You have an RV and you now have a very specific goal for it – eventually living in it full-time, making the road (and RV parks) your home. You don’t want to be tied down to a permanent structure. You’re ready to restructure your life so you’re always on the go.
The full time RV life isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely for you.
Before you pack everything up, wave goodbye to your old neighborhood, and live the dream, make sure you and your new home-on-wheels are fully protected. You need RV insurance for full time living.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is Full-Time RV Living?
Living in your RV full-time may mean something different to you than it does to an insurance provider. The longer you live in your RV, the more risks you face. For the purposes of insurance, full time living is measured in one of three ways, depending on the insurer:
- You live in your RV at least six months out of the year.
- You spend 150 nights in your RV a year.
- You designate your RV as your permanent residence.
If any of these three apply to how you use your RV, consider yourself a full-timer in need of RV insurance.
What is RV Insurance for Full Time Living?
As we mentioned earlier, the more time you spend in your RV, parked or driving, the greater risks you face. RV insurance for full-time living is designed to protect you from the typical hazards you may have to deal with – both on the road and when at an RV park.
Part of your insurance is similar to homeowners insurance. It protects you against liability and also protects your RV (your home) and your personal property. If someone visits and gets hurt or there’s an accident, and your possessions are damaged, RV insurance covers those losses – as long as it’s a covered peril.
The second part of RV insurance when you’re full time is a lot like auto insurance. This covers you when you’re out on the road. Depending on the coverage you select, you can protect yourself not just from the accidents you’re liable for but also the accidents where you’re not at fault or when the other driver doesn’t have insurance.
Why is Full Time RV Insurance Important?
Living in your RV in a full time capacity means you face risks part-timers might not. Just as you’d protect your house with homeowners insurance, you need to protect your home on wheels with RV insurance.
Here’s why it’s so important:
- Having a damaged or unlivable RV after a covered peril means you need a place to live while your home is repaired or until it’s replaced.
- When a guest injures themselves in your RV or where you’ve parked it means you’ll be responsible for the costs for their medical expenses and any legal costs if they sue.
- When you live in an RV park, you may have to deal with an HOA, including when they assign special assessments when common areas need to be repaired or replaced.
The most important reason to have RV insurance, even if you’re not convinced of the risks, is this: If you file a claim while living in your RV full-time but don’t have full-time RV insurance, your claim could be denied. That means you’ll be responsible for the full costs, including legal fees, of accidents when they happen.
Coverage for RV Insurance for Full Time Living
Just as with any insurance policy, you can choose as much or as little coverage as you need or want for your RV insurance. You have a lot of options to protect yourself and your home-on-wheels.
In most states liability coverage is required for any RV, because it’s a vehicle that will travel on roads with other drivers. When you cause injury or property damage both in an accident on the road or when someone visits your RV, liability coverage pays their medical expenses and for their property damage. If they decide to sue you, it also takes care of your legal fees.
State liability minimums are often much too low to properly cover most accidents. Always buy as much liability coverage as you can afford to provide yourself the most protection.
Comprehensive and Collision
Comprehensive and collision should sound familiar to you. It’s available for auto insurance policies, as well. This covers you when you hit something on the road or when you experience theft, vandalism, or damage from a storm.
While some people may skip this for their auto insurance – which we never recommend – it’s also extremely important to maintain this coverage for your RV. Even if you think you’ll never hit someone else (even though you might), you can also easily be the victim of theft or deal with damage from a storm. Don’t skimp on this coverage. When you need it most, you’ll be very glad you have it.
Coverage for medical payments pays for the injuries of passengers in an accident regardless of who’s at fault. When you live in your RV full-time, this extends to guests in your RV and injuries that occur while you’re parked. Even if you’re not legally liable for their accident, your insurance can still cover those costs.
Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage is extremely important because, as we all know, just because liability insurance is required doesn’t mean every driver has it. If you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have any or doesn’t have enough insurance for the accident they caused, you’ll still be covered.
This is another time to purchase as much as you can reasonably afford. You never know how expensive an accident will be, especially if injuries are involved.
Full-time RV living sometimes means living in an RV park and paying HOA fees. When an HOA has to repair property damage in common spaces, they often pass the cost to everyone else living in the RV park through a special assessment. Loss assessment coverage covers the cost of those fees – up to your policy limits.
When you live in your RV all the time, you don’t necessarily have somewhere else to go when your RV is damaged or needs to be replaced. Emergency expenses coverage will help pay for temporary lodging until you can get back into your RV.
