Tuesday, October 3, 2023


RV extended warranties: Worth the money?

To RVtravel.com:
“Hi. I would like your opinion on an extended warranty for a used RV. I realize that this may not be appropriate to ask of you, and I know it is my decision to make, but as a long-term subscriber I trust your opinions. If there were any articles related to this subject, I missed them.

“I own a 2016, bought new in 2017, Winnebago View on a Mercedes Diesel. It has 59,000 miles, which includes three trips from Coeur d’Alene to the East Coast. Our last trip covered 39 states with 9400 miles, so we do a lot of highway driving. Anyway, it has been serviced where we purchased it and Mercedes for diesel maintenance. I try my best to perform preventive maintenance. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and take care.” —Tony D.

Tony’s response to Tony

This is a terrific question, Tony. As someone who sold a lot of these while I worked at a dealership, I can provide this information and hope that it works for you, and our other readers interest in this topic. 

There are a lot of factors that can determine if an extended warranty makes sense for you including factors in your own life. Furthermore, there are all sorts of companies offering warranties. Some are good, others not so much. So let’s start with you, shall we? 

While it’s a sad truth, RVs are not the most reliable products known to mankind. Truthfully, they are designed for very occasional use and there are some important maintenance items on them that most people rarely perform. This combination exacerbates the issues RVs already have. So you’ll find plenty of places where lots of people are complaining about RV quality. 

An RV is subjected to lots of adverse travel conditions

Even further, an RV going down the road is sort of like a house experiencing a 4.5 magnitude earthquake during a hurricane. Seriously. So lots of stuff tends to wiggle itself loose. 

But don’t let all this dissuade any of our readers from buying that dream RV because, despite the potentially negative side, the positive side is so wonderful. Taking your own little home away from home with you on vacation and having all the things you’re familiar with, sometimes in remote and absolutely stunning locations, is incomparable. That night at the Holiday Inn will never compare to waking up and seeing deer out the window as you brew your morning coffee, or being parked right under a magnificent tree with nobody else around. 

We absolutely feel that RVing is the best way to vacation, period. And RVers are some of the nicest people we’ve ever met, and you get to hang out with them. 

Should you buy an extended warranty with your RV or is it wise to just save your money?

Let’s look at warranties

So, back to the warranties. Here is a rough rule of thumb for warranties. 

Most extended warranties are 5-10 years in length. A warranty is a gamble – you’re buying it and gambling that something expensive will break and the warranty company is selling it to you hoping nothing expensive breaks. The warranty business is a profitable one, so they win more than you do. 

However, if your budget doesn’t allow for replacing a $1700 refrigerator or a $900 air conditioner or a $1200 water heater, a warranty can be a very good bit of peace of mind for you. RVs are comprised of a number of very expensive systems, as mentioned above, that also undergo the shake, rattle and roll that is travel. If one of these systems breaks and it’s not in your budget to fix it, you may be doing without. 

At the dealership where I worked, we had replaced all of these mentioned systems under warranty for customers. The warranty company simply gives us a credit card number and we solve the problem. More common issues involve plumbing problems. The damage they cause when there’s a leak, unless covered by the warranty, can be expensive. So the decision to buy a warranty might depend on your own financial reserves and what an expensive repair would mean in your reality. 

An extended warranty may give you peace of mind

If paying a few dollars a month is a more comfortable situation than having to come up with the money to cover a big repair bill, then an extended warranty might mean a great deal of peace of mind. 

One thing to know: No warranty covers things like brakes, seals, gaskets and items that are considered normal maintenance items. We do see a lot of RVs that have water damage from leaking roof seals or window seals and, frankly, those are part of the routine maintenance that most RV owners never do. 

You will go a long way toward extending the life of your RV if you simply inspect the seals on the unit every 3-6 months or so. This includes the seals around all the various holes in the roof (for vents, pipes, etc.) along with the seals around the windows and doors on your RV (don’t forget the baggage doors!), as well as the marker lights. Anywhere a hole is punched in your RV is a place where water can get in and cause damage. None of these seals is covered under any warranty as they are all considered a maintenance item. 

Choosing an extended warranty

So, how do you choose a great extended warranty company? One of the ways is with the policy they give you. 

There are two major types of policies: those that specifically mention what they do cover and those that mention what they do not cover. While this may be counterintuitive, the warranties that mention what they do not cover are often better simply because you know what won’t be covered, so everything else basically is. 

