Tuesday, October 3, 2023


RV manufacturer touts new 7-year extended warranty – Is it for real?

The typical RV factory warranty runs “tip to tail” for a year. After that, let the buyer beware—you’re usually on your own when something breaks. Yes, you can invest a hefty sum and buy an “RV service contract” from a third party. Many are short-lived and so glutted with exclusions and deductibles they’d confound veteran lawyers and fine print creators. We recently got hit with a media release from nuCamp, a truck camper and teardrop trailer builder. They touted their “Ultimate Protection Plan.” They offer nuCamp customers an optional seven-year RV extended warranty, said to rival many a third-party offering. Is it for real?

Most press releases are filled with excelling promises and quotes from company execs. The nuCamp release was no exception. “We genuinely care for our customers and we want them to feel confident in their purchase,” said Scott Hubble, CEO of nuCamp. “The Ultimate Protection Plan was specifically designed to be the most comprehensive, customer-friendly extended warranty program on the market, but above all else, it was created to provide customers with peace of mind.”

There are some good things here

From whence comes this customer friendly “peace of mind”? nuCamp says it’s coverage you can count on. Not only is the plan fully transferrable to whom you sell your rig, nuCamp doesn’t charge any transfer fee. If something breaks and you do have to file a claim, you won’t need to stew about the cost of deductibles. There aren’t any. This RV extended warranty is administered “in house.” You won’t have to cope with playing ping-pong with a third party. You file a claim and “you can take your nuCamp unit to any RV repair center of your choosing to quickly get you back on the road no matter where you are,” says nuCamp’s promotional material.

But just what does this RV extended warranty cover? The promotion touts that major systems like waste water, fresh water, and LP gas systems are covered. nuCamp incorporates an Alde water heater/boiler system and it, too, is included as covered. That’s great for the first things we might think about, but what about those other components and systems? What if your refrigerator loses its cool, or your suspension system loses its spring, or your lift cranks get cranky?

nuCamp says all is well. Components, including appliances like refrigerators and stoves, to less expensive window blinds, are all there. Electrical components like converters, inverters, solar panels, and breaker boxes won’t leave you with a shocking bill. Basically, everything that comes with the RV is covered—with, of course, certain exceptions. Things that normally suffer “wear and tear” aren’t covered. Light bulbs. Brake linings. Awning fabrics. Brake rotors, pads, or shoes. Our list is NOT all-inclusive, but you get the picture.

And how much does it cost?

RV extended warranty
Click to enlarge

So what will a nuCamp RV extended warranty set you back? The bigger the rig, the bigger the price can be expected. On the low end of the economic scale, buy the seven-year RV extended warranty for their TAG trailer (a little less than 14’) and spend $3,495. Move up in their trailer line to the TAB 320 (15’) and the price is $4,495. The 18’ TAB 400 trailer will set you back $5,495, the highest price of any of their RV extended warranties. A similar price is charged for the warranty on their Cirrus 820 truck camper, built for 3/4-ton pickups. Should you decide you don’t need a warranty plan, you can cancel and receive your money back on a pro-rated basis, LESS any amount you’ve had handled as a claim.

But then, read the fine print

All in all, on the surface, it seems nuCamp’s RV extended warranty could be a value, particularly for those who are worried something will break and that they won’t be able to fix it. But like the man on the TV says, “Read the fine print.” We did. We got a copy of the “nuCamp Extended Warranty Terms and Conditions,” and found a few things that struck us as a bit odd.

First, if you’re an RVer that really wants to use your RV a bunch, this RV extended warranty may not be the deal for you. “The Camper is intended to be used on a recreational basis. Use of the Camper as a long-term residence (in excess of 60 nights per year) will void this Extended Warranty.” Use your rig in excess of 60 nights per year? Say “goodbye” to snowbirding with your rig. Take two-week vacations? Limit those to just four per year.

Other specifics we wonder about

Source: Twitter via wikimedia.org

Under electrical, here’s what’s covered: “Coverage for the electrical assembly includes but is not limited to the following: factory installed 110/12V electrical system (except any wiring, cords and reels), including breaker box and breakers, outlets; power converter/inverter, and solar panel.” So far so good. The power cord is something that, if mistreated, could go gunny-bag. But, “Excludes the following: all wiring, wiring harness, wiring connectors….” Perhaps the company reasons that if something is going to go wrong with the wiring, it should happen in the first year of use—and be covered by the standard warranty. But we wonder, if something did go wrong later, having to pay for wiring (and associated labor costs) could get real ugly in terms of your bill.

