If the open road is calling you and a recreational vehicle, or RV, is the way you want to go, it may be smart to hitch on some RV insurance. While some owners opt to cover their RV with an endorsement on their auto insurance policy, many insurance companies offer specialized RV insurance that resembles a combination of car insurance, home or renters insurance, and travel insurance rolled into one policy.
While some of the coverage a RV policy offers is similar to regular car insurance to cover accidents, you also need specific coverage that's like property insurance because you essentially live in the vehicle when you're using it. You also need liability insurance to protect you if someone trips and falls on your campsite or slips inside your RV.
A lot of agents would not recommend putting your RV on an auto insurance policy because of liability issues and the potential for loss. Some people think their belongings (in the RV) are covered by their home insurance, but if you carry expensive things like a digital camera, binoculars, jewelry and electronics, you can easily exceed your coverage. RV’s often carry special equipment such as a generator, a water pump and a refrigerator that also needs to be covered.
Like most insurance policies, RV insurance premiums vary widely because RV’s vary widely. RV’s can run anywhere from $5,000 for a non-motorized trailer to several million for a top-of-the-line luxury RV with a hot tub and crystal chandeliers. RV insurance is usually less expensive than car insurance because the RV isn't driven as often and because RV drivers tend to be more experienced. Variables that go into determining RV insurance rates include:
· Your driving record.
· Your age.
· Your gender.
· Your marital status.
· Your credit score.
· The model, type and age of your RV.
· Its storage location.
· Usage for vacation or as a primary residence.
· Average number of days per year you intend to use the RV.
RV insurance can cover the actual cash value (depreciated value) or the total replacement cost in the event that your RV is totaled or stolen. Companies tend to limit total replacement cost coverage to newer RVs.
· Pet injuries.
· Vacation liability. One of the most important types of optional RV coverage is vacation liability insurance, which will pay for bodily injury and property damage if someone or something gets hurt in or around your RV.
· Personal effects. The biggest mistake people make is not covering their stuff. You can get basic personal property coverage up to a specific limit or schedule individual items.
· Trip insurance. A traffic accident in an RV can be even more of an emergency because you're normally far from home when it happens, you can purchase coverage for living expenses and transportation in case your trip gets interrupted.
· Trailer and golf cart coverage.
· Roadside assistance. Towing an RV can cost a lot more than a regular car, so you should buy a higher level of roadside assistance coverage.
In addition to discounts similar to those available on car insurance, (such as for a good driving record) RV drivers can get a discount for membership in an RV association or for taking an RV safety course, says Blanchard. You also can cut your RV insurance premiums based on the time your vehicle spends off the road.
Most companies also offer layover or storage insurance to reduce the cost of insuring the RV when it's in storage, typically up to 50% off the normal premium.
Before you get behind the wheel of your RV, make sure you've got enough protection to keep the fun going even if you hit a bump in the road.