RV Insurance 101: What Does It Cover?

Feb 7, 2020 | Personal Insurance

Before getting into what an RV insurance policy covers, let’s talk about what it doesn’t cover. It’s not the same as your typical auto insurance. It will have basic similarities in terms of coverage, after all, an RV is still an automobile. You may also have the option to have your RV included in the list of vehicles covered by your auto insurance, but the coverage will normally extend up to collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and liability coverage.

Because an RV is quite different from your average vehicle in that it has features that allow one to practically live in the vehicle, you would certainly want to protect your personal belongings from loss or damage and yourself from unexpected expenses that might arise in the event of an accident or a road emergency. If you are going to spend on a recreational vehicle that has a bed, a kitchen, and a bathroom, you surely would not want to leave these things at risk in case of any loss or damage. This is where personalized RV insurance coverage becomes valuable. Can you just imagine if an accident happens on the road where people will have to be brought to the hospital and both parties involved in the accident are either uninsured or underinsured? A scenario as bad as this might literally cost someone’s life or bring someone to a point of financial turmoil. And for someone who has an RV as a permanent home, it might mean being homeless in a split second.

RV Insurance — what it covers.

In addition to the abovementioned coverages similar to what an auto insurance covers, an RV insurance policy may also have coverage for items or circumstances that may be unique to these recreational vehicles. For example, if you lease a blank lot, or own one, and you live in your RV instead of a house, would you be needing a homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance plus auto insurance? You could have both and still not be fully covered. Do also note that coverage may differ depending on which insurance company or insurance carrier you choose to underwrite your policy. 

 Total loss replacement coverage. Should anything happen and your motorhome is totaled, this coverage ensures you that your RV will either be replaced with a new one, or you get the amount specified in the policy. There are insurance carriers that will even cover the replacement of your vehicle with a later model, depending on the specifics of your contract or policy.

Comprehensive and collision coverage. Having comprehensive coverage means your insurance provider will be shouldering the cost to repair or replace your vehicle for events such as theft, fire, collisions with animals, glass breakage, and vandalism–events beyond your control. As for collision coverage, it doesn’t matter if another vehicle causes damage to your RV, or you accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the breaks and bump into the vehicle in front of you. Regardless of whose fault it is, your vehicle is protected and you will only have to pay the deductible as specified in your policy.

Liability coverage. Required by the law for motorhomes, this coverage pays for damages caused by the owner of the RV. For instance, if you hit another vehicle while driving your RV, the policy will cover not just the repairs for the other vehicle, but also the medical bills if the accident causes injury to the other driver. Note that the amount covered will depend on the limit specified in your policy.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). In a perfect world, every vehicle on the road would have insurance policies to cover unexpected expenses due to loss, damage, or injuries. But this isn’t a perfect world and not everyone is sufficiently insured. In the event someone does cause damage to your vehicle and/or harm to you and their insurance coverage isn’t enough to pay for your medical bills and the repair of your motorhome, your UM/UIM coverage will shoulder what the other party’s policy will not cover, including loss of income in case you won’t be able to work because of the accident.

Medical payments coverage. When we talk about accidents, especially vehicular accidents, the first thing that comes to mind is “Was anybody hurt?”. And it is not uncommon to hear of stories where the driver was safe, but the one seated on the passenger’s side was injured. It is good to know that you and everyone in the RV will be protected by this coverage in the event you do get in an accident, even if it was your fault. This is the best part of this coverage. Regardless of who caused the accident, the insurance company covers all the medical expenses for everyone in the vehicle up to the policy limit.

Roadside assistance / Motorhome breakdown insurance. Can you imagine the stress you’ll go through and the amount of money it will cost you if you’re traveling and your RV suddenly has a mechanical or an electrical breakdown? Aside from needing towing services to get the vehicle off the road, you’ll have to get the vehicle to a repair facility. You will definitely need someplace to stay as well.

Some insurance carriers would cover the cost of towing your RV to whichever repair facility is nearest to your location. When you’re traveling long distances and sometimes are in places you aren’t even familiar with, it would be good if your policy includes coverage for roadside assistance or motorhome breakdown. If you happen to miscalculate your fuel stops or miss the last fuel station during one of your travels, the roadside assistance coverage may also include fuel delivery, flat tires, dead battery replacement, and assistance with mechanical breakdowns. This is not always a part of the standard coverage, so it’s best to never assume what your coverage will include. Always ask for details–coverage specifics and exclusions or certain parameters such as the distance your RV has to be from the highway at the time of the incident before the roadside assistance would apply.

Replacement cost for personal items. Electronic gadgets and appliances can be very expensive. In the event of loss or damage to your personal belongings inside your RV, the coverage in place might just save you thousands of dollars–a laptop alone can easily cost more than $1000.

Vacation and campsite coverage. One of the joys of having an RV is that you can practically live anywhere you want. It’s your second home with no fixed address. Note that the personal liability feature in your homeowner’s insurance or renters insurance policy does not apply to your RV as an extension of your home. But having an RV insurance means that every time you go on a vacation, you’ll have coverage if anyone gets hurt while inside the RV or around it.

Full timer’s liability. Some people use their RV occasionally–on holidays or on weekends. But if you are one of those who use the RV as your permanent home, you’d want yourself covered should in the event you’d be liable for any injury sustained by someone either in your RV or around it. This pretty much works like the personal liability coverage in your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance wherein as the owner, you will be held responsible if anyone in or around the RV(which is your home) is injured because of your negligence.

Emergency expense coverage. Having this in your RV insurance policy ensures you that you will be paid the agreed amount if you’re RV ever breaks down a minimum distance away from your home. As with every type of insurance, you will most likely have the option for a smaller or bigger coverage depending on the amount you’re willing to pay for the premium.

Pet injury coverage. As the name implies, in case an accident happens and your pet is injured while inside your RV, the vet bill will be covered. The availability and applicable limits of this coverage will depend on the insurance carrier; so, if you have a pet, make sure you ask for specific details when you make your inquiry. 

Loss Assessment. When a storm causes damages to shared areas, your RV association may require its members to share the cost of damages. Again, limits and/or the availability of this coverage will depend on the insurance carrier of your choice.

Purchasing a recreational vehicle or a motorhome is never a cheap investment. Some people wait to get their retirement money before they decide to purchase one. For some, owning one will stay a dream. Whether you have an RV for just your holidays and short getaways from a busy city life, or you have one because you find it to be a more practical alternative to owning an actual house, it is very important that you have enough coverage to protect yourself from potentially huge expenses due to loss, damage, or accident. And always keep in mind that coverage may vary between policies and insurance carriers, so always be meticulous about the details–what’s covered, what’s not, deductibles, coverage limits if any, and even the possibility of any add-ons so that your policy is customized according to your needs and lifestyle.