RV Insurance: What You Need to Know About Insuring an RV
Whether you plan on using your RV as a full-time home or for occasional road trips, insurance is a must.
Which way you go about it is up to you.
It’s usually not possible to add your RV to an existing car insurance policy, so you’ll most likely need to get a separate policy.
For better financial protection, consider RV insurance.
This coverage combines elements of auto and home insurance to account for the unique potential problems with a recreational vehicle.
The Difference Between RV Insurance and Car Insurance
RV insurance is similar to car insurance, in that both are forms of motor vehicle coverage.
But, RV insurance also has similarities with renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, because not only will you drive the vehicle but you’ll also occupy it.
It’s generally not possible to insure an RV under your standard automobile insurance policy.
Instead, you’ll need to get a separate policy for the RV, even though in most respects it will be very similar to your car insurance policy.
In fact, the primary differences between the two aren’t the basic coverage requirements, but rather the optional provisions that are available for RVs.
What Basic RV Insurance Covers
When you apply for RV insurance, you should expect the following basic provisions:
This is coverage that pays a claim for injury to the other party and/or damage to their vehicle when you are determined to be at-fault in an accident.
The specific amount of coverage varies from one to another, but is usually expressed in a three number sequence that looks like this: 25/50/25.
The three-number sequence refers to the following:
- Bodily injury: $25,000 for injury or death to one person as a result of an auto accident.
- Bodily injury: $50,000 for injury or death to more than one person as a result of an auto accident.
- Property damage: $25,000 to cover damage to the other driver’s vehicle.
Though each state establishes liability coverage minimums, it’s generally better to go with higher amounts.
Not only will that offer you greater protection in an at-fault accident, but the cost of higher liability coverage is often relatively slight.
Comprehensive and collision
But the difference between the two is that while collision provides coverage for damage to your vehicle caused by a traffic accident, comprehensive covers damage incurred while your vehicle is parked.
For example, comprehensive will apply if your car is damaged from falling tree limbs, a hailstorm, or a hit-and-run accident.
It will also cover theft of the vehicle.
Uninsured and under-insured motorist
As the name implies, this is a policy provision that will cover you if you are involved in an accident caused by someone who either has inadequate insurance or none at all.
It’s required in some states, but not in others.
And whether it’s required or not, it’s strongly recommended since there are always a substantial number of drivers without coverage (or insufficient coverage) at any time.
Other RV Policy Options
This is where RV insurance and regular auto insurance part ways.
Though there are certain policy options common to both, there are other provisions that are unique to RV policies.
Full-time RV insurance
This coverage is specifically for those who live in their RVs full-time or substantially full-time.
It works much like renters or homeowner’s insurance, by providing higher personal liability coverage limits.
This will be necessary because you’ll have the added risk of someone entering your RV and becoming injured, such as in a slip-and-fall incident.
The provision will also typically include coverage for medical payments for those injuries, as well as for storage of personal items while you are traveling in your RV.
Personal property and attachment coverage
An RV is typically fully stocked with personal possessions, like furniture, appliances, personal possessions, recreational equipment, and even satellite dishes for TV reception.
Personal property and attachment coverage will provide reimbursement for these items if they are damaged.
This coverage is also available on standard auto insurance policies, but it takes on added significance with an RV.
You not only drive your RV, but you also live in it.
And considering that it’s much larger and heavier than a typical motor vehicle, it will require a higher level of coverage.
That will mean higher coverage amounts as well as premium additions.
What’s Excluded from RV Insurance?
Just as is the case with policy options, exclusions are also related to the fact that it’s an RV.
For example, you’ll normally be expected to travel in the vehicle. But if you cross borders into either Canada or Mexico, you won’t be covered under a standard policy.
Some insurance companies may offer a policy option for travel to either country.
It’s much more typical for travel to Canada, and more limited with Mexico. You’ll pay an extra premium for the coverage for either country, but especially to Mexico.
Another standard exclusion that you’ll need to consider is travel trailers.
This can represent either a towed vehicle, like your regular car, or actual trailers carrying additional items.
Since these are separate vehicles, you’ll need to get a policy on each.
These will be separate policies, and not optional provisions under your RV policy.
Who Needs RV Insurance?
The simple answer:
Anyone who owns an RV.
You’ll absolutely need RV insurance when you take your vehicle out on the road.
It’s a legal requirement in most states, in addition to the fact that just being in motion on the road exposes you to potential hazards.
But even if your RV is parked most or all the time, you’ll still need coverage.
At a minimum:
You’ll need sufficient coverage for anyone who might be injured while stepping into the vehicle, or for any contents stored in it.
If you fail to get this coverage on the assumption that you don’t take the RV on the road, and disaster strikes, you won’t be reimbursed for your losses.
Where to Buy RV Insurance
You can generally purchase RV insurance through the same companies that provide standard auto insurance policies.
However, that doesn’t mean all auto insurance companies also offer RV coverage. That will at least somewhat limit your ability to shop for the lowest priced policy.
Any insurance company will be keenly interested in the extent of your use of your RV.
For example, if you live in your RV on a full-time basis, you’ll need a higher level of coverage than you would if you only used it seasonally for travel. Obviously, living in your RV will require coverage that will look a lot more like a homeowner’s policy.
Much like standard auto insurance policies, RV insurance also comes with deductibles.
And of course, the higher your deductible is, the lower your premium will be.
How Much Does RV Insurance Cost
Just as is the case with standard auto insurance, it’s very difficult to come up with even a ballpark estimate of what an RV insurance policy will cost.
It depends on a multitude of factors, including:
- Your state of residence.
- Your personal driving record.
- The value of your RV.
- The value of the contents within the RV.
- How much you use the RV (full-time, seasonally for travel, only occasionally, or not at all).
- The age of the RV.
Other factors deemed to be relevant by the specific insurance company.
As you might expect, the type of vehicle and your use of it have a major impact on your premium.
Insurance companies generally classify RVs into one of three classes – with estimated annual premiums according to J.D. Power NADA Guides:
These are full-on motorhomes suitable for year-round occupancy.
Premiums range between $1,000 and $1,300 per year, based on 140 days of usage per year.
These are primarily recreational vehicles, that include camper vans, conversion vans or smaller motorhomes.
Premiums for these vehicles are calculated based on standard auto insurance premiums, which vary by state.
These are recreational vehicles composed mainly of mid-sized motorized vehicles. They usually include a sleeping area that extends above the main compartment.
Premiums range between $800 per year and over $1,000.
Discounts are available for RV insurance in much the same way they are with standard auto insurance policies.
The list includes:
- Bundling your RV insurance with other policy types.
- New vehicle.
- Good driver/claim-free.
- Non-smoker (similar to homeowner’s coverage, smoking is a risk in an RV since it’s a vehicle you occupy on an extended or permanent basis).
- Pay in full.
- Safety equipment and anti-theft devices.
- Paperless communication.
That’s just a sampling of the more common discounts available with RV insurance policies.
And as is always the case anytime you purchase insurance of any type, it’s always best to shop between several providers.
That will give you the best opportunity to get the coverage you need at the most affordable premium rate.
Just as you would if you were buying a new car, you should also line up to buy insurance coverage when you’re in the market for an RV.
RV insurance is a standard part of the cost of owning an RV, and you’ll need to factor that into the overall price.
As well, you won’t be able to take the RV on the road without proper insurance coverage.
Shop around among the companies that offer RV insurance and get the coverage you need at a price you can afford.