The price of RV repair is only going up. With more RVers on the road than ever, the demand on parts and skilled labor has resulted in rising repair costs. Unfortunately, most travelers don’t plan for these unexpected costs. And we get it! The RV lifestyle offers freedom, excitement, and the thrill of the open road…who wants to think about repair bills and costly mechanical issues? Failing to prepare for RV breakdowns can cost you big down the road, so many RVers are turning to RV extended warranty plans to safeguard their home-on-wheels. If you’re new to RVing or the world of RV warranties, buckle up! We’ve put together a crash course on all things RV protection to help you handle the learning curve and find peace of mind on the road ahead.
Defining RV Warranties
Whether you travel in a motorhome or towable RV, all recreational vehicles come with a risk of breakdown. Investing in coverage can help to curtail these costs, but it’s important to understand exactly what you’re purchasing so you can make find the best RV extended warranty for who you are as an RV traveler.
What is an RV Extended Warranty?
Let’s start at the beginning: what exactly is an RV warranty? The term itself is actually a misnomer. What is commonly referred to as an RV extended warranty is more aptly named an RV extended service contract. These contracts are written, administered, and sold by 3rd party companies who have no affiliation with coach manufacturers. As there is no connection to the manufacturer, the coverage is not technically a warranty. However, as these policies are commonly referred to as extended warranties within the community, we’ll stick with this verbiage for the duration of the article.
RV extended service contracts, hereafter RV warranties, are policies that agree to pay for the cost of mechanical and electrical repairs your vehicle may need, in exchange for a premium and per-visit deductible. Most contracts will offer a variety of coverage levels, deductibles, terms, and more. Working with an expert is the best way to determine which policy matches best with your personal RV lifestyle, budget, and desired level of risk.
Levels of Coverage
As mentioned, RV warranties breakdown into various coverage options, usually falling into these four major categories:
- Exclusionary RV Warranty: This is the highest level of coverage available for both motorhomes and towable RVs. An exclusionary policy will tell you what is NOT covered by the policy. If your breakdown is not on the contract’s specific exclusions list, then it will be covered. The policy is built to cover almost any electrical or mechanical failure on your vehicle, and items that will be covered by this policy range from your microwave to your diesel engine, and will even cover uncommon components like solar panels. This is the best RV extended warranty option for frequent travelers, those looking to invest in the most coverage available, and those whose rigs boast bells and whistles.
- Listed Component Coverage: This type of policy is also quite comprehensive, and reads like the exact opposite of an Exclusionary contract. That is, a Listed Component RV warranty will provide a list of what IS covered by the policy. If the failure is not specifically listed as covered, it will be excluded. Items you can expect to be covered by this policy include appliances, heating and cooling components, your engine, and more.
- Powertrain Only RV Extended Warranty: This level of coverage is perfect for the motorhome owner who is looking to protect their budget from the most catastrophic possible breakdowns. A Powertrain Only policy will cover your engine, transmission, and drive axle components. All other failures are excluded by this type of contract.
- Coach Only Protection: Specific to motorhomes, a Coach Only policy will offer coverage to the mechanical components housed in the “coach” of the unit. Your engine, powertrain, and drive axle will be specifically excluded. Items you can expect to be covered include appliances, heating and cooling, leveling jacks, and more.
Setting Realistic Coverage Expectations: What is Not Covered
Always get a full copy of the terms and conditions of coverage before purchasing, and pay special attention to the “Exclusions” list. Having a realistic expectation for what will and will not be covered is an important part of your RV journey.
Items that will be excluded by any RV extended warranty include, but are not limited to the following:
- Aesthetic items like furniture, upholstery, glass, and flooring
- Maintenance items like belts, filters, batteries, brake pads, and weather stripping as well as maintenance tasks likes oil changes
- Physical damage, or failures caused by accident, weather, or vandalism
Finding the Best RV Extended Warranty for You
Not all warranty contracts are created equal, and there are a few items you can look for to separate the good from the bad. First and foremost, the policy should be backed by a stable insurance carrier. The insurance backer of an extended warranty will ensure your claims will be paid even if the warranty provider or administrator runs into financial difficulty.
Additionally, pay attention to who you are purchasing a policy from. Reputable providers will walk you through your options, and help you find the contract that makes the most sense for your RV lifestyle and budget. If the seller is only willing to provide a basic brochure or a limited view of the policy, you’ll want to decline their offer.
And don’t take their word for it! Research the provider using tools like the Better Business Bureau, RV consumer organizations like Escapees RV Club, and your fellow travelers. RVers are a friendly and helpful community, and there is a ton of information out there for those willing to look. Be sure to choose a policy with a reputation for fair claims processing and great customer service.
When and Where to Buy
Most RV warranties are purchased in conjunction with the purchase of the vehicle. If you are picking up a rig from a dealer, they’ll most likely offer you a policy during the buying process. Many RVers will also choose to get a quote from another source at this time, such as an online RV warranty broker. It’s always a good idea to get quotes from different sources for comparison purposes and to avoid overpaying or rolling coverage into an extended loan along with your RV.
However, this isn’t the only time that a policy is available. If you are buying an RV from a private party, or have owned your rig for a while and simply want to take better control of your travel budget, RV brokers like Wholesale Warranties can help you out. We can even offer coverage for motorhomes as far back as 20 model years old, with less than 100,000 miles on their odometer. For towable RVs, coverage options generally end around 15 model years.
One of the most common questions we get is when to buy an RV extended warranty, so we’ve answered that question in detail on one of our other blogs. But to sum it up: you will never get a better deal on better coverage than when your rig is brand new, and still under manufacturer warranty. Additionally, the cost of RV warranties is directly correlated with the age and use of your vehicle, so you will save money by locking in coverage early on, when miles are low.
How to File an RV Warranty Claim
At Wholesale Warranties, we only work with providers who make the claims quick and straightforward. With our policies, and most policies on the market, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Find a Repair Facility or Mobile Mechanic – you can take your vehicle to any licensed repair provider in the US or Canada. Licensed simply means the company is in business to work on RVs and has a tax ID number.
- Get a Diagnosis – the mechanic will need to diagnose the problem with your rig and call the warranty company with those details. No actual repair work can take place yet.
- Get a Preauthorization Number – This is the golden rule of RV extended warranties! The warranty company must provide a pre-authorization number before repair work can begin. Even the best RV extended warranty will deny a claim that did not get a preauthorization.
- Complete the Work – let your repair facility move forward with authorized repairs. They will submit a final invoice once complete, at which point…
- Your RV Warranty Pays the Bill – You get back on the road!
Research Now, Save Big Later
Whether you’re a new RVer or a seasoned vet of the road, there is no time like the present to take a look at protecting your rig and your wallet. You can get a free quote for coverage, and work through your options with an RV Warranty Expert today—and hit the road with peace of mind tomorrow.