RVs/campers are big financial investments. Like all major assets, they are better off insured and protected against accidental damage or worse. However, figuring out how to navigate the world of insurance can be difficult. If you take your time with your research, I promise you will not short-change yourself.
What Is RV Insurance?
RV insurance is similar to both your car and home insurance policies. Because a camper serves as a form of transport as well as shelter, the RV insurance policies are usually a hybrid in terms of coverage. Thus, they can be more complex and even more expensive if you don’t know what you are looking for.
RV insurance can range from the standard physical damage coverage to specialized coverage for total loss, custom equipment, roadside assistance, and other features.
Do You Need RV Insurance?
After finding out what RV insurance is, it’s essential to determine whether or not you need this kind of coverage for your camper. The process depends on different factors, including state requirements. Generally, you need to have the same amount of liability coverage as your car for your RV.
You will need separate RV insurance coverage if your RV functions as a Class A or B motorhome, if you took out a loan to buy your camper, or if it’s a rental vehicle. If your RV is Class C or towable, then RV insurance is probably optional.
Regardless of whether or not it’s legally required, I personally recommend getting insurance to protect yourself from the costs of collisions or damage.
How Much Will RV Insurance Cost?
The cost of your RV insurance depends on many factors, including the type of RV or camper you own, the age of your vehicle, and your expectations when it comes to coverage. For example, most companies offer a basic package that only covers damages due to a collision. The price will go up as you add more features, such as total loss replacement or purchase price, roadside assistance, special equipment coverage, and vacation liability. You can opt for pre-designed packages, or look for custom packages.
The best way to truly know how much your insurance will cost is to get quotes. Many insurance companies with a strong online presence tend to offer free quotes or at least a reasonable estimate of what to expect.
For a regular towable RV, most insurance plans will cost around $300 per year. Depending on your coverage, the cost can be as low as $180 or as high as $400. Your region can also influence how much the RV insurance will cost. For some states like Michigan, your RV insurance can set you back several thousands of dollars per year.
Some insurance brokers will give you advice depending on the size and apparent stability of your trailer. For example, large trailers which are over 35 feet in length can sway many insurance companies to consider your trailer as a home more than an automobile. As you can imagine, a home insurance policy can be more expensive than an automobile policy.
How Can You Save on Camper Insurance Cost?
There are many ways you can try getting the best deal for yourself and for your camper, which I’ll be talking about throughout this article. When it comes to dealing with the cost outright, one of the most important tips I can leave is how you get the quote.
Get your quotes online, if possible. You have more control over the coverage you need and the process. Because you’re not directly speaking to a salesman, you can take your time to research if the prices are correct or if the plan has everything you need.
On the other hand, getting a quote through phone or by going to the insurance office is a recipe for more confusion. Salesmen and representatives wouldn’t want to go through all the possible options with you. They’ll simplify the deal, which can be great for those who don’t want to think too hard. In my experience, these discussions usually end in a pricier insurance quote for an insurance package that includes coverages you don’t need.
Another way to save on camper insurance cost is through bundling. When you bundle your RV insurance policy with your existing home policy or automobile insurance, you can get additional savings.
The Camper and RV Insurance Market
What are the best companies which offer RV insurance companies? Again, I recommend you do your own research when you can. But if you need a second opinion, here are some notable names in the market right now:
- Progressive Travel Trailer Insurance – What I like about them most is the ease of getting a quote, and how customizable the insurance packages can be. It’s relatively affordable, and it’s best for low deductibles. They insure Class A to Class C motorhomes, as well as towed campers and travel trailers.
- Good Sam RV Insurance – This also provides excellent customer experience. With the right package and research, I think you can save several hundred dollars per year compared to other agencies in the market.
- USAA – I’m including USAA in this list even though it doesn’t apply to everyone, as it only offers policies to military members and their families. However, their long history and industry reputation for customer satisfaction make it seem like a pretty solid option.