Personal property coverage is another form of protection that’s similar to homeowners insurance. Your RV contains your possessions. When you’re in an accident or experience damage from another covered peril, this will help you replace your belongings. Don’t assume the amount offered with a standard policy is enough, though.
Go through your personal property and create a rough estimate of what it would cost to replace everything all at once. That’s what you need your limit to be for this coverage to be most effective.
If your RV is parked where you’ve been able to add standalone structures – sheds, carports, decks, porches, etc – you need adjacent structures coverage. This helps pay to replace or repair these structures when they’re damaged in a covered peril.
Living in your RV full-time often means you attach things to make life a bit more comfortable. You may have an awning so you can get shade no matter where you’re parked. You might have an antenna or satellite on your RV so you can watch TV. These accessories can easily be damaged in accidents or storms, as well as being vandalized or stolen. Attached accessories coverage helps pay to repair or replace these additions to your RV.
Anything on wheels needs roadside assistance from time to time. This works much like it does for smaller vehicles. If you get a flat tire, run out of gas, have an accident, or are otherwise stuck on the side of the road, you’ll get the help you need to get moving again.
Towing & Labor
Roadside assistance may cover you when you need a tow but not in all situations. It definitely doesn’t cover the labor to repair your RV. Towing and labor coverage does, however. When you break down, this will help pay for the tow and at least some of the labor to fix your RV. Considering how expensive it is to tow and work on recreational vehicles, this is coverage you don’t want to skip.
Total Loss Replacement
No one wants to think they need this, but anything can happen out on the road. And when you live in your RV full-time, a total loss is even more devastating because it’s your home. Total loss replacement helps replace your RV if it’s totaled. How much you receive depends on the age of your RV.
Newer RVs will receive enough to purchase the same or comparable model. Older RVs may receive less than that. Make sure you understand what your policy covers based on the age of your RV.
Gap insurance is ideal for anyone who has financed the purchase of their RV and is still making payments. If your RV is worth $25,000 but you owe $40,000, in a total loss accident, you might not receive the full amount that you owe. That means you’ll have to continue to pay for an RV you don’t even live in anymore. With gap insurance, that gap – between what the RV is worth and what you owe – is covered, up to your policy limit.
Can You Rent Out Your RV?
Full-time RV living doesn’t mean you use your RV everyday of the year. (The definition of full-time living means you live in it at least six months of the year.) You may want to use your RV to make a little extra cash when it’s unoccupied.
Marketplaces like Outdoorsy may let you rent your RV to make a little money but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can rent out your RV without consequence. Most RV insurance for full timers won’t cover claims if you allow renters to use your RV. Make sure you know if you’ll be covered before you rent it out.
How Much Does RV Insurance for Full Time Living Cost?
Cost is often a major factor for anyone purchasing any insurance. There are no standard costs from company to company. What you’ll pay for your RV insurance depends on a variety of factors, some of which you can control.
- RV class
- Age and condition of RV
- Driving history
- Previous claims
- Location you’re parked in
- Amount of coverage you need
- Additional riders you add to your policy
Yes, RV insurance for full-time living costs more than part-time living but you face more risk than part-timers do. It’s important to purchase as much insurance coverage as you can afford because you never know what might happen – when you’re traveling or once you park.
There are things you can do to lower your costs. Drive safely. Only file claims you absolutely need to file. Raise your deductible – while still keeping it at an amount you can afford to pay. You may even qualify for multiple-policy discounts if you insure your car, boat, or another residence through the same insurer.
What’s the Difference Between Part-Time and Full-Time RV Insurance?
What’s the difference between full time RV insurance and part time? It’s all about how you use your RV and the risks you face. As we said before, the more time you spend in it, the more chances there are of an accident.
As a full-timer, there are some forms of coverage you may not need that a part-timer does, like vacation liability. You will also pay more for your coverage than a part-timer but it’s not unlike homeowners insurance. And if your RV is your permanent residence, full time RV insurance will replace your homeowners insurance which will save you money. Whereas part-timers will need both RV insurance and homeowners.
If full time RV living is your dream – and a future goal – don’t change your address and move in until you have RV insurance for full time living. If you’re already living your full-time RV dream, make sure you have coverage that offers real protection.
Contact Charlotte Insurance today to learn what your options are, receive a free estimate for coverage, and to get answers to all your questions.