Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors or take a road trip, and for many that means a chance to use their camper or RV. So what insurance do you need when your camper is out on the road or parked at a campground?
First, if you own a motorized RV (aka a motorhome), you will need similar coverage to what you would carry on a car. Because it is a motor vehicle, the state of Minnesota (and most other states) require that you carry Liability and other related coverages.
However, if you own a pull-behind or fifth wheel trailer, you are not legally required to specifically insure it in most cases, as generally speaking your Auto policy automatically covers trailers you own while being pulled down the road.
Even if liability coverage is automatic, you probably also want to protect the value of your camper with physical damage coverage. So to get your travel trailer, fifth wheel or motorhome insured, you will need to either add it to your personal auto policy or buy a RV insurance policy for it.
Most personal auto policies will allow you to add a non-motorized camper to your Auto policy and some carriers are also willing insure a motorhome this way. If you insure an RV under your Auto policy, you can purchase basic physical damage coverage, often on a Stated Value basis. This means that if it is totaled, you will be paid the lesser of its depreciated value or the value shown on the policy. When insuring your camper under your Auto policy, usually no peripheral coverages are available.
If you’d prefer better, more well-rounded coverage for your camper, the way to go is to purchase a specialized RV insurance policy. (This will also be necessary if your RV cannot be added to your auto policy.) In many cases, this specialized policy may offer Replacement Cost or Agreed Value coverage – which typically pay better in the event of a total loss. In addition, other peripheral coverages are often available, such as liability coverage while parked, coverage for contents, roadside assistance and more.
I should also mention that your insurance needs will be different if your camper is permanently (or semi-permanently) setup in a resort or another location. If the wheels have been removed or it has been connected to permanent utilities (or it is otherwise unable be pulled away quickly), it probably cannot be insured on either an auto or RV policy. In this case, it will likely need to be insured as a “mobile home” on a residential policy instead. (Please note that if it is insured that way, additional coverage will be needed if you ever decide to move it.)
Although this blog posts focuses on covering your camper while it is in use, let’s not forget that something could happen to it while it is parked or in storage at your residence as well. In fact, I’ve seen more claims for trees falling on parked campers than anything else. As long as you keep your camper insured, the physical damage coverage will also protect it while not in use.
About the Author
Agent Ken Cobb
Ken is the owner and principal agent at Pine Country Insurance in Bemidji. Active in the insurance industry since 2000,Ken uses his years of personal insurance knowledge and experience to assist clients in customizing insurance coverage to fit their needs. Ken considers himself a "farmer" rather than a "hunter"; rather than focusing on writing a lot of new policies as quickly as possible, he works on cultivating long term relationships based on trust with his clients. When writing new policies and meeting for annual reviews, Ken spends time with his clients explaining and helping them understand their insurance, and he is also pleased to share his knowledge with his blogging audience as well.
Ken Cobb is owner of Pine Country Insurance and has been active in the insurance industry for over 15 years. Meet Ken.
Coverage descriptions found in this blog are summaries provided for general educational purposes and cannot fully detail the terms, conditions, limitations or exclusions of a specific insurance policy. Please read your policy carefully.