RV Repairs: How To Use Your RV Warranty in Four Easy Steps

When RV owners are in the market for a warranty for their vehicle, they often ask two questions. First they ask, “How much will I pay for repairs?” Next, they want to know how a warranty works—how do they use the service?

The two questions are connected, so we’ll take a look at how customers apply their warranty to repairs. In doing so, we’ll give a thorough answer to the question of cost.

Easy To Use

While warranty contracts are complicated, a warranty is easy to use.

For customers, the process is simple and straightforward. It needs to be, since RVs break down often—the majority of RVs will suffer a major breakdown within five years of purchase. A warranty not only makes repairs less expensive, it also makes them more convenient.

Think about it: no haggling, no shopping around for the best price, no worrying if you’re paying too much or receiving unnecessary repairs. A warranty helps eliminate (some) stress from the repair process.

When A Warranty Helps

It’s important to remember that RV warranties cover mechanical issues, not damage. Insurance covers damage and accidents, while a warranty protects customers from the inevitable failure of the systems and appliances that make the RV function.

Don’t call your warranty company when you’re in a wreck or a tree falls on your RV. But when something breaks down in your vehicle or fails due to normal wear and tear, your warranty steps in to help.

STEP ONE: #1: Take Your RV To A Mechanic Or Repair Shop

The first thing to do is to take your rig to the shop. ARW allows repairs at any licensed repair facility in the US or Canada. Other companies demand that you use the dealership from which you purchased it if you are close by (for example, within 100 miles). Beware any company that limits where you can use your coverage.

If your vehicle is disabled at the campsite or on the roadside, you can use a mobile mechanic with most warranties. Keep in mind that, aside from the repair costs, mobile mechanics charge an additional service fee, sometimes called a trip charge.

Warranty companies assist with this charge, but some pay less than others.America’s RV Warranty pays up to $200 per mechanic visit, which is double what some other companies pay.

If your vehicle is disabled roadside or at the campsite, check and see if your warranty policy includes any roadside assistance. This could save you money on towing your RV to the repair shop. ARW’s roadside assistance also reimburses RV owners for food and lodging expenses while their motorhome is in the shop.

If you’re not sure where to take your RV, call your roadside assistance service (if you have it) or your warranty for help finding a repair shop.

STEP TWO: Let The Mechanic Know You Have A Warranty

Typically, all the customer has to do is mention which warranty company they have and provide their warranty info. The service center will work with the warranty to take care of the rest.

Since RV warranties are fairly common in the industry, RV repair shops are used to dealing with warranties for repairs. Some larger repair facilities have employees solely dedicated to communicating with warranty companies.

The mechanic will diagnose the issue(s) and send an itemized invoice to the warranty company, who will approve any covered repairs. ARW’s administrator has representatives standing by to make the approval process as quick as possible.

The repair approval process is based on standardized and published costs and labor-hours for repairs. This ensures that the warranty company pays fair rates to mechanics (more on this below), but also keeps customers from getting price-gouged for non-covered repairs.

Humans are at the center of this process, however, not numbers, and our administrator is there to ensure that even difficult or non-standard repairs receive appropriate coverage.

We Pay Full Price For New Parts

In addition, ARW pays full retail price for parts. Other companies fight over every nickel and dime, and refuse to pay the price of a new part, covering only the cost of a refurbished part. ARW understands that new parts make for lasting repairs, and we put our money where our mouth is.


Not all repair shops work with RV warranties—this is usually specific to one or two companies—so let the mechanic know you have a warranty before beginning repairs.

STEP THREE: Pay The Deductible

This brings up to the question every RV wants to know: how much will this cost? While each case is different, the equation is simple.

If your repairs are covered by your plan, all you’ll need to do is pay the deductible which is set by your plan. ARW offers deductibles of $100, $200, and $500. The deductible is paid per visit, not per item, so if your RV has two covered issues that need repair, you’ll still only pay one deductible.

If your RV needs repairs that are not covered by the warranty (for example, cosmetic repairs, non-mechanical repairs, upgrades, or roof leak repairs), you’ll pay for those costs in addition to the deductible you pay for covered repairs.

While some companies only pay the national average rate for labor on repairs, we will match the average local rate, so you’re covered even if you need repairs in a state or city with higher repair costs.

STEP FOUR: Drive Away!

ARW will confirm that the repairs have been completed and pay the mechanic the amount that is owed, leaving you to carry on with your adventure on the road.

