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Donald Fredericks
2 years ago

I cannot agree more about your comments about Marcus and his Camping World/Good Sam Club. However his reach under the use of Good Sam name goes much farther than just these two companies. Everything which is Vetted and sold to Good Sam members is controlled by him for his profit. I offer this article about his National General Insurance company actions:

RV insurance? Now that is something we all need but how much do we really know about what coverage benefits we really need? Not to mention what company really stands behind their side of the contract when we file a claim. Certainly not I. Often we place our trust in the recommendations of large representative RV organizations in making our decisions which company to go with. Frankly, I do not have any real answers for you as I am no expert, if there really are any experts, on these matters. Like you I am an RV owner and can only explore this matter from a user’s point of view.
As a benefit of belonging to a RV club, organization or association, one benefit they all seem to offer is RV insurance at a discount. We place our trust in their leaders to vet prospective companies for the best possible coverage at the lowest price to offer it proudly to its members. They then contract with their chosen (I am certain there is a financial benefit to the association.) company to sponsor it to us, the members.
Now we have a choice to make, to accept their offerings or go out on our own. Going with an association’s offerings may offer a mediation of a denied claim if such is included in their contract. Otherwise there really is no difference in how we determine which insurance company we should go with. While the bottom line cost is always a concern other discounts may be offered individuals, who combine multi vehicles and home insurance packages. Whatever your choice how the customer is treated when filing a claim and its settlement is really where the rubber meets the road and pocket.
As I said as a non-expert I can only express my point of view based on my personal experience. In 2004 I purchased a Montana 5th wheel trailer and made my choice via the largest RV association, the Good Sam Club, with more than a Million and a half members nationwide. For the last several years it has been National General Insurance (NGI) as their vetted choice and is their sponsored insurance provider. Of which I have fully met my user side of the contract by making my annual renewal with auto renewal payments. I was insured or, so I thought.
In March 2017, I had an accident when trying to hook up my trailer to the truck which caused considerable damage to the trailer frame area around the hitch. Causing several major brakes and fractures of the frame in several areas. A subsequent claim was filed later when the trailer damage became known, visible and unsafe to tow.
My claim was ignored from the first day of filing for unknown reasons. Over the next four months I sent my photos of the damage and many emails requesting NGI to respond and send an adjustor to the RV service center to investigate the claim. There was no productive response from NGI. I then directed the service center to prepare an estimate with photos to be sent to NGI since NGI was not responding and no adjustor was being sent to investigate. The service center completed the estimate at $6,600 and filed it and the supporting photos to NGI as requested. Still no reply from NGI. This four-month delay in repairs meant we were unable to meet our camping schedule with prepaid reservations and had already missed several campouts.
At this point I sent a letter to the President of Good Sam Club requesting their intervention. They did call NGI and expressed concern about my problem. NGI then called us and promised immediate action. The Next Business day an adjustor was at the service center to complete his review for NGI. NGI ignored the severity of the bent and broken frame parts and citing rust as their reason for denial of the claim. There was no metallurgical report to support any rust which could have caused or contributed to such damage and totally ignored the accident as a cause.
Frankly, I think they were more concerned about their National General Insurance RV Coverage policy statement which reads as follows. “c1 If your RV is totaled or stolen (and not recovered) in its first five model years it will be replaced with a comparable new RV, even if you’re not the original owner. After the first five model years, you will receive your full original purchase price — not a depreciated amount — toward the purchase of the replacement RV. Replacement Cost Coverage must be purchased during the RV’s model year or within the following four years. “ I fully met these contracted conditions.
Faced with three choices of paying $6,600 in repairs for a 14-year-old trailer, totaled under Tennessee law, paying $35,500 in original purchase price, or a denial of claim; they chose to ignore and deny the claim. Their policy contract with me was breakable with just one word on their side, rust. Which meant they would not cover my portion of the contract between us for the past 14 years and I would receive nothing for the accident damage. Which also meant what premiums I paid and what benefits I might have received are all profits to them.
You never know what you have until it is gone. Only then did I find out there was no appeal process or mediation to resolve this matter. I requested a Peer review from both NGI and Good Sam without receiving one. Good Sam suggested I take NGI to court as they have no authority over NGI. I have been unable to find an attorney willing to do so. Small Claims Court has its filing fees and limits and they are not sure who really has jurisdiction. Filing a state insurance fraud claim seems to go no where either.
The bottom line is you cannot live without insurance and generally these companies stand by the policy contracted in most cases. I have learned the Good Sam Club reputation was no guarantee that their vetted choice was the best for its members.
Of course, I am changing my RV, auto and homeowners’ policies from NGI, the Good Sam Club choice, and expecting my new insurer to preform better than NGI. I recommend should you currently have NGI as your carrier you should review your policy and reconsider the same. Also consider this article is based on my personal claim experience with NGI and that they probably stand behind most of their policy holders claims. Only when you have a reason to file a claim will you know if your policy carrier will stand behind your claim.
If you can explore your potential appeal options if available should your claim be denied with your insurance company now or before you purchase. I learned the hard way. Only a claim will tell.

