All RV rental companies require you to have RV insurance before rent their RV. This is for a good reason as RV damages are much more likely as compared to car rentals.
Here we cover all the nuances regarding RV insurance and answer various questions that you may have with regards to an RV rental and insurance thereof.
Options for RV Insurance
RV insurance is an essential feature for your RV trip. Your RV rental company requires you to have insurance for your RV rental trip.
The not so good part of RV insurance is that it is expensive. It can cost you anywhere between $30-40 for each day of your trip. For a 7 night rental, you will be paying about $250 as RV insurance. This amount is in addition to the daily RV rental rate.
Can I have my own personal insurance instead of buying insurance from an RV dealer, RVshare or Outdoorsy?
In most cases, the answer to this question is NO!
Most of the personal auto insurance does not cover RV rental insurance. The only exception is for some sophisticated renters who happen to have a personal RV. In such cases, their personal RV insurance may cover their rental RV as well.
One other exception can be seen in the case of people who have heavy vehicles (weighing over 10,000 pounds). Their existing insurance might cover their RV rental insurance too.
We recommend that it is best to pay for the insurance from the RV rental company and not worry about any other outside insurance. This way even if there are damage and an insurance claim, it does not affect your personal insurance record.
Does my RV rental insurance pay for all damages?
No! The RV rental insurance kicks in only after you pay a deductible of $1,500.
It means that if you damage the RV (e.g. your rental RV sewage tank gets slightly damaged due to low lying obstruction), in such cases, your repair cost will be about $300-600. You will need to pay this out of your pocket to meet the $1500 deductible.
On the other hand, if you have any serious incident where you scrape the sides of the RV damaging its walls on the sides, then repair cost may be about $2000-4000. You pay the first $1500 and the rest is paid by the insurance company.
Can I buy an option where I don’t have to pay any deductibles?
Again, the answer is almost always NO. Deductible of $1,500 acts as a deterrent to ensure that renters are careful with the rental.
The only exception in this regard is perhaps CruiseAmerica which provides you an option to buy a Zero Damage plan: https://www.cruiseamerica.com/Cruise/media/PDFs/coverage/Zero-Deductible-Plan.pdf
Does RV insurance cover damage to the RV interior?
It depends on the terms of your RV rental insurance.
For instance, RVShare.com doesn’t distinguish between interior and exterior damages. On the other hand, Outdoorsy.com does not cover the interior damages to the RV. The insurance for interior damages comes as a separate option and needs to be purchased separately.
Based on our experience, we feel that the interior of the RV is less unlikely to be damaged beyond your $1,500 deductibles. For instance, if your child is playing with a ball and happens to break the RV TV screen, it can cost you around $800 to replace the screen. In this case, even if you have insurance that covers the interiors, you will still have to pay for this damage since it falls within the $1500 deductible.
The majority of the items inside the RV are not worth the $1,500 deductibles so separate insurance for the interiors should probably not be as high on your priority list as an exterior one.
Tip: Request your family members to handle the RV interior fixtures carefully as they tend to be fragile and are likely to get damaged.
I am a careful driver, can the RV still get damaged?
Yes. Indeed you may be a very careful and experienced driver but you have to realize that an RV vacation trip has just too many variables.
Not only are you driving on the roads where other vehicles are driving in which case you can’t predict the behavior of the other drivers, but also when you are in an RV camp/ park or other places, there are too many things that may go wrong.
For example, If you back into the low-lying stones, the RV sewage tank may get damaged. Or if you drive through a forest area where there are protruding or low-hanging branches, it could damage the sides or the roof of the RV and even the air-conditioning panel at the top.
In the majority of the cases, the RVs come back in good condition without any problems, but there is always a small chance that despite all your precautions, RV could still get damaged.
Examples of RV damage
Based on our experience, we have seen incidents leading to damage to the RV. For example, a renter’s child playing inside the RV broke the RV closet mirror by mistake. In this case, the repair cost came to be around $125. You may think why and how a simple mirror that costs just $25 is so expensive? The reason is that the RV technicians or RV dealers have a labor charge of almost $100-150 per hour which is significantly more expensive than auto and home repairs.
