Getting a Recreational Vehicle (RV) Insurance Quote

A typical car insurance policy does not apply effectively to a recreational vehicle, motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel. Here are some points to consider when searching for RV insurance coverage, in addition to the standard collision, liability, and medical required for all drivers.

Licensing. Requirements for driving an RV vary from state to state. Due to their size and weight, some states classify them as commercial vehicles, so check the licensing requirements prior to leaving home. Otherwise, if you’re involved in a collision or stopped for any reason, there’s a risk your policy could be cancelled.

Full replacement cost. This provides reimbursement of the full original price or replacement with a comparably-equipped recreational vehicle if yours is stolen and not recovered or written off as totaled after an accident. By careful shopping it is possible to obtain this coverage for the first five model years, as the rate of depreciation is slower for an RV than a typical car or truck. Although this option makes for an expensive RV insurance policy, sometimes the alternative is receiving a much smaller payoff that won’t replace the vehicle lost.

Personal effects. This covers the contents of the RV that tend to come and go, such as dishes and clothing, as well as add-ons that aren’t typically considered part of the RV, such as computers, televisions, and bicycles. This should apply whether it’s on the road or parked in a storage facility.

Part time storage option. If you use the RV for just a portion of the year, check to see if you get a break for the time you’re not on the road.

Permanent accessories. Items such as TV antennas, electricity generators, and awnings, that didn’t originally come with the recreational vehicle but aren’t considered personal belongings, can be included in this coverage.

Full-time coverage. An increasing number of retirees are living full-time in their RVs, and neither regular car insurance nor a homeowner’s policy is appropriate for their special needs. A full-time RV insurance policy fills this gap, with a higher level of personal property damage coverage as all of your worldly goods are in that one, mobile place. This policy also adds personal liability coverage similar to that contained in homeowners’ policies, which is necessary should someone trip and break an arm over your awning’s guy wires, particularly if your RV is a valuable one, giving the impression of “deep pockets.” It’s an ugly thought, but umbrella coverage helps in this litigious society.

Fire damage. RVs present more of a fire danger than other vehicles because of hazards such as space heaters, stoves, generators, and other items, particularly if they are not properly maintained. Examine your policy carefully to see if there are exclusions regarding any after-market installation. Also check if there are any riders in the policy dealing with repairs and maintenance--specifically, can the owner carry out certain repairs or are the services of an approved, certified maintenance facility required to maintain your policy.

RV medical payments. This covers hospitalization and recovery costs following an RV accident, no matter whose fault it was.

The following options are often overlooked but can make life easier on the road.

Emergency expenses. If your recreational vehicle is damaged, it’s both your home-on-the-road and your transportation. This option covers rental cars and hotel rooms as temporary replacements should the need arise.

Windshield deductible. Being on the road so often, RV windshields take a beating. This option can provide for repair or, if necessary, replacement during a trip.

Underinsured drivers. Sharing the road with other drivers who are totally without insurance is usually considered when applying for a policy, but what about being bumped into by someone who carries just the minimum legal requirements? This level of coverage may not cover your repairs even if you are innocent. Without underinsured coverage you could be personally responsible for repair costs. Considering the risks involved, it’s worth the relatively small addition to your RV insurance premium.

Commercial towing. Auto club membership is provided primarily for private vehicles under a certain weight and not to large, heavy recreational vehicles, fifth wheels, motorhomes, or travel trailers. If towing to a repair facility is needed, a commercial tow truck will be necessary. Confirm that insurance to cover this extra cost is available and that any conditions are clearly stated.

Shop around before purchasing RV insurance. The time spent can be the best of all investments to give you peace of mind during your travels.