Owning a recreational vehicle (RV), camper van or motorhome can be an exciting and cheap way to travel the country with family and friends. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on flights and hotels, traveling via campervan can greatly cut down on vacation expenses. In fact, according to some estimates, the average family of 4 can save more than 60% per day by traveling in a camper van compared to other vacation options.
While purchasing a motorhome can save you and your family thousands of dollars a year in the long run, it’s definitely an upfront investment. And as with all major investments, it’s important to know the facts about additional expenses—including insurance.
The following information should help you choose the best option when it comes to insuring your campervan or RV.
What is RV insurance?
Much like an everyday vehicle, motorhomes are required by law to have liability insurance coverage. If you’re financing your vehicle, you’ll likely be required to prove that you have full coverage insurance before being allowed to drive away.
RV insurance works similarly to your everyday auto insurance policy. RV insurance protects you if you’re at fault in an accident that causes property damage or bodily injury. RV insurance will also pay for damages in the case of an uninsured/underinsured motorist colliding with you.
What does basic RV insurance cover?
A basic policy for Class B RVs and camper vans is called liability coverage. It covers someone or someone else’s property in the event of an accident.
This type of insurance policy doesn’t cover all scenarios, including:
- Damage to your RV following an accident
- Damage to your RV from severe weather
- Fire damage
Because RVs are often a significant investment, many RV owners opt to get collision coverage in addition to liability coverage. A policy that includes collision will cover the costs to repair or replace your RV if it’s damaged in an accident—regardless of who was at fault—providing you with additional peace of mind.
What is comprehensive RV insurance?
Comprehensive RV insurance, also known as “other than collision” coverage, provides protection against non-collision events that can cause damage to your RV.
While comprehensive RV insurance is optional in many states, you may want to consider taking out such a policy to protect yourself from the following:
- A lawsuit arising from an accident
- A premises liability injury claim from visitors (if you live in your RV full time and you have a visitor get injured in your vehicle)
- Storm damage
Does the type of RV I drive affect what insurance is needed?
Before understanding what type of insurance may be required on your travel vehicle, it’s helpful to know what category it falls under. Recreational vehicles are arranged by class. Class A, Class B, and Class C vans all differ by size and utility. The type of motor vehicle insurance you will need, as well as the cost, depends on the type of travel vehicle you own or plan to buy.
These are the largest of the 3 categories. A Class A motorhome can be up to 75 feet in length. This class includes motor coaches, luxury coaches and converted buses. These RVs can weigh anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 lbs. and usually have sleeping for 8 people.
These are going to be the smallest of the 3, weighing anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 lbs. A Class B is generally a converted cargo van or conversion van equipped with amenities such as cooking facilities, a refrigerator, a shower, a toilet and a water tank. Typically, Class Bs are 17-19 feet in length with raised roofs and lowered floors to allow for a comfortable travel space. They generally sleep up to 4 people and are popular because they’re the easiest to drive.
This is the medium-sized RV category. A Class C motorhome can be 20 to 31 feet in length and weigh about 10,000-12,000 lbs. These travel vehicles are built upon the chassis of trucks and offer similar amenities to the Class B motorhomes (cooking facilities, a refrigerator, a shower, a toilet, etc.) but sleep around 6 people.
For more information on different types of RVs, visit our specialty van information page to see a Side-by-Side Comparison of Class B Motorhomes, RVs and Trailers.
When is RV insurance a requirement?
An RV insurance policy is a requirement if any of the following are true:
- Your RV is a Class A or Class B motorhome (liability insurance, at least).
- You’re financing your RV (generally, full coverage is required).
- You’re planning on driving a rental RV.
When is RV insurance optional?
Separate insurance coverage on your recreational vehicle may be optional if:
- Your RV is a Class C (towable, not drivable).
- You’re not financing your RV (you have no loan), and you live in a state where RV insurance isn’t required by law (visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website).
How much does RV insurance typically cost?
Class A motorhomes are the largest and most expensive vehicles to insure. The average insurance cost ranges from around $1,000 to $4,000 or more per year.
Class C motorhomes should be slightly cheaper to insure than Class As, with an estimated cost of around $800 to $3,000 per year.
Class B motorhomes will likely be the least expensive to insure because they’re smaller and more similar to a full-sized van. The estimated cost for insurance on a Class B can range anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per year.
Note: The insurance premium amounts listed above are just estimates. Many factors are accounted for when calculating any type of insurance rate. You’ll need to talk to your insurance company to get an exact quote.
What factors can impact RV insurance costs?
