How Does Recreational Vehicle (RV) Insurance Work?

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Your recreational vehicle (RV) is part home and part vehicle. You have house insurance and car insurance – but does either policy cover your RV?

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how recreational vehicle (RV) insurance works, including how to get the best deals on RV insurance while ensuring you’re fully covered.

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RV Insurance Works Similar to Ordinary Vehicle Insurance

Overall, RV insurance works similar to every other type of vehicle insurance. You pay a premium in exchange for coverage. You can choose different coverage options depending on your risk aversion and your budget.

A typical RV insurance policy will cover all of the following:

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Types of RV Insurance

Not all RVs are made alike. Some RVs are glorified camper vans. Others are $200,000 mansions rolling down the highway. That’s why RV insurance policies come in all different varieties.

RV insurance depends on the class of the vehicle, how much you use it, whether you live in the vehicle full-time, and other factors. The three main classes of RV coverage include:

Class A: Class A RVs include luxury coaches, converted buses, and similar vehicles. A Class A plan typically covers RVs up to 75 feet long.

Class B: Class B RVs are the smallest type of RV. Certain cargo vans are considered Class B vehicles. Travel trailers and camper vans can also fall under this category. These vehicles do not have a cab-over.

Class C: The Class C category includes vehicles that use a standard cargo van as the driving portion of the RV with the camper portion extending over the cab area. Fifth wheel vehicles are included in this category.

Am I Legally Required to Buy RV Insurance?

You are legally required to have liability insurance when driving any vehicle on a public road in the United States. If you’re planning on driving your RV on a public road, then you need liability insurance at a minimum.

Most states do not have special requirements for RV liability limits: in most states, you’re required to have the same amount of liability coverage on an RV as you do on a smaller vehicle. If you are required to have $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage, for example, then that requirement is the same on an RV insurance policy and a car insurance policy.

Do I Need a Separate RV Insurance Policy?

Sometimes, your RV can be insured under your normal car insurance policy. Contact your insurance company and inform them that you have a new vehicle to add to your policy.

However, you may need to buy a separate RV insurance policy if your RV meets the following requirements:

  • Your RV is a Class A or Class B motorhome, as listed above
  • Your RV is a rental vehicle
  • You do not fully own the RV (i.e. you are leasing or financing the RV)

If you do not fully own the RV, then the financing company is using the RV as collateral. Just like with a car loan, you will be required to have full coverage. This protects the lender. Adding full coverage to an RV can be considerably more expensive than just having basic liability coverage, although it also protects your RV against all types of unexpected damages.

If you’re renting an RV, then the rental RV dealer will typically include insurance in the price of the rental. Or, the company may have short-term insurance policies available for purchase. Your ordinary car insurance policy might also extend to rental RVs. However, we recommend contacting your car insurance company to verify this before you hit the road.

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When is RV Insurance Not Required?

Your RV does not always require RV insurance. Times when insurance is optional include:

  • When your RV is towable but is not driveable (Class C)
  • When you fully own your RV and live in a state that does not require RV Insurance or liability insurance

There’s only one state in America that does not require liability insurance for drivers: New Hampshire. In all other states, you will need liability insurance before hitting the road.

Full Coverage is Generally the Best Option for an RV

Generally, RV owners buy full coverage insurance policies. RVs are much more valuable than a car. They may also be susceptible to more types of damage: you might leave your RV parked outdoors instead of parked in a garage, for example.

Unless you can afford to pay for all RV damages, repairs, and replacements out of pocket, it’s likely in your best interest to maintain full coverage on your RV. Full coverage protects you against any collision-related damages. It also protects you against fires, floods, hail damage, and other unexpected events.

On an older RV, however, full coverage may not be worth the price. In this case, you might want to self-insure your vehicle while maintaining the bare minimum legal liability requirements.

What is Full-Timers Insurance?

Full-timers insurance is a special type of RV insurance that covers all types of situations that occur in and around your RV.

If you live full-time in your RV – say, if you’re retired and driving around North America – then you may want to buy full-timers insurance.

Full-timers insurance isn’t actually car insurance: it falls under your homeowner’s insurance policy. It covers things that car insurance might not cover, including the medical expenses of those injured in or around the RV.

Full-timers insurance can also include something called emergency expense coverage. This insurance will cover your travel and accommodation expenses while your RV is being repaired. If your RV is damaged and you need to stay in a hotel for a week, for example, then your emergency expense coverage might kick in.

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Conclusion: Compare RV Insurance Quotes Online Today

Most major insurance companies in the United States also offer recreational vehicle (RV) insurance. Sometimes, this policy can easily be added under your ordinary car insurance policy. In other cases, it’s in your best interest to buy specialty RV insurance coverage – say, if you have a new RV and want to cover all unexpected damages.

To learn more about RV insurance options in your area, compare RV insurance quotes online today.

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