It should be noted I changed my auto, home and trailer insurance and saved well more than a $1,000.

Steven Scheinin
2 years ago

Your crying doesn’t reflect your own poll which shows 78% say the workmanship on their RV is excellent/good, with only 21% saying poor/terrible. It is getting to be tiring.

Chuck Woodbury (@chuck)
2 years ago

Steve, Would you buy a car is there was 21 percent chance it has serious problems? Would you hop on a new Boeing 737 if it had a one in five chance of being poorly built? Would you order a McDonald’s hamburger if it had a one in five chance of tasting disgusting or even making you sick? 78% is unacceptable! Please talk to those folks who bought a defective RV and tell them that 78% is good enough.

Guy sparrow
2 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

The best advice I ever got was . Buy the best quality rig you can afford and don’t worry about what year it is

Harlan Steinle
2 years ago

Circus Circus-I’m currently staying @ Circus Circus and want to warn anyone considering to stay here that this is NOT the quality of place that it was when under KOA. It is run down, overpriced, and theft of personal items is prevalent. Last night my neighbor had a very expensive bike taken (chains & cables were cut). Several other bikes have been taken as evidenced by RV reviews made in RV Park Reviews. trash everywhere. Wi fi is a joke. Even though they say the rate is comparable to the ‘hotel’ rate, we found you could get a room for $18 and our RV rate was over $70 a nite. Trash all over and many broken down rigs are ‘parked’ and looks like no one living in them. Will avoid this place like the plague in the future.

2 years ago

Website issues. Does anyone review the newsletter on on iPad. Increasingly, large blocks of text are covered by ads or other graphic blocks.


2 years ago

If anyone wants a great laugh. Jeff Daniels did a short on RV. He calls it Recreational Vehicle. A 13 minute short. I was in stitches because I can relate. I will post the url here. Not sure if it will work or not. Scroll down to find it. Enjoy.

Jason Laber
2 years ago


I was encouraged by my Uncle to send an email to you about our recent Thor RV purchase gone bad……

My wife and I purchased a new 2017 Thor Miramar 34.3 bunkhouse, a dream RV that we hoped could be enjoyed by the entire family while our kids our still young enough to enjoy. This was our third RV (we previously owned a 2001 Coachman class A and a 2011 Winnebego class C).

We immediately found that the RV had serious QC issues on our day of purchase (screws lying around, fuses missing, brake lights inop and even the chasis AC completely inop to name a few). These things were all eventually worked out. We felt that this is “par for the course” with this RV and were willing to deal with it.

