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Basics of RV Insurance

4 Key Questions on RV Insurance

Recreational vehicles can be a great way to experience the open road while offering a comfortable home away from home. But RVs are a big investment, ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure your expensive home on wheels is protected by RV insurance. Need to know the basics? Read on for more.

What is RV insurance?

As with auto insurance, RV insurance protects you from excessive financial losses in case of an unfortunate event like an accident or theft and can help if you need roadside assistance. An RV insurance policy may provide coverage for personal injuries, vehicle repairs or legal liability if you are responsible for someone else’s injuries or damaged property.

What coverages does RV insurance include?

As plans that cover street vehicles, most RV policies include coverages similar to car insurance.

  • Bodily injury liability coverage covers you if you or a driver insured under your policy causes an injury to someone else, including pedestrians, passengers in the RV or people in other vehicles. This type of coverage can also cover your legal defense if injury claims are brought against you, as well as damages assessed against you if you’re found liable.
  • Property damage liability coverage protects you if you’re found at fault in an accident that damages another person’s property, like a building or another vehicle. It can also help cover your defense costs or court-assessed damages in case of a lawsuit.
  • Collision coverage helps cover repairs or replacement if your RV is damaged in a crash.
  • Comprehensive coverage applies if your RV is stolen or damaged by fire, vandalism or weather damage such as hail.
  • Uninsured/underinsured coverage protects you in case you’re in an accident where the other party doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for the injuries or damage they cause.

Many extra RV coverages also exist, some of which aren’t offered for regular street vehicles like cars or trucks. These may include:

  • Roadside assistance, which helps tow your RV to a repair facility, gets you back on the road by fixing minor breakdowns like dead batteries, flat tires or fuel deliveries, and frees your RV if you’re stuck in mud or snow.
  • Emergency expense coverage may cover or reimburse your food, transportation or lodging expenses if your RV is disabled far from your home.
  • Permanent attachments coverage covers the costs of custom, fixed attachments to your RV like antennas or awnings.
  • Personal belongings or effects coverage covers the cost of personal property stored in your RV up to a certain amount, since RVs often contain more personal property than regular cars.
  • Vacation liability is a special form of liability coverage. It can pay for bodily injuries and property damage from an accident that occurs while you’re using your RV as a temporary vacation residence.

Different insurers may offer different coverages, so be sure to comparison shop to find the right combination of coverages for you and your RV. Finally, there’s also a special type of liability coverage called full-timer’s coverage, which is similar to vacation liability, but is designed for people who use their RVs as permanent residences. In that sense, it shares some similarities to homeowners insurance.

Is RV insurance required in Washington?

It depends, because there are different types of RVs. If your RV has its own motor (like a motor home), you’ll need liability insurance for it, just like you need insurance for your car. In Washington state, minimum required limits are as follows:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident

If your RV is a trailer like a pop-up or a travel trailer that you tow behind a separate vehicle, RV insurance isn’t required since the liability coverage from your auto plan will generally also apply to the trailer, as long as it’s listed in your policy. While optional, insuring a trailer might still be a good idea. For one thing, while your auto liability insurance may extend to your trailer, you probably will need to buy comprehensive, collision and other coverages separately.

How much does RV insurance cost?

Like other types of insurance, the cost depends on many factors. Because RVs are street vehicles, your driving record, age, location and credit history will play a part in determining your rate. So will the type of RV you are insuring, as well as whether you’re using your RV recreationally or as a primary residence. And of course, the policy limits and deductible you choose will make a difference in the cost of your premium. Remember to compare quotes from various companies to find the best coverage at a rate that fits your budget.

– Written by Arnie Aurellano, last updated in December 2022.

–Top photo is by iStock.

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