How To Find The Best RV Insurance In 2019
One of the toughest aspects of owning an RV is trying to figure out how to fit your newest investment onto your auto insurance policy or find a suitable policy to cover the types of incidents that occur for RV owners.
Any time you’ve spent as much money as you have when it comes to buying into your recreational vehicle, you’re going to want to make sure all your bases are covered.
As it stands, in 2019, there’s quite a few different options you can choose from, with each depending greatly upon the type of RV class you’ve purchased and the level of insurance coverage you require.
What you’ll find is that most RV insurance policies are actually nothing like your standard home, apartment, or automotive insurance. The types of incidents you’ll encounter as an RV owner are nothing like those you’ll have for your home, apartment, or car, either.
In an effort to make sure you’re getting the protections you need without wasting time scouring the web, reading through reviews, and possibly getting led astray, we’ve done the hard work for you.
We’re going to break down the different types of insurances available, how to choose the right one for you, and which, we believe, is the best RV insurance company and policies in 2019.
What RV Insurance Is — And Isn’t.
In the most basic terms, RV insurance is how you protect yourself against loss and damage to your recreational vehicle or motorhome.,
Even though most people think of motorhomes and powered vehicles when they consider the term “RV”, RV insurance actually applies to just about any recreational vehicle you can think of — even if it doesn’t actually have an engine attached to it.
It doesn’t matter whether you own a travel trailer, small tow-behind trailer, pop up tent camper, fifth wheel, truck camper or any number of other small campers and RVs, you’re going to want to insure it against theft, damage, and other forms of loss in value.
The policies you select for your motorhome, RV, or camper trailer are going to function, in a lot of ways, as your automotive insurance would. You’ll need to select policy limits, deductibles, and types of coverage.
Once you’ve done that, the policy types start to change from each other.
RV insurance is going to fall somewhere in between automotive and homeowners insurance, covering the same items your auto insurance would — collision and theft — while also covering the same areas your homeowner’s policy would — interior belongings and amenities.
While automotive insurance is a requirement in every state in America, homeowner’s insurance isn’t always a requirement… more of a recommendation.
With that being said, one of the biggest questions people have about RV insurance is…
Are You Required To Carry RV Insurance?
The answer to that question is actually pretty simple to answer. Here’s what you’re required to have or carry based on the type of RV that you own and how it’s transported or transports itself.
If you’re towing your RV…
Depending on your RV, if you’re going to be towing it you -usually- do not need to carry insurance on it. That doesn’t mean you still don’t want to, but it isn’t legally required in most cases.
Take, for instance, a teardrop trailer. Since it is towed behind your tow vehicle (which has insurance of its own) you’re not going to be required to insure the trailer.
There are instances where you will be required to carry an active insurance policy, though. For times where you have financed the trailer or have liens against it (for whatever reasons) you’re going to be required to insure the asset.
Even if the state you’re in and the states you’re driving through do not require you to carry insurance on the trailer, it’s still highly recommended that you do. Getting into an accident on the road can leave your trailer a complete loss if you aren’t properly insured.
If you’re driving your RV…
If the vehicle is powered under its own steam, you are going to be required to carry insurance.
In most states, a liability policy will be more than enough but, again, you’ve invested quite a bit of money into your recreational vehicle and one accident can leave you on the hook for hefty fines, penalties, liabilities, and damages if you’re under-insured.
The best bet, for motorhomes, is to carry full coverage insurance. This will nearly guarantee that you’re going to be reimbursed (usually in whole) if something drastic happens while you’re on the road.
RV Insurance Policies vs Auto Insurance Policies
For the most part, the same company that insures your vehicles will also be able to insure your RV or motorhome. The policies are typically so similar that you’ll also be able to save money by having multiple vehicles underneath the same umbrella policy.
It’s worth noting, though, that if you only carry automotive insurance on your motorhome that you could find out there are gaps in your coverage. In the event of an accident, you could have bodywork and frame damage repaired but the interior of the vehicle will not be covered.
Traditional Automotive Insurance Coverage
Most automotive policies are going to cover your motorhome as if it were a regular vehicle when you’re driving on the road. The interior, any extra addons, amenities, and luxury features that you’ve added won’t be covered.
