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Why RV Insurance?
It’s a testament to the gorgeous Pacific Northwest that we have a lot of RVs and travel trailers here in Oregon. So many in fact, that homes here in Hillsboro or Beaverton are as likely to tout that extra RV space as a “bonus room.”
People get RV insurance because recreational vehicles can cause damage and be damaged. You can cause injuries and be injured with an RV
(As always, if you want details about your specific RV insurance policy, you’ll need to consult your actual insurance policy as they can vary in significant ways.)
RV Liability Coverage
Any time you drive an RV, you can accidentally injure people or damage their property (usually another car). Liability coverage helps pay for those injuries or damages so that you don’t have to.
For example, let’s say you’re maneuvering your RV around a corner and accidentally side-scrape another vehicle. If you caused $5,000 of damage, liability coverage would pay those damages for you.
Moreover, the insurer handles the communications with the other person during their recovery process. This is a big deal! The other person isn’t sending you repair bills during their recovery process. That’s because your insurance company handles the claim for you.
Now, the insurance company does not do this out of the goodness of its heart.
The insurance company provides such services and resources because you paid them ahead of time for their agreement to help handle your liabilities extending from the use of your RV.
Travel trailers typically will not have liability coverage like an RV policy (because you can’t drive the trailer by itself). Instead, your main liability coverage typically extends from the towing vehicle.
Still, there is some liability risk with your travel trailer. For example, say a visitor trips going out of it and breaks a hip. This coverage could help cover such a liability.
Some people choose not to get insurance or don’t have enough coverage. When that someone causes an accident that injures you or damages your RV, this coverage can help pay to treat those injuries or to repair those damages.
Physical Damage to your RV or Travel Trailer
While liability coverage is for damages to other parties and other vehicles, comprehensive and collision cover damages to your RV. (Note: some insurers cover their travel trailers under one physical damage coverage line.)
Comprehensive covers some damages while collision covers others; so, what’s the difference?
Collision covers damage to your RV from those incidents when you hit some other object such as a tree, a guardrail, or another car.
It also covers your RV if someone else collides with it (though frequently the other party’s liability insurance will pay for this).
People typically choose deductibles from $250 to $2,000. Though not required by Oregon law, collision coverage will be required by your lender if you have a loan on the RV.
Often called “other than collision,” comprehensive covers damages to your RV that aren’t covered by your collision coverage.
These damages may come from events like hail, an airborne rock, a theft, vandalism, or striking a deer.
People typically choose a deductible of $0 to $1,000. Though not required by Oregon law, comprehensive coverage will be required by your lender if you have a loan.
Personal Injury Protection (Medical)
PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage is required on an RV (not on a travel trailer) here in Oregon. The main value is $15,000 of no-fault medical coverage per passenger (including the driver).
That means if you or your passengers sustain injuries resulting from an incident involving your recreational vehicle, this will likely be the first coverage to pay for treatment.
Rental Reimbursement coverage helps pay for a replacement RV while yours is being fixed due to an accident. In other words, the coverage kicks in if you can’t use your RV because of an accident.
The coverage is paid either as a percentage or a fixed amount. For example, a percentage amount could cover 80% of your cost of the rental vehicle up to $500, while a fixed amount could cover up to $40 per day with a total benefit ceiling of $1200. Sometimes there is a day limit as well.
Depending on the company, this coverage may bundle in certain other perks such as a reduced deductible if you damage a rental car, or travel expense reimbursements if the accident happens more than a certain distance (say 50 miles) from home.
Emergency Road Service (Roadside Assistance)
Emergency Road Service or Roadside Assistance can help in the event of a breakdown.
On the minimal end, the coverage provides an hour of roadside assistance to bring you gas, or put on a spare tire, or help arrange towing your RV to a nearby repair facility. If you want the tow truck to go some extra miles to get to your favored repair shop, you may need to cover a portion of the towing for that extra mileage.
On the maximal end, the coverage can tow your RV those extra miles and may also reimburse extra travel expenses if the breakdown is far from home.
This covers damages to your motorhome by pests such as mice, rats, or birds. It is often available only for newer RVs.
Typical RV policies cover your roof from sudden and accidental damage from weather events or things falling on your RV, but this covers your roof even against wear and tear. It is often available only for newer RVs.
Trip Interruption/ Emergency
This provides reimbursement for lodging and transportation if your RV is damaged during a trip away from home.