In another scenario, there was an international renter who drove the RV through low-lying branches and broke the RV air conditioning fixed on the roof, and also damaged the roof of the RV. In this case, the repair cost was about $2,500.
What should I do if the rental RV has minor damage?
Do not panic as you have insurance precisely for such a scenario. You will not be paying anything more than the $1,500 deductible.
Let the RV owner know the nature of the damage. You should also report the exact RV damage during the RV checkout/return process. This will ensure that only the damages that occurred in your rental are captured in the return documentation and pictures.
What if a rental RV has an accident and cannot be driven back?
This is an extremely rare situation where RV gets into a serious accident and cannot be driven at all. In such a case, you should call the roadside assistance number. He will tow the RV to the nearest RV dealer where it can be repaired.
It is difficult to capture the complexity of this scenario here. However, our advice will be to work with the RV Rental Company. They will handhold you through the whole process and guide you on each step,
The RV insurance claim process – What Happens When?
Once the information is captured in the RV checkout process, the RV rental company will initiate a claim with the insurance company. It is important to know that RV insurance is provided by a completely different company. Hence, all your information may or may not get transferred to the insurance company.
We have seen scenarios where a claim is filed and the RV insurance company has absolutely no clue, either about the RV owner or about the RV renter so all the information needs to be provided afresh. It is best for you to make sure that the information reaches the RV insurance company as soon as feasible.
In most cases, you will get an e-mail to which you can provide all the details. And there will be an insurance agent who will be assigned to take the RV owner and renter through the whole process. You should also reach out to the RV owner or the RV rental company because they will be more knowledgeable about the claim process. They should be able to guide you through the whole thing.
What will an RV Insurance Company do?
The insurance company will review all the information including the pictures and the departure and return documents. If all the documentation is up to date, they would get their own independent estimates, get an industry standard of how much it is going to cost to fix the particular kind of damage, and they would arrive at their own number.
In most cases, this number is reasonable enough and they would make the payout to the RV owner. So if the damage is less than $1,500 this amount will be deducted from your security deposit. If your deposit is less than $1,500, the debit or credit card that you gave at the beginning of your RV reservation would be charged for the additional amount to bring it to a total of $1,500.
The RV insurance company will issue a cheque for the additional amount (amount greater than $1,500) in favor of the RV owner. For example, if the total damage is $2,200, the RV renter will pay $1,500 and the insurance company will pay the rest i.e. $700.
Conclusion – Be Aware of the RV Damage Risk when you plan your trip
RV insurance and damages duri
ng the rental trip are not something that should prevent you from renting an RV. At the same time, you should be aware that you are renting a big vehicle, you will be traveling long distances, camping, and parking at various locations. So there is always a small chance that the RV could get damaged during the rental trip.
4 Tips for a Hassle-free trip
Take Detailed Pictures and Videos at the time of RV Pick-up
At the beginning of your RV trip, you should take very detailed pictures and videos of your RV. Also, note down any pre-existing damages in the RV departure documents. Also, have the pictures and videos uploaded as part of the checkout process.
Never Lower your guard while driving the RV
Always keep your guard on when you are driving the RV. When driving through the freeways, make sure that the driver is always fresh and not fatigued. Also, see to it that he is not distracted by either any electronic devices. Or by kids playing in the rear. The passengers should always assist the driver and make sure that the driver remains alert at all times.
Use help when backing RV or driving through tight spots
When you are driving through a campground or any new narrow places, take extra precautions. If you are backing, not only look at the camera but also have someone guide and assist you in the whole backing and parking process.
Walk around the RV and inside to ensure that it is safe to drive
Before you drive the RV, always make a walkthrough around and inside the RV. This is to make sure that everything is tight and closed and all passengers are secured.
Have more questions?
Having learned about RV insurance, why taking it is a must, what expenses will you be looking at if your RV gets damaged, and what does the RV insurance claim process looks like, if you seek any clarification and guidance with regards to renting an RV and else, feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We at RV Rental Guru will be happy to answer your questions!