We pay for new parts, and most of the parts come with a factory warranty. That means any subsequent failure of that part is also covered. Each repair center will offer a work guarantee on their repairs as well.

A Few Things To Consider

In order to take full advantage of their coverage, customers need to understand which issues are and are not covered. They also need to follow the proper guidelines to ensure that their repairs are eligible for coverage. Here are a few examples of issues that customers have faced in the past:

If the RV Needs a Tow

If the RV is broken down and needs to be towed to the shop, the warranty itself doesn’t cover this issue. We offer an additional roadside assistance package that includes towing. Roadside assistance is also available from other RV service providers. Towing might not be needed if a mobile mechanic is available to make repairs.

Understand the Coverage

Some RV owners don’t learn about their coverage. They expect everything to be covered, including damage, cosmetic issues, and items like furniture. When they need repairs they are upset to learn that their repair isn’t covered. We urge all customers to ask questions, read the information on our website, and check out a sample contract.

Hard to Find a Repair Shop?

In some places in America, it’s still hard to find a repair shop in the area. Unfortunately, having a warranty does not solve this problem. Luckily, as RV ownership rapidly becomes more popular in the United States, more and more repair shops are opening.

Forgot About Your Warranty?

Typically, customers and/or the repair shop contacts the warranty company before starting repairs. If this isn’t possible for any reason, customers have a business day after repairs are made to submit a claim.

For customers, this means that if they received repairs and did not supply their warranty information, they have some time to submit the repair after the fact.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions are not covered, so if customers are buying a used RV, they’ll want to make sure that the vehicle receives an inspection before purchase. Some customers purchase a warranty thinking that it will cover the issues that the unit has when they purchase it. Just like insurance, warranties do not apply retroactively.

If You Have Questions

The RV repair process is no more complicated with a warranty than without one, but if you still have questions, feel free to call 1-844-609-1070 to speak with a representative. You can also view the Frequently Asked Questions available towards the bottom of our home page—check the section titled “Using the Warranty.”

The Best RV Clubs: A Quick Guide
RV Clubs & RV Parks

The Best RV Clubs: A Quick Guide

RV Clubs have been around almost as long as the motorhome itself, and for decades they have brought RV enthusiasts together and saved them money.

Full-timers and veteran travelers often join clubs to save money on campground stays and RV-related costs. For those who live in their RVs year round, campground savings alone can add up to thousands of dollars each year, especially when RVers prefer luxury parks with additional amenities.

Not all organizations are the same, though. Each club offers different perks and discounts, and membership costs range from small monthly fees to thousands of dollars for multi-year memberships.

Some clubs only operate in certain areas of the country, whereas others are truly nationwide. Some provide a total RV experience, while others focus on campground discounts or access to private campground networks.


These organizations are what most people imagine when they hear the word club. These have the most features and resources to facilitate the RV lifestyle.

Two main benefits distinguish this type of club from the rest: community features like events, local chapters, and excursions offer a support network and a sense of belonging, while educational resources such as online tutorials and in-person classes make RV travel easier.

For novice RV owners, clubs allow access to a wealth of knowledge—hidden-gem attractions, repair tips, rules of the road. This wisdom represents decades of invaluable experience and helps newcomers get the most out of highway life.

Founded in 1968, the Family Motor Coach Association provides members with a wide range of features and RV discounts. Members can attend a number of events around the country, join a local chapter, or share information with other Rvers in online forums. While the F in FMCA stands for family, anyone interested in RVing is welcome to join.

FMCA has the most robust educational platform of any club on the list—users can learn just about anything RV-related through FMCA’s online “university,” online video tutorials, and their monthly magazine Family RVing. The organization also features an app, making it easy to use these features on-the-go.

Other benefits include FMCAssist, which offers medical assistance in emergency situations, and numerous discounts. Users can save on a wide range of services:

  • RV Wifi
  • Tires
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Insurance
  • Windshield Replacement
  • Mail Forwarding
  • Car Rental
  • More

Members also receive discounts, usually around 10% off, on parking through a network of participating campgrounds. FMCA also offers discounted memberships to KOA and Passport America (see below), which offer savings on hundreds of campgrounds, resorts, and RV parks in North America.

For those who simply want to save money on accommodations, FMCA might offer features they don’t need; however, for RVers who want to learn more or expand the role of RVing in their lives, FMCA is a great choice.

Escapees RV Club has been around since 1978, and provides many of the same perks that FMCA offers: mail forwarding, events, groups, forums, discounts, a magazine, and educational materials. They even have a handy mapping tool for trip planning.

