Buying a camper? Here’s a primer on RV insurance

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Buying a camper? Here’s a primer on RV insurance

Americans love their recreational vehicles. Except for a decline during the recession, sales of RVs have steadily risen from approximately 300,000 wholesale shipments in 2000 to more than 430,000 in 2016, according to data compiled by Statista.com.

If you’re considering an RV – or if you already have one – it’s important to think through your insurance options. For example, if your RV is just a camper you tow behind your car, you don't have to insure it to transport it. (You car insurance should cover liabilities.) But if your RV is motorized, it’s just like any other vehicle that travels the roadways. It'll need the minimum auto liability insurance required in your state.

Beyond that, there are a multitude of options for RV insurance. The coverage you need depends on how you use the vehicle. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to insure your RV or camper.

Do you need total coverage all the time?

If you plan to take your RV on just a few trips a year and store it for long periods of time, consider a policy where you can drop coverages that are unnecessary during that down time. For example, your liability and collision coverages for a motorized RV won’t do a thing but cost you money if you aren’t on the road. Buying a policy that lets you turn off and on these coverages can save you a lot of money while still providing protection if your RV is damaged by a storm, fire or even theft.

Is your RV your home?

Living in your RV as a permanent residence means you should consider coverage similar to a homeowners policy. That’s because most RV policies don’t cover personal effects. If you have a homeowners or renters policy on a house or apartment, that coverage may extend to your belongings in your RV, but talk to your insurance agent to confirm the specifics. Even if you don’t live in your RV full-time, you may want to…

Consider personal effects coverage

As we said, most RV policies don’t cover personal property like clothing, jewelry, electronics, etc. If your homeowners or renters insurance won’t extend to your RV, ask if there’s a personal effects option you can add to your RV insurance.

Do you need total loss replacement?

Most standard RV policies don’t reimburse you fully if your RV is totaled or stolen and not recovered. You need to purchase replacement cost coverage to get that. Some of these policies give you a brand new RV if yours was less than five years old and reimburse your purchase price if your RV is older.

Can you save by bundling?

Most likely, you can. Just as with bundling your homeowners or renters insurance with your auto insurance, you can tack on RV coverage for additional savings.

As with any insurance policy, it pays to shop around, because prices vary significantly from insurer to insurer. Keep in mind, though, price isn’t the only consideration when it comes to keeping your belongings protected. It’s good to find a reputable company that has a solid history of taking care of their customers.

Image: Andy Reynolds