Printed here by permission of Joe Martin


The original article appeared in 

Volume 5,  Issue V of the RV gazette 



Look For The Difference  


"Choosing the wrong RV insurance provider

can be a costly mistake"   by Joe Martin




This article  addresses concerns of Motorhome Owners.

Wayfarer offers many options for trailer owners as well

An apple is an apple, is an apple; therefore, all apples are the same.

True or false? We know the answer is false. There are green, yellow and red apples; sweet and sour apples; eating apples and baking apples. And so it is with insurance.

Each provincial/territorial government regulates what must be on a policy and most insurers provide policies that follow government requirements.

Fourteen years ago, when I researched various insurance policies in Canada, there were none specifically for RVs, so I undertook the task of creating a policy designed for motorhomes and trailers. Over the years these policies have been enhanced to be, what I think, the finest available for the part-time or fulltime RVers.


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First of all, let us review the needs of the motorhome owner. High limits of liability are primary. The liability section of the policy provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage where you, as the owner, may be held liable because you caused the accident.

Since many of our insureds travel in the U.S. and our dollar is worth less than half of the U.S. dollar, we recommend you carry at least $2,000,000 (two million dollars) of protection. Accident benefits that include death, funeral or rehabilitation expenses, along with income replacement (if you are employed) are mandatory and coverages will vary from province to province.

All perils (i.e. collision and comprehensive) are provided for the physical protection of your own motorhome. Many insurers will insist on high deductibles (i.e. $1,000). Some will even insist that the deductible be up to five percent of the value of higher priced RVs. Consequently, if your RV is worth $100,000 or more, you could have a $5,000 or higher deductible.

We have standardized on one deductible that would not place any owner under financial strain in the event of a claim.

Replacement cost coverage is available on motorhomes for five years for insureds who are the first owner of the motorhome and are insured for the total purchase price, including taxes.

This coverage protects your investment for five years. It offers excellent protection in the event of a total loss and also waives depreciation if a minor loss occurs - such as wind damage to the awning.

In some Canadian jurisdictions, such as Ontario, and in many U.S. states that have "no-fault" insurance, your own insurer must pay the claim. You cannot seek compensation from the other person who caused the accident. Without replacement coverage your insurer would depreciate the unit and pay what the motorhome was worth at the time of the loss. A three- or four-year-old unit could mean a 20 or 30 percent depreciation.

The policy should provide coverage for contents. Many claims (such as vandalism, theft, fire or collision) involve a loss of contents along with damage to the motorhome. Without contents coverage, you would have to claim for damages to the motorhome and then claim any loss of contents on your home or renter's policy. This means two deductibles - $300 or more on the RV policy plus $250 or $500 on your home policy. These deductibles sure add up in a hurry.

If you have a claim, this unique coverage would cover the costs of a rental vehicle, motel, meals, etc; or it will fly you home. Just think, if you were involved in an accident and were stranded in Texas or Alaska or away from your home province, what would you do?

Most of the coverages outlined above are also available for travel trailers, fifth wheel and camper units. Replacement coverage (no depreciation) can be obtained for up to 15 years. Contents and emergency vacation expenses should be a must on your policy.

Many RVers have given up their house and are travelling fulltime so their needs are slightly different from the norm. Fulltimers' insurance provides coverage for their personal contents and the personal liability that were previously covered under their home policy. Check with your broker/agent for more information.

Because of Provincial Government Insurance, some of the coverages I have outlined are not available in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or British Columbia. I would suggest that RVers in those provinces lobby for changes that are essential to protect the needs of the growing number of RVers.

Caution #1
Some brokers or agents suggest that you suspend or delete coverages when your RV is in storage. This, I firmly believe, can be 'penny wise and pound foolish"! If you delete liability accident benefits and collision coverages from your policy, you are taking a great risk of financial loss.

For example: I had a call from an RVer whose motorhome (while in storage) was involved in a hit-and-run. The rear quarter panel was damaged in excess of $5,000. He didn't have coverage under his policy because he deleted collision coverage to save $325.00.

A greater concern is when people forget to add the coverages back on to the policy and are driving around without liability coverage. Just think of the costs if they were involved in an accident. You might chuckle and say, "that couldn't happen". Well, believe me, it does happen.
"Martha - I thought you called the agent."
"No, George, that was your job." - etc., etc.
Sound familiar?

Caution #2
Experience is very important when buying RV insurance and, after comparing all coverages and premiums, I suggest you ask the insurance company, broker or agent the following questions broken down into three main sections:

  1. General Experience and Knowledge
    1. Does your insurance company specialize in RV insurance?
    2. Does your company know and understand my needs as an RVer?
    3. How long has the company been providing RV insurance?
  2. Claims Experience
    1. How can you look after my claim?
    2. Do you provide 24-hour claims service anywhere in North America?
  3. Premiums (this may be the most important section to you).
    1. What happens to my premiums if I have a claim?

A small note about premiums and claims: You may save a couple of hundred dollars initially on your premiums but most companies increase premiums from 20 to 25 percent for up to five years.

Shop wisely for your insurance needs. Rely on an insurer, broker or agent specializing in RV insurance. Price is important but so are coverages and quality of service.

To find out more about the RV insurance specialist and about RV-designed policies, visit


The original article appeared in Volume 5, Issue V of the RV gazette

Printed here by permission of Joe Martin