Since they offer a safe and socially distant way to get away from it all, recreational vehicles — also known as RVs or motorhomes — are hotter than ever in this time of coronavirus, with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association anticipating an annual 7% growth in sales until 2024. But RVs are also more complex and costly than cars, as a rule, and so is their insurance.
The size and diverse use of RVs contribute to the complexity of insuring them. An RV might be used as a full-time home or only occasionally, for an annual vacation or some weekend getaways. It might be only a little bigger than an SUV or as big as a motorcoach. It’s probably a vehicle you drive but it could also be something you tow behind a vehicle or mount atop a pickup truck.
For more on these distinctions and how they affect the policy you need, see the guide on How to Buy RV Insurance further down this page. But first, come our top picks in RV insurance. Our choices are primarily driven by three key attributes of the best RV insurers: broad coverage and ample benefits, widely available discounts, and fine customer support. (More details on our methodology for selecting the best RV insurance are at the bottom of the page.)
Money’s Top Picks
Good Sam: Best for RV Full-Timers
Just a handful of insurers offer policies for full-time RV use, and Good Sam is among the best of them. The company’s full-time coverage is customizable and includes full replacement-cost coverage for personal belongings for up to $3,000, rather than receiving only a depreciated value for those items. Policies also include personal liability and medical payment — both features of homeowners insurance that ensure you’ll be covered should anyone be injured in or around your RV. Good Sam also offers emergency expense allowance, an add-on that covers lodging and food expenses if you suffer an accident when you’re more than 100 miles from your home.
Nationwide: Best for Discounts
Nationwide offers a broad range of premium reductions on RV insurance. For starters, you can earn homeowners, multi-policy, multi-vehicle, and paid-in-full discounts. There’s also a break if you take an RV driving course or if you’re a member of an RV organization, such as the National RV Association. Note that not all discounts are listed on Nationwide’s website; some come up only during the quoting process. Examples, according to a customer service representative, are discounts for installing a tire-pressure monitoring system and for the RV having a fiberglass body.
National General: Best for Personal Belongings Coverage
Replacement coverage is common among RV insurance companies, but it usually reimburses the cost of damaged items only to a depreciated amount. This means that the reimbursement you receive won’t match the total you paid for the item you lost. With National General’s personal belongings coverage, items that are damaged in your RV, such as laptops or furniture, are covered for up to $3,000, and the insurance company reimburses you the amount you paid for the items, rather than their depreciated current values.
National General also lets you upgrade your insurance on the RV itself to full replacement cost coverage. That add-on should guarantee that you’ll get a new RV that’s equal or similar in value to yours if the vehicle is ever stolen or totaled.
The company also, as a standard feature, includes protection for any item that attaches to your RV, including satellite dishes and TV antennas. Also standard is an emergency expense allowance that pays you up to $250 a day for food and lodging if you have an accident more than 50 miles away from your home.
Progressive: Best For A Variety of Vehicles, And For Pet Owners
Progressive covers an especially diverse range of RVs, including classes A, B, and C vehicles along with conventional motorhomes, 5th wheel, pop-up, and truck-camper options, and cargo/utility & horse-travel trailers.
The policies are also potentially exhaustive and include options for collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorist, liability, and medical payments coverage. Additionally, the company provides other forms of coverage at an additional cost. These include, through Progressive’s partner Mexpro, Mexico liability insurance — an add-on that protects your vehicle if you travel south of the border. There’s also a pet-injury option that pays vet bills of up to $1,000 if your pet is ever injured while riding in your RV.
How to Buy RV Insurance
Finding the best insurance for your RV requires first understanding the nuances of policies and coverage. These questions aim to illuminate some of these.
Are friends insured if they borrow your RV?
Most companies extend coverage to people you know who drive your RV, including friends and family, However, it’s important to note that some states, including Arkansas and Wisconsin, require that drivers get special licenses to drive RVs. If you live in one of these states and you lend your RV to someone, that person must have the required license if you want your insurance policy to apply.
Renting your RV is another matter. This is considered to be commercial use, and insurance companies typically don’t extend their policies to others who rent your RV. Instead, the renter must generally obtain their own insurance for the unit. (However, if you rent your RV through an agency that facilitates such rentals, it may facilitate your renters obtaining policies.)
Is RV insurance mandatory?
Yes, at least for RVs that you drive and at least for liability — to cover damage or injury you may do to other people and their property in the event of an at-fault accident. With the exception of New Hampshire, all states, including the District of Columbia, require that vehicles have some form of liability coverage, and RVs are included.
What are the types of RV insurance?
Because RVs are both a vehicle and a home, whether temporary or permanent, their insurance combines elements found in both auto and homeowners policies.
