Every year, five types of RV claims seem to recur most often, according to experts at the Good Sam Vehicle Insurance Plan. Here they are:
1. Tire Blowouts
Tire failure is the cause of 60 to 70 percent of all Good Sam VIP comprehensive claims. Tires usually blow out as a result of an overloaded RV, improper inflation or excessively worn tread. Follow these simple tire safety tips:
•Check your tire pressure monthly, and before starting any trip. Check the air pressure when tires are cold.
•Don’t let air out of a hot tire because it may be under-inflated when the tire cools.
•Level your RV and chock the wheels whenever it will be parked for a couple of days or longer.
•If a tire is punctured, have it dismounted and professionally repaired from the inside.
•Don’t use petroleum- or alcohol-based tire products that can accelerate tire wear.
•Replace any tire that is over seven years old, even if it looks new.
•Help prevent ozone and UV damage by washing your tires with mild soap and water and scrubbing them with a soft brush. Also, be sure to keep your tires covered when your RV is off the road.
•Know the weight of your RV (when loaded) and make sure your tires are rated appropriately.
Remember, it is recommended by the RV industry and RV safety experts that tires should be replaced every five to seven years regardless of mileage or outward appearance.
2. Refrigerator Fires and Propane Leaks
Many claims each year are due to refrigerator fires caused by malfunctions in the fridge’s cooling system. A rig can burn up in minutes as a result of these malfunctions.
When it comes to the refrigerator in your rig, familiarize yourself with the make/model and always be on the lookout for recalls. Bookmark the website of the manufacturer that made your RV refrigerator, for example, and periodically go online to check for recalls or other safety information. If you attend RV shows or “rallies,” stop by the booths of RV manufacturers and ask if there are any recalls that pertain to your fridge.
Also be sure to follow these basic guidelines:
•Never paint your tank a dark color.
•Be sure your oven or stove burners are completely off when not in use.
•Make sure your engine and any propane appliances are turned off before refueling.
•Be certain that older propane tanks have an overfill protection device.
•Check exhaust and intake vents for any blockages.
•Install a propane gas detector.
•Do not drive with your refrigerator running on the propane setting.
3. Hitting Gas Station Overhangs and Bridges
You’d be surprised how many claims are the result of forgetting an RV’s height. Getting lodged under a gas station overhang, bridge or other overhead obstruction is no joke. In order to avoid this typical accident, create a constant reminder by posting a sticky note with your RV’s height on your dashboard – and be sure to take into account any antennas or other rooftop attachments.
4. Forgetting to Retract Steps and Awnings
It’s easy to forget minor things when you’re eager to move on to your next RVing destination or are finishing up your vacation. So it’s no surprise that many Good Sam VIP claims are the result of forgetting to retract steps or awnings – or otherwise ensuring that your RV is completely ready to get back on the road.
Before starting your engine, avoid common RVing mistakes by:
•Being sure that awnings, jacks and steps are fully retracted.
•Ensuring that sewer, water and power are disconnected.
•Walking around your recreational vehicle to check for obstructions such as low-hanging branches, curbs, signs, etc.
•Checking tire pressure and tread condition.
•Ensuring that your oven and burners are off.
•Checking underneath your rig for leaks.
•Making sure your coolant, oil and transmission fluids are at the correct levels.
•Double-checking safety lines and tow bars.
•Making sure that all brakes are functioning properly.
•Checking intakes and exhausts for blockages.
•Checking for propane leaks and ensuring that smoke and propane leak detectors are functioning properly.
•Closing and latching bay doors.
5. Animal Infestation
When your RV sits empty over the winter months, mice, squirrels and other animals can make it their home, chew through wires and lines, and cause other mayhem. Damage from these unwelcome critters is generally NOT covered by insurance, so it’s best to periodically scare away unwanted pests by starting your motorhome weekly, even during the off-season. That should spook your unwanted guests and let them know that they’re not alone. If you have a trailer, you can either pull it around the block or lightly bang on the walls to achieve a similar result.
Most of the information in this article was supplied by the Good Sam VIP Insurance Plan.