Insuring your RV or trailer isn’t always easy. Here are some things you should know…
Shopping for RV insurance can be a tedious task. Calling just to get a quote from multiple insurance companies — all with different levels of coverage that change based on RV type — isn’t our definition of fun. And it’s likely not what any RVers would call fun either.
That’s why a lot of RV owners tend to opt for bundling their RV insurance with their home and auto insurance. We’re sure you’ve heard the commercials about how that can save you money. However, while it is an easy solution on the surface, RVers going that route are often leaving savings and better coverage options on the table.
So, when purchasing RV insurance, before you settle on an insurance company, there are several things you should consider:
- Are you a full-time RVer or a weekend warrior?
- Are you going to be insuring a driveable or towable RV?
- Is your rig DIY or professionally upfitted?
- Do you plan on renting out your RV when you’re not using it?
All of these are questions you should ask yourself before deciding on coverage.
In the meantime, we’re here to talk all things RV insurance to help you decide on the best coverage plan, including:
- Insuring an RV you’re renting out
- Insurance for full-timers vs recreational RVers
- Coverage for DIY builds and professional conversions
- Insuring driveables vs towables
First, let’s say you decide to list your RV on Outdoorsy.
How to insure an RV you plan on renting out
RVs are often the second most expensive purchase someone will make outside of their home.
And, given that many of these RVs tend to sit idle throughout the year, along with the additional costs of storing an RV, the total cost of ownership for an RV can be very high.
Because of this, more and more RV owners are turning to rental marketplaces, like Outdoorsy, to make money renting out their rig when they’re not using it. In fact, RV owners who rent their RV on Outdoorsy can earn up to $50,000 per year!
Unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t allow RV owners to rent out their RV due to what’s called a “commercial use exclusion clause.” This clause prevents owners from renting out their rig, unless they have an expensive commercial insurance policy, resulting in insurance companies denying valid claims if you’re renting out your RV against the terms of your policy.
Luckily, if you are hoping to rent out your rig, there’s an RV insurance company made for people just like you — Roamly. The first RV insurance company to explicitly allow its customers to rent out their RV on peer-to-peer rental marketplaces like Outdoorsy, Roamly was created by RV owners for RV Owners.
RV owners who insure their rig with Roamly know they’ll be protected despite renting out their RV. In fact, in some markets, Roamly gives premium discounts to customers the more they rent out their vehicle on Outdoorsy. For those who rent out their vehicles the most, Roamly can provide up to a 35% discount in premiums through their Rent & Save Discount.
Now, let’s talk RV insurance for those always on the road.
RV insurance for full-timers vs recreational RVers
Full time RV insurance is designed to protect owners who use their RV either as a primary residence or who live in their RV six months out of the year. Compared to short-term coverage, or the standard insurance one would typically purchase for their RV, full time RV insurance is more similar to home insurance. It covers you for things like:
- personal liability
- property damage
- other losses that may happen while the RV is parked
Most recreational RVers will only need short-term coverage. Similar to a traditional auto insurance policy, short-term coverage for an RV covers:
- bodily injury and property damage liability
- comprehensive and collision
- medical payments coverage
- underinsured motorist coverage.
Unless you’re living in your RV 6 months out of the year, or using your RV as your primary residence, you’ll likely be opting for this type of coverage, which is typically cheaper than full time RV insurance.
Full time RV insurance, though more expensive than short-term coverage, provides additional coverages that are needed for the full-time RVer. Additional coverages that full time insurance provides are:
- vacation liability
- personal property coverage
- medical payments coverage
- loss assessment
- emergency expense coverage
- adjacent structures coverage
All this is offered with the benefit of diminishing deductibles.
All that said, coverage can vary based on the type of your RV — including if it’s a DIY build or conversion.
Coverage for DIY builds and professional conversions
One of the biggest and coolest trends in the RV space over the past 10 years has been the emergence of DIY builds and hundreds of new professional upfitters that are offering new and unique styles of conversion builds. The theme of “vanlife” seems to have taken over social media, and this modern style of RVing is bringing in a new generation to the RV lifestyle.