In other words, if it’s not required to start, stop, turn, and drive, your automotive insurance usually will not cover it. That’s where traditional RV insurance coverage comes in.
Traditional RV Insurance Coverage
RV insurance policies, on the other hand, are going to cover the same instances and events that your automotive insurance would cover, while also taking into account the value of what’s inside of the RV — your living space.
Where you’re going to be hard-pressed to get your automotive insurance to replace things like your generator, an interior water pump, or your water tanks, an RV insurance policy is going to have coverages specifically for these items.
If you’re wanting to make sure you are actually protected — and don’t encounter any hidden surprises — you’ll want to skip past your automotive policy and branch out into either an RV policy with the same company (to save money) or with an RV-specific insurance company.
True RV insurance policies tend to pay out quicker when you need to put in claims, too.
Different Types Of RV Insurance Policies
Before you actually purchase the insurance, you’ll want to take some time to think about how you’re going to use the RV, how often you’re going to be using it, where it will be stored in the downtime, and whether, or not, you’re going to be living out of it for long periods of time.
Someone who lives out of their RV and treats it as a home on the road year-round will be required to have a significantly different policy than someone who stores their vehicle 50 weeks per year and puts less than 5,000 miles per year on it.
If you intend to live in the vehicle for long periods of time, essentially treating your RV as it were your home, you’re going to want to carry a policy that functions more like a homeowner’s policy would function.
Long-term and full-time policies are going to protect against losses that you may incur while the vehicle is parked and handle claims differently than they would if the vehicle was sitting for longer periods of time.
If your insurance company knows that you’re living out of the vehicle the premiums may be higher but they’re going to be more inclined speed up the process in order to keep you comfortable.
If you’re not living in the RV, taking a few extra days on the claim handling process doesn’t leave you stranded and homeless.
On top of your full-time or long-term policy you’ll also want to consider a separate policy that covers your belongings. Companies offer renters insurance specifically for situations like living out of a mobile apartment.
If you’re not actively living out of the RV but, instead, plan to store it for long periods of time, you’ll be able to get away with less insurance but will still want a lot of the same coverages.
In general, the less risk you put the RV in (while storing it on a campground or driving it down the road) the less coverage you’re going to be required to carry — and the less that coverage is going to cost you each month.
What Does RV Insurance Typically Cover?
There’s a few areas where RV insurance companies are going to differ from automotive insurance companies. Namely in the types of items, damages, situations, and riders that are covered.
Something to keep in mind: the more customized and luxurious your RV, the more you’re going to want to go over it with a fine-toothed comb to insure it for the entire value instead of an estimated value. This will guarantee you can restore it to its former beauty in the event of an accident.
Here’s a handful of terms and types of coverages you’ll encounter while you are shopping for a policy for your recreational vehicle or motorhome:
Personal Property Coverages
The most basic type of coverage will take care of replacing your personal belongings while the vehicle is in motion — or stored in a parking lot, campground, or other area where you’re still occupying the vehicle.
In general, the types of belongings covered in personal property policies are:
- Laptops and personal computers.
- TVs, satellite dishes, and other electronics.
- Your kitchenette, dishware, cookware, etc.
- Bedding, linens, and other miscellaneous items.
The amount of coverage you’re able to carry on your personal belongings is going to vary from company to company and policy to policy so you’ll want to make sure you’re reading through and understand the values placed on those belongings.
If you’ve hit your policy limits in other areas of coverage, you can also get your personal belongings insured through your homeowner’s or renter’s policies.
Uninsured Motorist Coverages
If your vehicle is stored on a campground and never moved, you do not have to worry about uninsured motorists causing it damage on the roadway.
However, if you intend to travel on public roads you’re going to want to make sure you’re taking into account the fact that there are quite a few drivers on the road today who are either underinsured or do not have any insurance at all — even though it’s illegal!
For times like these you will want to make sure you’re carrying UM — or uninsured motorist.
Since you can turn your RV into a home-on-wheels with amenities such as a satellite dish or TV antenna, awnings, removable decks, and other luxuries, you’ll want to find an insurance policy that gives you coverage for these items.
This is especially true if the items are permanently affixed to the sides or roof of the vehicle.
