RV Insurance 101: What is RV Insurance & How Does It Work?

RV insurance cover photo

Whether you’re thinking about purchasing a recreational vehicle (like a motorhome, travel trailer, or camper) or you’ve already bought one, it’s important to think about how that purchase will impact your insurance needs.

We admit: Thinking about RV insurance is nowhere near as fun as thinking about the adventures that owning an RV allows you to have. But ensuring that you are properly covered doesn’t just protect you and your family financially — in certain cases, RV insurance is required by law.

With this in mind, below we take a closer look at RV insurance and answer common questions to help you make an informed decision.

What is RV insurance?

RV insurance is a specific type of insurance designed to cover recreational vehicles like motorhomes.

In many ways, RV insurance is similar to auto insurance, providing the same types of coverage that you would expect to find in your car insurance policy. Depending on the specifics of your policy, this may include: Damage to someone else’s property or vehicle caused by your RV, damage inflicted on your RV during an accident or other covered event, medical bills (for yourself and others) caused by an accident involving your RV, and legal expenses.

What does RV insurance cover?

As is the case with auto insurance, exactly what is covered by your RV insurance policy will depend on the policy that you choose. That being said, the following types of coverage are typically available:

1. RV Collision Coverage

If you were to collide with another vehicle or a fixed object like a tree, fence, house, or other structure while driving your RV, collision coverage would cover the damage to the RV itself, helping you to repair or replace the vehicle.

Typically, RV insurance provides coverage up to the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle, which is the value of the vehicle at the time that it is being replaced after factoring in considerations like depreciation, much like auto insurance. In most cases, the amount that you receive as a payout from your insurer will be less than the amount that would be required to replace the vehicle fully.

That being said, many insurers offer total loss replacement cost coverage, which insures the vehicle at its replacement cost instead of its ACV. In the event that you were to experience a total loss, replacement cost coverage would ensure that you’d be able to replace your RV.

Likewise, many insurers offer what is known as agreed value loss coverage, which empowers you and your insurer to come together to agree upon how much coverage your vehicle is eligible for. This form of coverage is often utilized for custom RVs, bus conversions, and others which may not have a standard market price.

Collision coverage may provide coverage regardless of who is at fault for the accident, though you will need to meet your deductible before coverage kicks in.

2. RV Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is designed to cover your RV from damages and loss that occur outside of a collision or accident. This often includes theft and vandalism; damage from falling branches, rocks, and other debris; acts of nature; damage from collision with animals like deer;  and more. As a rule of thumb, if damage is caused to your RV by an event out of your control, comprehensive coverage may provide you with protection.

As with collision insurance, the amount paid out for comprehensive coverage will typically be determined by the vehicle’s actual cash value unless you purchase additional coverage. You will need to meet your deductible before comprehensive coverage kicks in.

3. RV Liability Coverage

If you are found to be at fault for an accident involving your RV, liability coverage is designed to kick in and cover expenses for the impacted parties. Liability coverage includes damage to property (such as other vehicles, homes, structures, landscaping, etc.) as well as injuries to individuals outside of your vehicle (such as other drivers and their passengers).

Most states require vehicles, including RVs, to carry a minimum level of liability insurance.

4. RV Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In an ideal world, every driver would carry enough insurance to fully cover not only themselves, but anyone else involved in an accident where they were at fault.

But we don’t live in an ideal world, and it’s possible that you may be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, or someone who has insurance but not enough to cover all of the expenses that you’ve incurred due to an accident where they were at fault.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is designed to step in in these cases. This coverage is required in some, but not all, states.

5. RV Medical Payments Coverage

If you or your passengers are injured during an accident involving your RV, medical payments coverage would kick in to cover associated medical costs. Typically, you select the amount of medical payments coverage that you’d like. Coverage applies regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

Additional Coverages

In addition to those mentioned above, you can often add a number of other optional coverages to your RV insurance policy, such as:

  • Vacation Liability Coverage: The above liability coverages typically only apply to your RV when it is being driven. Vacation liability coverage protects you for those times that your RV is parked and being used as a temporary home. In many ways, it can be thought of as homeowners insurance for your RV.
  • Roadside Assistance: This optional coverage kicks in when you need a tire change, jumpstart, tow, or other form of roadside assistance when driving your RV.
  • Glass Replacement: While glass is often covered under the coverages discussed above, it sometimes is not. In cases where glass damages are not covered, optional glass replacement coverage can be a wise addition to your policy.
  • And more

How does RV insurance work?

RV insurance works much like other forms of insurance you may be more familiar with, such as auto insurance or homeowners insurance.

To be covered, you must first purchase an RV insurance policy. Your policy outlines key information, including:

  • The types of coverage that you are purchasing
  • The amount of coverage you are purchasing
  • Exceptions to coverage (i.e., what is specifically not covered)
  • Your deductible
  • Amongst other information

After you have agreed on your policy coverages, in order to maintain coverage you will need to make your premium payments. depending on your carrier, these may either be paid monthly or in lump sums (such as once every six months).

When you are covered by your policy, if you are involved in a covered accident, you must submit a claim to your insurer in order for your policy to kick in. Before your carrier steps in to pay for damages, you will first need to meet the deductible outlined in your policy.

Is RV insurance required?

It depends.

If an RV is motorized and designed to be driven independently of another vehicle, the RV must be ensured according to the state’s minimum coverage requirements. This means that in most cases, the motorhome is required to be covered by insurance.

As a rule of thumb, if a state requires car insurance for private passenger vehicles, then they will also require insurance for a motorized RV.

By comparison, if your RV is designed to be towed by another vehicle such as a truck, then coverage is typically not required by law — though it is still a good idea. Travel trailers, campers, and other towable RVs that do not have their own motors fall under this category. In some cases, RVs which are towed will be covered by your existing auto insurance policy, but it’s important to check your policy before making assumptions.

Who needs RV insurance?

As mentioned above, if your RV has its own engine and is drivable on its own without being towed, then you are most likely required by law to carry RV insurance. But even if coverage is not required by law, there are other instances where you may be required to carry insurance.

If you have financed the purchase of your RV, for example, your lender may require you to carry an appropriate level of insurance. The same may be true in cases where you have leased your RV as opposed to purchasing it outright. Failure to carry adequate levels of RV insurance in either of these cases may lead to the termination of your lease or loan agreement.

Evaluating your options

In most cases, if you own a motorhome or other motorized recreational vehicle, purchasing RV insurance may be in your best interest.

Exactly what types of coverage and how much coverage are right for you will depend on a number of factors, including the requirements of the state that you live in as well as your own personal budget, ability to weather a surprise expense in the event of an accident, and risk tolerance.

Here at Matic, our goal is to make buying insurance as easy, stress-free, and affordable as possible, whether that’s car insurance, homeowners insurance, or RV insurance. All it takes is a few questions and a few minutes to get your own personalized quote — give us a call today.

This Blog/Vlog/Website is made available by Matic Insurance Services, Inc. for educational and informational purposes only. Matic makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of the information contained herein. Insurance products and services described may not be offered in all states. Eligibility for insurance will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time. A Matic Insurance Agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.