From auto insurance, RV coverage borrows these components:
- Property-damage liability coverage: The first form of liability insurance, property damage coverage pays for any damage that you cause to another person’s property or vehicle. State requirements for this coverage are low, in the tens of thousands for each. But experts recommend buying more — to a limit of at least $50,000.
- Bodily-injury liability coverage: The second form of liability insurance, this coverage pays for medical expenses and lost income to those you injure in an at-fault accident. As with property-damage liability, state requirements provide less coverage than experts recommend — which is at least $100,000 per person in the vehicle.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage: Covers the cost of repairs to your car and medical expenses should you suffer an accident where you’re not at fault, and where the other driver doesn’t have car insurance.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Covers medical expenses for both you and your passenger in the event of an accident, no matter who was at fault. It also covers loss of wages.
From home-insurance coverage, RV insurance borrows the components that follow. Unlike the liability component of your policy, these are optional except as mentioned:
- Personal property coverage: Covers the cost of replacing any damaged or stolen personal items that you keep inside your RV, including clothing, furniture, jewelry, and computers.
- Total loss replacement: Replaces your RV with an equal or similar model if your RV is ever stolen or totaled. As with a new car, this coverage may be required by the lender if your RV is financed — and is wise for most RVs, regardless, given the high cost of replacing them.
- Full-time RV coverage: Adds extra liability, secure storage, and medical coverage if you reside in your RV for five months or more each year.
- Emergency Expense Allowance: Covers living and travel expenses like car rentals, lodging, and food, for up to a specified amount if you’re involved in an accident when you’re more than 100 miles away from your home.
- Campsite/vacation coverage: Protects you from liability if a non-family member suffers an accident while in your campsite area or inside your RV.
- Specialized coverage: Protects your RV from problems not regularly covered by other policies. This includes the replacement of appliances like sinks and solar panels, and can even provide coverage if your pets are hurt while in the vehicle.
Do I need to insure a type of RV that has no engine?
If you own a motorhome that you drive, you’ll need to insure it comprehensively. For example, if you have a class A motorhome (the biggest class of vehicle) and you use it as your main home, it’s important to get liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and full-time RV and property coverage, as these coverages will insure both the vehicle and home aspects of your RV.
However, with the following RV types, which are not freestanding vehicles, it may be enough to obtain campsite/vacation and personal property coverage. You’ll likely also want to add total-loss replacement for the unit, and may opt to add other coverages, too, such as those for the unit’s appliances, if it has those, and for emergency expenses.
- Truck camper: A simpler RV, truck campers are loaded on the back of pickup trucks and are mostly used for vacation activities like camping and fishing.
- Travel trailer: a towable RV, travel trailers are among the most popular models thanks to its affordability and comfortability.
- Pop-up tent trailer: the simplest RV, they are cheaper and compact, making it a perfect option for camping.
How are the RVs that you drive classified?
Motorhomes that have engines and are driven belong in one of four classes. They proceed from A to C, and not strictly by size. Here’s the rundown:
Class A are the most luxurious and spacious, measuring 24-40 feet in length and able to fit as much as 12 passengers. Class B RVs, known as “camper vans”, are the smallest and less expensive, with a length of 17 feet to 19 feet. Their big siblings are B+ RVs, larger vehicles that measure between 17 feet and 30 feet. Finally, there are C RVs, which have an over-cab space and serve as the middle ground in size between A and B RVs, measuring between 21 feet and 41 feet.
These are the factors we used to arrive at our shortlist of the best RV insurance companies.
Coverage and Benefits
The companies we chose offer not only the typical types of insurance for vehicles — such as personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured/underinsured motorist, collision, and comprehensive coverage — but also RV-specific insurance, such as full-time coverage, full replacement coverage, personal belonging coverage, attached items coverage, and vacation liability coverage. In addition, we emphasized insurers that covered as many types of RV as possible, if not all types. Finally, we chose companies with a wide range of liability limits, which allows RV owners a greater scope when deciding the best balance of risk and premium cost. (See “What are the types of RV insurance” above for our coverage recommendations.)
The featured companies have a variety of available discounts, so you have multiple options for reducing your premiums. RV insurance premiums vary greatly by your vehicle and its age and condition and where to live, yet an ample selection of discounts are useful to all RVs and owners. Some of these discounts are easy to get, such as those for owning a home, consistently paying on time, and opting to receive documents by email rather than US Mail. Others require more money or effort, such as those for being a responsible driver, having anti-theft devices installed in your RV, and having your RV paid in full.
We examined comments and ratings on various consumer review websites to select the RV insurance companies that stood out in their customer support. Companies with seeming shortcomings in how they handled such problems as sudden policy cancellations and premium increases without notification— two fairly common issues in the industry — were quickly discarded.