Take, for example, driving underneath a low hanging bridge that you -thought- you could clear, only to find out that you’ve ripped your expensive satellite dish off and damaged the roof while you were at it.
Your standard insurance may cover repairing the roof but they will NOT cover replacing your destroyed satellite dish — unless you’ve claimed it and included it inside of your attachment coverages.
If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate event of having a collision with another vehicle, the protections provided will function in nearly the same way your auto insurance policies will. This coverage protects you regardless who is found at-fault for the accident.
Full Replacement Protection
In the event your recreational vehicle is ever completely destroyed or deemed to be a total loss by your insurance company (say, in a flood or high speed accident), having full replacement coverage will get your vehicle replaced with a similar model year and trim level.
Medical Reimbursement Coverage
Should you ever find yourself in an accident or collision in your RV and need medical help, the reimbursement portion of your coverage will ensure that you are financially made whole, regardless who is considered the at-fault driver.
Since medical reimbursement coverage varies from company, to company, you’ll want to make sure you read through your new policy (or ask ahead of time) that you will, in fact, be reimbursed if you need medical care as the result of an accident.
Long-term storage, while generally considered safe and acceptable, does pose its own risks.
Burglary and vandalism are some of the most common complaints RV owners have while storing their vehicles for longer periods of time, so you will want to make sure your insurance provider is offering you coverage that includes times when it’s being stored.
Likewise, many insurance companies will reduce your rates for times when the RV or motorhome is being stored, because the amount of risk they’re taking on (by you having it on the road) is significantly reduced.
If you’re not a full-time or long-term RVer, treating the motorhome as your home-on-wheels, this is a great way to save money. Especially during the colder seasons!
For everything outside of your standard collision coverage comes comprehensive coverages.
Comprehensive coverage comes into play for times where the vehicle was damaged during a natural disaster or through fault completely outside of your own — but not yet the fault of a person, per se.
Comprehensive riders and policies will cover incidents such as:
- Flood damage.
- Hail damage.
- Burglary and theft.
- Fire and smoke damage.
- Other natural disasters.
There are going to be limits in place for your level of comprehensive coverage, as well. You’ll want to make sure you understand these limits — and raise them, if necessary — to guarantee that you won’t be footing the bill when you thought your insurance company had you covered.
Roadside Assistance is, by far, the best type of coverage you can have when you’re traveling in your RV. Once you’ve traveled a specific distance away from your home (or storage location) your roadside coverage will kick in.
If you find yourself suffering from a breakdown or mechanical failure, roadside assistance can quickly become your best friend.
Here’s some of the basics covered:
- Electrical malfunctions.
- Mechanical breakdowns.
- Flat tires or tire failures.
- Being locked out of the RV.
- Out of gas, blown radiator hose, etc.
If you tend to rack up the miles on your RV you’re going to love having roadside assistance. If even just for a tow to your local repair shop, these policies quickly pay for themselves — in both time, and money.
Pet Insurance Coverage
Keeping man’s best friend with you (or even your feline companion) can be a great way to bond with them while you’re on your adventures but also one of the most hectic situations you may ever encounter as an RVer.
If you plan on traveling with your pet you will want to either have a pet insurance policy specifically for covering them in your home, or make sure that your RV policy offers protections for your pets.
You never know when your pet will get sick on the road, get into an accident themselves, or find themselves on the business end of another critter — and need medical attention. It’s times like these that you’ll be grateful for carrying a little extra insurance in their name.
How Much Do RV Insurance Policies Cost?
Each different type of motorhome and RV is going to be classified by your insurance companies in a different way. Before you’re able to figure out true costs of your policy and coverages you’ll want to see how each size motorhome is classified.
RV Class Specifications
Motorhomes and RVs are classified, conveniently, with a class.
- Class A – These are the biggest motorhomes and RVs. Ranging anywhere in length from 21 to 40+ feet with room to sleep up to 8 people comfortably, Class A RV’s are the most expensive (to buy, and to insure). With the amount of luxuries and amenities you can add onto a Class A RV, it makes sense they’re expensive to insure.
- Class B – While you would think a Class B motorhome would be one size under a Class A, they are actually smaller than a Class C. These are considered campervans and typically range in lengths from 15 to 20 feet while sleeping up to 4 people comfortably, 6 if you pack in like sardines.