Those warranties that do mention what they cover often can weasel out of coverage by claiming a non-covered item is the real cause of your troubles rather than just fixing what went wrong. 

You might ask around at various shops and repair places for RVs both in your area and just at random to see if one particular warranty company stands out as really good or really not. Does Brand X warranty company work hard to get out of paying while Brand Y just takes care of the customer? The people who are making the claims, the repair shops, are the ones who would have insight on this. 

Where to buy

The obvious answer to this would be to buy the warranty at the time of purchase of your RV. If you’re financing the RV, most dealerships can simply roll the warranty into the financing so it’s a small “hit” every month. 

However, there are also companies that sell warranties aftermarket, many of which offer lower prices than what a dealer might charge. The disadvantage here is that you’ll be buying the whole warranty at once rather than being able to roll it into the financing of your RV. The advantage is that you have time to shop around and may save many hundreds of dollars. 

There are a number of brokers of these warranties that can provide input on their experience in coverage. Also, in some states, most notably California, the places where you can buy extended warranties is limited by the state, also minimizing your choices. 

Things to look for

The first thing I’d do is look at what the paperwork on the warranty covers. Are the items INcluded or EXcluded the ones that are important to you? 

I would also take a look at the company providing the warranty itself. How long have they been around? Are there ratings and reviews you can find online? I personally put almost zero credibility in the Better Business Bureau nowadays – but that might be a place to start, just the same. 

If you have a motorized RV, as reader Tony D. does, does the chassis manufacturer also offer a warranty option on the chassis itself? Generally, for motorized things, I feel better about the chassis manufacturer’s warranty options than those of a third party. 

In Summary

I was surprised at how well some of these warranty companies covered expenses that came up in RVs, but also dismayed at others that really balked at paying for anything they supposedly covered. 

Having an extended warranty can mean a great deal of peace of mind. Having an RV is really a joy, in most cases, and an extended warranty can mean you have one fewer thing to worry about when it comes to your RV. 

No matter what you decide is right for you, making sure that your RV is well-maintained will go a very, very long way toward making sure it’s ready and willing to be a participant in the incredible vacation adventures we have in this beautiful country. Basic maintenance means you’re much more likely to enjoy RV travel.


From the editor: Wholesale Warranties advertises on RVtravel.com. We wouldn’t run their ads if we didn’t believe in their product.


Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.


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6 months ago

I chose to self-insure knowing that there wiil be some significant repair bills. We are dollars ahead in doing so after seriously RV’ing for the last 12 years. We are not full timers but have been in our RV as much as 230 nights some years so I feel that we have been lucky doing it this way.

Steven R Clapp
7 months ago

To me if buying any extended warranty for either a vehicle or a Rv depends on one’s ablities of maintenance and keeping one’s wife feeling secure.

7 months ago

Check the prices these days on RV extended warranties. They have gone through the roof! My SuperC carries a great warranty on the truck it’s built on. That’s the one that matters mo st to me. Engines, transmissions and suspension are all expensive items. The dealers extended warranty they attempted to sell me basically was charging me to cover things already covered by the manufacturers for the first 2 years. I’m handy so PM and fixing small things is only a time expense. Stuff on RV’s break. I’m more concerned with damage from hail, collision, blow outs. The worst nightmare to me would be a water leak. I put leak sensors everywhere there is a water connection. They are inexpensive and loud as all heck if they get wet.

7 months ago

I myself save the money until I need it. No third party involved. The article had some good advice however. I’m intrigued by the suggestion to query the local repair shops and mobile techs as to which companies are likely to uphold their warranties/service contracts the best. Expanding that idea, I think a nationwide survey on that would be very informative to RV dealerships, owners, and private service centers. I assume manufacturers would balk at such a competition, as they benefit the most from the industry’s current practices.

Neal Davis
7 months ago

We traded our 2016 American Revolution last summer (July 2022). We bought an extended warranty/service contract through Coach-Net after the manufacturer warranty on it expired in 2017. We had no trouble dealing with the company that actually fulfilled the contract and I don’t think that any of the places that did the covered work did either. I’ll buy an extended warranty/service contract through Coach-Net or Wholesale Warranties when the manufacturer warranty on our 2022 Newmar expires in July (2023). I am about as unhandy as Gaylord Maxwell claimed to be, so I try to minimize what I have to pay the handy professionals.

