RV Insurance 101
Normally, if you buy an extra car, you probably automatically call your insurance agent to add a new auto to your policy. Easy enough and pain-free, right? But, when you buy an RV, it’s not that cut and dried. After all, an RV is literally a moving home-away-from-home, and it comes with a bunch of extra insurance considerations that aren’t available with your average car insurance policy. If you’ve just bought an RV or if you’re thinking about buying one and want to know how the insurance requirements will play out then we’ve got some information you may want to read.
When is RV insurance required? The short and easy answer to that question is: Almost always. The longer answer needs us to take into consideration specific state laws. which are different depending on where you call home. Most will require RV owners to have a minimum limit of liability in the event that you are deemed responsible for damage to another vehicle or injury to the passengers of another vehicle. Other instances that often dictate minimum insurance coverage for your RV include:
- Financing your RV. Outright ownership of an RV gives you the ability to make more choices on how much insurance you’ll take out on your rolling funhouse, with the exception of those aforementioned state laws. But, if you’re financing your RV through a lender, it’s highly likely that they’ll require you to have certain insurance coverages to protect the vehicle, such as comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. Often, you’ll be given the opportunity to find an insurance policy on your own that matches up to their requirements. But, if you don’t do this, your lender might include an insurance policy with the purchase of the RV on your behalf and forward you the bill. A lot of times, the insurance that your lender secures may be much more expensive than what you’d be able to find on your own, so beware.
- Renting the RV. Naturally, by not being the rightful owner of an RV, you’ll be required in most cases to take out insurance to pay for covered damages that are incurred in an accident.
Determining how much RV insurance you need to carry beyond state requirements is also important. Assuming that you own your RV and are under no obligations with a lender to carry otherwise mandated coverages, here are a few things to mull over that may help you determine how much coverage to buy.
- Where do you keep your RV when it’s not in use? If you don’t store your RV in a secure location, you could be exposing it to the risk of theft. In this case, consider carrying enough insurance to cover your losses if your RV is stolen or broken into and your belongings are taken. Another thing to consider is your RV’s exposure to weather and natural disasters. Even if you keep your RV safely stored away from the elements, there’s always the possibility it could get damaged or destroyed by a fire, a storm or another covered peril.
- How much is your RV worth? Unlike cars, which depreciate in value quickly, RVs can carry their value for much longer. If your RV was lost or seriously damaged, would you suffer a serious financial hit? Keep this in mind when deciding whether to get comprehensive or collision coverage.
- What’s the value of the belongings you keep in your RV? If you’re a tech connoisseur, it’s likely you may have a premium sound and video system installed in your RV. Likewise, no RV would be complete without a mini-fridge, stove and microwave oven. Take note of the value of the belongings that are kept inside of your RV at all times and factor these into deciding whether to take out a comprehensive policy to protect you against a covered loss.
Understand your coverage options. When you buy RV insurance, you’ll find that a lot of the same coverage options from your auto policy are also available for your RV. But, there are additional options of which you may want to take advantage. The typical RV insurance policy may include the following coverage options:
- Liability for bodily injury and property damage.
- Collision coverage for damage done to your RV.
- Comprehensive coverage, which includes insurance for non-accident damages such as fire, theft and falling objects.
- Contents coverage for damage done to the personal belongings you carry in your RV.
- Medical payments coverage for injuries to you or your passengers in an accident.
- Personal Injury Protection. This comes into play regardless of who’s at fault. PIP may pay for a broad range of expenses including medical bills, lost wages and funeral expenses. Check with your local agent to determine whether you live in a no-fault state.