Filed under: Preparation & Readiness, RVing & the Legal System
Is your RV insurance adequate???
As we have been dealing with the frame failure of our Gulf Stream 5th wheel, we have found the learning curve to be quite steep! It has been nearly 2 months since we realized that the ‘up-stairs’ part on our frame was cracked in all 4 corners, and that our rv was not structurally sound.
Fast forward those 2 months, and our RV is finally getting fixed (over the course of the next month). No thanks to the shoddy workmanship and lack of customer service on the part of Gulf Stream. Even tho the first welder who looked at it said that the frame was inadequate for the weight of the trailer built upon the frame, and the repair shop who is fixing it for us now attributes the failure to ‘shoddy workmanship’ and a lack of fasteners attaching the sidewalls to the frame, Gulf Stream has yet to communicate with us about the failure despite our numerous contacts with them. (on a side note, the repair shop has said that they will be cutting out that entire front part of the frame and building a new, heavier-duty frame to replace it)
While we are struggling with the irresponsibility of Gulf Stream, we are thankful for the insurance we do have. Now, we have never had to deal with an insurance issue on our rv before, so this has been a bit of (a lot of) a learning experience. It has made us consider and even deal with issues that we had not previously thought of. Nothing in this article is to be considered advice, but is just put out there to hopefully help others consider their own insurance - making sure that their coverage is adequate for their possible needs should there be an issue with their own rv…
Our insurance carrier is Farmers. We do not have ‘fulltimers’ insurance, nor specialty insurance. What we do have is collision or full-coverage on our 5th wheel as an addition onto our tow vehicle. Our insurance is covering the failure as they consider it to be from bad roads and thus it is covered under our collision coverage. I will be the first to say that the price is right – it’s about $5/mo to add the rv on to our truck. We also have some sort of other coverage on our rv (comprehensive?), through Farmers that will cover replacement cost of our rv should there be a fire while we are not hooked to the truck – this was an additional small fee. And we used to consider this adequate.
That was before we were homeless for 2, going on 3, months. We really had never considered what would happen to us should our rv be out of commission and we had to find another place to live for an extended amount of time. We had not considered the trouble to continually move between friends and family, and funding 2 or 3 hotel rooms for 3 months would be the financial end to our travels this winter (besides being the end of my sanity). This is not really a concern for those who maintain a home in addition to their rv, but for fulltimers, it really must be considered. We never dreamed that we would be out of our rv (home) for 3 months! And while we are unique in that we have a large family and fulltime (and no-one wants to rent to a fam with 10 kids), this could possibly effect others also.
When this whole fiasco is over (I really can’t deal with more stuff right now!!!), we will be re-visiting our insurance coverage. Besides being not really thrilled with the service from our auto coverage (took 7 weeks to get the repair OKed), we now feel like we are probably under covered.
While I’m sure there are more, here a few things to consider, especially if you fulltime, are:
*Coverage for out of RV repairs: will your insurance cover your housing bills (hotel, rental) should you be required to leave your rv due to repair or totaling?
*Liability: (like homeowners) what if a visitor were to slip on your rv steps (lets be honest, they aren’t much like ‘real’ steps). When we were in Corpus Christi, we experienced and ice storm, and Vaughn slipped down the front door steps. He had a very nasty bruise for MONTHS! Had this been someone not in our family, even if we had not invited the visitor, we could have possibly been liable for any Dr. exams or injury claims.
*And everyone should consider collision coverage on their rv – could you afford to replace your rig should you be in an accident where you are deemed liable or the other driver is underinsured?
Now that we have had to deal with not being adequately covered for the issues that we are having, it has really made me consider our coverage. And our carrier. Now, in Farmer’s defense, we did complain about the time frame of our repairs, and they have (with a little pressure) agreed to haul our RV down to Phoenix for us, which is an additional 900 miles over bringing it back here to MT – which means that we can actually leave MT before the RV is finished, but that means yet another move (this weekend will be #3 in 2 months). But, because of the timeline at this point, we are not sure that we are going to make it to AZ before spring; we really want to spend Christmas with our son who will be at boot camp further east. Since we will now (Hopefully!!!) be able to get our RV back by Dec. 1, we will need (want) to head his way right away (we have, but don’t like to, travel fast). Yet we also do not want to be ‘moving’ back into our RV here – Dec. in MT is not the best moving weather.
We are so thankful that our vehicle coverage is stepping up where Gulf Stream is failing, but we also now realize that it would have been cost effective (and stress relieving) to have had full-timers RV insurance. And while I don’t know all the details (but am certainly going to work on finding them out), I do know that fulltimer insurance is said to cover the expenses of being out of your rolling home, and I’m hoping that, since it is coverage specifically designed for RV living, it would also work to have you back in the driver’s seat as soon as possible (instead of treating us like it doesn’t matter because surely our rv sits all winter like most, right?).
How would your insurance measure up should something happen to your rolling home? Would it cover out of house expenses? Would they do their best to get you back on the road as soon as possible? Would you be covered should someone get hurt in your ‘home’? Right now would be a good time to read the declaration pages of your rv coverage, and consider the worst-case scenarios!
Just some food for thought – it’s not fun to realize that you have the wrong insurance just at the time that you need the right coverage…