If you’re considering dusting off that RV and taking it out for a spin, it’s a great time to make sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage for your RV. Specifically, do you even need RV insurance? What does it cover? How does it work? And where can you buy it? (Spoiler alert: Covered can help!)
Welcome to RV Insurance 101, in which Covered breaks down all the RV insurance basics you need to know. After all, you’ll have a much better time on that road trip if you know you’re covered!
Do I Need RV Insurance?
The answer depends on what type of RV you have. If you have a motorhome, insurance is required. Since motorhomes are driven, you must have a policy that meets minimum liability requirements for your state. Most insurers won’t allow RV owners to add motorhomes to personal auto insurance policies. Hence the need for a separate RV insurance policy.
If your RV is towable but not drivable (e.g., a travel trailer, pop-up camper, toy hauler, or fifth-wheel), insurance isn’t required — though it is recommended. After all, most likely, your RV represents a significant financial investment. Why not protect it, ensuring that you can afford to repair or replace it if needed.
Finally, a couple of exceptions to the above: If you’ve financed your RV and are making payments, you will be required to maintain RV insurance. Similarly, if you rent your RV to others, insurance is required.
Does My Auto Insurance Cover My RV?
Only the tiniest bit: Your auto insurance policy may cover liability if you are at fault for an accident while driving your motorhome or pulling a towable RV. But it doesn’t provide any other coverage for you or your RV. And remember: Liability only pays costs related to property damage or bodily injury to OTHERS in an accident where you are at fault. It doesn’t provide coverage for damage to your RV, or injuries to you or your passengers. Without additional coverage, you could be on the hook to pay out of pocket for all other costs resulting from your at-fault accident. Just like you’d be on the hook to pay for any of the countless unfortunate events that could damage or disable your RV while you’re traveling.
What Does RV Insurance Cover?
While coverage varies from policy to policy, it’s helpful to understand the different types of RV insurance coverage. An RV insurance policy may include the following types of coverage.
Basic RV Insurance Coverage Types
The following are the most common types of RV insurance coverage. Note that certain coverage types may not apply to towables, given your auto insurance policy comes into play while you’re towing.
Collison – Can help pay for damage to your RV regardless of who’s at fault in an accident. Also covers rollovers.
Comprehensive – Can help pay for non-collision damage to your RV. This may include damage from fire, vandalism, riots, theft, storms, floods, falling objects, wild animals, and other types of natural disasters as outlined in your policy. Can also pay for on-the-road damage from rocks or other debris (e.g., windshield damage, body damage). If your RV is stolen or severely damaged to the point where it’s unusable, comprehensive can also offer replacement or reimbursement.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist – Can help cover damage to your RV or bodily injury to you if you’re involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Liability – Can help pay the costs of property damage or bodily injury you cause with your RV.
Medical payments– Can help cover medical costs for you and the passengers in your RV, regardless of who’s at fault in an accident.
Optional RV Insurance Coverage Types
RV insurance coverage options vary depending on the insurance provider, given that different insurers package coverage in different ways. Common options include:
Roadside assistance – Can provide 24/7 assistance to help you deal with those fun surprises that happen along the road. Think dead batteries, flat tires, running out of gas, getting stuck, or otherwise ending up with a disabled RV. Typically includes towing to the nearest repair facility.
Emergency expenses – Can cover transportation and hotel expenses up to a certain amount for covered incidents that disable your RV. Often included for no extra charge.
Vacation liability – Can cover bodily injury if someone is hurt in or around your RV while you are on vacation. May also cover property damage in certain circumstances.
Full-timer – Can enhance different coverage types (e.g., liability, medical payments, loss assessment) if you live in your RV full-time. Essentially a stand-in for homeowners insurance.
Personal effects protection – Can provide coverage for specific types of personal property stored inside or outside of your RV. Typically provides replacement cost coverage.
Personal injury protection – Can not only pay medical costs for you and any passengers resulting from covered incidents, but may also cover lost wages and funeral expenses.
Pet injury – Can pay for veterinary costs if your cat or dog is injured during a covered accident.
Custom equipment– Can increase coverage limits for those expensive custom RV add-ons.
Loss assessment – Can cover charges you face from your RV association (e.g., a massive storm damages the RV park’s bathroom facilities, requiring members to help pay for damages).
Loan payoff – Can pay off your loan balance if the RV you financed is totaled and you only have Actual Cash Value (ACV) comprehensive coverage. (More on that below.)
Disappearing deductibles – Can help you reduce your deductible by a set percentage for each year you don’t have a claim. Deductibles can be reduced as far as $0.
How Does RV Insurance Work?
Intent of Coverage
RV insurance is intended to provide coverage for you and your RV while you are traveling — on the road, at campsites, and at RV parks. When storing your RV while not in use, it’s likely that your homeowners insurance policy provides coverage. Talk to your insurance agent or advisor to understand the details and limitations of your homeowners insurance and RV insurance policies.
Full-time vs. Vacation Usage
Obviously, living in your RV full-time is much different than using it occasionally. That’s why — before quoting a policy rate — an insurer will ask how many months out of the year you’ll be traveling in the RV. The more you use your RV, the more it will cost to insure. Similarly, the more you use it, the more coverage you should buy to protect your investment.
Just like with auto and homeowners insurance, RV insurance coverage is generally tied to deductible. That means you’re responsible for paying out of pocket up to a certain agreed-upon amount for covered claims. And just like with auto and homeowners insurance, lower deductibles typically correspond to higher rates (and vice versa).
Personal Property Considerations
It’s important to understand that basic RV insurance policies do not cover the personal property stored in and outside your RV. Even full-timer coverage doesn’t include personal property coverage.
That said, your homeowners insurance policy may provide coverage for the personal property you store in and outside your RV. Again, talk to your insurance agent or advisor about your specific homeowners policy coverage. If you’re a full-timer who doesn’t have a homeowners insurance policy, it’s a good idea to consider purchasing separate personal effects coverage.
ACV vs. Replacement Cost vs. Agreed Value vs. Total Loss Replacement
If you decide to purchase comprehensive coverage for your RV, make sure you understand what you’re signing up for in the event your RV is stolen or damaged so badly it can’t be repaired. Some policies use ACV, which means you’ll be paid only the current market value for your RV… which is likely to be much less than you paid for it. Others use replacement cost, which reimburses you for the price of a new RV of similar quality to the one that was lost. Yet others use agreed value, which means you and the insurer agree upon a specific value for which they’ll reimburse you in the event of a total loss. Finally, total loss replacement means the insurer will buy you a brand new RV that is the same (or essentially the same) as the RV you lost. Obviously, to be able to provide that type of promise, total loss replacement is a rather pricey insurance add-on.
Where Can I Buy RV Insurance?
Many national insurers offer RV insurance, which is why Covered can absolutely quote you for an RV policy today! Several of our carrier partners offer RV coverage. If you buy RV insurance from your current homeowners or auto insurance provider, your RV policy may count toward a bundling discount. There are also dedicated RV insurance companies (e.g., Good Sam, RV America) that may be worth looking into, depending on your needs.
Ready to make sure you have the right RV insurance coverage for the best price? Just give us a call at (833) 487-2683 or set up a time to talk with one of our expert licensed insurance advisors.