RV rental cancellation policies are very different from car rental cancellation policies. In the case of car rentals, you can book a rental car without giving your credit card details or making an upfront deposit. In most cases, if you don’t show up to pick-up your rented car, you wouldn’t be charged a cancellation policy (unless you’ve prepaid).
This is not the scenario in the case of Recreation Vehicles rental. RVs are not easily replaceable, each RV is unique, and a fair amount of planning and preparation goes before an RV is handed over to a renter. For these reasons, RV rental cancellations are more stringent and costly as compared to rental cars.
RV rental cancellation policies are usually strict and it is possible that you may end up losing most or even all of your money. Therefore you need to be clear about your vacation plans/dates and key dates by when you can cancel with minimal cancellation charges.
CruiseAmerica- Most Flexible RV Rental Cancellation Policy
Cruise America probably has the most flexible cancellation policy. If you cancel your RV reservation 7 days prior to the pick-up date, the down payment (in most cases $300) which you made at the time of the reservation will be refunded and you don’t lose any money. If you cancel later than this date then you will lose your initial down payment.
(Tip – You can always call CruiseAmerica 800 number and negotiate that instead of canceling if they can give you a credit for future rentals).
However, there are certain exceptions to the 7 day period – For high-profile events (e.g. burning man in southern California) you will need to cancel 45 days prior to your pick-up date.
In the case of RVShare.com, the notifying period is 30 days. This means that if you want to cancel your rental contract, you will need to cancel online 30 days prior to the pick-up date. And you will get a full (or majority) refund of your deposit amount minus RVShare fees.
Note that you may end up paying a certain amount of fees to RVShare in this process. However, if you choose to cancel within the 30 days period, you could end up losing all your money in the worst possible scenario (Strict cancellation policy).
On the other side of the spectrum, in the best-case scenario (Flexible RV rental cancellation policy), RVShare may return to you 50% of the amount.
For instance, suppose that your entire RV rental trip will cost you $2,000. With the Strict RV rental cancellation policy, you could lose all of your $2,000 and with the most flexible ones, you could still lose $1,000!
In the case of RVShare, each RV listing clearly outlines the cancellation policy associated with it.
In the event of the cancellation policy being Standard, if you cancel before the 30 days period, you get your entire amount back (after subtracting the RVShare service fees).
- If you cancel between 30-14 days, you get 50% of the amount.
- If cancellation is less than 14 days, you do not get any money back.
Also note that any reservation that you make with RVShare, you usually get a 24-hour grace cancellation period which means that if you cancel within this 24 period, then you get your entire amount back – without any cancellation or service fees, etc. (Exception – If you rental is within next 7 days then you get only a 1-hour grace cancellation period)
Here is what their website reads:
In the case of Outdoorsy, 14 days (prior to your RV rental start date) is an important milestone date.
If you cancel less than 14 days prior to departure, and the policy is strict as outlined by the RV owner, you will not be refunded anything at all. If the cancellation policy is flexible, then you get an option to cancel the reservation even 5 days before the pick-up date and still get back 75% of your money.
For instance, if you choose to cancel your $2,000 reservation 6 or 7 days before the pick-up date, you will get a refund of $1,500.
Outdoorsy also has a pre-cancellation policy – similar to the grace period of RVShare. With Outdoorsy, you usually get a 48 hours grace period or a no-questions-asked cancellation (24 hours in the case of RVShare).
You also have the cancellation policy outlined with each RV listing. In the following case, the cancellation policy is Moderate or flexible. This means that if you cancel more than 7 days ahead, you get 75% back but if you cancel with less than 7 days left to the pick-up, you get only 50% of your booking back.
Outdoorsy has 3 kinds of cancellation policy – Flexible, Moderate, and Strict.
In the case of El Monte RV rental, you will be charged $250 on booking and the rest of the amount will be payable at the time of pick-up.
- If you decide to cancel the reservation, and your cancellation is within 24 hours of the booking (and your pick-up date is more than 7 days away), then you can cancel for free – and get all your money back!
- Cancel after the expiry of the 24 hours grace period with more than 7 days left until pick-up, and El Monte will not return your $250 but you will have an option to use this amount for any future reservation/s.
- If you cancel after the expiry of the 24 hours with less than 7 days left until pick-up, you will lose the entire $250 deposit.
In a nutshell, if your travel plans are uncertain, Cruise America or El Monte are better rental options.
Local RV Rental – (E.g. San Diego)
Here too, the cancellation policy is strict.
- If you cancel before 30 days of the pick-up, you’d still lose 50% of your booking.
- If you cancel within 30 days, you will lose your entire booking amount.
This is a good example of a local RV rental company which goes to show that such local companies are much more strict than CruiseAmerica, RVShare, and Outdoorsy.
There are a few more options available such as Covid-19 closures, free of charge re-bookings, etc. but you need to be very careful and knowledgeable about them. Make sure that everything is precisely mentioned in the contract.
The Bottom Line
Before you make your RV rental booking, you need to make sure that your vacation plans, campgrounds, etc. are reliable enough. This is because you get a very narrow margin of error with RV bookings.
If your travel plans are very well-defined, you know the specific campgrounds or locations where you’ll be going, the dates are fixed, and you know that bad weather won’t impact your plans much, you can pick any of the RV rental companies mentioned above.
Personally, we’ve seen that in the majority of the cases, the RV rentals go as planned and the cancellation rate of the bookings is not more than 10-15%.
To summarize the above:
- Local RV rental companies are very strict and may not give you enough margin of error.
- RVShare – You can cancel 30 days prior to your rental pick-up date.
- Outdoorsy- Better than RVShare.com as allows you to cancel up to 14 days prior to your rental pick-up date.
- Cruise America – If you cancel a week before, you can still get all your initial deposit back
- El Monte – If you cancel with more than 7 days to pick-up, you lose nothing. Or else, you lose $250.
If your travel plans are reasonably firm and you want a high-quality RV that suits your precise rental needs then perhaps go for RVShare.com, Outdoorsy.com, or your local RV rental company. However, if you want flexibility and minimal cancellation charges then perhaps consider CruiseAmerica.com or El Monte RV Rentals.
Need any more help? Contact us at Support@RVRentalGuru. We will be happy to help you out!