Renting a recreational vehicle remains popular, not least due to the trends to higher hotel costs and lower gas prices compared with the pandemic levels for both expenses. (Gas prices really count for RVs, since they can travel as little as 4 miles on a gallon of gas, according to rental site RVShare.)
But before you get the keys to one of these hotel-rooms-on-wheels, be aware that RV rental insurance can be more complicated – and a lot pricier – to get than coverage for a rental car. Insurance can add upwards of $20 per day to your RV rental costs if you find you aren't covered by your car insurance at home. And some strategies to eliminate or reduce the cost of insurance for rental cars don’t work for rental RVs; for example, it’s very unlikely you can rely on free coverage through using a particular credit card.
Here’s what you need to know about insuring your mobile home-away-from-home, including tips on finding and buying from the best RV insurance companies.
Table of Contents
- How does RV rental insurance work?
- What does RV rental insurance cover?
- How to get RV rental insurance
- What to consider before choosing RV rental insurance
- What is the average cost of RV rental insurance?
- 5 tips for finding the right RV rental insurance
- What are the best RV rental insurance companies?
- Frequently asked questions
- How we chose the best RV rental insurance
How does RV Rental Insurance Work?
Like rental car insurance, RV rental insurance offers temporary insurance coverage while driving an RV, camper van or travel trailer. You can buy RV insurance through your RV rental company if your regular auto insurance doesn’t already cover it, at least in part.
Some rental companies let you choose your level of coverage. They then bundle the cost of your insurance policy with your daily rental cost, so you don’t have to worry about making multiple payments.
Because RVs are generally larger and come with more hazards than standard cars, comprehensive coverage is typically more expensive for these vehicles than for a rental car —$70 per day or more, in some cases. Still, renting a small RV is one of the cheapest ways to take a road trip, so that extra insurance cost may be well worth it in the long run.
What does RV Rental Insurance Cover?
RV rental insurance policies cover physical damage to the vehicle while you’re renting it. They also cover your liability if you get into an accident while driving — meaning you won’t have to pay out of pocket for damage caused to another driver’s vehicle. Here’s an overview of what to expect from your RV insurance coverage:
|What is covered
|What is not covered
|Personal possessions inside the RV
|Personal injury protection
Basic liability coverage is required whenever you rent a car or RV. Each state has its own minimum liability coverage requirements, so you’ll need at least the amount of coverage required in the state where you rent your RV.
The most basic coverage could leave you vulnerable
The most basic RV insurance, whether added by the RV agency or bought by you, generally provides only the state minimum levels of liability. Those levels likely offer less protection than your auto insurance policy and less than experts such as Consumer Reports and the Insurance Information Institute recommend.
An RV has more components that you could damage than a typical car. If you pay for comprehensive coverage on top of collision and liability protection, confirm that it will cover you for, say, fire and smoke damage should you start a fire with the RV’s stove.
To avoid being underinsured, consider increasing the liability you carry on the RV, despite the additional cost. Moving up from the state minimums to a more-than-ample $1,000,000 in liability costs an extra $14.95 a day with MBA Insurance. RVshare’s basic coverage is included in its rentals but only to state liability minimums of up to $100,000, according to the insurer’s website. Stepping up to the Preferred package triples the liability coverage to $300,000 (an amount many experts recommend) but requires you to pay an additional $21 and up a day in premiums.
Your home insurance should cover your personal possessions
As when renting a car, the items you bring from home to the RV should be protected by your homeowners or renters insurance. So you should be made whole if items are stolen or damaged while in the vehicle.
Some caveats do apply to such protection under your home insurance. For starters, the same deductible — likely of $500 or more — applies just as it would as for any other claim under your policy. That means you’ll get little or nothing back unless the value of what’s stolen is substantial.
Also, keep in mind that as with a claim for a loss at home, making a claim for personal items lost during an RV rental could risk an increase in your home insurance premium when you renew. Also, you might face limits on the coverage of valuable items such as jewelry under your home policy, unless you’ve added extra-cost policy “floaters” or “endorsements” for those items.
You can also protect yourself by buying a stand-alone travel insurance policy, which will cover theft of your belongings together with other perils, such as trip cancellation due to accident or illness. A policy typically costs 5% to 12% of the trip’s cost, according to travel expert Rick Steves. He recommends considering if you really require coverage and, if so, making sure that the policy you buy covers your most valuable possessions.
How to get RV Rental Insurance
There are a few different ways to get RV rental insurance: through the rental company, through your auto insurance company or through a third-party insurer. Here’s what’s involved with each.
1. Through the rental company
If you aren't covered by your own car insurance, you can buy a policy for the RV as an add-on during the rental process. Chances are you will rent your RV from either a commercial rental business or through sharing sites such as RVshare or Outdoorsy. Either way, if you lack your own insurance, you will likely be offered it as part of the transaction. Rental platforms like RVshare can bundle your insurance cost with the daily cost of your rental.
2. Through your auto insurance provider
Before you buy an RV insurance policy from your rental company, check that you aren’t already covered by your auto insurance. Car renters benefit from their auto insurer extending much of the same coverage to the cars they rent as to the vehicles they own. While not all companies allow such coverage for an RV, it’s worth a call to your insurance company to find out.
