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Auto/RV Insurance Advice

Do you know what to look for in your coverage?

Auto and RV Insurance plans for RVers are a little different than your mainstream property insurance because there are specific things that you need to look for to protect you and your belongings while “living on the road”. Below is a thorough explanation of what you should look for when shopping and comparing plans. Many of these items are not standard with insurance plans so you need to discuss them with your agent/broker.

Total Loss Replacement (TLR) Coverage

TLR is a major difference between a standard auto policy and a specialized RV policy. It was first offered by Foremost Insurance back in the early 90’s, and soon all the other specialist companies followed suit. With total loss replacement coverage, if your RV is totaled, the insurance company either replaces your RV with a new comparably-equipped one or pays you your initial purchase price, depending upon the age of your unit at the time of loss. Essentially you’re protected from depreciation for the life of the policy. TLR coverage is usually only available to the original owner of an RV that is not more than 5 years old. Make sure you ask your agent/broker about TLR coverage!

 TIP: Ask if your insurer will allow you to pick your choice of manufacturer, floor plan, and color in the event of a Total Loss Replacement.

Actual Cash Value vs. Purchase Price Guarantee vs. Agreed Value

If your unit is used and TLR is not available then generally if there is a total loss claim you are paid the actual cash value (ACV)of your unit. Actual cash value is based on NADA or Kelley Blue Book current value of your unit. The goal of ACV is to return you to your pre-loss condition. If you owned a unit worth $100,000 (even if you paid $200,000) at the time of the total loss then you would be “made whole” by receiving the $100,000.

What if you have a bus conversion that doesn’t necessarily have a NADA or Kelley BB value? In this case you will want to make sure you upgrade your policy to include an agreed value for a total loss. This means that you and the insurance company agree on a dollar amount the vehicle is worth at the time the policy is written.

Another optional upgrade similar to agreed value is purchase price guarantee. Purchase price guarantee is usually only allowed on newer units. You are required to provide the bill of sale to show what you paid for the RV. This coverage guarantees reimbursement of the entire purchase price of the RV or travel trailer in the event of a total loss.

Full-Timer Coverage/Campsite Liability Coverage

If you own a home then you have liability coverage included in your homeowners insurance policy. This usually gives you the protection you need if someone is injured while on your property. But, what if someone is injured while on your campsite or inside your RV? This is where having Full-Timer Coverage coverage can help. Be sure and ask your insurance carrier if they offer this coverage option. It often can include coverage for personal effects as well. If you are not traveling full-time then you will want to ask about Campsite Liability Coverage instead. You do not need both (and usually can’t get both).

Personal Effects Coverage

Again, without a home and homeowner’s insurance many RVers have all of their personal belongings with them and are underinsured as a result. Make sure your policy covers your Personal Effects in your RV (or even your storage unit if you have one). Many RV specialty plans will offer coverage up to $100,000 for things like computers, clothes, jewelry, or any other valuable items inside your RV.

 TIP: Take photographs and itemize everything inside your RV so that you have a proper record in case of a claim. You should make two copies of these files–one you keep in a fireproof safe or off premises and one you provide to the insurance company.

Add-Ons and Tow Dollies

Make sure you discuss with your agent/broker whether or not things like tow dollies, satellite dishes, awnings, antennas, external bike racks, etc. are covered with your policy.

Emergency Travel Expenses

What if you have a significant RV breakdown and you need a place to stay, rental car, or need to be transported to another location if your RV is irreparable? You can ask your broker to include coverage for emergency travel expenses to protect you against such a loss.

Disappearing Deductibles

Disappearing deductibles are becoming more popular now as insurers look to attract and reward safe drivers. This is an optional coverage designed to reward good drivers by reducing comprehensive and collision deductibles by 25% of your original deductible for each claim-free year. If a loss occurs after four claim-free years, you pay no deductible on your claim.

Emergency Roadside Assistance and Towing

Most RV specialty policies include or offer emergency roadside assistance and towing with your coverage. However, it may be limited in scope. It may only cover towing you to the nearest qualified repair facility–which may not be where you want to go. Ask your agent/broker about more robust coverage for roadside assistance. Many RVers forego this option, preferring to purchase a dedicated emergency roadside assistance plan from Coach-Net or Good Sam’s. These plans are relatively inexpensive and provide significantly more coverage and options.

Discounts

You can save money on your premiums if you have multiple vehicles with the same insurance company. Ask your agent/broker about this option. Additionally, many insurers offer discounts if your auto/RV is equipped with a supplemental braking system or if you have taken a safe driving course.

This advice is general. Eligibility, benefits, discounts and coverages will vary from different insurers. Be sure and ask your agent/broker for details on these options and read your policy carefully once you receive it!

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