Their motto is, “A total support network for all RVers,” and they feature a number of chapters, groups, and events provide something for everyone. Their Birds-of-a-Feather groups unite members by shared interest, such as metal detecting, genealogy, and photography.

Their Xscapers community focuses on working age RVers and provides support for finding jobs and helps younger RVers navigate the difficulties that come with earning a living while living on the road.

Their website makes it easy to search for discounted RV campgrounds and resorts, and search results display pricing and discounts (up to 50% off), location, and the most basic information. Frugal travelers will appreciate the up-front pricing information, but most will want more information about where they’re staying, especially Rvers who prefer longer stays in each location.


Taking a cue from the likes of Facebook, RVillage offers a free place for travelers to meet new people and share just about everything. Rvers can make friends, post pictures and stories, and use their mapping tool to find attractions and share experiences in person.

RV Parks and other organizations often maintain a presence on the platform, allowing them to communicate more efficiently with travelers. RVillage is also available in app form for tablets and smartphones.


Offering a 50% discount at almost 1600 locations across the continent (including Mexico!), Passport America offers savings at more RV campsites than any other club on the list. Membership includes a free subscription to RV America magazine and online trip-routing, which is available on the website and on the app.

While their campground search interface looks a little dated, it provides great details about each campground, including pictures, amenities, pricing, and notable features. Absent from the details are any ratings or reviews along with any restrictions on using the Passport America discount.

Some campgrounds will only offer discounts on certain days of the week or in the off-season, and it’s not always easy to know without contacting the campground. At $44 a year, though, the restrictions are understandable, and plenty of members still think it’s worth it.


Rather than a network of affiliated parks, these companies allow discounted or free access to their own branded RV parks. There are a number of memberships available, but many only have a handful of locations—the two listed below have options across the country.

We also chose memberships that allow access to sites with full hookups, but for those who are comfortable with boondocking clubs like Harvest Hosts offer great dry camping options in interesting locations.


The oldest and most well-known campground organization, KOA has over 500 locations across in the U.S. and Canada, including resorts.

KOA campgrounds typically feature more amenities than your regular state park campground, and their website features user ratings and campground reviews that make their booking tool more convenient than any other organization on this list.

Signing up for the Value Kard, their rewards program, bags users a 10% discount on nightly fees. For $30 a year, the rewards program can pay for itself in just a few short trips. Plus, locations are open to the public, so if friends and family want to meet you there, they don’t need to be members like the other campground memberships.

The downside: for RVers who spend the majority of their nights in RV Parks, the KOA Value Kard alone won’t offer enough savings.

A Thousand Trails membership grants users free RV camping at over 190 parks and resorts. They don’t have locations in every state, so check their map before signing up to see if they have options that work for you. If you’re traveling to the Rockies, you’ll need to look elsewhere for accomodation.

The lowest annual package runs $599 and will give campers access to one campgrounds in one zone area of the US. When RVers camp at a Thousand Trails campsite in this zone, they do not have to pay any nightly fees, though some amenities, like 50 amp service, cost extra.

There are a few other stipulations and restrictions unless members opt for the most expensive membership option. In order to access all 190 locations, users need to add a “Trails Collection” package to their membership for an additional charge. Even so, full-time RVers can save a lot of money with this membership.

The online booking system displays photos and detailed information about each location, so it’s easy to figure out if a location has a dog park or charges for wi-fi. The absence of user reviews is the only major downside—it’s nice to know what others have to say.

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Winterize Your RV: A Step-By-Step Guide

As the temperatures drop, your RV needs a little extra protection from the cold. Water expands when it freezes, which can lead to leaking or burst pipes in your RVs water supply or drain lines. The main objective of winterizing is to replace the water in your lines with antifreeze, which will remain in liquid form even at very low temperatures. 

RV repair facilities will professionally winterize your RV for you, but you can save money by doing it yourself. For this project, you’ll need:

  • A few gallons of marine/RV antifreeze—exact amount varies by make and model
  • A water-heater bypass kit if not already installed
  • A cleaning wand (see #2 below)
  • Water pump converter kit or tubing to connect to pump inlet valve
  • Hand tools to remove drain plugs

Step 1: Remove or Bypass Water Filters

An RV owner’s first step is to remove or bypass any inline water filters since antifreeze can damage them. While working on the filters, check to see if they need replacement. If they do need replacing, you have all winter to find new filters at the best price.