This provides coverage if you live in your RV full-time.
This covers your personal items such as clothing, cameras, or other personal items.
This covers vet fees if your pet is injured in an accident. Usually limited to $500 or $1000.
GAP coverage covers the difference between the value of your RV and your remaining loan if you have an accident that totals out the RV.
Rates & Discounts here in Oregon
Can I just cancel my RV policy in the winter to save money?
Unless you are going to be entirely parking your RV for a majority of the year, you will not save as much money as you might think doing this.
This is because RV, boat, and motorcycle policies are often “short-rated” policies. While insurance for cars is spread evenly over the year, the premium for RVs changes seasonally to account for typical usage.
What this means is that, even though the insurer may bill the premium evenly each month for convenience, the premium is actually charged seasonally. In other words, a majority of the premium is charged for the time when you’ll tend to be using the vehicle the most. On the flipside, a small portion of the premium will be used in winter months when you won’t be driving much.
Because of this, it’s usually better just to keep your RV policy active year-round. The other benefit is that when we begin getting those surprising sunny dry days in February or March, you won’t need to worry or remember about going through the process of repurchasing another motorcycle policy.
How can I lower my RV rates here?
- Drive well. Don’t get tickets or damage your RV. Usual trouble-spots are in backing up, parking, or driving under overhanging trees.
- Stay insured (Or, don’t let your policy lapse.) Lapsed coverage can increase your rates when you go looking. Plus, if you get ticketed for driving without proof of insurance you could have your license suspended here in Oregon. Then the insurance gets even more expensive.
- Stay put for awhile (or, don’t switch insurance companies every year.) Many companies include longevity with a company in their rating. Do have your agent check around for you every few years, but switching carriers often isn’t generally advisable.
- Check your discounts: especially the multi-car, or multi-policy discounts.
- Consider bundling and not bundling! Bundling is usually less expensive, but not always.
- Ask for a rerate. Here in Oregon, you can sometimes request a rerate with your carrier, which essentially gives them permission to rerun a complete insurance score and give you a better rate if they can give it to you.
- Raise your deductibles.
- Consider dropping collision coverage on a your RV if it’s really not worth much.
How do they determine my RV insurance rate?
Companies use some combination of factors like these listed below to try and price your policy accurately.
- Driver information:
- How long you’ve lived at a place.
- What other drivers live in your household, especially if they don’t have their own car and own insurance.
- The age of the drivers. Teen and inexperienced drivers tend to be more risky and as we age past our 60s we slowly become more risky again.
- Any tickets? The main concerns here are moving violations like speeding, running stop signs, or texting while driving.
- At-fault accidents. These tend to have the most significant impact on rates.
- Any other claims. Even if you’ve made a simple towing or glass claim in which there was no fault, such insurance activity still typically affects the rate.
- Vehicle Information
- The type of RV. Insurance companies keep track of how much each model typically costs to repair, how much damage each model tends to cause in an accident, or how many injuries their passengers are likely to sustain in an accident.
- The length of time you’ve owned it.
- How many miles you drive.
- Credit history (at the time of application here in Oregon). This one is a bit more complicated (and controversial), but the short story is that insurance companies have found a strong correlation on average between credit and propensity to file a claim. For this reason, they’ve found credit history to be another reliable indicator of risk. The use of credit for insurance pricing here in Oregon.
- Your current insurance. Insurance companies get nervous about any gaps in coverage. This is one reason it’s important to keep continuous insurance.
- How long you’ve been insured with one carrier. In general, insurance companies favor stability. This is one reason we don’t recommend switching insurance companies frequently.
- Your profession. Some professions are more risky than others.
- If you own or rent your home.
What discounts are available for RV insurance?
Companies are continually trying to invent or reinvent discounts that will help attract and retain customers. Here are most of the discounts out there.
- Multi-car discount for insuring multiple vehicles with the same company.
- Pay-in-full discount for paying the full year or six months up front.
- Multi-policy discount for having multiple types of policies with the same company. For instance, you have a home insurance policy and a car insurance policy and an RV policy.
- Advance quoting discount for getting a quote ahead of time.
- Accident-free for 3 or more years.
- Claims-free for 3 or more years.
- Safety discounts based on the safety features of your RV.
- Loyalty discount for how long you’ve been with one carrier.