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Everyone who owns a recreational vehicle (RV), also called a motor home, should consider getting an insurance policy to protect their investment. Since RVs can be part-time or full-time residences and be driven, they have specific policies that are a hybrid of auto insurance and homeowners insurance. This guide will explain how to shop for an RV insurance policy and how they are priced.
Getting An RV Insurance Quote
The most important part of shopping for RV insurance is gathering quotes from different companies and comparing them to determine the best one for you. If you have an existing homeowners or auto insurer, check to see if they provide RV insurance as well. You might be able to take advantage of a bundling discount too. Otherwise, getting a quote online or through your local insurance agency will be a good start.
If you prefer to handle most of your insurance shopping online, we found that not many insurance companies actually quote for RVs on their websites. We came across two large and national carriers, Progressive and National General, that actually provide RV insurance quotes online. Others, such as GEICO, claim to generate online quotes, but once you submit your information, the carrier will require you to call an agent to get a quote. Some companies will send you an email letting you know your information will be evaluated and that an agent get in touch with you.
Nevertheless, you should collect quotes from at least three different companies, even if that means calling an agent or visiting an insurance carrier’s local office. Remember a number of things need to be considered when choosing any insurance policy, besides the cost. We don't recommend automatically purchasing the least expensive policy, since it might not be the best fit for your needs.
How Much Does RV Insurance Cost?
In our comparison of two quotes for RV insurance, the policy cost less with Progressive ($1,278 annual premium) than with National General ($1,593 annual premium). Keep in mind that this is a limited example of how the cost to insure the same RV can differ between carriers. This is why you should shop for multiple quotes if affordability is a concern. Your personal profile and location also affect the cost of RV insurance, much like factors that determine auto insurance rates.
Below are sample quotes we collected from Progressive and National General to give consumers one example of the cost of insuring an RV and the need to shop for quotes. The recreational vehicle we used in this example is a 2016 Winnebago Vista LX, an RV model from one of the best-selling motor home manufacturers in the U.S. The quotes were for a 30-year-old married male in California who is the original owner of the RV and has a clean driving record.
|Annual Rates to Insure a 2016 Winnebago Vista LX|
Progressive (Choice Package)
Below are the details of the sample coverage. Most carriers that offer RV insurance have packages of coverage to choose from or you can build a customized policy. We selected Progressive’s Choice Package, which is their middle tier offering that includes more coverage than their Basic Package but less than their Plus Package. We then customized a National General policy to match Progressive’s Choice package for our example. Increasing or reducing the coverage for any of the below amounts will impact the cost of the annual premium.
Types of RV Coverage
|Sample Coverage Amounts|
|$250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident/$100,000 property damage|
|$250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident|
|$5,000 per person|
Physical Damage Options
|Total Loss Replacement/Purchase Price|
Insuring a Motor Home for Replacement vs. Cash Value
To better understand the impact specific coverages have on the cost of an RV policy, we tested how changing the amount of protection would impact Progressive’s Basic Package RV insurance rates. As expected, annual rates fluctuated. Take a look at the difference in price our example 30-year-old married man faced between choosing total loss replacement coverage instead of cash value coverage. His quote for a basic policy from Progressive costs only $880 but that covers the cash value of the RV. The same policy that covers the total replacement costs him $964. Although RVs do not deteriorate in value as dramatically as automobiles, their value does diminish, making total replacement cost coverage more expensive that cash value.
Progressive RV Insurance (Basic Package)
With Cash Value Replacement Coverage
With Total Replacement Cost
Using Your RV for Leisure vs. Residential Use
Insuring a motor home that is a permanent residence, and not exclusively a leisure vehicle, is more expensive. The reason is that someone living in an RV could be spending more time on the road and will be cooking more and potentially having more guests, all of which increase the odds of something happening and resulting in a claim. Let's consider the example we used above for a Progressive Choice Package. Compared to using your RV for pleasure, living in your RV would mean a $332 or 26% increase in our sample RV owner's insurance premiums.
Progressive RV Insurance (Choice Package)
Other Insurance Coverage for Your Recreational Vehicle
The same applies for other coverages, whether a policyholder is increasing them, decreasing them or adding a new one entirely. We’ve detailed a few to keep in mind below.
GAP Coverage: Since the cost of an RV is much more than the amount most people spend on an automobile, it is a good idea to consider GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) coverage. GAP coverage protects policyholders in the event their vehicle is totaled and they owe more to a lender than what an insurance company will pay for the cash value.
Personal Belongings: Motor homes, especially ones inhabited full-time, have many personal possessions. To protect them, RV policies cover the cost of replacing them, similar to the way a home insurance policy covers personal effects. The claim limit included in most RV policies is usually between $1,000 and $5,000 or up to 10% of the limit of liability but policyholders can purchase additional coverage. The value of the contents kept inside the motor home will determine how much additional coverage one needs, and affect the additional cost accordingly. The more coverage you need, the more your rate will increase.
US vs. International: If you plan on taking your RV out of the U.S. to either Canada or Mexico, we suggest double checking the details of your policy beforehand. Like auto insurance, your standard RV policy might not cover you outside of the country - especially in Mexico. You might need to notify your insurance company and purchase additional coverage from a provider in your destination country.
How are RV Insurance Quotes Calculated?
Like auto and homeowners insurance, a lot goes into calculating RV insurance rates. Rates are determined by several factors including the vehicle class, model, year, whether the RV is a full-time residence and where it is parked the majority of the time.
For example, the cost to insure different RV models can vary greatly because of the price range of RVs. You can find a used Class A RV in decent condition for as low as $50,000 or purchase a new, fully-loaded 2016 American Eagle by American Coach for roughly $770,000. The cost to insure each one will differ, the same way the cost would to insure a Honda Civic instead of a Ferrari.
RV Insurance Discounts
You might be eligible for motor home insurance discounts similar to those that can be applied to auto and homeowners insurance policies. For example, carriers typically offer a discount to customers who purchase more than one policy from the company. The practice, frequently called “bundling,” can mean substantially lower rates - sometimes as much as 22% on a policy.
Carriers also give a discount to RV policyholders who have enrolled in and completed an RV safety course. For example, Nationwide Insurance offers a 10% discount for completion of the RV Safety and Education Foundation course, as well as others.
Most insurance companies also give a discount to policyholders who are members of RV clubs and association. Some of these include the National RV Association and the Family Motor Coach association (FMCA).
When Your RV Is Ineligible for Insurance
There are several things that might cause your RV to ineligible for coverage:
- Motor homes of excessive value (usually $1 million or more)
- Converted school buses
- Other vehicles that are not professionally built
- Motor home that was damaged and not adequately repaired