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When your home meets your auto
Insurance can be incredibly specific. If you have vehicles that fall under different category types, chances are your insurance provider has a separate policy for it. Consider recreational vehicle insurance: it encompasses many of the same aspects as renters and auto insurance but with its own quirks. Typically, insurance companies won’t allow you to add your RV to your personal auto policy. So, in order to get complete coverage, you have to get a separate policy for your RV.
Most policies include liability, comprehensive and collision, and under/uninsured motorist coverage. Let’s break it down.
Liability coverage ensures that any damage you cause to someone else’s property or vehicle is covered. For simplicity, it's broken down into bodily injury and property damage limits, just like your auto. Bodily injury limits are specified on a per person and per accident basis whereas property damage coverage is on a per accident level only. For instance, if your policy has limits at 30/60/25, you would be covered up to $30,000 per person for bodily injury damages and $60,000 maximum if you injure multiple people in an accident. The final 25 refers to the $25,000 of coverage for damage you cause to someone else's property.
And, just like your auto insurance, minimum RV insurance matches the auto insurance requirement for each state. Check out our RV limits table to find the minimum insurance required in your state.
Like your car, collision and comprehensive insurance pay for damage to your RV. Collision refers to damages that occur when your RV hits another vehicle or fixed object. Comprehensive, or sometimes called "other than collision", covers things like theft, animal collision, falling objects, and vandalism.
Collision and comprehensive coverage also feature deductibles, which is your portion of financial responsibility for claiming damage to your RV. The amount of deductible for comprehensive or collision coverage varies per your choice but can range from $250 to $2,500. A helpful hint if you're trying to lower your insurance premium by changing your deductible is the inverse relationship between the two — meaning that if you increase your deductible, you decrease your premium (AKA your bill).
This extends to your RV in the event of an accident where the other party either does not have insurance or does not have enough coverage to pay for all of the injuries they caused in an accident. The coverage is broken down similarly to liability, using a split-limit format where the coverage amounts correspond to a per person/per accident limit. Some states require you to have uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage, while others do not. Check our state-by-state breakdown below to see if it's required in your state.
While the above coverage describes more of a basic form of coverage for your RV, if you live in your RV full-time or have expensive upgrades or features, you should consider the following additional coverages.
This coverage extends to things like furniture, satellite dishes, sporting equipment, or camping supplies that you might have in your RV. This is unique to your RV policy as auto insurance usually doesn’t extend to personal property. The exact deductibles and limits of personal property vary per policy as well as per individual.
Considering the amount of time you spend with your RV on the road, having a towing service can be vital. While it varies per insurance company, roadside service for RVs typically has high-limit coverage to account for the large vehicle size.
If you’re using your RV as your full-time residence, this is the type of coverage you need. It works similar to a homeowners policy in that it offers higher personal liability and medical payments for injured visitors, in addition to coverage for any items you keep in storage while you’re traveling.
The exclusions for your RV vary per insurance carrier. Typically, however, travel trailers or other towed vehicles would require a separate policy — didn’t we warn insurance was specific? Moreover, if you plan on taking your RV out of the US and into Canada or Mexico, you should consult with your insurance company. While coverage to Canada varies, typically Mexico is not a covered location for insurance companies but can sometimes be added onto your policy for an additional premium increase.
When you're quoted for an RV insurance policy, it's likely your insurer will inquire how many months out of the year you'll be spending traveling in your RV, and rate your premium accordingly. Whether you're a full-timer or part-timer, RV insurance covers you while traveling and at the site you're staying at.
If you're a full-timer whose primary residence is your RV, your coverage needs would differ compared to someone who occasionally takes the RV out for vacations and weekend trips. The full-timer coverage you would want if you lived in your RV would look more like the union of a homeowners or renters policy and a car insurance policy. In addition to coverage for your personal property, it would also be a good idea to add personal liability if your full-timers policy doesn't already include it. Though a typical RV policy comes with liability coverage, this only covers you for accidents while on the road as opposed to liability for injuries that may occur in or around the RV. You can also consider adding an endorsement for replacement cost — instead of actual cash value, which deducts for depreciation — so you don't find yourself financially underwater if your RV residence is totaled.
If you're more of a recreational, or part-time, RV traveler, it could be a good idea to have additional coverage like vacation liability as another layer of protection in your RV insurance policy. While your auto liability covers you for accidents while driving the RV, vacation liability extends your liability coverage to cover accidents that may happen in or around the parked RV while you're on vacation.