Step 2: Drain the Tanks

First, drain the freshwater holding tank. Next, locate the drain plugs for the black and gray water tanks. Letting waste water sit in those for an extended period of time not only increases the risk of water freezing, but it lets potential harmful bacteria grow unimpeded. The tanks for black and gray water should only be drained at an approved dumping facility.

Drain the black water tank first. If your RV does not have its own tank-flushing system, use a cleaning wand to flush the black water tank. Products like Flush King also help flush out both waste water tanks. Once you’re finished, it helps to lubricate the termination valves with WD-40 for future use.

Step 3: Drain Water Heater and Lines

The water heater should not be hot or under pressure when it is drained, so turn the water heater off and let it cool. Turn on a faucet or two so that hot water is flowing out of it—this reduces the pressure within the water heater tank. Once it is cool and under less pressure, remove the drain plug to begin draining the unit. Opening the pressure relief valve and/or removing the anode rod helps the unit drain more quickly.

Open all faucets and locate and open the low-point drain plugs on the system. Flush the toilet to remove water in the tank. If you’ve got an outdoor shower, make sure to drain it as well.

Some people use the RV’s 12V water pump to force the water out completely. If you’re using the pump, be sure to turn it off as soon as soon as the water is out to keep the unit from getting damaged. 

Once the water is drained, recap all drains and close all faucets.

Step 4: Bypass the Water Heater

You’re about to add antifreeze to your plumbing system, but filling your water heater would waste six to ten gallons of antifreeze. Many RVs come with a bypass installed, but if yours doesn’t have one, visit an RV repair facility to have on installed

Step 5: Add Antifreeze

You’re ready to pump the antifreeze in your system, which will protect your plumbing when the thermometer dips below freezing. There are two ways to do this: 

  • Install a water pump conversion kit
  • Use the inlet side of the water pump

Water pump conversion kits will come with instructions on how to use them. If using the inlet side of the water pump, disconnect the line coming from the freshwater tank and attach tubing that connects to the inlet. Put the other end of the tubing into a container of non-toxic marine/RV antifreeze. Then turn on the pump, which will pressurize the plumbing system.

Starting with the closest faucet to the pump, slowly open the hot and cold faucets until antifreeze comes out. Once you see antifreeze, close the faucet. Do this to all faucets, working from closest faucets to pump to the farther faucets. As you pump antifreeze through the water lines, you may need to replace the antifreeze container. Don’t forget the outdoor shower.

Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears in the bowl. Introduce antifreeze into the drain lines and holding tank, so pour a cup of antifreeze in each drain and into the toilet bowl. Flush the toilet.

Turn the water pump off. Now open a faucet to release the pressure in the system. Go to the city water inlet valve. Remove the small screen and push on the valve with a screwdriver until antifreeze comes out. Replace the screen and close the inlet. Double check that the water heater’s heating element is switched off and that all faucets are closed.

Now your RV is ready for winter!

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How Much Does an RV Extended Warranty Cost?

For recreational vehicle owners seeking the ultimate peace of mind for their home-away-from home, an extended warranty makes a lot of sense, and the internet contains numerous articles detailing the benefits of warranty coverage. But for those researching warranty plans, one question remains largely unanswered: “How much does an RV warranty cost?”

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. The cost for coverage varies wildly, which is why RV warranty companies ask RVers for information about their rig before providing a quote. Warranty prices can range from the $1,000s for a short-term travel-trailer plan to $20,000 with some companies for a top-of-the-line, high mileage motorhome.

Several major factors affect the price of an RV Warranty:

  1. Type of RV – Motorhomes (Class A,B, or C) are more expensive than towable RVs like 5th wheels, toy haulers, and travel trailers.
  2. Make/model – Generally, the more expensive the RV, the more expensive the coverage.
  3. Year and mileage – Older units are more likely to have issues, so coverage costs more.
  4. Coverage level – Exclusionary plans are more expensive than listed-component ones.
  5. Coverage length – Longer plans have a lower annual rate.
  6. Full-time or commercial use – Units in constant use require an additional charge.
  7. Where you buy – RV owners generally pay more when purchasing extended warranties from RV dealers, especially when financing the cost.

Type of RV

Coverage is most expensive for motorhomes since they have both a coach with appliances and all the mechanical components of an automobile. For example, they often have two separate air conditioners—one in the dashboard for use while driving, and at least one for the coach. Plus, a mechanic charges a lot of money to repair engine, transmission, and drivetrain breakdowns.

