Sometimes I feel like this when I’m thinking about insurance

While I’m out gallivanting around on a paradise island in the Atlantic I thought I’d leave you with a post on insurance. I know, I know…it’s rather mean of me and you may want to stick your head in the sand rather than think about it (I sure know I do), but it’s one of those inevitable things that come up and just need doing. So, I thought now would be as good a time as any.

Now I should say up-front that I have no particular allegiance to any one insurance company and I rather suggest that you shouldn’t either. Insurance companies compete for business and regularly go through rate-raises (those “vanishing deductibles” always come back in $$ somehow). So, once a year I go out and shop . I stick with well-known companies, but I don’t discriminate as long as I get what I want. Our RV & car policy is currently with Geico and we’re happy with them, but if I got equal coverage at a better price from one of the other many reputable companies I’d be just as happy to leave them.

Is my baby covered?

But I DO want fulltime RV insurance, it IS a slightly different beast than regular car insurance and for those of you considering this lifestyle it’s worth understanding the difference. I’m not an insurance broker so I won’t give you detailed info, but I’ll outline the general facts so you can go off a-happy insurance shopping on your own:

1/ Liability – When you fullime your RV becomes your home, so things that might have been covered under a “homeowners” insurance now needs to be covered under your RV insurance. With liability that usually means a higher value so that, for example, if someone slips and falls inside your RV you’re covered. Ask your insurance if you’re covered in camp (while parked) as well as on the road. Some insurance companies call this “fulltime” insurance.

2/ Personal Property – Since you carry everything you own in your RV you might want to look at the $$ of property coverage in your policy. Most standard policies come with some token amount (maybe about $5,000) of coverage, but if you’ve got a bunch of expensive stuff (computers, TVs, tow-bar, satellite dish, GPS, solar etc.) that you want to cover consider increasing this value. Ask the insurance whether coverage includes stuff attached to the RV which you’ve added after-market.

Negotiating insurance company quotes can be a prickly business

3/ Replacement Coverage – If something catastrophic happens and you manage to total your RV, you should be really clear on what kind of $$ you’ll get from your insurance. Some offer purchase price replacement, but this is usually only on new coaches. Most companies will cover the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) fair market value of your RV.

4/ Towing - My stance is that the majority of insurance companies really don’t know much about towing bigger rigs. So I always recommend ditching whatever they offer you and getting a separate towing package from one of the “experts”. CoachNet and Good Sam’s are the most-used companies and both get decent reviews from long-time RVers.

5/ Discounts and Deductibles - Of course you should always ask for discounts (good driver, anti-lock brakes, multiple vehicle etc.) and you always want to look at deductibles. My personal feeling on insurance is that it’s there to cover catastrophic events so I want the highest deductible I can afford. Remember that every single claim you make through your insurance company can potentially increase your coverage costs (sometimes by several magnitudes!) so you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it. Our policy is never to claim the stuff we can  afford to pay ourselves.

Rather than do all the work yourself I highly recommend going through brokers who are experienced in RV insurance and “talk the RV talk”. Here’s a couple of good names that make the rounds on the RV forums on a regular basis:

And with that I think I’ll take a tall drink by the pool overlooking the ocean….oh wait…I’m already there :)

26 Responses to Fulltime RV Insurance – What’s the Difference?

  1. Bob says:

    The hope is that there will eventually be some pool side pictures (nothing scandalous or anything, but something) at some point.
    My other hope is that I can retrieve all of this info when/if we ever decide to purchase another RV. Went into it completely blind the first time around. Turned out OK, but there’s been a wealth of info that has come up in the mean while…
    A fair chunk of it right…here.

    Be sure and apply that SPF-30. maybe 50?

    • libertatemamo says:

      There is in fact ONE pool picture coming up…but starring my lovely sister (who is far more photographic than me) rather than myself. It’s a lovely spot!
      Oh…and yes…SPF-50 is more like it for the nordic gal :)
      Nina

  2. Gloria says:

    Hi Nina,

    Thanks for the post on Insurance – We are just getting ready to become full-timers and purchase insurance!!! very timely.

    And, thank you for your GREAT blog – We LOVE it!!

    We wanted to ask: what do you think of extended warranties via insurance companies versus private providers?