After our first trip, however, we realized that we had a major malfunction – due to obvious QC shortcuts (or none at all). Our RV had a 30 ft full-wall slide and powered by the Lippert Schwintek 500/1 motor system (a poorly designed system for such a slide in my opinion). The slide stopped working on our first trip. We brought it back to the dealer and found, to our dismay, that the system was missing an entire track. It had 2 tracks vice the 3TRAX system that is advertised in their 2017 brochures.

The dealer remanufactured the slide. But we continued to have problems – mainly slide drift while driving and circuit faults.
We sent the RV back to Indiana this past winter, only to have it returned to CT with the same defects (mainly slide drift).

We had to hire a consumer rights attorney and now find ourselves still in litigation while missing out on an entire camping season. Our RV purchase has caused us tens of thousands of dollars due to a lack of simple Quality Control measures. I am embarrassed to admit that I missed the faulty slide myself – but even more upsetting is the fact that no one at Thor caught it either. Clearly, this RV never went through a QC protocol.

I have read so many similar issues about poor QC – many of which cause heartburn and threats of litigation. Many sad stories. The manufacturers are just taking advantage of good economic times – by shortcutting the QC part of RV craftmanship and sales. Too bad! We were once a happy, young RVing family who shared many positive RVing experiences and encouraged friends/others to RV….. Exactly the type of family we would think the RV marketing community values. Now we are disgruntled and skeptical – certainly not proponents of the RVing life any longer.

I could go on. But I think you have the point…..

2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Laber

Thanks soooo much, my wife & I have had the same type of horror story with our 2017 Forest River 34QS. Its had almost 4 months of non use out of the 10 months if & there’s no light at the end of the runnel. Like most RV’s we thought we were buying a quality unit, so sad that the RV industry is getting away with it. I’m fighting back & letting them know we are fed up with their lack of concern, hey this was supposed to be our life long dream, not a night mare!

jane shure
2 years ago

Circus campground is not a very cheap place to stay. When it was a KOA campground I found that some hotels rooms were cheaper to stay at and I see the prices now are no better. I would recommend Sam’s town or Boulder station instead.

Eric Eltinge
2 years ago

Just wish stations would prominently post which lanes have diesel. Usually outside, but not always. Looking for green or yellow handles while constantly circling in a motorhome is ridiculous.

2 years ago

“I find myself the lone voice in the industry talking about RV quality ”

RV Consumer Group has been involved in RV Quality for AT LEAST 3 decades. You are NOT the “lone voice”.

Chuck Woodbury (@chuck)
2 years ago
Reply to  Darrel

Darrel, I have heard both good and bad things about them. They are not journalists. With a small staff, they say they can evaluate which RVs are good and which are bad, like Consumer Reports, which I do not believe is possible. Unlike Consumer Reports they do not publish their findings for the price of a modest, annual subscription. Instead, they charge for them, and they are not cheap. In the several decades I have written about RVing, they have done little for RVers beyond selling them their reports, at least what I have observed. The front page of the company’s website focuses on selling reports, about $50 to $100 each for most. There are some articles down the page, but only two have been posted since early August. Anyway, that’s how I feel about the group, right or wrong.

Jim Krauciunas
2 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

I also feel that I have a lone voice on the problems associated with my Winnebago. If it wasn’t for this site where I can express my issues, I would must likely just implode.
After dealing with the better business bureau, their reply was “we only mediate”, and Winnebago’s answer to them that it is only an inconvenience that the items no longer work, seems to be OK, so they still give them a A+ rating! Attorney General’s office told me that they can only forward my letter to them. The NHTSA just thanked me for letting them know. As they do not have an office that they do business out of in New York, I would have to sue them in Iowa. Maybe this winter when I have nothing to do, I still may.
I may have lost them a few sales in Hershey when I was passed around to three different factory representatives and the last one, only by the name of , told me, “I’m not going to lie to you too, we have no intention to fix the recall, just remove the parts and leave them inoperable”. So here I sit with a two year old motorhome with an option I paid for not working and they still sell it with the same option!