Among these, a Class A motorhome is the most expensive to cover due to size, while Class B and Class C RVs have similar pricing structures.

Warranty coverage for towable RVs such as fifth wheels and travel trailers costs less because they do not have the most expensive covered items found on a motorhome. Major mechanical failures on the engine or transmission have a higher cost of repair than items like the water heater or refrigerator.

The difference in premiums among towable types is often based on the size and features of each type. 5th wheel trailers and toy haulers are typically more expensive to cover than regular travel trailers.

Make & Model

More expensive models usually have more features and higher quality components, increasing repair costs, so service contracts for top-of-the-line RV models generally cost more than basic models. 

Some RV manufacturers also design their vehicles with technicians in mind, making it cheaper to replace mechanical components or easier for the repair facility to complete the work. This may affect the price for coverage with some extended warranty providers.

Year & Mileage

The open road takes its toll on every rig that travels it, and living the RV lifestyle causes constant strain on all parts of the unit. This is something the dealership, the RV industry, and the repair facility understand well. It’s why a new unit is worth so much more, and why insurance coverage and warranties offer their best prices on new models and low-mileage late models.

An older unit or used RV is more likely than a new RV to have issues, so coverage is more expensive. By some warranty administrator’s estimates, 80% of recreational vehicles will need repairs by their fifth year of operation. By the eight year, almost all RVs will have needed repair at some point.

Coverage Level

RV extended warranty costs also depend on the type of policy each RVer wants. There are two different types of coverage: exclusionary policies and listed component policies, also known as inclusionary plans or comprehensive coverage. For a thorough explanation, check out our blog post on the difference between exclusionary RV plans and inclusionary coverage.

Exclusionary policies actually contain fewer exclusions and offer more complete coverage than listed component policies. This makes them more expensive. Exclusionary contracts are also simpler and easier to understand. The best warranty product for your rig is a balance between the best price and the best fit for your needs.

Warranty options like extra coverage for wheels/tires and consequential damage also increase the price. Different companies offer different warranty add-ons. Consequential damage is not needed on exclusionary contracts, since the contract has already delineated exactly what issues will not be covered.

Roadside assistance is another popular warranty add-on. Roadside packages provide tow services alongside other emergency features that come in handy if you’re stuck on the side of the road. 

The deductible you choose also affects the price—plans with a higher deductible will have a lower overall cost, but you will spend more with each trip to the repair facility.

Coverage Length

Longer plans feature significantly lower annual rates for coverage. Since the longer the RV operates, the more likely it is to need major repairs, a longer plan makes a lot of financial sense to many RV owners.

The longest warranty periods are offered on new units. Because most new RVs receive a limited manufacturer’s warranty and are less likely to break down, a warranty salesperson can offer a rate that provides a huge discount compared to a plan purchased when the unit is a few years old. Often, a longer plan on a new unit is the same price or even cheaper than a shorter plan on an older model.

While at first glance, this seems to offer no real benefit to a new owner, there are a few pros to purchasing a warranty early in the RV’s life. First, the unit is protected immediately as the manufacturer warranty expires. An important thing to remember is that many manufacturer warranties cover different items for different lengths of time. By obtaining a warranty before the factory warranty begins to expire, RV owners ensure that protection on their unit never lapses.

Full-time or Commercial Use

RV extended warranty providers require an additional charge for RVs that are operated full-time or commercially. Since constant use exposes the RV to more strain, wear, and tear, the likelihood of major failures increases dramatically. However, as many full-timers can attest, a warranty can bring serious peace of mind to those truly living the RV life.

If you’re considering living in your RV year-round and trying to decide whether or not a warranty is worth it for you, check company reviews, RV forums, and even the Better Business Bureau to see what other RV owners say.

Where You Buy

There are two ways to purchase an extended RV warranty: from the dealership at the time of the RV purchase; or from a warranty company. Because dealers potentially receive more money from the sale of the warranty policy than from the recreational vehicle itself, their coverage is almost always more expensive than coverage purchased from a warranty company. This is especially true of exclusionary contracts purchased through the dealer.

Just because it’s the most expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best coverage. Often the dealer’s warranty covers the same items, and is in fact the same warranty policy as the warranty company’s coverage, but at a higher rate, especially if the RV buyer is financing the purchase.

In that case, dealers roll the warranty cost into the overall loan amount, meaning that the RV buyer is paying interest on their warranty. That interest can sometimes amount to thousands of dollars in the long run. In contrast, RV extended warranty companies do not charge interest on payment plans.

