There’s nothing like the open road and the feeling that you get when you pack up your suitcases and family and head out on an adventure. Owning a recreational vehicle (RV) or a mobile home can be a fun way to spend time with your loved ones and see the country. Some people live in their RVs full time, while others find it to be a fun way to spend an ordinary evening after work school or to just relax in the summertime. Just don’t forget to purchase RV and motor home insurance.
According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), RV ownership has reached new heights in the United States. Compared to 2005, 8.0% more households now own RVs, which brings the grand total to more than 8.9 million households around the country. Along with future owners, almost 21% of all American households intend to own an RV at some point in their lifetime.
The RVIA website reiterates the popularity of owning this type of vehicle:
“Today’s record RV ownership levels reflect the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle despite recent economic challenges,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “I expect RV ownership to continue growing as more and more people learn how RVing is a cost-effective and fun way to spend time outdoors with family and friends.”
“The data indicate that the basic appeal of the RV lifestyle remains as strong as ever,” said Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan. “Consumers want to enjoy the same cherished experiences of RVing while staying within new budget constraints.”
According to an article for the BBC, the appeal stems from the American sense of freedom:
“And there’s the American love for freedom and mobility. Even though in reality mobile homes are never really very mobile, it’s the idea that you can pick up and leave any time if you didn’t like your circumstances, in a way you can’t with a house.”
No matter your reason for owning an RV or mobile home, you are at risk to the elements: weather, traffic, fire, road accidents, and much more.
Fact: 90% of RV owners are underinsured. Learn how to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your beloved mobile home. This article will provide you with a guide to everything you may need to know about protecting your RV or mobile home. Insurance is important! Accidents can be unexpected and possibly tragic.
Utah is a popular destination for RV owners looking for a new adventure on the open road. But, on Friday, May 14, 2013, a husband and wife were killed when their 40-foot-long motor home crashed through the garages of two condominiums. The vehicle smashed through a barrier fence, a dirt embankment, and over a frontage road before coming to an abrupt halt. Fortunately, the seven other people in the vehicle survived and there was no one at home in the condominiums. In Utah, they call the summer the “100 deadliest days.” Not only are you more at risk of a car crash, but other vehicles such as RVs too.
Unfortunately, there are no reliable or comprehensive statistics available on RV and motor home accidents. For larger, Class A RVs, there is no industry association gathering accident records. In fact, there is not even a federal law for crash or rollover tests for these vehicles either. Only brake tests are required. Therefore, the reasons for many of the RV or mobile home are unknown or unreported to an agency gathering statistical information.
Accidents can result from a number of situations, including weather, driving while intoxicated, distracted driving, fire, burglary, etc. It is important to be aware of the risks involved in owning an RV or mobile home. Therefore, consider your options for proper insurance coverage.
Types of Insurance
Depending upon what your individual insurance agent recommends, it may be possible to cover your RV through an endorsement on your auto policy. However, many companies recommend and offer a separate coverage option as well.
As stated by associate vice president of Nationwide Insurance, Gregory, J. Blanchard, in a Fox Business report, “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.” He also recommends, “You also need liability insurance to protect you if someone trips and falls on your campsite or slips inside your RV.”
Your RV insurance will probably cover accidental damage, personal property, and the like depending upon the options that you choose. Since an RV can be both a home and a car rolled into one, there are other options that you may want to consider, such as:
- Pet injuries
- Travel insurance
- Personal property
- Trailer and golf cart insurance
- Roadside assistance
Also remember that your homeowner’s insurance probably covers your personal property that’s located in your RV. However, if the property is kept somewhere outside the “residence premises”, then coverage may be limited.
If you plan to take a lot of expensive possessions with you on the road, it may be wise to purchase comprehensive coverage. According to Bobbie Sage,
“comprehensive coverage will cover most items one would have in an RV including cameras, phones, computers, televisions, clothes and various travel documents.”
Note: There are differences in insurance based on the number of months you expect to live in your RV. Five to six months or more is considered fulltime and will have to pay an increased premium.
There is a difference between full time and part time use and coverage. If you only use your RV of mobile home during the warm summer months, than you may have the option of purchasing vacation liability coverage. This only covers your RV while it’s in use and being used as your permanent residence. If you decide to switch from taking occasional trips to being a “full-timer”, make sure to switch your insurance to reflect these changes. Your RV or motor home should now be reflected on your coverage as your main residence.
Charles Mozingo of Progressive Insurance states, “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.”
During time in storage, you may be able to put on hold your liability, collision, medical, and uninsured portions of your policy. However, Motor Home Magazine recommends that you keep the comprehensive coverage portion active.
Insurance costs for RV premiums vary. You may pay as little as 65 dollars per year for a non-motorized trailer, or as much as 25,000 dollars per year for a luxury RV.
There are many variables that are factored into premium costs other than how luxurious of an RV you own. These are:
- Past driving record
- Marital status
- Credit score
- Storage facility
- Vacation or residence use
- Number of days per year of usage
Update your policy on a regular basis! Many RV or motor home owners like to customize their vehicles to suit their needs. This may mean solar panels, upgraded speakers, or even fireplaces! Be sure to add these changes to your policy so that you’re protected in case of a loss.
What to do in case of accident or incident
Try filling out the following inventory worksheet prior to setting out on the road: http://www.poliseek.com/personal-contents-inventory-worksheet
This will help you and your insurance agent determine the amount of coverage you need. It will also serve as a handy checklist in the case of an unforeseen event.
In the case of an accident, be sure to note the vehicles involved, witnesses, and exchange insurance documents with other drivers involved. Contact your insurance agent prior to fixing any damages to your vehicle.
If there are damages to your vehicle, have your insurance company schedule a time to come and evaluate the damages. Make the claim as soon as you are able. If your accident involved another vehicle that wasn’t yours, provide your agent with their information (including insurance company and policy number) to help speed along the claims process.
Speak with your insurance agent
Meet with your individual insurance agent to discuss the right options for your RV or motor home. Remember these important questions:
- If my RV is a total loss, how will I be compensated- full value or depreciated value?
- If any personal effects are stolen out of my RV or destroyed, what factors will be considered when determining reimbursement?
- Will my personal property on the outside of my RV be covered (awning, satellite dish, antennas)?
- Will I have any coverage if I travel with my RV to Canada or Mexico?
- Is towing and/or roadside assistance included?
- What does full coverage truly mean?
- What definition of “full-timer” does your company use?
Your insurance agent can provide you with the answers to these questions and any others that you may have. Remember to review your coverage needs once per year.
Have a great trip!
Other Enhanced Insurance articles related to Miscellaneous Auto Insurance:
Enhanced Insurance is not written by attorneys. If you’re looking for legal advice, you need to contact a lawyer. Further, insurance practices and forms change constantly and are varied from state to state. For definitive answers in your area, contact a local agent.
While the majority of people want an agent involved in their purchase of insurance, many people want to see if they can save money by buying direct from the insurance company. Others want to try a direct quote to make sure the premium they’re now paying through their local agent is fair. If you want a quote for your coverage, click on the competitive quote button on the right side of this page.