In the world of insurance premiums, the final costs are influenced by variables. Here are 8 variables to keep in mind:
- Age/condition. The age of an RV matters. It costs more to insure a brand-new RV.
- Type of use. There are full-time RVers and part-time RVers. Full-time RVers will pay more for insurance, and part-timers will pay less.
- Type of coverage. All insurance providers have different coverage packages, but the cheapest policy is always structured to meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements.
- Location. Every state has risk factors and regulations that can impact the cost of an insurance policy.
- Driving record/experience. An individual’s driving history is always a factor in the cost of insurance (accidents, DUIs, traffic citations, etc). This includes a driver’s ability to operate an RV and whether or not they’ve taken courses on RV driving.
- Prior claim history. There is a threshold for filing claims. If you’ve filed too many claims in the past, your rates will be higher.
- Credit score. A good credit score establishes a baseline for an insurance provider. It’s the key to a great quote.
- Reimbursement models. Reimbursement models vary by provider, but they are all practical and economical.
Additionally, If you choose to bundle all of your policies (homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance, etc.) under an umbrella policy, this can save you money.
What RV insurance add-ons are available?
Insurance add-ons help cover additional costs that standard RV insurance doesn’t cover. Many RV owners prefer custom coverage options, so this is why most add-ons exist.
When it comes to the types of add-ons, they will vary by provider, but the most common add-ons include the following:
- Rental reimbursement. Rental reimbursement will cover the cost of a rental car (and sometimes an RV) if an RV breaks down.
- Full-timer liability. This add-on is similar to a homeowner’s insurance policy. If you sign up, it will cover all damages and injuries that you cause with your RV.
- Towing and labor. If your RV ever breaks down, this add-on will cover the cost of towing and repairs.
- Safety glass. With this add-on, your RV’s windshield will be protected. It’s a worthy add-on since windshield repair can be expensive and is not included in most RV insurance policies.
- International coverage. International coverage covers the damage to your RV when you travel in other countries.
- Roadside assistance coverage. Roadside assistance covers emergency services like fuel delivery, towing and tire repair.
- Emergency expenses. Emergency expenses are an add-on for avid travelers. It helps cover expenses like hotel costs if your RV breaks down and won’t be drivable for an extended period of time.
- Sound system. If your RV’s audio system is ever damaged or stolen, this add-on will cover the cost to repair or replace it.
- Vacation liability. Vacation liability is not included in a standard policy. With it, you’re covered if something happens to your RV while it’s parked. It’s a great add-on for anyone who constantly roams from one location to another.
- Storage option. This add-on can make an insurance policy cheaper. It basically freezes a policy while an RV is in storage.
- Pet injury. If your pet is ever injured in an insured RV, this add-on will cover its medical bills.
- Diminishing deductible. This add-on is a perk. If you sign up, your deductible will decrease or vanish as long as you remain a safe driver.
What are the best ways to lower the cost of RV insurance?
Below are some tips to lower the cost of your RV insurance:
- Shop around for quotes. Like any other insurance policy, it’s essential to compare quotes from different insurance providers to find the best price and coverage for your RV. Some insurers may offer discounts or loyalty programs that can help lower your premiums.
- Bundle your insurance policies. If you have multiple insurance policies, like home or auto insurance, you may be able to bundle them with your RV insurance to get a substantial discount.
- Raise your deductible. Increasing your deductible can result in considerable savings on your RV insurance premiums. However, it’s crucial to ensure that you have sufficient funds to cover the higher deductible amount if you need to file a claim.
- Take a defensive driving course. Some insurance companies offer discounts to RV owners who complete a defensive driving course. These courses not only help to prevent an accident but may reduce your insurance premiums too.
- Install safety devices. Having safety devices installed in your RV, such as anti-theft systems or GPS trackers, can lower your insurance premiums as they can help reduce the chance that your RV will be stolen.
- Reduce your coverage during the off-season. If you only use your RV during certain seasons, you may consider reducing your coverage during the off-season. Just make sure that you have adequate coverage when you’re using your RV.
Top-rated RV insurance companies
When it comes to finding the best insurance rate, you’ll have to shop around and do your homework. Here’s a list of some top-rated RV insurance companies that are recommended by fellow RVers:
Find your next campervan, RV or motorhome at America’s #1 conversion van dealer
We hope this guide helped provide you with the information you need to insure your current or future RV or motorhome. Owning an RV or motorhome is an exciting step towards adventure, relaxation, and fun!
Browse our inventory of new and used campervans for sale, and don’t hesitate to contact Classic Vans for answers to any of your travel vehicle questions.