    Cheers & Love, Gloria (& Christopher)

    • libertatemamo says:

      So happy it’s helpful!
      As for extended warranties it’s a tough call. You’ll get VERY strong views on both sides of the matter from RVers. We ended up getting an extended warranty from a separate company (not thro’ our insurance) for our first 2 years because we wanted to be sure to cover any major issues that might happen during the early “break-in” period of the rig. As it turns out we’ve only had minor things in 2 years, all of which were under the deductable for the warranty so we’ve not made any use of it. At this point we probably won’t extend it, but will simply put the money aside for future repairs.
      Nina

  3. Brian says:

    Excellent advice. Many people don’t know that “homeowner’s” liability coverage doesn’t come with a normal RV policy – you need to get a specific “fulltimer’s” policy for that. And not all insurance companies offer it.

    Our approach to insurance is to mostly self-insure. We only carry insurance for losses that would be financially devastating – health care and liability are the two biggies here. But even with these things, we opt for high deductibles. As a general rule, we won’t pay an insurance company a premium to cover risks we can manage on our own.

    Happy travels,
    Brian

    • libertatemamo says:

      Totally agree Brian. We’ve always carried high deductables specifically to cover catastrophic events only. For the minor stuff we plan to pay out-of-pocket ourselves. I (personally) think it’s the most logical approach.
      Nina

  4. kayjulia says:

    Oh my! What a subject just went through that about two months ago and my head is still spinning :/ Because I don’t have a toad I was limited to certain companies and the price was, to me, was outrageous. Just how many RVs are involved in traffic accidents each year anyhow? Most RVrs are mature drivers driving carefully with very good records. I don’t look forward to next year when I renew once again I’ll go through the wringer hoping that my “broker” is doing a good job and getting me a good offer.

    • libertatemamo says:

      It is a BEAST negotiating the whole insurance question. I’m certainly no expert, but I have to admit the brokers do make things a bit easier to understand. Hope you manage to get a good deal next time around!
      Nina

  5. kayjulia says:

    Oh I forgot …. I agree with Bob above let’s see some photos and a story about that fabulous island :D

  6. Alain says:

    Great Info! I am not sure if you are a member of the Holiday Rambler Recreational Vehicle Club, but if you are would it be possible to talk about it in a future post? Thanks, Alain

  7. Frank Swiger says:

    Owning a RV can be expensive but they sure are fun!! Thanks for the post.

  8. We ended up going with Geico as well, as we found their rates much better than everything else we found. We were also surprised when a few companies didn’t want to cover us because we’d be living in our RV full-time! Pshaw.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Very true. The whole “fulltime” thing can be complicated for alot of companies. Geico seems to have gotten on-board with the whole deal, but not all have.
      Nina

  9. Steve & Gari Currier says:

    Nina & Paul,
    Thank you for more fantastic information.
    Cheers,
    Steve & Gari

  10. Paul Dahl says:

    Timely information, thanks! I was just on the phone with Miller’s today and am waiting for a quote. Sold the house (closed today) and we’re officially fulltimers now. Heading to SD from VA to change licenses and registrations. Our current insurer, Nationwide doesn’t write in SD but goes through another vendor.

    We enjoy your blog, you have provided some great info for us newbies.

    • libertatemamo says:

      AWESOME!! Congrats on the upcoming fulltime lifestyle!! Fabulous!
      Let me know how your quote w/ Millers turns out. I’ve heard only good things about them.
      Nina

  11. BeckyIO says:

    You bring up an interesting point when it comes to RV insurance and towing. I hadn’t thought about it before, but I can see where RV insurance companies wouldn’t necessarily understand the complexity of towing a larger RV. My full-timing rig is going to be quite small though, but still, something to think about. Thanks Nina. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      I think for “beast size” like us it definitely makes a difference, but for smaller rigs it probably doesn’t matter. Almost every RVer Ive talked to who owns a larger rig uses either CoachNet or Good Sam’s.
      Nina

  12. Syl says:

    Another very informative post. We are about to make that huge step too. The house closing is in January so I need to change our address and get in touch with Miller’s soon. It’s an exciting time!
    Syl

  13. Mercedes says:

    Hi,
    I have been with State Farm for 30+yrs, with all my needs. I get major discounts because of that. Every 2yrs, I have my agent give me quotes for various deductibles. I always end up going with the lowest (0 or $100) because the premium savings on higher just don’t make sense for me.
    IE: $50 per yr savings for $500 deduct. One time paying $500 would take me 10yrs to recover. I have had about 1 claim every 5yrs, and they did not raise my rates. Each claim was about $2000.
    They do NOT offer full-timer coverage now (maybe they will in 3yrs when I hit the road). They said when the house sells, I will need to find another company to make sure I get enough coverage for my valuables on board. Currently my “extra” valuables are covered thru the homeowners policy.

    I am looking into Foremost, as they do offer it, and I already have them with one of my mobile homes. Foremost said they write a lot of full-timer policies.

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