By Russ and Tiña De Maris
When you move to full-timing, you might assume your homeowner’s insurance will cover your RV adequately. But rather than making that assumption when you take the plunge, it would be prudent to talk to an insurance agent or company that “speaks RV” to make sure all aspects of your new full-time RV lifestyle are covered.
Sticks-and-bricks insurance protects you from loss: The house burns, the burglars burgle, the unexpected (and probably) uninvited one trips over your rake and breaks a leg. These losses can be real – and hugely expensive. Not just “any” insurance company will be able to handle your new circumstances on the road. Really, it’s best to talk to companies that are completely literate and often specialize in RV insurance.
Years back, it was difficult to find an insurance company who could speak “RV,” and especially “full-time RV.” Now there are companies who advertise for full-time RVer business. Nevertheless, it’s a great idea to have an agent where possible. We’ve found an agent can help you sort out the finer details, and will often take the time to see you as a person with needs, rather just as an account.
A few things to keep in mind: The first at the top of the list is simply – ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS. Never take anything for granted. Can you assume “RV replacement insurance” will completely replace your “totaled” RV? Yes? No? Maybe? The latter is probably the most likely answer. Replacement insurance should replace your rig, but there may be limitations like, “For the first five years after manufacture.” Or possibly, “Yes, but not for ‘add-ons’ like awnings, solar panels, etc.”
What about liability? While it’s true you don’t own “real estate,” what happens around your rig when it’s parked somewhere can run up a big bill for you. Somebody walks around the corner of your rig while it’s parked in an RV park and bonks their head on your slideout. Seems like they ought to be smart enough to keep their eyes open, but in this litigious society, lots of dummies like to sue. Can you afford a lawsuit?
Contents? Ah, the glories of contents. Some insurance companies base how much they’ll pay you for “loss of contents” based on a percentage of the value of the rig. If you’re a big gadget geek, a percentage of how much your rig is worth may not even come close to replacing your fancy treasures.
Not all full-timers have insurance. Some are “self-insured” because they figure they have enough in the bank to cover any contingency. Some are “self-insured” because they don’t have enough money in the bank to cover the cost of the premiums. It’s a gamble any way you look at it. Nevertheless, when shopping for coverage, always ask questions.