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.