Growing up, I loved to go camping. There’s something about the sound of water rushing over rocks. The scent of campfire smoke mixed with a pine needle carpet. That feeling you get when you first hit the road, camper in tow... like anything is possible.
Given how awesome camping is, it’s not surprising that RV (recreational vehicle) sales are surging. Total RV shipments in 2021 are expected to outpace 2020 by 19.5%. RVs are transportation and lodging rolled into one, plus they’re socially distant. Downside? They’re not cheap.
So if you’re in the market to buy an RV
, the very next question is how you’ll protect it with RV insurance. Because safety first.
How to get RV insurance
The first thing that RV owners need to do is shop around for the best insurance rates and coverage options. The process will probably feel like shopping for auto insurance. You’ll need to consider whether you need liability
, collision, or comprehensive coverage. You may also want to ask each insurer about the deductible amount and any extra coverage they offer, like roadside assistance.
Types of coverage to consider
Before you get an RV insurance quote, think about what specific types of coverage you may need.
Like a car insurance liability policy, an RV liability policy covers RV damage due to an accident you cause, and it’s especially important if you own a motorhome. That’s because RV insurance is the ONLY kind of insurance that covers motorhomes (versus a travel trailer like a fifth-wheel, which may be covered by your towing vehicle’s insurance policy). Liability coverage typically covers bodily injury (including medical bills and loss of income) and property damage.
Collision and comprehensive coverage
Collision coverage pays for repair or replacement costs if the RV is damaged in an accident, regardless of who caused it. Comprehensive coverage pays for other types of loss not caused in a collision (think: fire, hail, theft, wild animals, etc.)
Some insurance policies might also offer coverage for custom equipment, safety glass or awning replacement, roadside assistance (in case you get a flat tire or run out of gas), total loss replacement, vacation liability, pest protection, and special protection in case you live in your RV full-time. There’s also emergency expense coverage, which would pay for travel and lodging costs if you’re traveling far from home in your RV when the RV is damaged.
Before you decide what type of coverage you want, you might want to check your state’s minimum requirements
, as well as what may already be covered under your existing car insurance, renters, or homeowners insurance
policy. You may not need to get additional travel trailer insurance if the auto policy for your pulling vehicle would also cover the trailer.
What companies offer the best RV insurance?
Alright, now that you’re done your research on the types of policies you may need, it’s time to pick a licensed insurance agency. Here are some agencies to consider for RV insurance products.
Progressive offers lots of insurance products for any recreational vehicle from a motorhome to an ATV. They specialize in discounts that make their products particularly attractive for people looking for low-cost ways to lower their risk.
Nationwide offers a long history of insuring people (since 1926!), and they have an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau. They also offer lots of discounts that significantly lower the cost of RV insurance.
National General offers a 20% discount if you bundle your RV and auto policies, plus if both RV and car are ever involved in the same accident, you just have to meet one deductible instead of two.
Good Sam could be a good option if you plan to take your RV to Mexico. It’s not a direct insurer, but it can connect you with the Mexican liability coverage necessary if you travel south of the border.
How much does RV insurance cost?
Like most insurance, the costs of buying RV insurance depend on different factors including your state, your RV’s age and usage, and your own driving experience and claims history. Costs will be higher if your limits are high or if your deductibles are low.
For example at Progressive, the average premium for a 12-month RV insurance policy was $502 for a travel trailer and $848 for a motorhome in 2020. A liability-only policy may cost as low as $125 per year in some states. But in the state of Virginia, a Class A RV could cost as much as $2,000 per year to insure.
Some RVs, like fancy, Class A motorhomes, are expensive to insure because you have to buy liability coverage. They also cost more to replace than pop-up campers, class B camper vans, and class C motorhomes.
Additionally, if you live in your RV for at least six months of the year, you’ll want to buy full-time RV insurance. Think of it as a homeowners policy. It’s gonna cost more than a recreational policy because it includes protection for personal liability as well as physical damage.
The good news is you can get some discounts that make RV insurance more affordable. Progressive offers discounts if you call to get a quote at least one day before your actual policy starts, if you have more than one policy with them, if you’re the original owner of the RV, if you pay in full upfront, and if you’re a responsible driver. You could also get a discount just for being a homeowner and/or opting to receive paperless documents.
Pros and cons of buying RV insurance
- Peace of mind. If you’re on vacation, you don’t want to worry about paying thousands out of pocket to replace your camper, or to pay for someone else’s vehicle damage or medical bills.
- Lots of options. Your coverage can be personalized to your personal risk tolerance with higher or lower limits, higher or lower deductibles, and optional add-ons.
- Lowered costs through discounts. Many insurance agencies offer steep discounts that are easy to qualify for.
- It’s not always necessary. Check your state’s laws and current homeowners, renters, and auto insurance policies.
- It can be complicated. Because it’s not as common as car insurance, knowing what questions to ask in what state and how to compare policies is tricky.
- Exclusions apply. Damage isn’t typically covered if it’s from mold, fungi, rot, earthquakes, flood, or general wear and tear.
The bottom line
Remember that pine needle carpet? Let’s get back to that feeling. Whether you’re road-tripping for the summer or living in your camper full-time, RV insurance is really just about you being able to sit back and enjoy yourself without worrying about accidents.
By shopping around for the best rates, coverage options, and discounts, you may be able to snag a deal that protects you without breaking the bank.