2 min read

RV Insurance v. Car Insurance: What's the Difference?

Apr 16, 2014 4:04:00 AM

rv insuranceSince a recreational vehicle (RV) is a motor vehicle similar to a car, most insurance companies are willing to issue a policy. Problems arise, however, when RV owners try to shoehorn RV coverage into a typical auto policy, which can cause gaps in coverage.

To be clear, recreational vehicles are large motor vehicles or tow-able trailers that are intended for camping or extensive traveling. An RV will often have a living space and basic amenities like a kitchen and bathroom. A "full-timer" in RV lingo means owners who spend all of their time in the RV; full-timers are often retired couples touring the United States, for example.

Specialized RV Insurance

Specialized insurance coverage for recreational vehicles can help fill in the gaps associated with insuring an RV with typical auto coverage. RV insurance often covers emergency expenses, total-loss replacement or agreed value, and campsite liability as well as appropriate tow-truck coverage and full-timer liability.

Full-Timers Insurance

These policies provide liability coverage similar to that provided by homeowner's insurance to cover loss or damages that come with parking an RV or using an RV as a primary residence. Because the RV is being used more extensively than either occasional RV users or car owners, full-timers insurance covers medical expenses of those incurring injury in and around the RV as well as emergency-treatment coverage.

Campsite-Liability Insurance

Campsite-liability insurance is intended for RV users who only occasionally use their RV as their dwelling place. This type of policy is designed for those who periodically use their RV on camping sites and includes many of the same benefits as full-timers insurance like medical expenses of bystanders or RV residents.

RV Emergency Expense Coverage

Some RV insurers offer to remunerate RV owners for expenses incurred while the RV is being worked on as long as two conditions are met: 1) the losses occurred within a set distance from the RV (e.g., < 60 miles) and 2) the losses were incurred by the RV owners while repairs were being made to the vehicle. Housing as well as meals and the cost of traveling back to a stable residence would all be examples of costs covered by RV emergency expense coverage.

RV Insurance vs Car Insurance

Specialized RV insurance often features higher liability thresholds than typical car insurance. This makes intuitive sense since RVs are sometimes employed as an owner's primary residence, and the cost of owning and operating an RV is often higher.

Also, due to the size of and issues involved with handling a vehicle as massive as an RV, insurers equate higher liability thresholds with an RV's ability to wreak more damage on smaller vehicles in an accident. The higher liability limits that specialized RV insurers dole out in part compensate for this increased RV risk while offering RV enthusiasts more financial security and peace of mind.

Another difference between insuring an RV and a typical car is that RV coverage can often be suspended when the RV is placed in storage. This makes sense, as collision coverage would hardly be an issue when the RV is out of commission and in a long-term storage lot or trailer home. Especially for retired couples on a budget, this is a budget-snipping measure that makes a lot of financial sense.

What Type of Coverage Do You Need?

If you own an RV, it is worth talking with your insurance advisor to learn what type of coverage is best given the type of vehicle you have and the way you intend to use it.

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Written by Gibson

Gibson is a firm of advisors and consultants that help clients get to the proactive side of insurance. We specialize in working with companies looking to find their edge—where they are growing as an organization, differentiating themselves in the marketplace, and preparing for current and future risk. Together we will find the perfect combination of insurance and consulting.