Friday, December 1, 2023


RV Warranty Questions: Should I buy an extended warranty for my RV?

Should you buy an extended warranty? It’s one of the most frequently asked questions and something, again, for which there isn’t just one answer. So, should you? 

That depends. 

As we shared in our previous column, an RV extended warranty is basically legalized gambling. You’re gambling that something big will go wrong; the warranty company is gambling that it won’t. As with all forms of legalized gambling, the house generally wins – which is how warranty companies stay in business. If they paid more than they took in, they’d go broke. 

Knowing that your chances of fully recouping your investment are less than 100%, why would you buy an extended warranty? There are many logical reasons to do so, actually. 

Your finances play a role

One of the factors to absolutely consider is your own finances. While some folks might find that a big expense is nothing more than an inconvenience, others could be significantly set back by something like a refrigerator or air conditioner failure. Not everybody has the reserves available to cover the cost of a big repair, so an extended warranty can represent a lot of peace of mind. 

If you have an RV with a big commercial diesel engine, the cost of fixing something that breaks in an inconvenient spot can be in the many thousands of dollars.

Spreading out the cost of a warranty in the payment plan of an RV can also make it more doable for some. You could either look at it as $2,000 right now or just a few dollars a month. It’s still that same money spent, plus interest, but including a warranty in the RV payment can make it much more doable. And motorhome extended warranties are significantly more money but so is the cost of engine work, particularly on anything with a diesel engine. 

Of course, you’re not limited to buying the warranty only from a dealer at the time of purchase. Depending on the warranty company, you often have a full year to decide if it’s right for you, although you wouldn’t be able to roll this into the payment of the RV. 

There are also dealership plans where you could buy the plan and then choose to cancel before a time specified in the warranty. So you could buy the warranty at the dealership, look around to make sure you bought the best plan for you, and then cancel if you didn’t. One thing I will caution you if you choose this method – I would take any refund issued by the warranty company and apply it directly to the amount you’ve financed. There’s no reason to pay interest on a refund.

There are people who seriously make out with an extended warranty. The cost of one big repair can sometimes almost completely make the warranty worth having. Adding a second big repair and you’ve made out like a bandit. 

I have a friend who broke even when the first of two turbochargers went out on their diesel pusher. By the third turbo, it was clear that they had invested wisely, though they also realized there was a much bigger problem with the motorhome. 

There is no one answer to why you’d want to consider, or avoid, an RV extended warranty.


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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Drew (@guest_166710)
1 year ago

A big gamble we lost as well. So stupid and should have used the sense I was born with. Ours was 4 thousand bucks and I think that’s more realistic than what’s mentioned here- especially now. Our well built ’08 Winnebago has held up well since new. So many good arguments to stay away from these after market things. I’d advise any prospective rv (and car) buyer to save your money or start a repair fund that might even earn interest.

Dave (@guest_166693)
1 year ago

I recommend that anyone who RVs have a HEALTHY emergency fund. The more fancy your rig, the larger your fund.

It’s a gamble on whether to buy an extended warranty. Warranty companies make a profit or they wouldn’t be in business.

My first TT, I had an extended warranty and zero claims. Three years with this 5th wheel, claims are well under warranty cost. Most of my issues so far are excluded from coverage.

If I had anything diesel, I’d probably go with warranty. But most likely I will not buy another warranty for anything I own.

Hassling with warranties is one of my most negative RV experiences (particularly factory warranties). I’d rather pay out of pocket and move on.

Ray (@guest_166688)
1 year ago

Take advantage of your standard warranty when you can of course, but save your cash for the mechanics at hand when you break down on the road. They will get you rolling again much faster than a dealership whose backlog is bulging. And there is no third party involved in the solution.

Warren Wood (@guest_166676)
1 year ago

For a used trailer or vehicle, I have never lost money on the EW. Moving parts break and you can’t predict when. Electronic parts are not perfect either. Put out a little now or a lot later.

James Wiles (@guest_166641)
1 year ago

It seems all extended warranties I have checked on included protection for a engine or diesel repair. I have a 5th wheel and only need to cover that. Where can I find a warranty that does not cover the engine components?

Robbie (@guest_97169)
3 years ago

We bought an extended warranty from Wholesale Warranties. Wholesale Warranties is only a broker and they sell you warranty to other companies. We got caught by a company called Protek. Our repair facility told us they knew the very second the adjuster showed up, because of the adjuster’s attitude that our repair would be declined. The adjuster had them do unnecessary tests that ended up costing us dearly. Stay away from Wholesale Warranties.

Terri Foxx-Wishert (@guest_96808)
3 years ago

When we bought a 6 YO fifth wheel for full time RVing, we decided to get the extended warranty. We ended up with several slide out motors as well as other repairs. The warranty paid for itself several times over. Yes, we threw that cost into the price of the RV.
Best money we ever spent, but we only did it because we were full-timing.

Jim (@guest_96646)
3 years ago

I know it might not be for everyone, but when we bought a 3 year old 5th wheel nearly 4 years ago, we decided to get an extended warranty, but not from the dealer. Since that time, we have had our heating system repaired, our residential refrigerator repaired, our slide-out system repaired, an air conditioner replaced, and our refrigerator replaced with a new one, all under warranty. It cost us just over $2000 to get the 5 year warranty, and we have gotten well over that in repairs, plus we have over a year of coverage left. In our case the extended warranty was a great investment.

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