One of the ugly things you need to know about RV insurance

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.

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/insurance/rv-insurance/#good-sam-insurance-agency

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.

Griswolds in the making

Since you are now introduced to BJ & Shanna’s family and have seen pics of what seems to be the start of a perfect road trip with their new RV, it is time to see their Griswold moments. As novice campers, they are learning the “RV ravages of the road”, and have learned sadly what can happen in a split second.

Day 3 started with the first damage to their new travel trailer. As BJ said, “I could have waited a little longer to have the camper damaged.” Excited for the day’s travels, he leaned the level up against the trailer and started to hook up the truck to the trailer. As he lowered it onto the hitch the level crunched the side. A loud squeaking sound and uggg….the first damage. Thank goodness no major damage…yet.

A little disappointed, but they wipe their frowns away and head on down the road. They figure “hey, that is why we purchased insurance.” RV Insurance is something we will discuss in a future blog, and I am sure BJ will be able to share all he experiences when filing his claims. Yes, I said claims because this is just the beginning.

Traveling through bad weather is always expected, however, the severe winds and rains they encountered in Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana was much more than they wanted to experience. They have hunkered down in Florida through several hurricanes, but being in a travel trailer during bad storms or pulling one down the road, that is a whole different story.

First, the extreme wind quickly blew the awning off the side of the trailer, damaging the roof and the air conditioner. The wind and rain was so severe they didn’t even realize the awning was ripped off the side. To be highly entertained, you will want to hear BJ’s & Shanna’s story in their own words, please watch…..AND SUBSCRIBE https://youtu.be/k58qtKPtAtM

As soon as possible, BJ did some of his fancy repairs to seal up the holes. It wasn’t pretty but he hoped it would keep the rain out. He was very satisfied with his hard work and ingenuity!

At this point, the roof and awning will have to be totally replaced, but at least the truck has gone unscathed…until some nice person dances into BJ’s lane, and BAM…damages the truck mirror. Thank goodness he has cameras to backup that trailer. Still, BJ will not let all this dampen his spirit, he is happy and having a great time.

Then more bad storms and hail. Really??? Now the hood of the truck and the trailer looks like they were ambushed with pellet guns.

Bad enough that they will have at least 4 deductibles for the damages to the truck and trailer, but poor BJ did not remain unscathed either. He did not escape the ravages of bad fast food and somehow he fell on the trailer stairs and they won.

Just two days from home and one of the tires on the trailer is pretty much destroyed. We met up with them and our son-in-law helped change the tire since BJ did not have a jack that would work. Although we hated to see them incur more hiccups to their trip, we were happy to share some time and get some highlights of the Griswold moments and invite you to see some of the “not so much fun” part of the trip on our youtube channel.

For all us wannabe Camper Crazy individuals, the lesson we learned is that we need to be “prepared for the unexpected”. When purchasing a new RV, most RV retailers require the new buyer to learn everything about their new RV in a class before they can take their camper home. Whether they discuss what to do when encountering damages from storms or what products to use to make temporary repairs, we are not sure. We will research and share in a future blog. At a minimum we can see a good first aid kit is a must. If purchasing an RV from an individual, a novice Camper Crazy buyer should review our future blogs for tips on what to purchase for situations like BJ and Shanna encountered. Perhaps a visit to a local RV store to inquire as to what to buy to be prepared for a first RV trip, (especially if you are planning to go in remote areas) is probably a good idea. Better safe than sorry as they say, because of course, we all want to be “Happy Campers”, just like Jax.

Their baby Jax has some special needs and the travel trailer worked out very well for Jax. He was able to get down and play on the camper floor once they parked each day, and a reason to purchase an RV. They did not want Jax crawling around on the nasty floors of hotel rooms. Carrying suitcases and baby equipment into hotels every night and day for 30 days was not something Shanna was looking forward to either.

With all the challenges to their trip, Shanna said, “I liked it much more than I thought I would,” and BJ said, “If Shanna said, ‘okay lets turn around and go back out west – I would say, ” LETS GO!!!”

Mark & I have now visited two camper sales stores close to our location and will be asking questions and posting what we learn. Planning on visiting a couple this week in Alabama and Mississippi. Will be asking lots of questions and posting info on future blogs.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our youtube channel and watch the video at: https://youtu.be/k58qtKPtAtM


New Camper Crazy Family

Excitement and adventure is their dream as they load up their new Grey Wolf trailer by Forest River and leave the heat of Florida for the cool Canadian landscape. The camper layout is great for their family with a Queen bed and twin corner bunks and nice sized pantry. Purchased new from Camping World they are ready to be Camper Crazy World Travelers. https://www.campingworld.com/ Learn more about Forest River Grey Wolf trailers at:

https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/grey-wolf?RegionSelected=1

However, if we look closely at their smiles and eyes, Shanna seems somewhat apprehensive and Mia has a grimace radiating a little fear…is her dad a bad driver or is she just dreading this trip? BJ, Colton and Jax look genuinely happy and ready to set-off and leave Central Florida for their first stop in Stone Mountain, Ga.

The first day took longer than they expected. They had to make extra stops for the baby so they arrive to the site late in the day. They decide that they must get up earlier in the mornings and get things wrapped up so they can reach their campsites while still daylight, although they all realize it just isn’t in their nature to be early birds. Every stop has been carefully mapped out by Shanna using RV Trip Wizard. http://rvtripwizard.com The website touts itself as the Best RV Trip Planner. Shanna, following the suggestion of mid-life crisis couple Chuck & Dana, signs up and plans her trip. We will find out later if RV Trip Wizard is all it says it is.

Days 1-6

The first couple days are just casual driving through the hills of Georgia and Tennessee heading to Minnesota. First few days are very enjoyable.

Kids are not miserable and in fact Mia and Jax are quite happy traveling through each state. Colton is not totally bored, but then…his internet access has not been interrupted too much. So all is well for now.

Not sure how BJ is living without his Starbucks drive through coffee. Do you think he brews Starbucks in the camper?

The circle of love – so far a great family trip. Look at those happy smiles. We will get Shanna & BJ’s comments about the campsites they stayed in a little later and will post on our YouTube Channel.

As we can see BJ is ready to do some laundry. They purchased a portable washer and dryer. We don’t have the details, as of yet as to how well they work. However, they store the washer under the main bed and haul the dryer in the back of their pickup. We did not realize they made such portable washers and dryers but are anxious to find out more about them, since I am not a fan of using laundromats. He looks so happy doing the laundry. I wish my husband looked like that when I ask him to throw some towels in the washer. Unfortunately, strong winds and hazardous steps cause some Camper Crazy drama. Stay tuned for future blogs. In the meantime, enjoy a video of their trip so far @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmijHYW2QGI&t=19s