Here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, there are countless reasons to hit the road and spend some time in our gorgeous landscape. Ocean beaches, mountain peaks, rolling farmland, and picturesque deserts are calling out to all of us each summer. One of the best ways to see it all is from the comfort of a RV.
Before hitting the road, it is imperative to have the proper coverage. Whether you’re investing in one, renting for a long weekend or going full time, here are all the facts on motorhome and RV insurance.
What does RV insurance cover?
If you are familiar with personal insurance, there will not be any surprises for coverage on recreation vehicles. At a minimum there are the requirements for Washington state (or your state), plus any additional coverage mandated if you have a loan. These will include liability, plus coverage options such as uninsured or underinsured motorist, comprehensive, collision and more.
RV coverage options
A RV does have additional coverage options not available to regular personal autos. When you are ready to choose a policy, you will also be able to select additional add-ons like vacation liability, personal property coverage, and personal liability. At a minimum, you will need to have liability coverage for your motorhome. To make sure your vacation is fully protected, you can investigate additional coverage to protect the vehicle both inside and out, on the road or parked at a campsite.
- Total Loss Replacement – provides you with a new, comparably-equipped RV if your RV is totaled within its first few years.
- Replacement Cost Personal Effects – pays for the replacement of your personal items in your RV that resulted from a covered loss. Coverage options vary, so ask about what options are available for you today.
- Vacation Liability – pays for Bodily Injury and Property Damage losses that occur at your vacation site. Ask your agent about policy limits.
- Emergency Expense coverage – pays your expenses for hotels and transportation due to a covered loss. Coverage options vary, so ask your agent what option is best for you.
- No Windshield Deductible – Zero glass deductible available through some companies.
This depends on how you plan on using your RV, whether it is recreational or if you are going to live in your RV full-time. There is more information on full-time coverage below.
You will also want to keep your coverage year-round, regardless of the amount of use you will have during the offseason. Summers in the Pacific Northwest are amazing for camping, with the winters long and wet, leaving long gaps between uses in the off-season. The temptation to scale back or remove your coverage to save a few dollars.
Don’t forget that during that off-season, the vehicle could still be damaged during one of the many windstorms we get here in the greater Puget Sound, or snow and ice in Central Oregon and the Tri-Cities. We also do get occasional breaks in the weather and the last thing you want to think about is insurance while quickly cramming your RV for a weekend getaway between pineapple express storms.
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How do I insure an RV rental?
If you are renting a motorhome for that family getaway to Lake Chelan or Klamath Falls, it is smart to check your insurance options before you hit the highway. In nearly all cases, the RV rental company will offer coverage to purchase directly at the time of rental. Since you will be taking the vehicle into far-away lands, it is advisable to have protection should the unforeseen happen.
You can also call your local insurance agent to discuss your specific policy. In some cases, your existing auto insurance may offer some protection for a rented motor home. Either way, it is never a good idea to skip on insurance. What could save some money in the short term, could cause major problems later.
I’m looking to buy a RV, what should I take into consideration?
When it comes to choosing a motorhome, either new or used, pay attention to safety. Make sure to inquire about the maintenance history on the RV if buying used. As with all vehicles, safety depends on the condition of the vehicle and how you behave behind the wheel. Keeping your RV in tip-top shape will prevent roadside emergencies.
You will also want to make sure you have proper safety equipment inside the living area. Using surge protectors to prevent fires, as well as having carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide detectors with fire extinguishers nearby. Additional equipment includes road flares, cones, and reflective triangles in case you must make an emergency stop.
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Last is where you plan to store it. Whether it is at your home or off-site storage, make sure the area is clear and maintained regularly. Clearing away trees or anything else that could cause damage to the RV when not in use will help keep your premiums down and your stress low.
What insurance do I need if I live in my motorhome full time?
For those using a motorhome as their primary residence, having full time insurance is similar to a home policy. This policy is designed to cover both the home, plus your personal property and personal liability. The coverage is essentially the same as a recreational policy while giving you the ability to add additional coverages for home policies.
This will more than likely come at a higher cost than a regular recreation policy as you are at more risk than someone who uses it just a few times per year. Working with a local, independent agent will help you find the best policy for your arrangement while advising you on any requirements from local agencies or communities. In some cases, the area you choose to locate your travel trailer or motorhome may have specific rules for coverages carried. When you contact your agent, be sure to have any information from your full-time location or community.
How much does RV insurance cost and how do I get it?
When you are ready to start the process of getting a RV policy, your insurer or agent will ask simple questions about you, your RV, and how often you use it. Based on that information, you will then select coverages that will best protect you and your vehicle. Generally, more coverage means a higher price. RV coverage varies, be prepared with this information when you contact your agent:
- Your driving history.
- The age of the RV or motorhome.
- Whether you plan to use it for recreation or full time.
- The storage or garaging location.
- Any additional or add-on coverages.
As with all types of insurance, the cost comes down to the amount of risk, how likely you are to file a claim and what it will cost to repair or replace the vehicle or items inside. Other considerations for the cost of the coverage include the size and class, age, frequency of use, and your driving experience. If you bought your first RV and it is a Class A modern behemoth, this would cost more than an experienced driver with a smaller, used motorhome.
If you have any questions, we are here to help. Call, email or book an appointment with one of our independent agents to discuss your options. At Cross Insurance, we always put our customers first and work diligently to find the best option for you, not the policy that makes the insurance company the most money.