Editor’s note: Wholesale Warranties is an advertiser with RVtravel.com. The company provided us with this article.
By Wholesale Warranties
RV extended warranties are frequently talked about in the traveling community, and for good reason. For years, warranty companies have offered different policies with different levels of coverage and varying customer service. With so much information available, it can be tough to get an answer to the most fundamental question: Is an RV warranty worth the investment?
In this post, we explain the highlights, limitations, and best practices when it comes to securing reliable warranty coverage.
Defining RV warranties
Before you can decide if an RV warranty is right for you, you’ll need a good understanding of what this vehicle protection product is.
What is most often referred to as an RV extended warranty is actually an RV extended service contract. This is because “warranty” implies a connection to the coach’s original manufacturer warranty.
With this in mind, “RV warranty” is the most commonly used term when describing these policies, so we’ll use them interchangeably here.
The purpose of an RV extended warranty is to cover the cost of electrical and mechanical breakdowns that happen in your rig. These policies will always exclude common maintenance items, aesthetic damages, and any issues caused by collisions.
RV warranty policies come with a deductible, a clearly defined list of what will and will not be covered by the contract, and a term based on the model year and mileage on your vehicle.
RV extended warranty benefits
With an extended RV warranty, you can protect your budget from the costs of unexpected RV repairs. This benefit becomes increasingly important as motorhomes become more complex. With new features, updated technology, and high-tech appliances, your home-on-wheels is more vulnerable than ever to costly breakdowns.
The first thing you should look for when purchasing a warranty is what components will and will not be covered. Typically, there are two types of policies that will cover different items: comprehensive and exclusionary.
A comprehensive policy will list everything that is covered; if the failure isn’t on this list, it will be denied. The higher level of coverage, called an exclusionary policy, will list every component that is not covered. If the issue your rig is facing is not specifically excluded, it will be covered.
With reliable warranties, both policy types will include protection for things like your engine, transmission, and drive axle components. These coverages can also extend to everyday items like your refrigerator, electronics, generator and slide-outs.
The higher-level coverage you purchase, the more components your policy will include.
Your extended RV warranty will continue to benefit your wallet if you decide to sell your rig. Should you need this change during the life of the policy, the contract can provide extra value to the prospective new owner.
When you have an RV warranty on your rig, it suggests the vehicle was well-maintained and repaired when needed, not to mention the value-add of any remaining coverage that can be transferred to the buyer.
What’s my risk of failure?
The probability of facing a major mechanical failure while traveling is shockingly high, even for new RVs. In fact, three out of every ten RVs will suffer a breakdown by only their 2nd year on the road. This statistic jumps to a whopping eight out of ten RVs by their 5th year, and nearly EVERY RV by their 8th year in-service.
New or used, motorhome or towable, your RV simply will break down.
So we know there’s a high risk of suffering a failure, but do the repair costs justify investing in RV warranty coverage? As of 2019, RV repair and claim reporting shows the average cost of a typical RV repair is $300 per hour between parts and labor. This comes in at a significant increase, most likely due to modern RVs requiring a higher level of skill for repair. Check out the image below for a closer look at some of the most commonly failed items and their average costs…
RV warranty limitations
Every RV warranty is different, and most contracts offer customers several levels of coverage. A reputable provider will always walk you through your options to ensure you are purchasing a policy you’re comfortable with.
You should note that an RV warranty will never cover pre-existing issues or components that are damaged due to an accident or physical damage. Warranty policies are also designed to cover electrical and mechanical components and will, therefore, exclude aesthetic items such as upholstery, mirrors, sheet metal, glass, bedding and cabinetry.
Additionally, extended RV warranties will require the contract holder to properly maintain their RV based on manufacturer specifications. You’ll need to keep records of these tasks for any future claims.
How to find a reliable coverage provider
Now that you know the benefits and limitations of an extended RV warranty, you’ll need to know how to spot a reliable provider.
Most of the negative reviews on RV warranties stem from misinformation and poor customer service from the policy provider. To ensure you’re investing in a good warranty with a reputable company, follow these steps:
1.) Ask for a copy of the policy up front. You should have the opportunity to do full and accurate research on your own. If the salesperson you are working with is not willing to show you an exact copy of the warranty, it could mean they are misrepresenting the policy they’re selling.
2.) Research the seller online. Online reviews are an easy way to understand the provider’s reputation in the RV community. Check the prospective company’s score on the Better Business Bureau, Google and Client Lobby reviews, as well as reviews on popular RV forums such as iRV2.com. The experiences of real RVers who have used the policy can help determine if the provider is right for you.
3.) Only purchase a fully-insured warranty. Only purchase policies backed by large, financially stable insurance carriers. If the warranty provider and administrator were to go out of business, an insurance backer would step in to pay for any claims you may have. Without this added layer of support, you could be left with a pricey RV warranty that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Purchasing an RV warranty is a personal decision, but you owe it to yourself to know your options.
The high costs of modern RV repairs coupled with the high chance of breakdowns make an RV warranty a worthwhile purchase, and an important investment to protect your travel budget. A contract purchased from a fairly priced, reliable provider is the ultimate peace of mind for RV travelers.
Wholesale Warranties is the provider of RV Extended Warranties direct to consumer. The company can be reached at 800-939-2806 or by visiting wholesalewarranties.com.
We normally don’t buy extended warranties, however we did get one with our most recent new to us motorhome – a 2005 Dutch Star. We had a number of minor repairs that were covered, the most expensive being a new roof air conditioner. While they didn’t pay for all our repairs, what they did pay for exceeded the cost of the policy. For context, we typically spend 120 to 180 days a year in the RV, and the warranty was from RV Care, which seems to not be around any more.
This article seems very slanted toward buying service contracts. With that in mind, would you like to pay for repairs before they happen or just put that same money in a repair fund that you manage yourself? Also, there’s a direct correlation in repairs due to customer caused events. If you’re careful and you’ve done some self educating about minor rv issues- you’ll save a lot of money and avoid being one of those in the eighth-year repair statistics. You can also verify some of what I’ve said here on the same forum mentioned in the article. I am one of the people who purchased a service contract. Over the entire term we never used it. It cost us $4,000.00. There are a few more stories like mine out there. Remember, the gamble on this is the “house” usually wins. Otherwise they wouldn’t be selling these contracts.
On the other side of the coin that Drew had, we purchased a travel trailer from a private party. We thought we did our due diligence when purchasing. Had it plugged in the back yard, doing the usual clean-up before loading our stuff to take it out. Three days later, after the breaker had popped several times, the roof AC quit.
Took it in to a repair shop, found it was drawing unusually large amps, basically, the unit was shot. We purchased a Good Sam Extended Warranty which covered it’s repair less the deductible of course. Along with that, a fan distribution panel was also bad, and got replaced as well.
From my end, the service plan saved our “bacon”. Without that, we would have been out over $1000.