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How to find the right kind of RV insurance

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 | April 5, 2017
Choosing the right RV insurance

Insurance for a recreational vehicle, or RV, is a little more complicated than buying auto insurance. An RV is a moving home that can need specialized insurance combining car, home and travel insurance.

Adding an RV to an auto insurance policy can seem easy enough, but because RVs can range in price from a $5,000 nonmotorized trailer to several million dollars for a luxury RV, there can be much bigger liability needs and loss potential than with the family car.

There’s also your personal property to consider, which is not covered under most auto insurance policies. Since you’ll be staying in your RV, you’ll likely have more personal items in it than your car.

Cost of RV insurance

Before we get more into the insurance needs of an RV, it’s first worth noting that RV insurance isn’t as expensive as you might think it is based on what it covers.

RV insurance is usually a lot less expensive than car insurance because the RV isn’t driven as often and RV drivers usually are more experienced. An average annual car insurance premium is $1,500, while RV insurance averages $550 annually for a motor home and $250 for a nonmotorized trailer, according to Bankrate.

Just as with auto insurance, RV insurance rates are determined by your driving record, age, credit score and other factors. Other factors include where it’s stored, if it’s used for vacation or primary residence, if you use it 150 days per year or more, and the type and age of the RV.

There’s a wide range of RVs, from camper vans to bus conversions, and they’re set by classes: Class A, B and C:

  • Class A: Up to 75 feet long, such as a luxury coach, motor coach or converted bus. Class A is the most expensive type of RV coverage.
  • Class B: The smallest class, including a cargo van design, travel trailer and camper van. They don’t have a cab-over area. Class B is the least expensive type of RV to insure.
  • Class C: Include a standard cargo van as the driving portion and the camper portion extends over the cab area. Fifth wheel vehicles are covered here.

Why have RV insurance?

Like any other large investment, an RV is worth protecting. And because a motorhome is so large, it can significantly injure someone or damage other vehicles or property.

A $200,000 RV can also be expensive to repair or replace, leaving an owner with a big bill if they don’t have full replacement cost coverage. Such coverage is often offered only for newer RVs, while the actual cash value, or depreciated value, is available for older vehicles.

Good Sam Enterprises says that an auxiliary generator is the most common type of repair needed on a motorhome, costing from $1,500 to $4,500 for a gas generator to $3,500 to $10,000 for a diesel one.

Another reason to have RV insurance is because state governments require at least some minimum amount of liability insurance. Some also require uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage. Collision and comprehensive insurance limits are determined by the RV owner.

You may need RV insurance if you live full-time in your RV or rent one. A lender may require RV insurance if you’re financing the purchase of an RV.

What RV insurance can cover

An RV insurance policy can be tailored to fit your needs, but there are some basic types of coverage that you’ll probably want. Others you can add as needed, such as if you’re towing a golf cart or are bringing your pet with you.

Here are some types of coverage to consider:

Collision and comprehensive: Collision coverage pays for damage to your RV from a collision, such as if you hit a telephone pole. Comprehensive coverage pays for other types of damage, such as hitting an animal, fire, theft or from a natural disaster, among other things.

A high deductible can reduce these insurance premiums. If you have an expensive RV, you could face a bigger repair bill than you would for a car, however.

Personal property: Camping equipment, a generator, golf clubs, televisions, refrigerator and other things that you take with you on a trip can add up to a lot of money and are worth extra personal property insurance. If left in your RV while stored at home, thieves could be more likely to steal them than they would if you were on the road.

Vacation liability: Covers bodily injury and property damage inside and outside the RV.

Trip insurance: If your RV is in the repair shop after an accident while you’re using it on vacation, trip insurance can pay for living expenses and transportation. You don’t want to be stuck if you’re far from home.

Trailer coverage: If you’re towing a trailer that has a golf cart, kayak or other big things on it, this extra coverage can pay for repairing damage to the items if they get loose.

Pet injuries: If you travel with your pet and the animal is injured in an accident in your RV, then up to $1,000 or so of vet bills can be covered.

Attachments: Awnings, satellite dishes and other accessories that are attached to an RV can require extra insurance.

Roadside assistance: An RV is much bigger than a car, so extra roadside assistance could be needed to tow an RV, for example.