Last edited 7 months ago by Neal Davis
Kevin C
7 months ago

I had purchased extended warranties with our two DP’s we owned. Once we went back to a Gas motorhome I declined to purchase a warranty. I had good experiences with the warranties when I had them overall.

7 months ago

We just bought our 5th RV & paid cash. The finance guy completing the paperwork was all warm and fuzzy until he pitched the “extended warranty.” Then he told us how poorly built our RV was, how things will constantly break and asked if could we afford that? I guess he thought we were poor. He pulled up on his computer a huge absorption fridge that cost over $6,000.00 and again asked if we could afford that. I know that the 12V fridge that came in the unit might cost $800.00 tops and I told him so. He then asked “What about the slide? Do you have a forklift? You’ll need one to fix it.” My husband replied “Yes,” because we do LOL. It was like he was trying to scare us into buying the “warranty.” I continued to say “No,” and the man acted offended. I might have considered it if he wasn’t such a jerk. His behavior really rubbed me the wrong way. Anyways, I know there are lots of companies out there that offer them and they are probably cheaper.

Neal Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Suru

Wow! Never heard of the good cop/bad cop-routine being performed by a single performer. =:-O I wonder how many potential clients of your salesman walk away from the purchase with him “closing” the sale that way?

7 months ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

Buy from Dennis Dillon in Boise and you’ll probably get the same routine as Suru.
DD wanted $6k for their 5 yr plan .. We found an exclusionary contract outside for $2500! We still didn’t get it and we’ll see how the dice roll.
Also, these are not warranties but “service contracts” .. There is a difference!

Jim Johnson
7 months ago

From my own experience, also find out WHO can do the work and WHERE. Our water pump died a year into our 5-year dealer provided warranty. The nearest participating dealer was a 130 mile round trip (at our expense), or a licensed mobile repair – our choice.
The mobile repair owner is fantastic, but warned us that HIS bill included any time he sat on the phone waiting for an authorization to do the work and the insurance wouldn’t cover that (completely fair as he couldn’t be doing any other jobs). The insurance company took over an hour (most of it on hold) to authorize the repair. In the end, I saved $25 vs just covering the cost myself.

7 months ago


You should know better!

These contracts that are sold by RV dealers are NOT EXTENDED WARRANTIES. They are “Extended Service Contracts”!

The ONLY company by legal definition than can provide a “Warranty” on a product is the product manufacturer. This is exactly why your Dometic Refrigerator is NOT warrantied by the RV manufacturer who installed it in the RV at their factory but Dometic who manufactured the refrigerator.

All one has to do is read the legal language in these SERVICE CONTRACTS and you will see that the word “Warranty” is NOT of a part of the contract.

These SERVICE CONTRACTS are advertised with the words Extended Warranty and sold by RV dealers as an Extended Warranty however that is NOT TRUE! An Extended Warranty sounds a whole lot better to the customer than a Extended Service Contract.

Is this possibly another “Bait and Switch” being sold in the RV Industry and every other industry selling the Extended Service Contracts?

1 year ago

I bought a “slightly used” 2017 travel trailer in May of 2019. Having owned several other RV’s in my life, I was somewhat familiar with RV’s in general. Having poured over both the basic insurance policy for the vehicle, & several extended warranty plans, I chose Good Sam. Moving ahead several months, I was working on packing the inside, when the AC stopped working. I took it to a service center, & after a thorough inspection, was told that the unit was pulling excessive power, & would need to be replaced. While up on the roof inspecting, I was also told that the rubber membrane had developed damage, & would cause major water damage if not replaced. Both items were covered by the extended warranty. Nearly $10,000 later, I had a safe & working vehicle. I can assure anyone, without that, I would be paying for a worthless box on wheels. To me, the payments are just the same as vehicle insurance…worthless until you need them!!

Raymond Clark
1 year ago

We bought the Good Sam warranty when we got our RV but when we tried calling CW about 2 electrical issues they wouldn’t return our calls till the warrant expired and even then they couldn’t fix it

1 year ago

I have had the Good Sam extended warranty since I bought our new fiver in 2013. Never had occasion to use it until this summer. The water heater developed a crack in the tank where the hot water exits. Had to cancel a trip to return for repairs. The new 10 gallon heater with install and all was over $1700.00. The warranty paid all but my small deductible. No hassle. Worth what I pay every quarter.

