When you purchase a recreational vehicle (RV) and you need to insure it, do you buy personal property insurance or car insurance? While you can just add a rider to your existing car insurance policy to purchase coverage for your RV, you’re usually better off purchasing a specialized RV insurance policy which combines a little bit of both types of insurance.
Your insurance choices for your RV will be driven in part by the type of vehicle you purchase.
Some RVs are motor homes that are designed to allow two to seven people to sleep in them. Motor homes have a kitchen, a bathroom, a dining space and hook-ups so that you can use them at a campground with electricity, water, a sewer drain and even cable TV. RVs also include converted buses and campers.
Another type of RV is a travel trailer, which sleeps eight to ten people and has full living facilities but must be hitched to a truck. You can use a travel trailer for long stays at campgrounds when you might want to unhitch the truck and use it for sightseeing while you leave the trailer behind.
Insuring your RV
Multiple insurance companies, including Progressive, Nationwide, GEICO and GMAC have specialized RV insurance that essentially includes car insurance, renters insurance and travel insurance into one policy. While you can insure your RV with a rider on your auto insurance policy, you may not have sufficient coverage for the following possibilities:
- Total loss recovery. If you have a severe accident with your RV you need to know that you’ll have complete coverage to replace it.
- Emergency expenses. When you travel with an RV you’re more likely to be far away from home than when you drive your normal vehicle, so you’re less likely to have a friend or family member to pick you up or help you. In addition, since RVs are specialized vehicles, a local mechanic may not have the parts needed for quick repairs. Your expenses could add up quickly because you need another vehicle and possibly a place to stay.
- Roadside assistance. While some car insurance policies include roadside assistance, this coverage can be particularly important when you’re out in your RV. One of the pleasures of owning an RV means you can explore remote areas and visit distant campgrounds, but this brings with it more challenges if you have a mechanical problem with the vehicle. Roadside assistance can alleviate that issue.
- Vacation liability. Travel insurance exists so that vacationers can get some of their money back if their vacation has to be cut short or cancelled; vacation liability coverage provides the same function when you take your RV on the road.
- Personal effect replacement. While you certainly have a handful of personal possessions with you in your car such as your smart phone, when you’re driving an RV you also have your clothes and often electronics such as a TV or a laptop or tablet. Your RV kitchen will have other personal items that can add up quickly if you had to replace them all due to a fire or theft.
- Full-timers coverage. If you plan to live in your RV year-round, you’ll need added coverage since this means all of your possessions (or at least most of them) will travel with you.