Wecome To RVs and OHVs

This blog is all about RVs (recreational vehicles) and OHVs (Off Highway Vehicles), camping, sailing, and survival
and how they work together to provide wholesome family fun and great learning opportunities.
Many posts are intended to familiarize novice campers and RVers with RV systems and basic camping and survival
skills. But even experienced RVers and campers will enjoy the anecdotes and may even benefit from a new
perspective. Comments, questions, and suggestions are encouraged. The organization is pretty much by date of publication. Please use the SEARCH option below to find what you are looking for.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

RV Insurance

Like any other motor vehicle, RVs must have liability insurance to be driven on public roads.  However, as always, comprehensive and collision coverage is normally optional unless it is required by a lien holder.  Given the high cost of many RVs and their accessories, comprehensive coverage might be considered extremely valuable.  For example, a good RV comprehensive policy will replace your awning if it comes unfurled on the  highway or you catch it on a tree in a campground.  Not all automobile policies will cover RV accessories if you simply add your RV to your car insurance.

You might  be able to add your RV to your  automobile policy, but unless they are already well known for covering RVs, chances are you won't get the best deal or the best coverage.  The time I tried to add my RV to a very good automobile policy they quoted me a premium that was more than double what I'd been paying for RV coverage previously -- and the coverage they offered was limited.

Companies that specialize or at least provide some focus on RV policies understand that RVs are different than cars and often, if not always, offer coverage that specifically targets the special features of RVs (such as awnings, roof air conditioners, etc).

The folks at reviews.com have done a very good job at exploring and recommending RV insurance.  Check out their report at www.reviews.com/rv-insurance.  If you still want to look at other companies or just want to confirm that you're making the right choice, listed below are some things to consider.

What should you look for in an RV policy?  First of all, you will want to make sure you are dealing with a reputable company that is stable enough to pay claims if you have any.  If you don't recognize the name of the company, try looking it up on the Internet or check the Better Business Bureau where the company is located.   You will want to confirm financial stability and their claims history and  customer satisfaction.   A significant factor in considering any insurance policy is always the premiums.  However, low premiums, attractive as they may be, might be deceptive.  Make sure  you know and are comfortable with the coverage you get.  Unusually low premiums are usually connected with unusually low risk (e.g., low coverage).   You could soon find any premium savings eaten up when you discover something  you thought was covered isn't.  Better RV policies will include coverage to replace a damaged awning or a roof A/C if you happen to drive under a low hanging obstacle and damage it.  Such coverages are usually excluded when an RV is added to an ordinary automobile policy.

Liability insurance is usually required by state law before you can operate your vehicle on public roads.   Most companies are familiar with the minimum legal requirements and won't offer any coverage less that that required by law.  However, for  your own protection, make sure the coverages are, at the very least, adequate for your jurisdiction.  Depending on your personal financial situation you may want to increase liability coverage.  Doing so will, of course, increase your premium, but, in the event you are in an "at fault" accident you will have higher coverages to protect your personal assets should the other party sue you for damages.  There is nothing that requires them to accept what your insurance will pay as payment full.  If you have a policy with low limits, it will help keep  your premiums low, but you may find yourself facing a court judgement forcing you to pay for damages not covered by  the limits of  your insurance policy.

Should I buy collision and comprehensive coverage?  This decision is usually based on financial considerations.  While is is always nice to be fully covered if anything happens to your RV, only you can decide if the cost of full coverage is justified.  Just like other vehicles, the value of RVs decline as they get older so there often comes a time when collision and comprehensive coverage aren't worth the extra premiums.  Collision and comprehensive are usually required by the lien holder whenever your RV is financed, regardless of the age or value.  They want to be sure their collateral won't disappear if you have an accident.

RV comprehensive coverage usually includes RV specific features or adjusted limits to accommodate the higher value of RV components and contents.  As previously mentioned, awnings and roof A/Cs are usually among the extras included in a good RV comprehensive policy.  Another thing to look for is higher coverage for contents.  RVs are very likely to have contents that greatly exceed the normal content limits for ordinary cars.  Think about what you have in  your RV (appliance, entertainment systems, personal belongings, recreational equipment, electronics, etc) that you don't carry around in your ordinary car and look for a policy that will cover those items if they are lost, damaged, destroyed, or stolen.

One popular  feature among RV policies is being able to delcare the vehicle non-operational while in off-season storage and pay a lower premium while it is in storage during the off season.   Such policies usually require you to have full coverage and the comprehensive part of the coverage remains in full force while the vehicle is in storage, but the liability and collision features may be suspended.  If you take advantage of this option, be sure to notify your insurance company before  you get your RV out of storage for a new season so your all your coverage is in force before  you drive it again.

Unlike motorized RVs, towable RVs usually don't require liability insurance, although it could be required by a lien holder.   If your RV is paid for, all coverage is optional for a towable but you still need liability insurance on the tow vehicle.   Again, you must decide whether the cost of the insurance is worth it to you.  Basically, the more valuable your RV, the better it is to have it fully insured.  Personally, I have never carried any kind of insurance on my towable RVs.  They have all been older units whose value didn't justify the cost of the insurance.  Over many years I have saved enough in premiums to pay to replace any of my towables.  But had one been involved in an accident early in the process, that might not have been the case.  Your car insurance usually covers liability associated with trailer it is towing should it cause damage or injury.

There are a few other types of insurance offered to RVers.  They include mechanical repair insurance, road hazard protection for tires, and trip insurance.

Mechanical repair insurance is only available to newer units under a certain number of miles, but it is kind of like an extended warranty.  Such policies usually cover just about all mechanical breakdowns, but always be sure to read the terms and conditions and make sure you follow all necessary maintenance guidelines and adhere religiously to claim submission requirements.  Failure to prove performance of required maintenance or not following claim approval procedures exactly can often result in a denial of your claim.

Road hazard is usually an option available when you buy new tires.  It will usually replace a tire that is damaged from hitting something on the road  It could be debris or even just a nail you might have picked up.  Road hazard is sometimes included at no extra cost when you buy tires but even if you have to pay a few dollars extra it is usually worth it.  RV tires are expensive and there are way too many things out there on our highways that can cause us to blow a tire.

Trip Insurance usually aids you in getting your RV home if  YOU become disabled during a trip.  There are also general trip insurance polices you can buy that may include Baggage, Travel Delay, Medical and Dental, and Emergency Assistance and Transportation.  If you are traveling in an RV and may need to have it brought home, make sure you purchase a policy that includes that option.  General trip insurance is typically designed for people traveling by air or train and usually doesn't cover bringing your RV home.
Be sure!