Buying RV insurance: Sort out the terms, part 1

Buying RV insurance: Sort out the terms, part 1

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Owning an RV can be a big financial investment. Keeping it financially secure only makes sense. But when it comes to buying insurance, it can be a bit tricky–the terms can be so daunting. Just what are you shopping for, and what does it cover? In this and our next installment, we’ll walk through some of the seemingly mysterious terms that come with RV insurance.

insurance policyFirst, a word of advice: RVs are a special breed–not just any old insurance company will adequately cover an RV. It would be rare if the same company that covers your car or truck will be able to provide good coverage for your RV. Searching the Internet for “RV insurance” will help you track down specialty companies. Now, on to those terms.

Agreed Value

You think your RV is worth X amount of dollars. Get in an accident and total it out, you may find the settlement check is a lot smaller than what you thought. Agreed value coverage means you and the insurance company agree, up front, on what your RV is worth when you buy the insurance. You’ll need to hire an appraiser to have an agreed value.

Attached Accessories

Just because your RV awning is a “part” of your RV doesn’t mean your insurance company will cover damages. Here’s an example: We encountered a terrific rain storm on one RV trip, and despite having “set” the awning to run off rain, the torrent was so strong it filled the awning fabric so full the arms bent, and the whole awning was totaled. Happily, our insurance company covered it as part of our standard policy.

Not every company is so generous. Read the fine details, and you may need to opt in for the “attached accessories” coverage that handles not only awnings, but TV antennas, satellite dishes–maybe even roof mounted solar panels. Ask plenty of questions.

Diminishing Deductibles

If you’re a good and safe driver, selecting the diminishing deductibles means that every year you go without a claim the deductible that you have chosen for comprehensive and collision decreases every year until they reach zero. It could save you a lot of scratch.

Emergency Expense Coverage

Getting into a wreck with your rig is traumatic enough. Now imagine watching as your motorhome is towed away to the scrap yard and you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. Emergency expense coverage should pay for motels, meals, and alternative transportation to get you home, or back into your rig if it’s fixable. Some RV towing insurance polices already include this as a benefit. Don’t pay twice for the same coverage.

Full-Timer Liability Coverage

Given up on the “sticks and bricks” home and moved into your RV full time? Congratulations! You no longer have liability insurance. Sure, you’ll have liability insurance on your vehicle insurance, but what is something bad happens to someone while visiting your RV or camp site? In this litigious society, covering your tail with liability insurance is a must. It does more than “vacation liability coverage,” which we’ll describe later.

Full-Timers RV Insurance

This is a term some companies use, and it can be a bit murky. One outfit describes it this way: “In addition to full-timers liability, there is other coverage that protects those that are spending more than six months a year living in their RV. Coverage for things such as stored personal contents, and additional living expenses coverage is available with full-timers RV insurance coverage.” You’ll need to read and question the fine print where this is offered.

Guaranteed Loss Replacement

This is NOT the same as “agreed value coverage. As your RV ages and loses market value, the payoff if the rig is totaled goes down accordingly. Guaranteed loss replacement means you have a total loss, typically within the first five years, you get a new RV of like kind and quality. Generally speaking, if the RV is older than five years and is totaled, then the purchase price of the unit will be paid.

Next time, we’ll round out the list with other policy talk.

#nrv

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