Which company offers the best warranty for a bumper-pull travel trailer? —Tony, 2021 Jayco White Hawk 27RB
We need to identify what you mean by “warranty,” as there is the original warranty offered by the RV manufacturer, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) warranties, extended warranties or service contracts, roadside assistance, and insurance policies.
Types of warranty or other coverage
The original manufacturer’s warranty is typically a very lengthy legal document that states the warranty covers defects in workmanship, materials, and components for a specified period of time, which is typically 12 months or 15,000 miles by the warrantor, which is the RV manufacturer. In the case of a trailer, it is impossible to determine miles so it is typically just the 12-month period. The warrantor in turn will use an authorized warranty service facility to do the necessary repairs, which requires the owner to bring the unit to that facility at the owner’s expense. Many RV manufacturers are offering longer warranties on roof material (10 years), structural integrity, and even a lifetime warranty. More on that later.
An extended warranty can just be simply an extension of the original warranty provided by the RV manufacturer, which, in your case, would be Jayco and might not cover what is called Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) components. These would be items the RV manufacturer purchased and installed such as appliances, axles, and furnishings. During the initial warranty period, the OEM items would be covered by the OEM company in some cases. Keep in mind that some of your appliances might still be in warranty under the OEM, as several have a two-year warranty, but you need to register the component with them, not with your manufacturer. Sometimes the terms “extended warranty” and “service contract” can mean the same thing, so it’s important to look closely at what the policy offers.
A service contract is provided by a third party company and has a specified list of components and service items that are covered. Some of the companies call it an extended warranty; however, the service work is not covered by the original “warrantor,” which is the RV manufacturer, but rather the service centers that they work with.
The roadside assistance really is not a warranty, but rather a policy that will help get you back on the road for minor issues such as a tire blowout, running out of gas, dead battery, and even locking yourself out of a vehicle whether the vehicle is new or used. This program does not cover service work to fix or replace any RV components that are not working, damage to the RV, or other service work.
RV insurance is the only policy that is required by law for you to drive down the road and typically does not cover any repair work needed. Some policies do have roadside assistance and cover damage due to accidents, hail, and other storm-related issues. Some insurance companies are now also offering an extended warranty or service contract, so you can see it is getting difficult to identify who is providing what!
What company offers the best warranty for bumper-pull travel trailer
I know, this probably should have been at the top, but we needed to identify the what, how, and where. If you do an internet search for “Best RV Extended Warranties” you will find hundreds of pages and even more reviews, and it’s hard to determine what is fact and fiction. The challenge with the internet searches today is articles and posts are being written for SEO content that puts them at the top of the search engines and not for truth in content. Keep in mind, anyone can write anything on the internet and there is a spell check function on your word document but not a truth check one!
There are so many “RV specialty” companies crawling out of the woodwork these days with the market being so explosive. It is really important to do your homework and find out what is covered and what is not, any loopholes in how you might be using your vehicle such as full-timing or for work purposes, and who honors the warranty.
As stated previously, almost all RV manufacturers offer a 12-month warranty bumper to bumper, with some offering longer warranties for roof material and structural integrity. Some are even offering a lifetime warranty; however, that requires bringing the unit in to the dealer periodically for maintenance, which is an added expense.
If you are looking for the best initial new warranty on an RV, I would suggest talking to the selling dealer about what is covered, what is expected of the owner for maintenance, and what is not covered. All new RVs will have a “punch list” of items that need to be adjusted or fixed after the “shake down” cruise. So ask how those items are fixed, as most are not warranty items. It is also important to ask about the pre-delivery inspection performed, known as the “PDI,” and what was covered. If you are going to be traveling around the country, ask about who will provide warranty out away from home.
Extended warranty or service contract
Since you have a pull-behind trailer, you do not have a chassis and drivetrain. So that makes it easier to research as there can be several “gray areas” when it comes to those items. It is important to look for a company that has a good network and trained RV professionals, and understand what is covered.
As I stated before, there are so many “extended warranty” companies jumping into the RV market these days. Most are just brokers using a third party warranty platform that was used either in the residential home or automotive industry. You really need to take the time to look at what they cover and what exclusions they have. Also, where can you get the work done, if needed?
If you are going to be traveling in a relatively limited area of the country, check with your local dealer as to what they recommend and offer, as they will most likely being doing any repairs. Ask how soon you can get a repair done, as most service centers are overwhelmed with scheduling. I’ve seen waiting times of more than 3 months!
Ask what isn’t covered
Also ask what is not covered and what is required of you, the customer. Most warranties, extended warranties, and service contracts do not cover items such as leaks due to sealants and gaskets and lack of general maintenance to appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators, and others. They also do not cover sidewall fading/cracking, decals, and other cosmetic issues. In some cases, if you run your absorption refrigerator for a period of time in an unlevel condition and the cooling unit goes bad, it is not covered as it is considered an owner operator error.
If you are going to be traveling outside your local dealer area, it is important to find out the region you are going to travel in and who will be able to help provide those services and the time to get in.
I would say that roof leaks are the biggest area of concern as they require periodic inspection and maintenance. Also, the rubber membranes need to be cleaned and conditioned, as well, depending on the material. My choice here is Coach-Net, as they have been in the RV industry since 1987 and have RVIA-trained technicians on staff 24/7 to assist. It is one of the largest networks of service centers to get your issues taken care of quickly. Learn more about them here.
If you are planning to travel around the country, the network they have and certified technicians on staff that are RV knowledgeable is important. Make sure the policy covers the truck and trailer. Some have limited towing distances, which is not good when it comes to finding an RV service center. And check out the difference in price as some of the cheaper policies just provide the tire service, not a replacement tire like a tire and wheel road hazard policy.
Also, find out if they have a representative that will make all the arrangements 24/7, rather than you getting the assistance and trying to get reimbursed later. Once again, Coach-Net is my provider of choice as they have one of the largest networks of service providers and they know RVs. You don’t want just anyone coming to tow your rig or have a limited towing range.
Here you want to find an agent that has RV specific policies and especially for the type of RVing you do. There are policies designed for full-timers, part-time RVing, agreed value, total cost replacement, and policies that cover items inside your rig or tow vehicle. There are many companies like Nationwide, Progressive, and others. I typically like to go through an independent agent who can not only find the best policy for me, but also have agents that will answer the phone when I need help. My favorite is Farm & City Insurance Agency in Forest City, as they actually helped develop the policies back in the early days of RVing working with Winnebago! Learn more here.
There are many other good companies out there for extended warranty, roadside assistance, and insurance, so check with your local dealer or even an RV club like FMCA, Escapees, and others.
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Check with the Better Business Bureau. One HIGHLY advertised company gets an F. You’ll see them advertising usually on the secondary tv channels. Hardly ever on major network channels. Or check with your repair company to see IF they will accept the warranty company. I worked for a body shop once and the owner quit accepting work from a major insurance company because it took FOREVER to get paid.
For mechanical issues due to component failure and not traffic accident, I am my own insurance. With all options available to me, I will likely see the issue addressed in the quickest manner, thus enjoying the highest probability of saving the vacation. However this can also result in a more costly approach. It’s a trade off.
Lots of waffling Dave and understandably so. I’d like to further emphasize that just as important as to what is covered by who, are the locations where warranty work must happen. It does you no good to find out you have to tow your unit for hours (days?) (or if not towable and a carrier must be hired?) to obtain the coverage. Maybe a component will have to be removed (and reinstalled) at your expense and shipped for repair/replacement?