RV insurance is offered by many of the names we recognize, such as Progressive, Farmers, Allstate & Geico. It is also offered through partner companies associated with AARP and Good Sams. Depending on the type of RV you own, there are various options to choose from. Different circumstances require different needs regarding insurance and the cost will be based on your specific needs. Living in an RV full-time is much different than only using an RV for vacation travel a few times a year, so of course full-time RV coverage is somewhat similar to insurance you would purchase for a primary home insurance policy.
A popular option is that of full replacement insurance coverage. Most people may think that they will get the amount needed to purchase a comparable new RV if theirs has been stolen or totaled, especially if it is brand new and the damage is not the result of negligence. You may think you would not have to come out of pocket at all except for the deductible, if for instance it was totaled by weather damage within a month or two of purchase. However, that may not the case, at least with Shanna and Brent, the couple that traveled with their new Grey Wolf travel trailer this summer shortly after purchasing their 2019 RV.
If you remember from previous blogs, they suffered hail & wind damage that ripped off the awning, damaged the roof and air conditioner, and completely damaged the whole side of the camper siding. After the damage we asked if they were concerned about replacing the RV and what it would cost them, and their reply was, “we have replacement insurance, we are all set.”
They purchased the insurance through an agency associated with Good Sam, a premier company that has the largest RV club membership. They offer everything from discounts on RV accessories, roadside assistance, RV loans and more. Their website boasts providing and servicing the insurance needs of RV owners for over 50 years. They state that their goal is 100% customer satisfaction. Unfortunately at least for Shanna and Brent, they are not 100% satisfied.
Is that the fault of those selling the Good Sam insurance, the Camping World salesperson, or the buyers not reading their policy carefully? If you go to Good Sam’s website and read their reviews, it seems like they are “God’s gift to the camper”. So, I went to Consumeraffairs.com where they have a comparison of a few RV insurance companies. There is also a link provided to an expert review and it references the following Good Sam list of statements. Notice the first bullet point which states:
Full replacement: Customize your RV coverage by adding full replacement cost coverage. This way you will receive a comparable new RV if yours is stolen or too damaged to repair.
Okay, so easy to understand why Brent and Shanna would believe they would get the equivalent amount of money from the insurance company to put towards a new RV with no issues and no extra out of pocket expenses. Like anything “insurance”, it isn’t always clear cut. For example, yesterday they picked up a new 5th wheel RV, and although they returned from vacation in July with their damaged camper, it is now almost mid-September and they still have not finalized everything with the insurance company. Their complaint is that the insurance company is almost impossible to get in contact with.
When they purchased their 2019 camper in late spring, they paid a fair price and put down a substantial down payment. Then they added extended warranty but then Camper World hit them with an ugly high dealer fee that was all rolled into the financing. When returning with the damaged RV and finding out that it was totaled, they decided it may be better if they upgraded to a 5th wheel with different siding that may hold up better in harsh weather. They anticipated getting the full value of what they purchased minus the deductible of course. But this is where it gets ugly.
When they returned from vacation with the damaged camper, the 2020 models are now for sale and the 2019 models of their RV are selling for substantially less than what they purchased the camper for. In fact, the insurance company found the same RV selling in Ohio for $6,000 less than what they purchased their RV for just a few months ago. So, at this point it looks like that is going to be the cost basis the insurance may use for the replacement price, which could leave them upside down. This is one of the ugly reasons this may potentially cost them an arm and a leg (seriously did you see the pics of Brent’s leg in the previous blog) to replace their unit
Assuming they simply replaced their 2019 Grey Wolf with another 2019 Grey Wolf, they think they would come out a little more whole. However, although they worked out a fabulous deal on the new 5th Wheel, which by the way they also purchased at Camper World and this time not paying an astronomical dealer fee, since the 2019 Grey Wolf is now highly discounted at dealers across the nation, it ends up being a disadvantage in this situation.
Although only owning the trailer for less than six months, the bottom line is that with replacement insurance, you only get back what your camper is worth at the time of the loss. The only silver lining to this story is that they did purchase GAP insurance which hopefully will help close the gap between what they are paid by the insurance company and what they owe on their original loan.
However, GAP does not cover the down payment they paid or the cost of the extended warranty, even though the insurance customer service rep did assure them that GAP would cover the down payment. Where is that is that in the fine print? Make sure you read that is Shanna’s advice.
But, will they ever hear back from the insurance company? You know that ugly little saying, “timing is everything” and it certainly applies to the world of RV insurance.