Being new to the RV lifestyle is overwhelming. By the time you’ve figured out which RV you actually want, where and how often you want to travel, how to drive and operate the rig itself, etc., there isn’t much room left in your brain for additional information. So when someone offers up the idea of an RV warranty, you might just want to turn tail and run the other way. Unfortunately, that gut reaction might end up being a costly mistake.
The simple fact is: RV breakdowns happen, and when they do, it’ll cost you! Investing in an RV protection product like an RV warranty could save you big down the road, but it’s important to understand what exactly you’re purchasing.
So let’s start at the beginning…
What Is an RV Extended Warranty?
What is commonly referred to as an RV warranty or RV extended warranty is actually a form of mechanical breakdown protection called an extended service contract. These contracts are created, administered, and sold by third party companies that are in no way affiliated with the manufacturer of your RV or the manufacturer’s warranty that came with your RV when it was brand new.
Because extended RV warranties are separate from manufacturer involvement in this way, they are not technically “warranties.” However, they are commonly known and referred to by this name, so we will stick with that terminology throughout this article.
An RV extended service contract, hereafter referred to as an “RV warranty,” is a contract that agrees to pay for the cost of certain mechanical repairs to your RV in exchange for a premium and per-visit deductible. These policies come in a wide array of shapes and sizes with varying levels of coverage, term lengths, and deductible options.
What Does an RV Warranty cover?
In general terms, an RV warranty will cover the mechanical working components of your vehicle. In the event a covered component fails, your warranty will step in to pay for the costs to repair or replace that item. This coverage extends to both parts and labor, which can add up quickly.
One of the great things about many RV warranty providers is the variety of coverage levels they will offer. For example, some RV extended warranties are designed specifically for the most expensive potential failures a motorhome might face, such as engine and powertrain components. On the other end of the spectrum, there are policies which offer incredibly comprehensive coverage, including everything from your diesel engine to your leveling jacks, slide-outs, heating and cooling, appliances, and more. The variety of coverage levels available allows each individual RVer to choose the policy that best meets his or her desired level of risk and coverage budget. Take a look at the image for the top claims made by RVers and the average repair costs you would be responsible for without an RV warranty.
Of course, even the most comprehensive policies won’t cover everything. It’s important to have a realistic understanding of what will not be covered by the policy. Because they are specifically designed to cover the mechanical working components of your rig, RV extended warranties will not cover aesthetic items like furniture, windows, or scratched paint. Maintenance tasks like oil changes will also be excluded, along with damages covered under your RV insurance policy, including failures caused by outside factors like weather or collision. For protection from these types of issues, you’ll want to take a look at your RV’s comp and collision insurance policy. You can learn more about the difference between standard insurance and RV warranty coverage here.
Where Can I Purchase an RV Warranty?
If you are purchasing your RV from a dealership, they will likely offer you an extended warranty at the same time as you pick up the coach. However, if you are purchasing from a private party, have an existing policy that is about to expire, or have owned your coach for a while and simply want to take control of your RV repair budget, you’ll need to set your sights on an online provider. Online sellers and brokers will be able to offer a policy after the purchase of your vehicle.
When looking at online providers, you’ll want to do a bit of research to make sure you’re purchasing a policy that will be there for you when you need it most. Always look for online reviews from RVers who have actually worked with the provider and made claims on their policy. You’ll also want to check out established RV community organizations like FMCA and consumer advocacy companies like the Better Business Bureau to see where the RV warranty provider stands.
Other RV Protection Options
RV protection isn’t limited to insurance and warranties, however. There are a few supplemental programs to be aware of as well.
RV Roadside Assistance is a program that will pay for emergency services you may need while traveling, including but not limited to towing, lockout, fuel delivery, flat tire changes, and more. Every RVer should seriously consider securing this type of coverage before they hit the road. Always look for a policy that offers unlimited, 24/7 services, so you can be sure they’ll be there for you in an emergency situation. FMCA offers a discounted roadside assistance policy to its members.
Another coverage option is RV Tire and Wheel Protection, which will step in to take care of the cost of tire and rim repair or replacement should you encounter a road hazard while traveling. Anyone who has replaced an RV tire (or more) knows that this can get pricey quickly, making RV tire and wheel coverage a no-brainer investment.
A huge part of becoming an RVer is education! There is so much to learn about traveling or living in your home on wheels, and it can be an overwhelming feeling to try and tackle it all. Knowing your coverage options is a key factor in making confident decisions about your budget. We hope this beginner’s guide to understanding RV extended warranties is a useful tool in your RV journey.
Do you have an extended warranty plan for your RV? Comment below.
Article provided by Wholesale Warranties, FMCA Commercial Member #C012133.