Have Home, Will Travel: Protecting Your RV

American families own a record 9 million recreational vehicles, and that number is likely to grow as more adventurers opt for a “home on wheels” as a way to relax and see the country. In the first five months of 2016, about 186,000 RVs were shipped to dealers, an increase of more than 10% over the same period in 2015.1

If you own an RV or are planning to purchase one, it would be wise to understand the types of insurance coverage that are available. An RV is a hybrid — part vehicle, part home — so it generally requires more specialized insurance.

RV Policies
Though you might be able to add your RV to your automobile policy, doing so may not provide adequate coverage for personal possessions, accessories, and liability related to the RV lifestyle. A specific RV policy would typically include coverage similar to a standard auto policy, such as bodily injury, property damage liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist, comprehensive, collision, and medical payments (up to the policy limits), as well as additional options. Some policies may offer higher limits than standard auto policies and could provide a coverage package appropriate for recreational vehicles and the RV lifestyle. For example:

Total loss replacement — Provides a new, comparably equipped RV if your newer-model RV is damaged beyond repair within a specified time period (often the first several years). Other collision and comprehensive insurance options, which are typically less expensive than total loss replacement, would replace your RV based on market value or agreed value, depending on the coverage you choose.

Personal property — Pays for replacement of personal items in your RV, such as cameras and sporting goods. Standard homeowners insurance might cover personal items (up to policy limits) for the first 30 days, but the amount may be reduced significantly after that period.

Vacation liability — Pays for bodily injury and property damage losses that occur at your campsite or in the area around your RV.

Emergency expenses — Pays your expenses for hotels and transportation due to a covered loss.

Awning or custom equipment — Pays to replace a damaged awning or aftermarket equipment such as a satellite dish.

Other types of coverage that may be available include windshield damage, roadside assistance, fire department service charges, and special coverage for travel in Mexico.

Are You a Full-Timer?
If you live in your RV for extended periods of time, you may require full-timer coverage. The distinction between this type of coverage and standard RV coverage varies from company to company. For example, one company might define a full-timer as someone who lives in an RV for five or more months in one year, whereas another company may consider you a full-timer only if you have no other place of residence.

Typically, a full-timer policy is similar to a homeowners insurance policy, and it might offer additional coverage for items in a storage shed, expensive jewelry in your RV, or a golf cart that you drive in the area around your campground.

What’s Your Type?
RVs come in various shapes and sizes, including large Type A motorhomes, Type B motorhomes (van campers), Type C motorhomes (mini motorhomes), and travel trailers. If you are considering the purchase of a specialized RV insurance policy, or if you want to add your RV to your auto policy, check to see whether the insurance will cover the specific type of vehicle you own.

An RV can be a great way to travel, whether you’re on an extended trip or a quick getaway. Before you hit the road, be sure you have the appropriate protection.

1) Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, 2016

 

The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. This material was written and prepared by Emerald. Copyright 2016 Emerald Connect, LLC.