- Class C – Falling in the middle of the range are Class C RVs and motorhomes. Ranging in lengths from 20 to 34 feet, these mini-homes-on-wheels are more expensive to insure than a Class B, but significantly less expensive to insure than a Class A. The level of luxury and trim on Class C RVs are a lot lower than a Class A — as are the costs.
- Travel Trailers – If your RV requires a tow vehicle you do not always need to carry insurance on it. That being said, it’s always a good idea to protect your investment. In general, these are going to be the cheapest to insure — since they’re also the cheapest to buy.
Something else to consider when you’re shopping for RV insurance rates is that your actual driving history is going to play a big role. Likewise, if you have a history of putting in claims with your insurance company your rates could go up, as well.
Each person is given an “insurance rating” that is universal across the board and helps insurance companies determine your level of risk — or the risk that you’re going to put in frivolous claims or abuse your coverages.
To help ease the sticker shock when you start searching for policies, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 per year to insure a Class A vehicle while Class B vehicles are going to fall somewhere in the $500 to $2,000 range.
Again, this varies greatly on your driving history, the cost of the vehicle, the luxury level you’ve equipped on it, and how many miles per year you’re going to be driving vs how many months of the year it will be in storage mode.
Typical RV Usage
Another area your insurer will look at when considering your rates is whether or not you’re living in the RV full-time, and whether or not you need to move the RV from location to location.
In general, if you plan on living in the motorhome year-round you can expect slightly higher premiums than you would if the RV was going to be stored 48-50 weeks per year, as is the case with most RVs.
If you do intend to store the motorhome when you’re not using it, you can use these storage times to dramatically reduce the rates on your policies.
Your Driving Record
Just like your auto insurance company bases your premiums on your past driving record, your RV insurance company is going to treat you the same way. If you have a good record your rates will be lower and vice versa if you have a poor driving history you can expect higher premiums.
This goes for your length of driving history, as well. If you’re a new driver or have less than a few years of history on the road you can expect your premiums to increase. If you’ve been driving for 25 years without a mark on your record, you’re going to get the best premiums possible.
Deductibles and Limits
There’s quite a bit of math that goes into figuring out what your deductibles should be and which limits you should place on each section of your coverage.
If your limits are too low you could find yourself running out of coverage — being forced to come up with the difference out of your own pocket.
On the same token if your deductibles are too high (in an effort to lower your premiums) you could find yourself coming up with a large cash payment in order to get your insurance company to even begin issuing a claim in the first place.
Mix and match your limits based on what you actually need (and state minimum requirements, in some cases) while keeping your deductible affordable.
If you get it right you’ll find a sweet spot in premiums that doesn’t leave you completely broke — or coming out of pocket — in the event you actually need to place a claim with your provider.
This comes down to your own personal requirements and what you think you’ll need from your insurance policy. Riders, if you’re unaware, are addons that give you coverage outside of what your main policy offers.
For instance, some companies will consider covering your pet as a rider but not necessarily include it into your main policy. Additional riders will increase your rates, so stay mindful of what you’re adding and why you’re adding it.
On top of adding riders to your coverage, there’s a few other factors that your insurance company is going to consider when they’re factoring your rates:
- Your current age and marital status.
- Your gender and driving history.
- Your insurance rating / risk / credit score.
Since rates vary so wildly from person to person it’s nearly impossible to give you a quote without knowing exactly who you are — what you’re driving — your driving record — and how often you intend to drive.
That being said, your rates could be as low as $50 per year (for a smaller trailer that’s barely used with minimum coverages) to upwards of $25,000 or more (for large, luxurious Class A motorhomes and RVs loaded down with amenities and high miles each year).
This is one of those times you’re going to want to put in the effort comparing companies against each other to figure out where to get the best deal.
How Much RV Insurance Coverage Do I Need?
This is another area you’re going to need to take a step back and think about what your actual needs are. Most people won’t have a true understanding of their requirements until 2-3 years into ownership but, for you, as a first-time owner, here’s a few factors to consider:
The class of your RV or motorhome.
Where and how often you intend to travel.
Whether you’re living in it, or not.
If you have custom features, amenities, or luxuries.
How much value you place on the vehicle, overall.
