Monthly Archives: May 2017

How to Insure Your RV

The arrival of spring and summer means tens of thousands of drivers across the country will soon be hitting the open road in their RVs. According to the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Association, one in 12 vehicle-owning households (or about 8 million families) in the U.S. now own an RV. If you’re thinking about joining the motorhoming throng, you should first think about how you will insure your new house on wheels.

“The biggest mistake people make when they think about buying an RV is that basic car insurance will be adequate, and it’s not,” says Frank Darras, a national consumer litigator who specializes in insurance. “There are some very unique distinctions between your run-of-the-mill car insurance and insurance for an RV.”

Here are some crucial tips on how to properly insure your RV, along with a few suggestions about saving some money in the process.

 

Are You A Full-Timer?

The first thing to consider: Do you plan to use your RV as a full-time residence or as recreational transportation for weekends and extended vacations?

“We found out right away that a lot of auto insurers out there won’t write coverage for full-timers, which was a little surprising,” says Doreen Orion, author of “Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own.”

“If they will cover you full time, let your insurance provider know right off the bat that you plan to live in your RV year-round,” says Orion. “Technically, your insurance company can deny a claim if they didn’t know you were using it on a full-time basis.”

Generally speaking, full-time RV coverage resembles a basic homeowners policy and will usually cost about $100 to $200 more than part-time coverage.

For instance, Progressive offers a “Full Timer’s Package” that consumers can purchase if they plan to use their RV as a primary residence. In addition to collision, liability and comprehensive coverage that comes with any auto policy, the full-time package also includes coverage for up to $500,000 in personal liability and $50,000 in medical payments to anyone who may get injured in and around the vehicle.

“Just like at home, there are a lot of accidents and variables that can crop up when you’re using the RV as a permanent residence,” Orion says.

Finally, if the RV is your primary residence, you should ask your agent if you can purchase loss of use insurance. According to Janet Groene, author of “Living Abroad in Your RV,” this will cover the cost of staying somewhere else should you be without your RV after an accident.

“Remember, if your RV is being replaced or repaired, you’re going to suddenly be without a home,” Groene says.

A Lawyer To Fight Traffic Tickets

Knowing when to fight a traffic ticket could end up saving you hundreds of dollars for the offense itself and perhaps even more on your car insurance down the road.

But how do you know when to fight, and if you do fight it, when to hire a lawyer?

The National Motorists Association recommends drivers not facing a DUI, reckless driving or other charge that could carry serious penalties including jail time, to make an appearance in court and do battle.

What about hiring an attorney? Look at the financial bottom line.

ALSO: What Causes the Most Road Rage?

Expect an attorney to charge a flat rate of $250 to $400 for a one-time courtroom appearance to enter a plea and negotiate a reduced penalty. Other courts cost could apply, too. For a lesser ticket with a lesser fine you might not even break even by hiring an attorney.

However, if jail time is even a slight possibility, or your fines reach a thousand dollars or more, then an attorney can be money well spent.

Don’t feel, thought, that every traffic court appearance demands an attorney.

 

Who should fight a ticket in court?

Some motorists, such as commercial drivers, should fight all traffic tickets because any moving violation can jeopardize their ability to continue working, says Ohio attorney Michael E. Cicero.

Also, your age is a big factor when seeking your day in court.

“If you’re very young or very old, fighting the ticket is absolutely worth it,” Cicero says. “In those demographics, traffic tickets can cause significant jumps in premiums.”

If you do choose to fight a ticket in person you already have one advantage. Crowded courts face hundreds of cases per day and prosecutors are usually willing to negotiate a deal.

Also, you may have a slight advantage in court depending on where you live.

Some states, such as New Jersey, require a witness to testify at a court hearing if a police officer didn’t see it, so if the witness — who is usually the other driver — doesn’t show up in court, the ticket is dismissed.

California lawyer Christopher J. McCann says that one of the first tactics he uses is requiring an officer to respond on paper to a certain deadline, called a “Trial by Declaration.”

“Putting the ball in the court of a busy officer alone gets me many easy victories when they neglect to return the document in a timely fashion,” McCann says. “Even if they do, the officer may not state his case properly, giving you another chance to win.”

 

How much will a ticket raise my insurance rates?

Getting a ticket can boost an average auto insurance policyholder’s premium by up to 22 percent, so it’s worth fighting, says Ben Luftman, a criminal defense and traffic attorney in Columbus, Ohio who recommends to potential clients that they check with their insurance company to see how their rates will be affected by a ticket.

Speeding convictions in construction zones and school zones lead to the highest premium increases, Luftman says.