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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. RV insurance is similar to auto insurance: it covers you as a driver from damage or liability that you cause in an accident, and many insurers offer policies with roadside assistance in case of an emergency. And just like normal vehicles, RV insurance is often required by law. We’ll help you find the best RV insurance policy in this guide.
The 3 best RV insurance companies
Good Sam: Best for specialized RV insurance
The Hartford: Best repairs process
Erie insurance: Customer favorite
Good Sam: Best for specialized RV insurance
Good Sam is a specialized RV insurance provider that offers highly tailored policies for RV and motorhome owners. They offer specific policies for full-time RVers, coverage for your RV and automobile in the same policy, storage options, coverage for attachments such as awnings and much more.
Full replacement cost
The Hartford: Best repairs process
The Hartford gets great ratings from customers on its repairs process, according to J.D. Power. Claims can be submitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the event that repairs are needed, The Hartford will let you take your RV to any shop of your choosing. All repairs covered by insurance have a lifetime guarantee, meaning The Hartford will cover them for as long as you own your RV.
On average, RV insurance can cost as little as $125 annually from Progressive or up to $25,000 per year. Like most insurance policies, RV insurance premiums vary widely, in part because RVs themselves vary from $5,000 for a non-motorized trailer to several million for a top-of-the-line luxury motor home with a hot tub and crystal chandeliers.
“RV insurance is usually a lot less expensive than car insurance because the RV isn’t driven as often and because RV drivers tend to be more experienced,” says Gregory J. Blanchard, previously an associate vice president with Nationwide insurance in Des Moines, Iowa.. “Our annual car insurance premium averages $1,500 a year, while RV insurance averages $550 annually for a motor home and $250 for a non-motorized trailer.”
Variables that go into determining RV insurance rates
There are many risk factors that insurance companies use when determining your RV insurance rate. Each provider places a different value on these variables, and no two companies calculate rates in the same way. Here are a few factors that might be taken into consideration:
Your driving record
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, typically grouped as more or less than 150 days
Why consider RV insurance?
While some owners opt to cover their RV with an endorsement on their auto insurance policy, insurance companies including Progressive, Nationwide, Geico and GMAC 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 an 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,” says Blanchard. “You also need liability insurance to protect you if someone trips and falls on your campsite or slips inside your RV.”
Leslie Kay Drury, president of Leslie Kay’s Inc., a specialty insurance firm in Boynton Beach, Fla., says she would never 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 homeowners insurance, but if you carry expensive things like a digital camera, binoculars, jewelry and electronics, you can easily exceed your coverage,” says Drury.
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, says Drury. Companies tend to limit total replacement cost coverage to newer RVs.
“I had one customer who didn’t buy personal property coverage on their RV, and they had $19,000 worth of stuff stolen when it was parked behind their house,” she adds.
Charles Mozingo, a product manager for Progressive insurance in Mayfield Village, Ohio, says RVs often carry special equipment such as a generator, a water pump and a refrigerator that also needs to be covered.
What about extra coverage?
Note that RVs have very specific features that should be included in the policy.
“Motor homes have awnings that people often forget to roll up when they start driving, so we offer special insurance coverage to repair the awnings,” says Blanchard.
RV owners also can choose optional coverage for:
Pet injuries. “Many RV owners travel with their pets, so this will cover up to $1,000 in vet bills in the event of a loss that’s covered under comprehensive or collision coverage,” says Drury.
Vacation liability. “One of the most important types of optional RV coverage is vacation insurance, which will pay for bodily injury and property damage if someone or something gets hurt in or around your RV,” says Mozingo.
Personal effects. “The biggest mistake people make is not covering their stuff,” says Drury. You can get basic personal property coverage up to a specific limit or schedule individual items, says Mozingo.
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,” says Mozingo. “You can purchase coverage for living expenses and transportation in case your trip gets interrupted.”
Trailer and golf cart coverage. “A lot of RV owners also tow a golf cart, a kayak or a trailer with extra belongings,” says Blanchard. “You can get extra coverage for physical damage caused if one of these comes loose.”
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,” says Drury.
Some companies offer special insurance for RV “full-timers” with extended liability coverage and coverage for excess belongings kept in storage. Blanchard says many people who live full time in their RVs use storage facilities for possessions that don’t fit inside the vehicle.