- Nationwide – I’ve noticed that providers offer discounts for “good” customer behavior, such as safe driving, upfront insurance payment, and seasonal RV use. If you’re the type of bargain hunter who also happens to be proactive in these types of behavior, then Nationwide is an attractive option because of their great discounts.
- Farmers – For travel trailer coverage, a lot of the people I know rely on Farmers. The service appears to be great.
I am basing this list on the insurance policies I found affordable, flexible and comprehensive for my situation. I also put more stock on national insurers, because they tend to have more resources to back you up wherever you may be. Things like evaluations from insurance rating and credit rating agencies can also help you evaluate the financial strength and operational capacity of your future insurer.
For those who want coverage with roadside assistance, you need an insurance agency that has a reliable and continuously accessible customer helpline. In fact, availability and ease of filing a claim over the phone should be a consideration for everyone.
Of course, my experience can vary from yours. We don’t have the same RV or camper, and we might be dealing with a different set of insurance agents. Another surefire tip is to keep reading through the latest and most current reviews on these insurance companies. It’s best if you can compare your situation with a review or experience that’s close to yours.
Buying the Best RV Insurance for You
Choosing your RV insurance isn’t a matter of copying your friend. The best RV insurance for you depends entirely on your own RV type and your situation.
Like all hardworking men and women out there, you probably want to get your money’s worth when it comes to buying insurance. If you carefully align your priorities as well as your options, I’m sure you’ll be able to save money.
Here are only some of the factors you should be considering:
- Type of RV or camper
- Age of the RV or camper
- Where you live (RV location)
- Driving history and RV association membership
- Frequency of travel (Use of RV)
Coverage is naturally one of the most important aspects determining the insurance you’ll buy. There are so many possible combinations of coverage and features. However, there are some core insurance benefits which you should try to include in your budget.
- Roadside assistance – do you need assistance coverage for when you breakdown or get stranded? This feature can add up to $25 per year to your insurance cost, though it can come very handy in case of breakdown. It covers towing for a disabled or stranded RV so you can be brought to the nearest repair facility when your battery fails, or when you get a flat tire or lock-out situation.
- Bodily injury – getting coverage for personal safety and security seems like a no-brainer to me, but it also depends on whether or not you have similar coverage elsewhere. To me, the price of adding this coverage is minimal and mostly worth it. It’s also part of the basic coverage required by law, so you’ll probably see this in all policies.
- Uninsured motorist – if your RV or camper is damaged by a motorist who is uninsured or underinsured, this coverage will apply and cover the damages.
- Personal Injury Protection and Medical Coverage – PIP can pay out for most expenses related to injuries, such as your medical expenses, loss of income, and rehabilitation costs.
- Custom and personal equipment – most RVs and campers are filled with expensive equipment like generators and other electronics. Unfortunately, they tend to get stolen all the time by other malicious campers. A practical move is to get your personal belongings. However, personal effects are not as common in all RV insurance policies.
- Replacement cost – in the event of a loss, you’ll be happy you paid for replacement coverage. It can either be the full replacement cost, or just the value of the trailer after depreciation. If you think there’s no chance you’ll need a replacement cost, then you can take this out of your plan.
- Vacation liability – this specifically applies when the RV is used as a temporary vacation residence.
Standard coverage for large RVs or motorhomes usually includes bodily injury and property damage liability, which can also be called Personal Liability and Property Damage (PLPD) coverage. In most states, it’s the bare bones minimum requirement for insurance. Either personal liability or property damage coverage only works if you were the at-fault party in an accident or collision, and deductibles usually don’t apply for either.
As in other insurance types, PLPD is usually written as a fraction, e.g., $20000/$60000, with the first number being the maximum that can be paid per person who claims damages, and the second number is the maximum that can be taken out per accident. Property damage is often capped at $100,000.
