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Is RV Insurance Required?

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Whether you use your RV as a home on wheels or just a weekend warrior getaway vehicle, your rig needs to be protected in some way, shape or form. The easiest and most scenic route to protection is to invest in a comprehensive RV insurance policy.

But how do you know which RVs require insurance, how much is required or even if insurance is required at all? We’ll walk you through every step of the way, so you’re well informed about your rig’s insurance needs.

Is RV Insurance Required?

Like auto insurance, basic bodily injury and property damage liability insurance is required to drive your RV down the road. Many auto insurance policies may not be sufficient to cover expensive RVs, so many states also require RVers to maintain uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as well.

The reason liability coverage is required is because it protects other vehicles and passengers on the road if you’re involved in an accident that’s your fault. This is especially crucial for RVers, whose rigs are typically much larger than standard cars on the road, and thus can cause much more damage when in an accident.

However, those state-mandated requirements only apply to drivable RVs that fall under the umbrella of a Class A, B or C. Towable RVs, such as a fifth-wheel or a pop-up, and truck bed campers aren’t required to have liability insurance because the liability coverage is transferred to them from the vehicle that’s towing them.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t insure your rig — even if it’s not required by the state. In those instances of simply having only liability coverage, you’d be responsible to pay for any damages to your rig if you’re in an accident and are the at-fault driver. Some other stipulations may require you to get RV insurance. Let’s take a look.

RV & Travel Trailer Insurance Requirements

As we previously discussed, liability coverage is the only thing you legally need to drive your rig to paradise. But we recommend investing in full coverage — with the option to add a few extras — if you want to be fully protected. After all, you paid a lot of money for your RV. You probably don’t want to pay that much again if your rig were totaled. It’s also important to note that the levels of liability coverage you must have differs state by state.

Required in Every State

The only two coverages required in every state are bodily injury liability and property damage liability. When you get an RV insurance policy, those numbers will be displayed in a format that looks like this: 25/50/50.

Those numbers are representative of your coverage amounts. So if you’re involved in an accident and you’re at fault, your insurance will cover up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for medical bills and legal fees (bodily injury liability) and up to $50,000 for property damage (property damage liability), including the damage you cause to someone else’s vehicle. But with just those two coverages, you’d be responsible for paying for damage to your own RV.

Bodily Injury Liability: This is standard coverage that’s typically required in every state. If you cause an accident, it covers medical bills to injured parties and lawsuits that may arise if you’re sued due to the injuries. Since travel trailers aren’t driven, your standard auto insurance should transfer.

Property Damage Liability: The second standard coverage typically required in every state, this coverage is designed to pay for any damage you cause to someone else’s vehicle or property if you’re in an accident and deemed to be liable. Again, your own auto insurance policy should protect you if you cause damage with a towable travel trailer.

Required in Many States

Since many RVs are large enough to be homes on wheels — even a studio apartment disguised as a converted van — they can cause significant damage to any vehicle they hit. They’re like large battering rams, so smaller vehicles don’t stand a chance.

That also leads to a lot of damage — to both the other vehicle and your expensive RV. That’s why many states mandate RVers to maintain uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: This coverage is designed to pay for damage to your RV and injuries sustained to you or anyone inside your RV if you’re involved in an accident that was caused by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or has an insufficient amount of insurance.

Optional Coverage but Required by Lenders

Since states only require liability coverage and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, that leaves your rig and those inside completely vulnerable to an accident you cause, natural disasters and other unfortunate events.

However, if you bought your RV with a loan and still owe money, your lender could legally require you to maintain some form of full coverage on it. They do this to protect their investment. Because while you still owe money on your RV, they have the legal right to the title, and still have a vested interest in your rig.

If you were involved in an at-fault accident that totaled your rig, the company you received the loan from would still want to get paid. So they require you to purchase these coverages to ensure they do.

It’s also important to note refusing the required coverages will do you no good. Your lender can purchase a policy for you and incorporate it into the loan amount. And if they buy a policy for you, it’ll likely be a lot more expensive than the one you could get on your own.

Collision Coverage: This pays to repair your RV if it sustains damage due to an accident — whether you’re at fault or not. With RV coverage, since you may be traveling with an array of personal items, coverage can come in two forms: total loss replacement and personal effects replacement.

Total Loss Replacement: If your RV is totaled within its first four years on the road, this coverage is designed to provide you with a new and comparable model RV. If it’s totaled in years five through seven, it will reimburse you the actual cash value or original purchase price (whichever is higher). After the seventh year, it will reimburse you the RV’s actual cash value, which includes depreciation in its pricing factor.

Personal Effects Replacement: If you get into an accident and your personal items inside the RV are damaged, this coverage will pay to replace them, similar to home insurance’s personal property coverage. The standard limit is usually up to $5,000 per claim, but you may be able to add an endorsement for up to $100,000 worth of personal property coverage.

Comprehensive Coverage: This is designed to protect your RV from things that are out of your own control, such as vandalism, theft and damage caused by natural disasters or debris from the road.

Medical Payments: Regardless of whether you’re at fault or not, medical payments coverage is designed to help cover medical expenses for injuries sustained to you or anyone in your RV after an accident.

Extra Coverage to Consider

But even if you have the required liability coverages and have opted for all the full-coverage options you still have more choices that could further protect you and your investment.

Gap Insurance: If your RV is totaled, and you either don’t have total loss replacement coverage or your rig is more than 7 years old, gap insurance will pay the difference between the value of your RV and the amount you still owe. So if your rig is worth $30,000 but you took a loan for $60,000, gap insurance would cover the extra $30,000 you still owe to your lender.

Roadside Assistance: Similar to auto insurance’s roadside assistance, this is designed to pay for 24-hour help needed on the road, like fixing a flat, delivering gas after you’ve run out or jumpstarting your RV.

Towing & Labor: The name probably describes it all, but this is designed to pay for the towing costs if you’ve broken down and the relative labor costs of fixing your rig. Since there’s a good chance you’ll be visiting places far from larger cities, that towing may cost a few thousand dollars.

Vacation Liability: If your RV damages another person’s property or someone is injured at its temporary resting place or living space, like an RV resort or free campground in the middle of nowhere, this can cover liability expenses related to the incident.

Do You Have to Have Insurance on a Travel Trailer?

Since travel trailers are towed behind your vehicle and aren’t motorized, they actually share your auto insurance policy’s bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. This applies to fifth-wheels, truck bed campers, pop-ups and any other non-motorized travel trailer.

So if you back into something with your travel trailer, causing damage to another vehicle or other people, your auto insurance would cover the damages. However, you’d still be lacking coverage for the travel trailer itself. So any damage you cause to it wouldn’t be covered by your auto policy.

Therefore, you should always invest in comprehensive and collision coverage for your travel trailer. And if you took out a loan to buy it and you still owe money, your lender will likely require you to have and maintain these coverages anyway.

Does a Pop-Up Camper Need Insurance?

Since pop-up campers aren’t motorized and are towed behind your vehicle, they piggyback off the liability coverages from the auto insurance policy of the vehicle it’s being towed by. That means any damage you may cause with it would be covered, but damage you cause to the pop-up camper wouldn’t be covered.

Like every other travel trailer, you’d still need a special insurance policy to cover damage to your camper. But if you took out a loan and you still owe money on said loan, your lender will likely require you to purchase this coverage anyway.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.