You’re all set to enjoy the summer on an RV trip with the family. Maybe you’re traveling out to the Grand Canyon, or just to Wildwood for a weekend of glamping. Either way, you’re thrilled with all the money you’ll save on hotel costs and excited about living the RV life—meeting other campers and having everything you need with you while you travel. (That’s right – no need for bathroom or snack stops that seem to take three times as long with the kids.)
But wait. Before you go: Do you have the RV insurance you need? What kind of coverage is required by law, and what are the benefits of a more extensive policy? Buying RV insurance can be confusing, but this guide can help.
Insuring The Two Types of RVs
Shopping for RV insurance is confusing, in part, because there are two types of RVs: Motor homes and campers.
- Motor Homes: Motor homes incorporate the vehicle into the camper as one unit, so a motor home must be insured with liability coverage just like any other vehicle you may drive. Motor homes are classified as “class A or class B” vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Campers: A camper or trailer, on the other hand, attaches to your regular vehicle. Towable RVs do not need liability insurance separate from the tow vehicle. Examples of towable RVs include fifth-wheel trailers, pop-up trailers, and travel trailers. These are considered class C vehicles.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself About RV Insurance
1. How Much RV Insurance Do You Need for Your Motor Home?
As a vehicle, a motor home requires basic liability coverage in case you get into an accident with another driver. This standard coverage usually includes Bodily Injury & Property Damage Liability, Uninsured Motorists Protection, Personal Injury Protection, Limited Property Damage, and Property Protection. With the exception of uninsured motorist protection, this coverage is all designed to protect the other driver, vehicle, and any passengers in an accident.
As with any motor vehicle, you are only required to carry collision coverage for your motor home if you are financing the RV. However, an RV is a large investment, and if you want to protect that investment, it’s a good idea to consider collision coverage.
2. How Much RV Insurance Do You Need for Your Trailer?
If you have a towable camper, you may be surprised to discover you don’t need any RV insurance at all, unless you are financing the camper. Then, as with a motor home, you’ll need full collision coverage in case the vehicle is totaled in an accident. You don’t want to continue paying a loan on a camper you can’t use anymore! Again, if a camper is new—even if you paid cash—you may want to protect your investment with collision insurance.
If you were to get into an accident with the camper, your tow vehicle’s liability coverage would cover any damage to the other vehicle, its driver and passenger, and their personal property.
3. Do You Need Custom Equipment Coverage?
If you’ve upgraded your motor home or trailer at all, you may want to consider custom equipment coverage. However, be sure to ask about the claim limits for this coverage—it may not be worth it if you have a high deductible or a coverage limit that only covers a fraction of your upgrades.
Expanded Coverage Can Keep a Mishap from Ruining Your Vacation
Indeed, many RV owners want to do more than just protect their investment. They want greater peace-of-mind during their vacation. After all, you’re going away to relax. You don’t want a broken down vehicle, theft, or vandalism to ruin your trip, cost you extra money, or leave you stranded by the side of the road with the kids whining for doughnuts from Wawa. If your RV is new or financed, your comprehensive policy may include some of this additional coverage. If not, the following are add-ons worth considering:
- Personal effects coverage – This insurance protects your belongings if they are damaged or stolen while you’re on vacation in the RV. These items might be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, but a deductible would apply and too many claims could raise your homeowner’s insurance rates. It might make more sense to cover the household goods in your RV on their own policy.
- Vacation liability – Many comprehensive policies provide vacation liability. Don’t confuse this RV insurance with vacation insurance, which can cover the price of theme park tickets, airline tickets, or a cruise if a trip is canceled due to a natural disaster or act of war. Vacation liability covers bodily injury and property damage if an accident takes place while you’re camping in your RV (as opposed to being on the road with it).
- Roadside assistance – If you have a trailer, your tow vehicle probably has roadside assistance as part of your auto insurance policy. But if you have a motorhome, roadside assistance can help keep a small hassle from turning into a disaster. Roadside assistance, as its name implies, provides help, including towing, if you should have mechanical or electrical failure, if your motor home gets stuck in the mud or snow, or in the event of a dead battery, flat tire, or any other problem that could otherwise leave you stranded.
4. Does Your Rental RV Require Insurance Coverage?
But, but… You just rented an RV trip in California. Does any of this apply? As with renting a car, the RV rental dealer may have a short-term policy you can purchase. But first, check if your regular auto insurance provides rental coverage for RVs as part of your regular policy or as a low-cost add-on. You may be able to save some money and, if you get into an accident during the trip, you’ll have the peace-of-mind of working with your regular insurance provider you trust.
On the Road with RV Insurance
Now that you understand the types of RV insurance, you can take your next trip across the country, or simply up the coast, knowing that you are abiding by the law and protecting your family and belongings just as you would at home.