assistance if you’re stuck on the road due to an empty gas tank, a flat tire, or an engine knock.
- Total loss replacement pays for a brand-new camping van if your RV is declared a total loss in the event of an accident.
- Personal effects will cover all your personal property inside the RV.
- Custom equipment coverage insures all aftermarket parts and equipment that weren’t installed by the manufacturer.
- Vacation liability covers bodily injury and property damage (up to specified limits) due to an accident that occurs when you’re using your RV as a temporary vacation residence.
- Pet coverage pays for vet expenses if your furry friend is injured during a covered accident.
How Much Does RV Insurance Cost?
According to Progressive, you can expect to pay as low as $125 per year for an RV insurance policy. However, similar to auto insurance, multiple factors weigh in on the cost of your policy. These may include:
- Your driving record
- Your age and gender
- Policy details, like the coverage limits and deductibles
- Your credit score
- The class of motorhome
- How often you use your RV
- Where you live
Insuring your RV may be as cheap—as it can be costly—if you know where to look—insurance discounts. Here are a few discounts to look out for if you want to drive down your premiums:
- Multi-policy. You may qualify for an RV insurance discount if you bundle your home and auto policies.
- RV safety course. You’ll save money on your insurance when you complete a state-approved RV safety course.
- RV association. You’ll shave some money off your premium if you’re a member of an RV association, like the National RV Association.
- Paid in full. Pay your insurance premium upfront and your provider will pay you back with a discount.
- Transfer discount. Your insurance provider will provide a welcome discount if you switch your motorhome policy to them.
- Claims-free renewal. You may qualify for a discount at policy renewal if you remained claim-free during your previous policy period.
Start the journey toward safe and legal travels by obtaining online quotes today.