There are many good reasons to rent an RV:
- Perhaps you’d like to take that one memorable vacation before the kids get too old to enjoy it
- Or, you’re in the process of moving across the country, so why not make the trip something special?
- Maybe you want to try out a particular model before you commit to buying an RV — because renting an RV for a short period of time makes more sense than making the considerable investment required to buy one.
Then again, you don’t really need a reason to rent an RV!
Following are some pointers before you rent your first RV, including what you can expect, and where to find RV rentals.
Despite high fuel costs, rentals soared and campground bookings were up 5% to 20% in 2007. Paying another dollar per gallon might add $100 or $200 to the cost of a vacation. But that doesn’t stop most RVers from traveling. Plus, by saving on food and hotels, families pay 26% to 74% less for an RV vacation than they do traveling other ways to the same destination — even when RVers eat out once a day and factor in ownership costs, says an industry study. Source
First Things First
First off, it is imperative that you find a reputable business or individual to rent your RV from.
Then, you’ll want to make sure you are properly covered in the event of an accident or other damages to the vehicle while it’s in your possession.
Aside from that, there are plenty of fun times to be had aboard a rental RV. Hopefully, there’s one in your future.
RV rentals are booming — and with good reason. With RVing, you control your own time, where you go, where you stay; and the price is right.
— Peter Greenberg, travel expert
RV Rental Insurance
Remember, when you return your rental RV and the agent claims the big gouge running down the side was caused by you, proof of existing damage will be your responsibility. Anything that wasn’t verified on paper will be looked at as “new damage,” and they will be expecting you to pay up.
This is where RV rental insurance comes into the picture.
Call your own auto insurance agent and get clarification from them whether your existing policy covers the deductible or any damages caused to a rental vehicle. Many auto insurance companies cover your risk when renting a car, but renting a motorhome may be a whole different story.
Whether you’re purchasing an insurance package from the rental agent (which typically costs between $15 and $25 per day) or verifying that your own auto insurance covers your liability in a rented RV, make sure that you are covered before you move the RV off the property. The legal headache of proving the agent is less than truthful after the fact just isn’t worth it.
RV Insurance FAQs: What You Need To Know
- Sample RV Insurance Binders
- RV Insurance FAQ
- Auto Insurance vs RV Rental Insurance
- Typical RV Rental Insurance Coverage
Now, some tips for finding a reputable RV rental company…
National RV Rental Companies
If you’re traveling a long distance across the country (especially a one-way trip) it’s best to go with a nationwide chain that has multiple outlets.
There are a number of companies to choose from, but Cruise America is the largest with RV rental locations spread across the country. According to their website, a standard sized Class C recreational vehicle can be rented from their St. Paul location for 10 days and 1,000 miles for around $1,000.
One benefit of going with a nationwide service is you can also rent one-way and drop the RV off at your destination. Of course, this is generally more expensive, but at Cruise America they run special deals that allow you to rent from certain locations with a drop-off at a location they specify for a considerable savings. What you’re actually doing is returning an RV that someone else rented one-way and now needs to find its way back home. This can be a really good deal if you’re flexible with your destination and travel dates.
Motorhomes cost on average $120,000. That’s why renting an RV may be a wiser choice for many. Summertime RV rental rates start at around $125 a day plus gas. An extra $375 to $750 gets you a one-way rental that you can return at a different location. Source
Private Owners & Smaller Companies Renting RVs
One popular RV rental service is 1 RV Rentals. Here, individuals from all over the U.S. post their own ads for RVs that they own and would like to rent out. You can search for RV rental listings in each state.
Private Motorhome RV Rentals is a nationwide organization that rents out privately owned Class A, B, and C motor homes for between 4 and 14 nights. They have listings all over the country, and offer one-way RV rentals to cities with major airports as well.
Be careful when you’re dealing with private owners. Make sure your liability is thoroughly covered. You don’t want to spend time in court.
Lots of RV dealers are getting into the RV rental business as well. Most require that the rental unit be returned to the original site (the dealer’s lot). However, if they are a factory-sponsored rental dealer, they may have other options too.
If you drive around town, you can probably find RVs parked in private driveways with a “For Rent” sign in the windshield. You can find local RV rentals through Craigslist as well. However, usually it’s an owner who can’t afford to use the RV anymore and is hoping to recoup some of their investment. In my opinion, these are a big RED FLAG. You’re dealing with a person who isn’t a professional dealer, probably doesn’t have proper leasing paperwork, and may be super critical of how his RV is returned. Beyond that, he may or may not have insurance that will cover a non-owner who might be using the rig. There are just too many variables to go wrong. Worst of all, an accident could leave you holding the bag for some serious money.
IMPORTANT: By dealing with a reputable RV rental business or a company that streamlines the process by putting RV owners in touch with prospective RV renters and acting as a barrier against improprieties, you stand a much better chance of having an enjoyable trip.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Ask previous customers if they received good service. Word of mouth can save you a lot of headaches.
Little-Known Facts About Renting RVs
Chances are, you’ve still got questions about things like: whether you can travel with pets in a rented RV, whether you can tow a trailer or not, how to get rental insurance, the size of recreational vehicles available for rent, and what others who’ve rented from these companies think about their experiences. The answers to most your questions can be found here:
- Cruise America RV Renters’ Resources
- Questions To Ask Before Renting An RV
- RV Rental Tips For Beginners
- Helpful Resources For RV Renters
- 6 Things NOT To Do When Renting An RV
- What It’s Like To Rent An RV From Cruise America
- RV Rental FAQ
- Good To Know Before You Rent An RV
- How To Rent An RV For A Cross Country Trip
- A Beginner’s Guide To RV Family Vacations