Unfortunately, these types of rigs can be notoriously difficult to insure. Most insurance companies have very rigid definitions of what they consider an RV and instill very strict requirements in order to insure conversions or DIY builds.
If a build doesn’t satisfy all of the requirements to be considered an RV — and oftentimes they won’t — the rig will instead be insured as a traditional automobile. Not only is this typically more expensive, but typical auto insurance policies don’t cover the internal contents of the build. This means, you’ll also likely have to purchase supplemental insurance to cover those items.
There are select companies, like Roamly, that are able to insure DIY and professional conversions as an RV. Not only can this save you money on premiums, but it will provide more comprehensive coverage for the vehicle and the internal components like refrigerators, stovetops, and bathroom amenities.
With that said, there are still some things you should consider like:
- Actual Cash Value vs Agreed Upon Value
- Renting out conversions or DIY builds
- Necessary documentation
Should I insure my build at Actual Cash Value or Agreed Upon Value?
Both options have their advantages, and have separate requirements. Insuring your build at Actual Cash Value typically comes with lower premiums, but generally has a lower total payout in the event your rig is totaled. Agreed Upon Value usually has higher premiums, but higher total compensation when you file a claim.
Do I plan on renting out my conversion or DIY build?
Because of how popular campervans and Conversion rigs are these days, they typically see the highest rental prices and most overall utilization on platforms like Outdoorsy.
Take Getaway Vanz for example. Starting out with just one campervan in 2020, this RV rental business has grown to three vans and one outfitted jeep with a rooftop tent and pull out kitchen. Just in 2021, Greg Powers, founder of Getaway Vanz, completed 62 bookings and earned $65,000 in revenue on Outdoorsy.
If you plan to rent out your vehicle as a way to subsidize your costs, make sure you insure your rig with a policy that allows you to rent it out.
What sort of documentation do I need to insure my build as an RV?
Based on whether you’d like to insure your rig at Actual Cash Value or Agreed Upon Value, there will be different requirements for documentation you’ll need in order to insure your rig as an RV. Here are the basic pieces of information you’ll want to have.
Agreed Upon Value
For DIY builds, you’ll need a 3rd party appraiser to help determine the value of your build. For professionally upfitted builds, you’ll need a buildout sheet from the upfitter as well as pictures of the rig’s interior and exterior. For both types of coverage, you’ll also need a bill of sale for the vehicle that was purchased.
Actual Cash Value
For actual cash value, you’ll need an itemized list of all of the components that went into the building of the vehicle. This list will be for your records and will help insure all of the materials from the build are covered in the event you need to make a claim.
Insuring driveables vs towables
There aren’t many significant differences when it comes to insuring a driveable RV and a towable RV. Coverages for towable RVs are typically cheaper given that there are fewer mechanical components, like an engine or transmission, that could fail while you’re using it.
Coverages for both driveables and towables will include coverage for comprehensive and collision that you’d find in both typical short-term or full-time coverage.
The primary difference is that with a towable RV, your policy won’t include liability coverage. Instead, the vehicle you’re using to tow your rig will include liability coverage in the event you’re in an accident. This is another reason why insuring a towable vehicle is typically cheaper than insuring a driveable rig.
Find the best RV insurance for YOU
There are several things to consider when insuring your RV, and the only way to make sure you get the right coverage at the best price is to shop around. While bundling an RV with your existing home and auto policy is easy, you may be leaving money on the table or not getting coverage that provides everything you need.
About Roamly – As the first RV-focused insurtech, Roamly is a great place to start. Roamly provides insurance for RVs in all sorts of shapes and sizes and gives you the ability to rent out your vehicle on platforms like Outdoorsy when other companies don’t. RVers who switch to Roamly save an average of 25% on their RV insurance. And, as a Harvest Hosts partner, Roamly offers Harvest Host members with an immediate 10% discount in select markets. It only takes a few minutes to get a free quote from Roamly and see big savings for the coverage you need.
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