Even companies that allow it may not do so in all states or for especially long rentals — say, of more than a month. Companies that generally extend coverage include USAA, according to a spokesperson, and State Farm, which allows coverage of an RV in most states under your auto insurance for up to 30 days with no advance notice required, according to public affairs senior specialist Anna Bryant.
However, you should confirm that your collision coverage will extend to the full value of the RV, which will very likely be more than the value of your own car. State Farm is among the insurers that offer this extension, says Bryant. "We understand there may be times we could end up settling a claim on a rented vehicle for more than we would for an owned vehicle."
3. Through a third-party insurance provider
Some agencies and sharing sites simply arrange to send their renters over to an RV insurance company with whom they contract, such as MBA Insurance. There, the renter selects and pays for the level of coverage they want.
If you’re renting your RV from an individual RV owner on Outdoorsy or another site, they might offer temporary coverage and roadside assistance through a platform like Roamly, which covers the renter and owner together.
What to consider before choosing RV Rental Insurance
Before you start shopping for RV insurance, here are a few important considerations to keep in mind.
1. Insurance requirements
Ensure you're clear on the insurance requirements in the state in which you're renting the RV. These requirements might be different from those in your home state. The basic insurance plan offered by your RV rental company should meet local bodily injury liability and property damage liability requirements.
2. The value of the RV
If you get into an accident and your insurance coverage is lower than the cost of damages to your RV, you might be liable to pay the difference. That's why it's essential to know your vehicle's value and insure yourself accordingly.
If you're renting a pop-up trailer or fifth wheel, the value of your rental is probably lower than a Class C RV or camper van. Talk to your rental company about the value of your RV before committing to a plan.
Along with choosing your level of coverage, you must select your deductible. A higher deductible can sometimes mean a lower premium. However, you will have to pay that higher amount in case of an accident, so you shouldn't consider a low deductible as an easy way to cut costs without giving through to how much you could actually afford to pay if the worst were to happen.
4. Additional coverage options
Your RV rental company or third-party insurer might offer additional coverage options, such as towing and labor, roadside assistance, glass replacement and more. Additional coverage isn't required to rent your RV, but it might provide more peace of mind as you set out on your road trip.
What is the average cost of RV Rental Insurance?
On average, RV rental insurance costs between $15 and $30 per day, but it could be many times higher than that, depending on the extent of coverage and the value of your RV.
Factors that affect RV insurance cost
Determining the cost of your RV insurance policy are a number of considerations, including:
- The type of RV (Class A, B or C, or a travel trailer). Class A motorhomes generally have the highest insurance premiums, while a policy on a tent trailer or fifth wheel is generally more affordable.
- The age of the RV
- State minimum liability requirements
- Your driving record
- Any add-on coverage you choose
- The deductible you select
5 tips for finding the right RV Rental Insurance
You can't skip the need for insurance if you're renting an RV. But you can take some time to compare your options and ensure you're getting the best coverage for your trip, experience and budget.
1. Check with your auto insurer first
Before you buy an insurance policy from your RV rental company, check with your auto insurer. Chances are high that you’re covered under your normal auto insurance, although the odds drop significantly if you’re renting a larger RV (that weighs more than 12,000 lbs) or for a period of 30 days or more. Your insurance company might also offer additional temporary coverage for the length of your trip.
2. Know the value of your RV
Even if you haven't picked out the exact RV you want to rent, you should know your vehicle's class and estimated value before you start comparing policies.
3. Consider your priorities
If you need to pay for coverage, are you prepared to pay a higher deductible for a lower premium? What add-on coverage, if any, do you want for your trip? Review your options and ensure you know the type of coverage you're looking for before requesting a quote.
4. Get quotes from multiple providers
Whether you're buying insurance from a rental company or a third-party provider, ask for an insurance quote before you buy your policy. Comparing quotes can help you get the best deal for the coverage you're looking for.
5. Make sure your personal possessions are covered by your home insurance
Adequate coverage is about more than the RV itself. Check whether your homeowners or renters insurance provider will cover loss or damage to your personal items while you're on the road.
What are the Best RV Rental Insurance Companies?
Plenty of companies that offer auto, home and travel insurance also offer RV rental insurance. Here's a quick breakdown of three popular RV insurance providers.
Keep in mind that these are third-party providers. You should compare quotes from these companies with your rental company's policy to make sure you're getting the best deal.
- Nationwide: Multiple discount options available, optional towing coverage, and the option to bundle with your auto or renters insurance
- Progressive: Flexible deductibles, offers accident forgiveness, optional roof malfunction and pet injury coverage
- Good Sam: RV-specific insurance agency that's ideal for full-time RVers
RV Rental Insurance FAQs
Is RV rental insurance necessary?
What are the requirements for RV rental insurance?
Are there any restrictions on the type of RV that can be insured?
Does RV insurance typically provide coverage in other countries?
How we chose the best RV Rental Insurance
To narrow down the best companies for RV rental insurance, we looked for a few crucial features and then compared quotes.
We first looked at each provider's available coverage options. Great RV rental insurance providers offer a wide range of policy options. Choosing your coverage level and deductible allows you to customize your policy to fit your budget and vacation.
We also considered the customer service track record of each insurance provider. Nationwide, Progressive and Good Sam are all insurance companies that, according to customer reviews, have an easy claims filing process. All offer a free quote before you buy your policy.
When choosing a provider for RV rental insurance, make sure to do your homework so as to get coverage that meets your needs.