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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Is Your Motor-home Eating You Out of House & Home?

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy of wikimedia
For some Floridians, there’s nothing like the call of the open road, especially if they own a motor-home.  Whenever they get the urge to take a vacation, they don’t have to contact a travel agent or deal with a pat down at the airport.  All they have to do is pack some clothes and food before stopping at the corner gas station to get the party started.  Whether they have a weekend, a week or a whole month to fill, owning a motor-home makes taking a DIY vacation a breeze. On the other hand, owning a motor-home can be a financial strain if you don’t factor in all the variables.

What Kind of Motor-home do you own?

While many people think that size matters when it comes to motor-homes, keep in mind the bigger the vehicle, the more it costs.  And I’m not just talking about the sticker price.  Everything from the amount of gas your motor-home burns to the insurance premiums you will pay are a direct factor of size.  According to Kiplingers, a 10,000-mile road trip in a typical motor-home will set you back from $3,500-$5,000 in gas alone.  Then there’s the cost of insurance, which is based on the value of the motor-home.  To insure a motor-home worth $20,000 costs in the neighborhood of $390 per year in Florida, whereas a $60,000 motor-home can set you back $1,200-$1,400. 

Image courtesy of pixabay
How Far & Where Do You Drive It? – The more you drive your motor-home, the higher the risk it could wind up in an accident or getting stolen.  Another risk factor that can add to your insurance cost is how much experience you have driving an RV.  While you may have decades of experience with zero accidents or traffic citations behind the wheel of a car, driving a motor-home is a very different scenario.  When was the last time you had to factor in the height of your minivan before taking it through a tunnel or across a bridge?  How much harder is backing a motor-home in or out of your driveway compared to doing the same with the family sedan?  Even the simple act of turning a sharp corner with a motor-home is much harder than it seems.  Get it wrong and your insurance will take a hit along with your RV.

What’s Your Driving Record Like? – Speaking of driving, if you’re paying higher than average premiums for RV insurance, the reason could be your driving record.  If you have any points on your record, you can expect to pay more for insurance than someone with a clean driving record.

How Many Claims Have You Filed? – If you wind up having a few scrapes while getting accustomed to driving your motor-home, you could wind up paying higher premiums as well.  Especially if you are cited by the police of file a claim with your insurance carrier. 

What are the Hidden Costs of Ownership?
Depending on how often, not to mention how far, you drive your motorhome, other hidden factors can gradually eat a hole in your wallet.  Everything from routine maintenance, to park hookups, insurance and the occasional breakdown can quickly add up.   Add to that anywhere from $20-$70 per day for parks and your vacation can suddenly be anything but cheap.

Image courtesy of Max Pixel
Where Do You Park Your RV?
Even where you park your RV can have affect your insurance costs.  If you area park your RV in your driveway and you live in an area with a higher incidence of theft, chances are you will pay a higher premium.

Unlike a car, a motor-home has more ways to be damaged even when it is parked.  If your RV has a galley, this is a fire hazard that could wind up damaging or destroying the vehicle.  Therefore, another factor in determining the premium you pay is how close to a fire hydrant and fire station you park your RV.  If your parking spot is more than 1,000 feet from a hydrant and more than 5-miles from a fire station you can expect to pay a higher premium.  

How Old is Your RV?
A 10-year-old RV is going to cost you more to insure than a brand new one.  That’s because wear and tear on an RV affects the road worthiness, which in turn determines the insurance cost.

What if Your RV Receives Water Damage?
Living in Florida means your RV could wind up damaged by flood water.  This means you need to include comprehensive coverage on your vehicle and you need to understand any exclusions.  Common water damage inclusions often include wear and tear, manufacturer’s defects and leaks, lack of maintenance, rust, dry rot and freezing temperatures.  If you’re concerned about water damage coverage, ask your insurance agent to explain what is and is not covered.

Image courtesy of flickr
What Else Is Covered by Your Policy?
Aside from covering your RV in the event of an accident, there are a number of other items you will want to familiarize yourself with before you hit the open road.  Liability coverage and medical payments coverage for motor-homes are similar to coverage issued for automobiles.  On the other hand, contents coverage for an RV goes above and beyond that of a typical motor vehicle.  Since an RV is more like a home than a car, you can opt to have belongings such as computers, cameras, clothing and other valuables covered. (This  is another area you’ll want to discuss with your agent.)

When is RV Insurance Optional?
The only exceptions to insuring your RV is if it is a Class C (tow-able) that you own outright.  If your RV has an engine or is being financed, you will be required to carry RV insurance.  However, even if that is the case, you should still consider purchasing coverage that will protect you in the event of fire, theft or a total loss.  The possibility of theft, vandalism or storm damage is a real possibility in Florida, or anywhere you take your RV.

How Can You Lower the Cost without Increasing the Risk?
One way to reduce the cost of RV insurance is to bundle your homeowner’s insurance with it.  A number of carriers make it easy to save money on coverage when you buy multiple policies with them.

The bottom line if you want to make sure your motor-home isn’t going to eat you out of house and home is to factor in all the variables and take advantage of every way to save money that you can find.  

Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida.  To find out more ways to save on RV insurance, check out her website at


  1. RV expenses can add up quick if you aren't careful.

  2. I had no Idea of the cost of owning an RV. Great article.


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