D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jan 18, 2021

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Insuring an RV is different than typical auto policies
Insuring an RV is different than typical auto policies (image by fernwoodbigsur.com)

If you’re considering the purchase of a recreational vehicle (RV), you should know beforehand that such vehicles require much more complex coverage than most car insurance policies. That’s probably not a shock, but since RVs are much larger and because they can even act as a residence during your time on the road, the policies attached to them have a number of features you won’t find in a typical auto policy. Before we cover these differences, we suggest talking to a tax advisor about an RV purchase. You may be eligible for a tax write off as part of a home mortgage deduction on your RV.

Trailer or Vehicle

There are different types of RVs: one model is towed behind a truck or automobile; the other is a fully mobile and drivable vehicle. In terms of the trailer type, they’d be covered in terms of liability from the moment you hitched it to your truck. However, comprehensive coverage would have to be added to your auto policy in order to protect the trailer. Drivable RVs have to have their very own policy.

Coverage Amounts and Lien Holders

One thing that is not different between typical automobiles and RVs is that you will be required to maintain at least the minimum coverage amount of insurance on either. Most lien holders will request that your coverage go beyond these minimum coverages as to protect the vehicle, since it represents their collateral in the financing process.

Personal liability when not driving your RV

Because RVs can act as homes, it’s likely you’ll have guests in them, just as you do at your primary residence. Homeowner policies normally provide liability coverage for guests, but standard auto policies do not. You should ensure that the policy that covers your RV will provide this type of liability coverage, because accidents happen. People fall and family pets can also injure others.

Personal Property Coverage

Because you’ll likely use your RV as a home away from home, it will contain items just like a house: televisions and other advanced electronics like video games for kids, clothing, camping gear and more. Normal policies don’t include personal effects coverage like this, so if you’ll have items like this stowed away on your RV, you should insist on this coverage as well.

Size Matters

We’ve discussed minimum coverages. However, because RVs are so much larger than the typical automobile, they can cause much more damage in collisions. Are you sure that the coverage amount you have on your other vehicles is appropriate for your RV? It may very well not be enough, so select your coverage amounts wisely. And because of their large size and weight, towing of an RV can be more expensive than a car would be.

Off Season Breaks

If you’re planning on placing your RV in storage in the Winter, for example, inquire with your insurer about temporarily suspending coverages of liability and collision insurance. If your insurance company provides these suspensions, you may be able to save money.