John Hiler
2 years ago

We are on our third Lance pull trailer and will soon probably buy our 4th. Expensive but we don’t have the cheap problems. It all depends on what you want to pay for. Junk is still junk even when it’s expensive. Our Lance fits our needs – comfortable and if I really find the need for a fireplace it won’t be fake – we’ll light ours at our mountain place. We pack light, eat light and enjoy the outdoors so the AC never goes on. If we really need a piece of clothing we go to a re-cycle store and get it. We go along at 65mph or less and don’t drive more than 5 or 6 hours a day. Travel is not a race or battle…

Dave Graham, Flagstaff, Az
2 years ago

I have a 2015 Keystone Montana High Country. We don’t use it as much as I would like but we have gone to the Southwest from Arizona twice in the last 2 years. This last trip in September was 3 weeks. 2 weeks into our trip the 13′ x 1′ fascia board fell down from above the dining area. The nails holding it up were sticking out 1/4″. How can that hold up anything. Luckily it didn’t damage anything too seriously. Montana’s are supposed to be good quality units. Not anymore.

2 years ago

Hi Chuck:

Spending one night in a very nice RV Park at Hollywood Casino in Tunica, MS.

Here’s a question to ponder, when we are talking about over crowding and other issues.

Why Do RV’ers choose a Large Pull Thru Site, when a much shorter one would suit their needs just fine.

Case in point. I have a 41 ft. 5th wheel and a 22 foot RAM 3500. So, I need a large site..

Currently, I am sandwiched between 2 LITTLE TRAVEL Trailers.

Makes you wonder about the selfishness of some people. Other larger RV’s have no place else to park.

Common courtesy is at a premium and it doesn’t show here.


PS. The sites are all the same price. $24.60 per night full hook up.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

First come first served.

Beverly Aguilar
3 years ago

As for free dump stations, Alamogordo, NM has a free one at their Welcome Center on White Sands Blvd near 10th street.

2 years ago

Beverly??? Dan??? Sonora, CA

Jerry X Shea
3 years ago

After 12 years of fulltiming we are changing our lifestyle. We will spend winters in a park model RV in a 55+ senior park in Pismo Beach, CA. Then spend summers in a permanently installed (referred to as a “Seasonal”) 5th wheel in an RV Park in Minnesota. We still love RVing, but no longer need a big diesel pusher. Traveling between the 2 states and occasionally hitting some of our favorite RV spots will be done in a 25′ LEASURE TRAVEL VAN (what they call a B+) with no sideouts. We just toured the factory in Canada and their RV’s are NOT put together with STAPLE GUNS. No cheap manufacturing here. Also takes 9 months to order one. Only 5 of the model we want are made each week.

Victoria Aubrey
3 years ago

Ok, I’m officially drowned in buyer’s remorse. See the USA! OK!
We’ve done a lot of traveling, both in and out of the country. I’m tired of spending hours in researching fab vacation spots, and hours planning time finding a hotel, schlepping suitcases, etc. OK, let’s slow the pace of our vacations, throw away all those brochures and go where we want, when we want.
Let’s do this. We did rehearsal runs to prepare for the relaxing cross -country dream vacation. Let’s face it. It’s not that easy; there is a high learning curve. But we’re still curious and ready to go. OOPS, can’t visit a lot of places….weather disasters…can’t fight Mother Nature.
OK…according to all the editorials and RV articles, I better start researching and planning now! Or who knows what kinds of problems we will have?! Ugh, ugh, ugh. I thought we were into something new?
Our unit was only 40K, a very good quality class C, but we’re 70 and like a little more security when we leave home. How big of a mistake have we made?

2 years ago

Why do you think it is a mistake? My suggestions are have some type of roadside assistance( we have Coachnet), join FMCA they can help with transportation in a medical emergency. We have had situation that didn’t go according to plan, we adjusted and went a different direction.