Unless you’re driving an RV for a sports team or for a significant number of people, you probably won’t need to go higher than the normal limits in PLPD coverage. Then again, if you’re concerned about damages to more people, you should probably look into getting an umbrella policy.
Finally, coverage can usually be understood as comprehensive or collision coverage.
- Comprehensive coverage includes any physical damage claim that does not involve a collision, and this can mean theft, vandalism, fire, flood, and windshield damage. This also includes storage insurance. On average, this is an affordable and valuable coverage.
- Collision coverage provides compensation for when you hit an inanimate object.
Type of RV/Camper
Most people have probably bought their RV or camper before even thinking about insurance. While that’s not a problem, it only means that you probably won’t exchange your RV model just to get a lower insurance cost.
Similar with automobiles, more expensive RVs tend to need more expensive insurance premiums. Full motorhomes require higher insurance than towable campers.
Age of the RV/Camper
An older RV generally means a cheaper insurance policy. For example, if you get total loss replacement coverage, it would cost less to replace the depreciated RV than a brand new motorhome.
On the other hand, an older RV that isn’t in good condition might look more at risk for breakdowns and roadside accidents. Be smart when you talk with your insurance agent.
Insurance rates can really depend on the state and zip code you live in. When insurance companies determine rates, they refer “actuarial tables.” They calculate the premium based on the probability of anyone filing a claim and based on the costs of those repairs. Both of those factors are influenced by the cost of living in your state and zip code.
Plus, if you live in an area prone to accidents, thefts, and natural disasters, the insurance cost is most likely higher.
To get a lower insurance rate, seasonal RV users can store their motorhomes or campers in favorable zip codes.
Are you a member of an RV association? For some of the companies I mentioned above, like Good Sams, you can get a better deal if you mention your memberships to your insurance agent. In many cases, they’ll offer possible discounts or different prices. Just be sure to ask. If you’re not yet a member of an RV association, here’s a list of clubs to consider.
Aside from membership, your driving history can make a big difference. First-time RV drivers present a bigger risk as you may be more prone to accidents and collisions. Your non-RV driving history also matters, as previous collisions are a big red flag. Something as simple as the number of traffic tickets can make insurance companies reconsider.
Lastly, having an RV safe driving course in your driving history can get you a better policy rate. The insurance agency can offer a discount if you prove you’ve finished an approved or partnered defensive driving course or RV safety lesson. This depends entirely on the agency’s policies.
What’s your frequency of travel? Are you planning on living in your RV permanently? Insurance agencies look at the risk involved with your use of RV. For those treating their motorhome as a permanent residence, you’ll get a premium closer to a floating homeowners’ policy or home insurance policy.
For those who will be using their RV on a seasonal basis, the insurance premium can fluctuate depending on the number of days in the year and the season when you plan to travel. Some insurance companies can suspend some coverages while your RV is sure to be in storage.
Several other factors come into play in determining how costly your insurance premium is going to be. For example, the insurance agency can also ask for your insurance claims history, whether or not you installed safety and anti-theft devices, and if you’re looking for multiple policy discounts.
None of these factors is 100% the same for all insurance agencies. Some companies can offer these discounts and special pricing programs, while others may be more reliant on the type of RV alone.
When you have an RV or camper, all you really want to do is to enjoy your vacation time or your adventure through the different states. The last thing you want to do is fret over a potential loss or possible damages. The high price tags of repair and hospitalization give me nightmares.
Fortunately, there are so many good options out there when it comes to RV insurance. It just takes time to wade through the different options. As I’ve said, starting out with what you need and determining your budget can help make your choices clearer. You can also use some of the tips I mentioned, like getting online quotes and looking at other reviews.
I hope this guide helped you out. Tell me how your shopping for the best insurance package goes! Are you looking for a standard RV package, or will you add on all coverages in your policy? Do you think it’s worth getting vacation liability? Finally, tell us what your best strategy is for getting a good insurance premium rate.