Buying RV insurance: Sort out the terms, part 2

Buying RV insurance: Sort out the terms, part 2

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

motorhome crashBuying RV insurance can be like a trip into unknown country. It’s best if you have a map. In part 1, “Buying RV insurance: Sort out the terms,” we sorted out about half the “options” you might purchase with a policy. This time we’ll talk about the rest of them.

Mexico Liability Coverage

Motor vehicles driven into Mexico MUST have liability insurance issued by a recognized Mexican insurance company. Plenty of gringos think they can just swoop on into Mexico and “go bare.” Don’t risk it! If you’re in an accident–and even if it’s not your fault–you can watch your rig get towed away and impounded until things are sorted out–and that can take a long time. Liability insurance issued by US firms is of no value. If a US firm offers you liability insurance that covers you in Mexico, IT MUST REALLY be issued by a Mexican insurance firm. Incidentally, you can purchase this coverage for short (or long) visits in many US border cities.

Mexico Physical Damage Coverage

Some firms may offer a Mexico physical damage insurance coverage option. Provided that you purchase and maintain a Mexican liability policy (to cover you if you are responsible for an accident) then your rig receives coverage for collision and comprehensive losses if they happen in Mexico. Here’s where a bit of scruntiny comes in: Find out if your rig is damaged in Mexico if it must be repaired in Mexico. While there are good repair shops there, you may prefer to come home for the repairs. With parts and labor costs lower in Mexico, even if you can have the repairs done in the US, you may not get a compensation check that even comes close to what you’ll have to pay for the work done stateside.

Purchase Price Protection

Similar to “agreed value coverage,” purchase price protection applies not to pre-owned, but rather, new RVs. You won’t have to pay for an appraisal, just hand over a copy of your purchase invoice. the coverage guarantees reimbursement of the entire purchase price of the RV or in the event of a total loss.

RV Personal Property Insurance Coverage

If you have a sticks and bricks home and have “homeowner’s coverage,” you do have some coverage on the personal items you carry with you away from home. Here’s the catch: Most often there’s a limit on the value of what you take with you. Say for instance you have $50,000 worth of personal property protection on  your homeowner’s insurance plan. Typically there’s a fine detail in the policy that says only ten percent of that value is covered when the stuff is away from home. Take that $500 digital whizbang camera on your RV trip, a few hundred dollars worth of clothes and whatnot, and soon, your personal property isn’t covered too well. RV personal property insurance coverage covers the gap here. But be careful–there’s still an issue.  Look to the next item.

RV Personal Property Replacement Cost

So somebody breaks into your RV or a fire breaks out. You’ve lost a lot of stuff. How much you’re paid for depends on how the company values it. Typically most personal property is settled by “cash value,” meaning the price you paid less depreciation. Speaking as a consumer, it seems that things really depreciate fast when it comes time to get a pay-off for a loss. Personal property replacement cost coverage means if it’s lost, you get paid to buy it new. Again a caution: There are some things (cash and jewelry just as examples) that insurance companies won’t cover, even under personal property replacement cost coverage.

Towing and Labor

Your RV breaks down on the road, get’s a flat tire, or you run out of fuel. Emergency road service is a godsend for the RVer. But not all towing and “road service” polices are created equal. When you just had a car, you may have had AAA road service. Great! But now that you have an RV, here’s the caveat, direct from the AAA website: “Due to size of some RVs, not all AAA contract stations are capable of providing tire changing, towing, and winching service.” RVing friends of ours found this out when they got a flat tire on their fifth wheel trailer. ‘Sorry, we can change the tire on your pickup, but not your trailer,’ just doesn’t cut it when sitting beside the road on the hot desert.

Road service policies are such a detailed issue, we’ll leave them for a complete discussion in a future posting.

Vacation Liability

If you’re not a full-time RVer, then having a vacation liability insurance can help you. It covers you for situations in which you may become liable for bodily injury or property damage that occurs in your RV or campsite. Say “Junior” made a boo-boo and didn’t put away the hatchet after he whacked up some kindling in camp. If the neighbor’s kid comes over and cuts off his finger with the hatchet, having vacation liability coverage can help you sleep better.

Photo: RVWithTito on flickr.com

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