Another specific exclusion: “Bowing or warping of walls, roof or floor where the structural integrity of the camper is not compromised.” If your rig walls “bow or warp” and are uglier than a mud fence, as long as it doesn’t compromise “structural integrity” you’re on your own.

And a caveat you’ll likely find in just about any RV extended warranty is this: “You must have Your Camper checked and serviced in accordance with the Maintenance Schedule and New Camper Manual. Failure to follow such recommendations may result in a denial of coverage.” The company allows you to do your own maintenance work, but you’ll absolutely need to keep receipts for the materials you buy for that service, and the dates the service was completed. Before plunking down your money for the extended service contract, take a hard look at the “Maintenance Schedule and New Camper Manual” to see what all you’ll need to do.

Do your own maintenance? Look out for this one

And watch this line carefully: “If a replacement part that We did not supply is used in maintenance, repair or modification of Your Camper, and an Authorized nuCamp Dealer determines it is defective or not equivalent to the original part, your claim for Service or some or all of Your Camper’s Extended Warranty may be denied.”

There’s an awful lot of potential “wiggle room” in nuCamp’s favor here.

And finally, while not many are doing it, if you should decide to rent out your RV, your RV extended warranty through nuCamp is no good. Rental units are specifically excluded from coverage.

And, too, as one industry insider warns, just because you can go to “any RV repair center of your choosing” doesn’t mean you’ll “quickly get back on the road no matter where you are.” Even if you took your rig to a nuCamp dealer, if they didn’t sell it to you, you may get pushed back down the waiting list for months. nuCamp says you can always bring your rig back to “home” in Ohio, and you’ll probably get faster service. But what if your suspension breaks in Salem, Oregon?

The principles apply to ANY RV extended warranty offerings

We’re not trying to pick fly-specs in nuCamp’s RV extended warranty offering. The principle applies to evaluating ALL RV extended warranty offerings. It’s really critical to read all the fine print in the contract. Don’t settle for the glossy brochure and the puffs of air coming out of a salesman’s mouth. Ask for—and read—the “Terms and Conditions” papers. It may take a bit: nuCamp’s runs a full 10 pages. It’s your money you’re putting down. If you assume something is covered and later find out it isn’t, even the seeming “best price” won’t look like it in the end.



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Ron Yanuszewski
3 months ago

I’m disappointed to see a reputable brand pull this crap. If you rack up that much damage it’ll be from an accident for insurance to deal with. You’ll come no where near that price for a few appliances that should have 2 year coverage anyway.

Wayne Glabais
3 months ago

You’ll know when RV manufacturers start to build quality, they will offer warranties without having to pay. When you have to pay, you can pretty much expect it to break.

3 months ago
Reply to  Wayne Glabais

Fee for warranty is little more than a prepaid repair.

3 months ago
Reply to  Wayne Glabais

Agree — and that goes for any mechanical item. When these added warranties first appeared, I scratched my head. If you have such a good product, why would I need to pay extra if it breaks? Quality products don’t break that often, so manufacturers can afford to take the loss for those that do. This seems to be an upside-down business model!

captain gort
3 months ago

I smell marketing BS. This “extended warranty” is not only very costly, it also is chock-full of “weasel wording”. And just because you can take it “to any RV repair shop” that does not mean it will be fixed in a timely fashion or correctly. No thank you.

Neal Davis
3 months ago

Such a timely article! Thank you! In just over a month we will have had our 2022 DP for one year. We are reviewing, comparing extended service contracts through Wholesale Warranties and Coach-Net. Your admonition to read ALL will NOT fall on deaf ears. Thank you!

3 months ago

This is just another add on the manufacturer has provided. I don’t like paying for repairs before hand.

Gordon den Otter
3 months ago

That’s why I didn’t get the extended warranty for my trailer. All these warranties have too many exclusions to be useful. Bank the money and use it to pay for what goes wrong. Remember that they make a profit on the warranty.

Bob P
3 months ago

Undoubtedly written by their lead lawyer who spent many hours pouring over all the paperwork involved in the manufacturer production of these campers to eliminate the possibility of ever having to pay out any warranty claim. Even if you do read the fine print you’ll need a lawyer to explain what you’ve read. This is the main reason laws are so hard to obey to the letter of the law. I don’t know this to be a fact, but I’d wager many hours of lawyer school is how to think and and write legalese in a law, I.e. how to make a 2 letter word mean 2 paragraphs of writing to define the 2 letter word. Lol

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