The best answer that we can give you is to buy the most coverage you can legitimately afford.
Protecting your RV, yourself, your guests, and your investment is why you’re buying insurance in the first place so cutting corners and skimping on coverages just to save a few bucks is something that could come back to bite you big down the road — when it matters most.
What Are The Best RV Insurance Companies In 2019?
In 2019, there are quite a few insurance companies (both mainstream and RV-specific) that are vying for your business. And each of those companies comes with their own perks and downsides, too.
To say that there’s a “best” is nearly impossible to do since what’s best for one person is going to be the worst (or most expensive) for another.
There’s really no way around doing research yourself, starting with the companies we’ve figured out have the highest rating, best policy coverages, and best customer service.
RV America is one of the most common insurance companies you’re going to hear recommended, both here and on Outdoorsy (our favorite peer-to-peer RV network). They’ve been reported to pay claims quickly, have the most competitive rates, and do not make you jump through hoops to get someone on the phone.
Good Sam RV
Good Sam is another company that you’ll hear from time, to time. They offer up both full-time and short-term insurance policies so you have a few options whether you’re living in the motorhome full-time or you’re storing it for a large portion of the year.
Good Sam, though, is a buyer beware situation. Some people have reported having an amazing experience with them while others have done nothing but complain. Keep an eye and ear out while you’re shopping them, especially when you’re on the phone, and trust your gut!
One of the biggest perks of Good Sam RV Insurance is the fact that they offer extended warranty programs to help you cover the costs of keeping your motorhome maintained.
Progressive has recently added RV insurance to their list of policy types so if you already insure your car, truck, home, apartment, or carry other policies with them, you may be able to receive further discounts by adding an RV policy to your total coverage.
Other Types Of RV Insurance
Even though adventuring and creating new memories can be the time of your life, you still need to always keep in the back of your mind that you’re actually living on the road. You’re in your home away from home and will need other types of insurance.
Life Insurance Policies
One of the most important insurance policies you can buy is a life insurance policy. Even if you’re only buying enough to cover your final expenses, (as morbid as it sounds) dying is incredibly expensive.
If you do not have coverage in place your family and friends will be responsible for bearing that burden during a time in their life they’d rather not worry about money. When you’re traveling down the road in a motorhome your risks are greatly increased.
This is a personal matter so you’re going to want to look around, talk to your family, and think about what you’ll need (or what they’ll need if you leave them behind) in order to keep them protected in the untimely event something drastic happens to you.
Disability Insurance Policies
Disability insurance, for all intents and purposes, is actually an insurance that replaces your paycheck if you find yourself falling on times when you physically cannot work. If you lose your income disability insurance will kick in, replacing it or, at least, a portion of it.
Many RVers are disabled and traveling simply due to pension programs they had through their previous careers or disability insurance that was able to maintain their income while they physically recover from the condition that kept them from being able to work in the first place.
Sickness and accidents happen at the most inopportune times, so having a bit of extra coverage that can keep your bills paid and avoid having your lifestyle abruptly changed can be a blessing in disguise, even if you don’t think you’ll ever use it.
Health Insurance Policies
Other mishaps that can happen while you’re on the road are incidents where you need to visit a dentist or make a rush trip to the emergency room. Carrying health and dental insurance can save you a ton of money on those emergencies.
While your RV insurance policies will provide some level of medical protection they are not going to offer dental or emergencies.
The coverage on your RV policies will only be activated in the event of an accident — which means you should have separate coverage outside of what your RV insurance company offers.
This is especially true if you’re going to be living in the RV for long periods of time — and further away from your home base or starting location.
Know What You Need Before You Buy
Even though finding the right insurance coverage can seem like you’re pushing a boulder up the steepest hill right now, it’s not nearly as difficult as it seems.
The biggest factors to consider are the value of your RV, your income levels, and the most common mishaps you could encounter while you’re on the road.
Shopping for these policies through companies that you already have other insurance through can be the best way to reduce your rates while still getting sufficient coverage to take care of anything that comes your way.
We’ve featured a few companies here but if you still feel stuck we highly recommend speaking with a licensed insurance agent or broker in your area or contact your existing insurance companies to ask them for coverage — or a recommendation for another company that can insure you and your family while you’re on the road.