Have you been considering RV insurance for your motorhome or recreational vehicle?
Or, if you already have insurance for your RV, do you know exactly what’s covered?
My Dutchmen travel trailer is only used for random weekend trips these days. It is insured with State Farm. (The brand name actually makes no difference.)
However, there are a few things you need to think about if you are seeking RV insurance as a full time RVer!….
How Your Auto Insurance Protects Your RV
Yes, all major auto insurance companies that insure your car or pickup truck will also sell you a policy to cover your motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel trailer.
But you need to know exactly what you are getting when you call your friendly neighborhood insurance agent and ask to have your RV added onto your list of vehicles.
When adding your RV onto your car insurance policy, the standard stuff applies:
- Full coverage will include collision and comprehensive insurance, just like your car. In some instances with RV trailers, the collision portion is automatically part of your auto policy — meaning, in reality, you only have comprehensive coverage on the actual trailer itself.
- Comprehensive coverage means your RV will be repaired or replaced at the insurance company’s choice when damaged in such ways: it was stolen, a tree fell on it, an animal got in it and tore up the inside, or lightning hit your RV and it was damaged by fire.
Regarding payouts… as with any automobile policy, the insurance company will depreciate the value of your RV, depending on current fair market value.
It is unlikely that you will receive anywhere near what you paid for your RV, and you definitely won’t get anything for its contents. Just like your car, the longer you own it, the less you would get in an insurance settlement.
Most auto insurance companies will charge you an annual rate, based on the fact that they expect the RV will be stored during the off-season, reducing the possibility of damage for a good part of the year.
These rather minimal coverages, which are enough to appease the financial institution that is carrying your loan, will cost you what seems like a very reasonable amount for RV insurance.
But, if you don’t store your RV, and instead you’re a full time traveler, then that’s another story!
Let’s look at the bigger picture…
Auto Insurance Policies Aren’t Enough For Fulltime RVers
If you’re a full time RVer, the first thing you should know is this: if your auto insurance company learns that you’re living in your RV full time, they will drop you like a dirty shirt!
Standard automobile insurance companies want nothing to do with full time RVers because there is a much higher risk that they will have to actually pay out a settlement at some point.
Taking a look at the minimal coverages provided by auto insurance policies, you have to ask if you’re really protected when you insure your RV that way.
Here’s what would happen…
- If your gentle-as-a-kitten Pit Bull decided to shake the stuffing out of the little Yorkie in the next campsite, your homeowners insurance would cover such an occurrence back home. Not so with automobile insurance on an RV.
- Or, if your child decided to pitch a rock through the window of the Prevost Coach at the RV campground, you’d be in for an expensive out-of-pocket repair. Again, no coverage.
- When that grease fire gets out of control and your RV is reduced to ashes, the auto insurance policy has no provision for Replacement Cost coverage. Your 3-year-old RV just became worth about half what you paid for it. And, Aunt Martha’s $2,000 hand-stitched quilt that was on the bed? Also not covered.
Not much is actually covered in or around your RV, so it’s no wonder the price is so reasonable to insure an RV as part of an auto insurance policy!
So here’s a summary of the types of things that standard auto insurance policies most likely don’t cover:
- Personal possessions within your RV like clothing, dishes, jewelry, and firearms.
- Liability issues like your child throwing a rock through the window of the neighboring RV in the campground or you accidentally backing over something at the campground causing damage to the property.
- Personal injury claims like someone being bitten by your dog or someone tripping and falling as they enter or exit your RV.
- Full replacement cost of your RV. Instead, auto insurance policies reduce its value due to depreciation.
Auto policies only cover the vehicle itself, that’s why they’re cheaper than official RV insurance policies.
Fulltime RVers Need An Official RV Insurance Policy
When you become a full timer, your RV is your permanent residence. That’s why you need the equivalent of a complete homeowners policy — with riders for contents, personal liability, and Replacement Cost coverage.
There are a number of RV insurance companies that provide this level of coverage.
Does RV coverage through an RV insurance company cost more than RV coverage through an auto insurance company? Absolutely.
In fact, you can’t even compare it to what a homeowners insurance policy on a stick frame house would be — because your RV moves down the highway. This alone greatly increases the chance of damage to your RV, as well as increasing your liability for damage to other vehicles.
The good news is… there are a handful of dedicated RV insurance companies that take into consideration the fact that you are one of a large group who chooses to live the full time RV lifestyle. As a result, such RV insurance companies spread out this higher level of risk among all of the members of the group. And that is how they stay competitive.
You may even be able to add a rider to cover possessions that you have in self-storage.
The Best RV Insurance Companies That Insure RVs
The following companies that insure RVs provide the type of coverage that will truly protect you when things go wrong.
Their RV coverage includes the same level of protection
that a homeowners insurance policy does for a home. (Be sure to tell them you’re a full time RVer.)
You can get a free RV insurance online quote from each of these RV insurance companies:
- RV America Insurance
- Foremost Insurance Group
- Aon Recreation Insurance
- Camping World RV & Automotive Insurance
- Good Sam VIP Insurance
This video explains more of the differences between auto insurance and specialized RV insurance:
I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller… you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I've shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide!