Insurance is one of the first steps anyone new to full-time RV’ing must consider, and the options are likely to make your head spin.Comparing coverage might be time consuming, but worthwhile. There are dozens of companies who offer RV insurance, and just like any other type of insurance it pays to do your research.
Most of us have had the same auto insurance or homeowner’s insurance for years. But now it’s time to shop around for insurance to cover our new home on wheels.
Here are 12 questions to ask when choosing full-time RV insurance:
- What are my state requirements? Most states have the same insurance requirements for motor homes and other motorized RVs as they do for cars. So the first place to start is making sure you know the minimum requirements for the state where you are going to register your RV, and then decide if you need to go above those minimums. Most insurance companies will be able to counsel you about your state requirements, or you can look them up online. Insurance usually isn’t required to register travel trailers or other non-motorized RVs, but your lender might require it.
- Can I add my RV to my auto insurance policy? If it is a motorized RV, in many cases the answer is yes. However, an auto insurance policy will usually only provide you with coverage related to a crash or other incident that would happen to an auto. In an RV, there are many other issues to consider, as we note in the questions below.
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- Does the policy cover the contents of my RV? This is an important one for full-time RV’ers, who may have all their belongings on the road with them. A good RV insurance policy should cover not just the contents, but also things like RV awnings and satellite dishes. Weather, theft and accidents such as hitting a tree branch or low overhang should all be covered.
- What about alternate transportation? If your RV is your only form of transportation and it becomes unusable due to an accident or other issue, you’ll need some other from of transportation. Check to see if the policy includes rental car coverage.
- Are lodging expenses covered? No matter what type of RV you have, if you are a full-timer it’s your home. And if something happens to that home, you’ll need to stay somewhere else.
- What are the deductibles for each type of coverage included in the policy? Knowing how much you are paying – and for what – is important when buying any type of insurance. You’ll want to make sure you feel comfortable with the amount you might have to pay out-of-pocket when a claim is made. Also compare policy costs with different deducible amounts. Sometimes the difference between a $500 deductible and a $1000 deductible is just a few bucks.
- What is the advantage of full-time RV insurance? Some people choose not to tell their insurance company that they are living full time in their RV. Full-time policies can be more expensive, but they are more similar to a homeowner’s policy that covers you for liability if someone is injured in or around your RV. Full-time policies also sometimes include better coverage for contents. This is something that each person has to consider individually, taking into your account your own tolerance for risk (and honesty).
- Can I change my policy as my RV habits change? Most insurance companies will let you adjust your policy according to how you are using your RV. For example, if the RV is stored, you should be able to call your insurance company and lower your rates for that time period.
- Am I insured for replacement cost? Just like vehicle policies, RV policies vary. Some will give you the full brand-new replacement cost if your RV is totaled. Others promise to give you a newer model of the same RV. Others will give you the current value only.
- Will I be covered if I go to Canada or Mexico? Taking your RV across international borders can be a real adventure. Be sure to check if you’ll need additional insurance, or will be covered at all, if you drive outside the U.S.
- Does the policy include roadside assistance? Some policies do. However, you may need to ask to specifically add it, or it might not be as comprehensive as separate roadside assistance coverage from another company.
- How do I find the best company? You can check the Better Business Bureau and sites like consumersadvocate.org, which lists their take on the top-10 RV insurance companies. ConsumerAffairs.com also has a list that includes user reviews and explains some of the different types of insurance.