As a current or future RV owner, you know that RVing is its own unique lifestyle. So, you need an insurance policy that may provide coverage for challenges you might encounter while RVing. In this article, we’ll look at the differences between types of RVs and when there may or may not be coverage for your RV under your auto policy.
What is RV insurance?
RV insurance may provide coverage for various types of recreational vehicles, such as motorhomes, travel trailers, and pop-up campers. A RV is like a hybrid of a car and a house, but auto and homeowners’ policies may not provide coverage for the unique risks associated with an RV. RV insurance can incorporate features of auto and homeowners policies to address the specific needs of RV owners and operators. Learn more about the hybrid nature of RV insurance here.
What are the different kinds of RVs?
There are two primary categories of RVs: Motorized (or drivable) and towable trailers.
Motorized RVs, such as motorhomes, can be driven without a tow vehicle.
Towable trailers are detachable trailers that are towed by a separate vehicle, such as:
- Fifth wheel trailers,
- Travel trailers,
- Toy haulers.
Am I required to insure my RV?
RV insurance can be an effective way for RV owners to protect their RVs while on the road, while camping, and while the vehicle is in storage.
RV insurance may be required in the following instances:
- You have a loan on the RV or you’re financing it.
- The RV is a rental vehicle.
- Your state requires you to have liability (and/or uninsured and underinsured) insurance in order to drive your RV.
Although RV insurance may not be required if you live in a state where RV insurance and/or liability insurance is not mandated by the law and your RV is not subject to a loan, it is still beneficial to consider purchasing RV insurance to protect your vehicle.
Could my auto insurance policy provide coverage for my RV?
Auto insurance policies cover specific types of vehicles, and self-contained RVs, such as motorhomes, are usually not covered. An auto insurance policy may cover travel trailers, fifth wheels, campers, and tent trailers under the policy that insures the car that you are using to tow the trailer (the “tow vehicle”). However, your auto policy may not provide sufficient coverage for your needs, particularly if you live in your trailer or use it on a regular basis.
If you have an auto insurance policy for a truck that you use to tow your trailer, that policy may provide comprehensive, collision and/or liability coverage for the detachable trailer while the trailer is hitched to the truck. But the second you unhook the trailer – whether it’s at a campground or for storage – your trailer is usually no longer covered under your auto policy and may only be covered if your carrier provides a specific endorsement that may afford coverage.
Let’s say you’re camping at a state park. You’re using your truck to explore the park, so your trailer is unhitched, sitting on blocks, at the campground. The trailer rolls away, hitting the RV in the site behind yours. Since the trailer was not hooked to your tow truck at the time of the incident, collision and liability coverage would likely not be available for this loss. That means you could be responsible out of pocket for all the damages to your own trailer, the damages to the other RV, and any damages associated with potential bodily injuries. That’s why we generally recommend that RV owners and operators purchase RV insurance if they intend to, at any point, unhook their trailer from their tow vehicle.
Why do I need RV insurance?
There are several benefits associated with purchasing a separate RV insurance policy rather than attempting to insure your RV under your auto insurance policy. In the event of a covered loss:
- RV insurance can provide coverage for your motorhome even if it is detached from your tow vehicle. This is especially important when you are camping or storing your RV.
- RV insurance can cover personal property while auto insurance does not. RV insurance can protect the clothes, appliances, jewelry, and outdoor gear you keep in your RV up to your coverage limit.
- RV insurance may provide coverage for detached structures, like decks or sheds, particularly if you set up camp for long periods of time.
- It may be more cost effective to purchase a RV insurance policy rather than attempt to insure a trailer under your auto policy, which could increase your auto policy premiums.
- You may be able to lower your rates during those time periods when your RV is in storage.
- If something happens to your RV while it is in use, such as when you are on vacation, at work, or living in it, you might have to find other living and transportation accommodations while the RV is getting repaired. RV insurance may offer loss of use coverage, which can help pay for any additional living expenses you could incur while your RV is being repaired.
What should I look for in RV insurance policies?
Buying RV insurance is like buying a blend of home and auto insurance. Every RV owner’s situation is unique, so make sure you research different policies to find the one that best suits your needs. Here are some items to consider when evaluating RV insurance:
- Liability coverage, which can help pay for damages, and legal expenses if you are found at-fault for another party’s bodily injuries or property damage when you are using your RV, may be required in your state.
- Uninsured motorist coverage, if applicable and/or required in your state, can help pay for damages if you get in a collision with a driver who does not have insurance and who may not be able to pay.
Here’s some optional coverages to consider that could be beneficial depending on your unique needs:
- Comprehensive coverage, which can cover your RV if it is damaged due to certain named perils, such as fire, theft, vandalism, falling objects, storms, lightning, and hail.
- Collision coverage, which can cover your RV if it is damaged in a collision with another car or a stationary object while it is on the road or parked.
- Contents coverage or personal effects coverage, which can help cover the cost to replace items in your RV that are damaged or destroyed.
- Roadside assistance.
- Total loss replacement.
- Liability coverage for a primary residence or for an RV that’s only used seasonally given that your needs may differ based on your usage.
- Loss of use coverage.
- Earthquake insurance.
- Flood insurance.
There are a lot of things to consider with RV insurance, so don’t try to do it alone. Our Licensed Advisors are here to help. Contact us now to chat about your unique RV situation to learn about policies that can best address your needs at a price that works for you.