3 years ago

So you say how some motorhome manufactures are making junk. How about letting us know what are the good company’s that put out good products. You don’t need to name the bad company’s but why not write about a good builder a month and what is the good points so we over time will learn what to look for.

Chuck Woodbury (@chuck)
2 years ago

Gregory, we do post emails from our readers about their positive experiences with RVs. And many do buy virtually problem-free vehicles. But there are far too many that are not made well, and those letters far outnumber those from readers who praise their rigs. Good builders? None of most U.S. manufacturers build consistently quality RVs. Pay $500,000 and you’ll likely get something of high quality with excellent service. But spend $100,000 and take your chances.

3 years ago

Have you considered attrition in your trailer count? You are assuming every RV ever made is still on the road. I see lots of rigs parked in a yard covered with mold that never move.
Granted its prudent to reserve well in advance but we seem to have no problem reserving even a few weeks ahead.
love your newsletter

John Koenig
3 years ago

Truckers AREN’T paying that extra $0.40/gallon. Truckers get SUBSTANTIAL discounts when they buy large quantities of fuel.

Kenneth Pratt
3 years ago

Unfortunately, those associated with the RV Industry are getting a look at what the Automotive Industry has been dealing with for years. The perception of the customer. Many disgruntled customers will get up on a soap box and tell everyone how they were mistreated by the manufacturer or the dealer. Some are valid while others appear to be unfulfilled expectations. Most who have a great experience with anything have to be prompted to tell anyone.

You are right, the RV Industry has made it “chic” to RV thus giving the customer expectations that may not be fulfilled. RVIA surveys would seem to indicate that customer quality and service expectations are being met to some extent. It has become the norm to wait for service, spend time months in advance to plan and reserve parking, expect delays and accept poor quality. Many new RV folks have no idea what they are getting.

Bert Moore
3 years ago

How can we stop price gouging at truck stops,our diesel prices in town are 2.59 but the TA is 2.95 .I find this mostly true every where we travel the truck stops are always .40 cents higher,the truckers pass this on to the places they deliver to ,but they have no choise where they fill up. But for diesel pushers we don’t have many options, cant get them into many gas stations. PRICE GOUGING !!!

3 years ago
Reply to  Bert Moore

Bert: I do a lot of LONG drives to “get there,” so (unlike short-transit folks who can drop the trailer and then refuel), I usually have to refuel with the trailer attached. For safety, I always carry (at least) two 6 gallon cans of spare fuel, and have been self-rescued a couple times by them when gas stations were farther than I thought. However, just for convenience, I often use them at RV-unfriendly gas stations as well — you can often park roadside even if you can’t get to the pump, and then toggle filling/dumping cans to fuel up. Granted, this isn’t QUITE as fast as direct pumping, but it does open up fueling at cheaper off-highway gas stations. With a partner to continuously swap cans with, it’s almost as fast. I use GasBuddy, and often pay 50 cents less than the highway prices.

Lee Ensminger
3 years ago
Reply to  Bert Moore

Bert, I don’t like paying the higher prices any more than you do. That said, I realize I enjoy being able to maneuver easily around a truck stop. I enjoy the multiple [often 8-12] diesel lanes there for my convenience in fueling, as opposed to having to wait for the one or two combination gas/diesel pumps at the usual gas station or convenience mart. There are no high approach/departure driveways where I will scrape the front or back end of my pusher. When you think about it, truck stops often encompass several acres or more of paving to maintain, multiple employees instead of one at the convenience store register. There’s a whole lot more infrastructure to purchase, maintain and pay taxes on than the Circle K with four to eight pumps, and that creates a much higher overhead cost. So yeah-I don’t like paying higher prices either, but I’m willing to do it for the convenience and safety. I also like my chances better of getting good fuel from a place that sells thousands of gallons daily as opposed to a place that *might* sell a thousand a month. So, I think *PRICE GOUGING* is a little extreme.