If you’re thinking about getting a recreational vehicle (RV) to make your retirement fun and adventurous, you’re probably wondering about the best way to protect your investment. You’ll need an insurance policy to protect you in case you’re in an accident or if you need to file a claim for damage. In that way, RV insurance is much like automobile insurance. Since you can also live in your RV for short or extended periods of time, you can opt for RV insurance options that include similar protection as homeowners or travelers insurance policies.
RVs are not typically covered under existing auto or homeowners insurance policies, so you’ll need to purchase a separate policy. Typically, you’ll be required to purchase a liability policy, since an RV is motorized and could cause damage to other vehicles on the road. If you’re financing or renting an RV instead of purchasing outright, you’ll most likely need additional coverage. (If you have a trailer (fifth-wheel) or camper and not a motorized RV, your trailer can most likely be covered under your existing automotive policy. Be sure to check with your insurer about how to add it to your policy.)
Depending on how much you use your RV, you’ll either need to choose between a full-time policy (which indicates that the RV is your primary residence) or a part-time policy. Each of these policies will then have various components, depending on local requirements and options.
Several policy inclusions are required for your RV. Some requirements vary by state and circumstance, so check with your insurance agent and your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to be sure.
Liability coverage: If you hurt someone or damage property in your RV and it is your fault. This is the most common requirement for RV insurance, though the specific amount of the policy will vary by state.
Bodily injury coverage: Required in all states but New Hampshire. This type of policy inclusion will cover injuries that you, your passengers, or passengers in another vehicle might experience in an accident, no matter who was at fault.
Uninsured motorist coverage: Required in many states. Uninsured motorist coverage will pay for damage to your vehicle or any injuries sustained by passengers in the event that you are in an accident involving another motorist who is at fault but does not have insurance.
Collision coverage: Required if you finance or rent the RV. If you have a collision with another vehicle, this type of coverage will allow you to repair your RV. You can choose collision coverage that covers only when you are not at fault, only when you are at fault or both. Collision coverage is required if you are financing the vehicle, but not if you own it.
In all states, you have the option of also choosing from the following policy features:
Roadside assistance: This policy addition will pay for services like a tow truck and mechanic repair if your RV breaks down while you’re on the road, due to mechanical or electrical failure or if you get stuck in the snow or mud.
Comprehensive coverage: This optional policy inclusion covers fire, vandalism, property damage, and other events, along with everything covered by the other types of coverage (specific included items may vary depending on your insurance provider).
An RV is a home away from home, so whether you live in it full-time or just while you’re on vacation, you might want some additional coverage that you can’t get for an automobile alone. Most of the RV insurance features that mimic homeowners insurance are optional, but it’s a good idea to consider if they might be helpful:
Personal effects coverage: If your belongings are stolen or damaged, this policy coverage will pay to replace them. A certain amount of coverage for belongings is usually included in most RV insurance policies, but if you want everything you own and keep in the RV to be covered, you’ll probably have to pay more. If you have a separate homeowners policy for your permanent residence, you might be able to cover some of your personal property inside your RV under that policy; check with your insurer.
Equipment and/or attached accessories coverage: This coverage will pay for damage or replacement for certain items including your water pump, generator, antennas, and awnings. This is a standard part of some policies, while some insurance providers require you to add it for an additional fee.
Emergency expenses: If you have an accident in your RV and need to get other transportation and/or a hotel, emergency expense coverage might come in handy.
Vacation coverage: This option specifically covers any injuries or damage that occurs while the RV is parked, and not while it is on the road. You can choose between vacation liability, which only covers injuries to others that are your fault, or comprehensive vacation coverage.
Replacement coverage: If your RV is totaled or (under some policies) stolen, this policy will pay the actual cost of replacing the RV. This is especially helpful if your RV is a newer and/or more expensive model.
The right RV insurance coverage will keep you legal on the road and provide some peace of mind. You can often save money on your RV insurance policy by using the same insurer as your homeowners and automobile policies. Talk to your agent to decide what inclusions are right for you.