Do you need RV insurance?

Depending on the type of RV you own, your regular car insurance may provide some protection — but some types of RVs have different insurance requirements.

Andrew Hurst

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Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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By

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, she was a regional consultant at Fidelity Investments for nine years.

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Unlike other vehicles, recreational vehicles (RV) don’t always require a separate insurance policy. Your existing car insurance policy may extend protection to RVs, including campers, caravans, and travel trailers, as long as they're towed by your vehicle.

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While insurance is optional for many people with RVs, you must get car insurance for a recreational vehicle (RV) that you drive. Like a regular vehicle, most states require motorized RVs to be insured with a minimum amount of liability insurance. More specialized insurance is available for RVs, campers, and travel trailers that offer better protection than a standard auto insurance policy.

Key takeaways

  • While you need a separate insurance policy to drive a motorized RV, your existing auto insurance offers some coverage to towed campers and travel trailers.

  • Motorized RVs must be insured like regular vehicles, including with bodily injury and property damage liability coverage — though you can also get add-ons for complete protection.

  • RV insurance offers coverage that's suited to the needs of part-time and full-time users of recreational vehicles, including personal property protection and coverage for attachments.

Do you need insurance for an RV?

Yes, you do need insurance for your RV if it's motorized and can be driven. Motorized RVs must be insured like a regular vehicle. You have to carry a policy with enough liability insurance to meet the minimum requirements in your state. You should also consider carrying comprehensive and collision coverage to protect your motorhome more completely.

In contrast, most people don't need a separate insurance policy for their RV if it doesn't have a motor and is towed by another vehicle. Campers, caravans, travel trailers, and other RVs that are attached to a driving vehicle are covered by the same insurance protections as the vehicle that’s towing them.

Although you don't necessarily need more insurance for your pull-behind RV, there are still a few limitations to the protection a typical car insurance policy offers. For example, any possessions inside of the travel trailer or camper aren't covered by a standard auto policy. Fortunately, RV insurance can make up for these shortcomings.

→ Learn more about how much car insurance you should carry 

What does RV insurance cover?

Insurance for a motorhome has a lot of the same protections that a typical car insurance policy does. A typical insurance policy for a motorized RV might include the following forms of coverage:

  • Bodily injury liability: Covers the cost of injuries that one driver is responsible for causing another person.

  • Property damage liability: Pays for the cost of repairing or replacing another person's damaged property — including other vehicles, buildings, or structures — that a driver is responsible for.

  • Comprehensive coverage: Protects the policyholder's RV from damage that's not caused by a crash. Adding comprehensive coverage can protect your vehicle from damage that results from falling objects, animals, theft, vandalism, and other perils. 

  • Collision coverage: If a driver damages their own RV in a crash, collision insurance can pay for the needed repairs. 

  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist protection: If your RV is damaged in a hit-and-run, or by a driver without enough insurance to fully pay for the repairs your vehicle needs, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can help.

  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Pays for the medical costs of you and your passengers if you're injured in an accident. Personal injury protection often can be used no matter who was at fault for the crash. 

You may not need to get insurance for a motorhome if the vehicle is a rental. Your existing insurance policy may provide the necessary coverage for a rented vehicle, but you should verify with your insurance provider. RV rental companies also have options for temporary coverage if your car insurance company won't extend coverage to your rented motorhome.

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RV insurance features for complete protection

Depending on how you customize your policy, RV insurance can also offer more protection for recreational vehicles than normal auto insurance coverage or a basic RV insurance policy. The cost of coverage is determined by the type of RV you own, along with other factors.

RV insurance comes with a range of special coverage that's tailored to the needs of people who regularly use campers, travel trailers, caravans, and motor homes. RV insurance may allow you to choose from the following forms of coverage:

  • Personal property coverage: Auto insurance doesn't offer protection to your possessions that are inside of your camper, but adding a personal property— or personal effects — coverage ensures that your valuables would be protected from being stolen or damaged.

  • Vacation liability: RV insurance allows you to increase the amount of liability coverage for a limited amount of time. Vacation liability protects campers from lawsuits related to both bodily injury and property damage, though limitations may be set by providers.

  • Full replacement cost: If your RV is destroyed or stolen, adding replacement cost or total loss coverage can allow you to recoup the full value of your property. Usually insurers only make this coverage available for newer RV models.

  • Permanent attachment protection: Attachments to your RV can be protected from damage or loss by this add-on. Examples of covered property include awnings and antennas.

  • Additional living expenses: If you're someone who lives full time in their RV, additional living expenses allow you to stay somewhere else if your camper becomes temporarily uninhabitable.

  • Towing and roadside assistance: Roadside assistance provides short-term aid to a broken down or malfunctioning RV. Roadside assistance coverage may offer help for electrical breakdowns, battery failure, flat tires, lock-outs, lack of fuel, or towing help to a vehicle trapped in mud or snow.

  • Seasonal storage: If you have an RV but don’t use it year-round, you might want to look for RV insurance that has a storage option. You can maintain coverage for physical damage and your possessions while you're not driving your RV, while turning off some of the coverage you don't need.

  • Insurance for traveling to Mexico: If you take frequent trips to Mexico, you can get separate liability and physical damage coverage with a Mexico endorsement. These special forms of RV insurance allow you to easily get the required amount of insurance for international trips south.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does a fifth wheel need insurance?

For insurance purposes a fifth wheel is treated the same as a travel trailer or caravan. As long as it's pulled behind a motorized vehicle, it doesn't need its own insurance policy in most cases. However, like other RVs, it may be beneficial for you to purchase more than the minimum amount of insurance to make sure that your possessions and vehicle would be fully covered in the event of a loss.

What is the cheapest travel trailer insurance?

The cheapest travel trailer insurance varies depending on your location. The cost of a car insurance policy is determined by a variety of factors, including a person's location, driving history, and how much insurance they want to purchase. If you buy a separate, special form of RV insurance, your premium will depend on the type of RV you insure and the endorsements you add onto a basic policy.

Does homeowners insurance cover my camper?

Your homeowners insurance may offer some protection to property kept inside of a camper, but it's probably better to buy a special RV insurance policy to get the most complete coverage. Homeowners insurance covers your property up to an amount specified in your policy while it's in storage or parked on your property. When it's being towed or while it's parked at another location than your home, your property may not be fully protected from loss.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Expert reviewer

Certified Financial Planner

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner

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Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, she was a regional consultant at Fidelity Investments for nine years.

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