RV Insurance

Is your vacation insured properly? Read more to learn about RV Insurance (image via _escalade328s_ on Flickr)

The summer season is fast approaching and if you are planning to head out on the open road for a family RV adventure, make sure you take a couple minutes to ensure you have the insurance coverage you need before you leave.  Many people share the common misconception that adding their RV to their auto policy provides them with adequate protection during their trip.  While your auto policy may offer some of the coverage you need, it won’t protect you completely which is why it makes more sense to invest in an RV insurance policy.  Buying a separate policy ensures you have all the coverage you need to keep your trip on track and protect yourself while you are on the road.

What is the Difference between Auto Insurance and RV Insurance?

The primary differences between auto coverage and RV coverage result from the primary differences between your car and your RV.  An RV is more than just an RV; it is a house on wheels.  This means you need more coverage than you have on your car in order to cover potential losses that you are open to with an RV that you wouldn’t be with a car.

You keep significantly more property in your RV than you do in your car, some of which can be valuable like laptops, televisions, and other equipment.  When your house on wheels is parked at a campsite, the area around it can be considered your “yard” which makes you liable for things that happen there.  There isn’t really a situation where your car could be thought to have its own yard.  If your RV is damaged while you are on the road, you will need somewhere else to stay just like you would if your house was damaged.

If you are traveling with only your auto policy, the loss of your property, your liability for the campsite, and the expenses related to staying somewhere other than the RV won’t likely be covered which means you will be paying out of pocket.  That might break your vacation budget and force you to cut your trip short.

Common RV Coverage’s

There are several different types of RV coverage available from most insurers, although they may call the coverage by a different name.  Here are the most common coverage types:

  • Bodily Injury – Covers you if there is an accident where you are liable for someone else’s injuries including medical bills, lost wages, and other legal obligations relating to the injury.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist—Covers the cost of repairs when you are involved in an accident and the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your losses.
  • Property Damage— Covers the repair or replacement of damage done by you or your RV to other people’s property
  • Comprehensive – Covers damage or losses to your RV and/or personal property from all covered threats except collision.  This includes things like theft, vandalism, and weather.
  • Collision – Covers the cost of repair or replacement of the RV and all components if it is damaged in a collision.
  • Vacation Liability— Covers your liability for bodily injury and property damage while on a vacation site or camp site.
  • Towing & Labor—Covers the cost of towing by a tow truck capable of handling the RV.
  • Roadside Assistance—Covers the cost of roadside assistance when you break down or run out of gas.
  • Emergency Expense – Covers your costs to live outside the RV in the event it is damaged and needs to be repaired.  Generally includes lodging, meals, and travel.
  • Personal Effects Replacement Cost – Covers the expanded personal property you are likely to have in the RV against loss or damage.
  • Full Timer’s Package – Provides a package of coverage’s that usually includes liability, coverage specific to when the RV is parked and being used as a residence.

Purchasing RV insurance protects you no matter what comes your way and gives you the peace of mind to sit back, relax, and enjoy your vacation.

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Homeowners Policy Mistakes

Is your homeowners insurance enough to replace your home and possessions? image via Flickr

Homeowner’s insurance can be the best money you have ever spent if fire destroys your home or a home invader takes some stuff and trashes the rest.  But many homeowners’ make critical mistakes when purchasing their policies that only become apparent after a loss, when it is too late to do anything about them.  Mistakes like these can cost a lot of money and may leave you with an unpaid mortgage, an unusable house, and nowhere to call home.  Make the most of the protection homeowner’s policies offer by avoiding these 5 common mistakes.

1.     Not Reading the Policy Documents

This can be a costly mistake as the policy document outlines exactly what is covered and not covered by the insurance company.  The discussion you have with your agent may leave out important considerations and it is likely that you believe you are covered for things that are not actually covered by your policy.  Before buying a policy, ask the agent for a sample of the policy documents that mirror the policy you are considering.  This will give you the chance to read through the policy and ask any questions you need answered before you are committed.

2.     Not Scheduling High-Value Property

Another very costly mistake that many homeowners make is not scheduling property that falls outside the individual property limits of their policy.  If you are surprised that your policy has limits on specific kinds of property, you haven’t read your policy.  Almost every homeowner policy includes limits on the loss of specific types of property like computers, jewelry, stamps, coins, and firearms.  If the value of your property in that category exceeds the policy limit, you need to ensure that your policy has a rider that will cover the excess value if there is a loss.

3.     Not Understanding the Difference Between Actual Value and Replacement Cost

This mistake can leave you with a mortgage on a house you can’t live in and can’t afford to rebuild.  According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Consumers Guide to Home Insurance, actual value will only pay for your loss, which is the value of your house and property at the time of loss and includes considerations for age, wear and tear.  This means that if the value of your house is less than what it would cost to rebuild it, you will have to come up with the difference on your own.  It also means that if the actual value at the time of the loss is determined to be less than your mortgage, you will still owe the mortgage company that difference.  Replacement cost, on the other hand, pays to replace the house and property, regardless of the actual value at the time of loss.

4.     Not Having Coverage for Specific Perils

Many people think that their homeowner’s policy covers damage to their house no matter what causes that damage.  Unfortunately, this is not true on most homeowner’s policies, as any homeowner who has survived a hurricane only to find out that water damage is not covered, can attest.   While it is common knowledge that floods are not covered by homeowner’s insurance, many people don’t understand that flood and water damage are generally considered the same thing.  Unless you live in California, it is unlikely that you know that most policies exclude damage from specific perils like earthquakes, nuclear accidents, and war.  The best way to protect yourself and your property is to understand what your policy covers and purchase additional coverage for perils that could happen but are excluded.

5.     Underestimating Everything

Another costly mistake is underestimating things like how long it would take to rebuild your house, the value of your personal property, or the value of your home.  In the event of a loss, all these can seriously impact your financial well-being.  If your policy only provides for a year of additional living expenses and it takes 18 months to rebuild your house, you will have to pay for the additional 6 months out of pocket.  If you underestimate the value of your personal property, you may be unable to replace what is lost.  If you underestimate the value of your home, you may be saddled with mortgage debt for a house you can’t live in and can’t afford to repair while paying to live somewhere else.

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