1 year ago

I faced this same question back in 2006 when we bought our first motorhome which was 6 years old. After reading up on the topic on several RV Forums I decided to roll the dice. We, 15 years and 3 motorhomes later it was one of my better decisions. I’m mildly handy so things like replacing my steps on one rig and then a hydraulic leveler along with a host of smaller items I have been able to take care of most issues that have popped up. Chassis items like rear brakes at $1100, 2 chassis AC compressors on different rigs at about $1000 each repair were probably the biggest expenses I’ve incurred. But, to total everything up to what I would’ve been paying monthly over during our RV ownership, we are far away ahead on the money end of things.

1 year ago
Reply to  Vincee

What company did you go with? I am so confused by all this as a newbie to RVing. Just bought a used 2017 class C Minnie Winnie with 60,000 miles. Any help would be appreciated.

1 year ago

It was 20+ years ago I was taught a valuable lesson on extended warranties. I haven’t bought one since, but instead, I resigned to accept the expenses, if incurred. I am pleased to say this philosophy has saved me lots of money, time and grief over the years.

What some call peace of mind, I call a false sense of security. However, for some people, that false sense of security can be worth it, until it’s not. I liken extended warranties to gambling with the house who not only holds the money, but interprets the rules of the game as well.

1 year ago

I thought it was a good idea to buy a service plan from Wholesale Warranties because the MH I planned to purchase was 2.5 years old. First it had to pass inspection before they sell you the plan. I had the choice of taking the plan where everything was covered or the cheaper plan where somethings were excluded. I took the more expensive plan. What a big waste of my money. Everything I submitted for a claim was denied. I’ll never buy a service plan from Wholesale Warranties again. If I do purchase another rv I will use an independent certified rv inspector… money well spent.

1 year ago

I once worked for a guy who often said — Warranties & Guaranties are not worth the paper they are written on….Over the years I have found out — HOW TRUE HIS WORDS WERE —

Philip Gordon
1 year ago

Although I would never buy an extended service contract on a guy, I was glad I bought one on my DRV fifth-wheel. We have saved a couple of thousands on repairs more than the cost of the contract. Make sure to read the contract first. One company required $2,000 more if you full-timed and they define full-timing as more than 120 days in a year.

RV Staff
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Gordon

I don’t know, Philip. I think an “extended service contract on a guy” sounds like a good idea. 😆 I can’t figure out what you intended (maybe a “buy”?). Let me know and I’ll fix it, if you want. Take care. 🙂 –Diane

1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Gordon

What company did you go with? I am so confused by all this as a newbie to RVing. Just bought a used 2017 class C Minnie Winnie with 60,000 miles. Any help would be appreciated.

Del W
1 year ago

An extended warranty is nothing more than an insurance policy. You must ask yourself if you are comfortable taking the risk of repair costs or not. Many people are insurance poor with more policies than you can count but they have a security feeling for their mind. Others take only the bare minimum and feel they can get by and weather the storms. Either way is what makes them comfortable and is right for them.
One thing you should never do is include the warranty in financing. You will pay more for it with interest and depending on the length of the loan will be paying for it long after it expired. Most third party companies have a monthly or quarterly payment plan without interest just like any insurance policy.

The Lazy Q
1 year ago

By my recent experience with my 5er, no they are not worth the extra money. I will not buy extended warranty on an RV again. A screw came up through the living room floor tearing the linoleum, cosmetic they say. Cracked bathroom sink, nope not covered. Had my bearings serviced and they found broken plates etc in drum…nope not covered. And a couple more items. Cost me an extra $1k. Needless to say I canceled the remainder of the warranty and got what little money was left. Now as for my truck, it was worth it even though I never had a major problem and the few times it was used, the defect was found during annual maintenance and taken care of at that time.

Warren G
1 year ago

We did purchase a 7 year extended warranty when we bought out trailer. Used it 2 or 3 times for stuff like a water heater repair and stereo replacement, but as we got to our 6th camping season I had decided it was a mistake. Then we had a slide issue that required a new motor and replacement of wiring that melted, and required removing some of the enclosed underbelly. That bill alone was more than what our warranty cost, so it worked out for us. Not sure what we’ll do next time, although I’d like to find a nice sized trailer without a slide. If that happens, probably no warranty.

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