RV FAQ's & Tips: RV Insurance

This section of the web site is a collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) and Tips about RV's and the RVing lifestyle.

Which company offers the best RV insurance?

In our first two years of living as fulltimers, we have thoroughly researched RV insurance options twice. Based on this experience, we feel that it is not possible to make a set recommendation on which company has the best offers. Each policy has many variables that take some or all of the following into account:

  • RV type and model
  • The state in which the policy is issued (insurance laws vary by state)
  • Other vehicles in the household
  • Driving history of insured parties
  • Amount of coverage desired, etc.

What we can recommend are several companies that offer specialized RV insurance. These companies have put a significant effort towards understanding RVers' insurance needs. They are:

How is RV insurance different from auto insurance?

An RV is a vehicle, and as such, most insurance companies will be happy to issue a policy. However, insuring an RV with a typical auto policy will leave significant coverage gaps. Therefore, RV's should be insured with a specialized policy which covers the things an auto insurance would miss, such as:

  • Total loss replacement — This coverage is applicable to buyers of new RV's in the first five model years. It replaces the RV with a similar unit, even if the replacement costs more than the original. This coverage is good protection against steep RV depreciation, in case of total loss.
  • Replacement cost of personal belongings — Auto policies usually cover a limited amount of content in a vehicle. RV policies give you the option to specify a limit to include all of your personal belongings destroyed by most events.
  • Fulltimer liability — Offers liability coverage similar to homeowner's insurance when the RV is parked and is used as a residence. This coverage includes emergency treatment and medical expenses for others injured in or around your RV.
  • Campsite liability — Similar to fulltimer liability, but designed for short-term vacationers.
  • Emergency expenses — Reimburses expenses related to living outside the RV while it is being repaired, as long as the covered loss occurs a set number of miles from your fixed residence (usually 50 miles). Common expenses covered are lodging, meals, and travel back home.
  • Higher liability limits — RV insurance policies allow for significantly higher liability limits than auto insurance. Because most RV's are much larger than cars, they have the potential to cause a significant amount of damage in a mishap. Higher limits provide greater financial protection after an unfortunate incident.
  • Medium duty tow trucks — Covers trucks over one ton when used to tow a trailer or fifth wheel.
  • Suspend collision coverage when in storage — When the RV is in storage, you can suspend portions of the policy which apply only when the RV is moving on the road, such as collision coverage. This is a cost-saving option because you are not paying for unnecessary coverage.

Please be aware that insurance companies may call the above coverages by slightly different names. Be sure that you understand the terms used in a policy quotation, and what they cover.

Are there special conditions for medium duty trucks?

Yes, there are special conditions you should be aware of before buying a medium duty truck (MDT). Common medium duty trucks used by RVers:

  • Chevrolet Kodiak
  • Freightliner FL60 and FL70
  • Ford F-450 through F-650
  • GMC TopKick
  • International 4700

The following may cause you difficulties in getting MDT insurance:

  • No coverage for trucks over one ton — Some insurance companies will not issue a policy for trucks over a one ton, or weighing 10,000 lbs. or more.
  • Insured as a commercial vehicle — If an insurance company does cover medium duty trucks, they may only insure them as a commercial vehicle. This is generally not a good option for RVers because commercial insurance is more expensive and has strict mileage limits from the address of registration.
  • Covered as an RV tow vehicle only — This is the most common policy offered by RV specialty insurance: the medium duty truck is fully covered as a private vehicle, but must be used mainly to tow the RV. With these policies, the truck may not be used as an every-day vehicle for commuting, sightseeing, etc. This type of coverage is ideal when the RVer has another vehicle for daily use, but may be too restrictive if the truck is the only vehicle. In our experience, insurance agents and companies do not always point out this restriction—be sure to ask before buying the policy!
  • Covered as a personal vehicle, with special conditions — Some insurance companies will work with you to cover a medium duty truck as a personal vehicle, if the truck's actual weight (GVW) is less than 10,000 lbs. In these cases the insurance company may require an inspection of the truck, photos, and documentation to prove its weight. If a policy is issued under these conditions, the truck can be used as an every-day vehicle. This is how we secured insurance for our 9,500 lbs. F-550 truck through Travelers.

See also: Truck Classification and Large RV-Towing Truck Issues.