Plans financed through dealerships have less convenient refund policies as well. Since the plan is financed, customers don’t receive an immediate refund. Instead, they simply pay fewer payments on the financed amount, meaning that customers don’t see any of that money back until the very end of their payments. Plans purchased directly from a warranty company generally offer reviews within 30 days.

By purchasing from an extended warranty company directly, you also have the ability to investigate whether or not you’re getting a good deal or signing up with a reputable company. You can save money on RV repairs in the future by taking a moment in the present rather than simply taking the word of an RV dealer who may never see you again.

Researching the fine print is a good idea as well, so be wary of salespeople who won’t share their documentation. Any company with a good reputation will make their contracts available online.

Warranty shoppers should also make sure that the company they purchase from is backed by an insurance company. Some less scrupulous companies are backed by risk retention groups, which is less trustworthy. The insurance company that backs the warranty company ensures that customers still receive their coverage, even if the company goes under. Risk retention groups do not offer the same guarantee.

The bottom line: not all RV warranty coverage is created equal.

What Makes an RV Warranty Worth It?

An extended warranty for your RV is a vehicle service contract between you and the warranty provider. This service plan provides for RV repairs after your RV manufacturer’s warranty runs out.

A warranty functions as a protection plan for when an RV breaks due to mechanical failure—the failures that come with routine use over time. When failures cause costly repairs, warranty holders only have to pay their deductible for covered repairs. The warranty company pays the rest of the bill directly to the RV repair facility. Rather than tens of thousands for a diesel engine repair, RV owners could potentially pay a hundred dollars.

An extended warranty is not an insurance policy, and is not meant to fix your vehicle when it’s in the service center because of a collision or other physical damage. In the event of a collision with another vehicle, a warranty will not cover the other vehicle, either—that’s liability coverage, which is available through an insurance company. Note, however, that many warranty providers offer roadside assistance for emergency mechanical breakdown and some accidents, such as flat tires and blowouts.

With most reputable coverage, the service plan can be used at any licensed repair facility in the United States or Canada.

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RV Warranty vs. RV Insurance: Which Do You Need?

A lot can happen on the open road. Adventure, spontaneity, the unexpected—these are reasons many people choose to purchase an RV and see the country. Unfortunately, the unexpected isn’t always good. Sudden breakdowns or accidents can put the brakes on your travel plans and empty your bank account. 

RV Insurance and RV extended warranties are the inverse of each other, providing separate and complementary protection based on the reason for repairs.

Simply put, insurance covers damage caused by accidents and other events, while warranties cover mechanical failures and wear-and-tear. But there’s more to it than that.

RV Insurance

An RV insurance policy functions similarly to car insurance. Motorhomes, whether they are Class A, B, or C, require the same amount of minimum liability auto insurance as a car to drive legally on the road.

Liability insurance has a specific function: if you cause an accident, the insurance company covers the cost of property damage and bodily injury for the other driver. 

Motorhomes and towable recreational vehicles (like 5th wheel trailers and toy haulers) and require comprehensive and collision coverage if the RV purchase is financed. This applies to a new RV or a used RV.

Collision coverage offsets the cost of damage in an accident caused by the owner, and comprehensive coverage protects owners if the RV is damaged by events such as natural disasters, fire, or theft.

Liability, comprehensive, and collision are the most common types of RV insurance that owners purchase, but other coverages exist for things like personal belongings stored in the RV and damage caused by uninsured motorists.

There is even coverage that, in the event of a total loss, replaces the RV with a similar model or reimburses the original purchase price to the owner.

RV Warranty

RV warranty coverage picks up where RV insurance ends. A warranty covers mechanical breakdowns and repair work caused by the everyday operation of the vehicle rather than repairs caused by accidents, weather, or theft.

An Extended warranty is a vehicle service contract. When you enter into a service plan with a warranty company, they agree to pay the repair shop for labor costs and parts in the event that the RV breaks due to mechanical failure. Each service contract lists the particular issues and items that are covered.

True warranties are offered by the RV manufacturer, but extended warranties protect against repair costs for just about any issue a manufacturer’s warranty would cover.

RVs are complex machines—most homes stay in one place. RVs are subject to potholes, steep grades, high speeds and winds, and RV maintenance is like taking care of both a house and a car.

According to Everything About RVing, 30% of RVs will have a major breakdown within two years of operation. By the end of five years that number rises to 80%. While travel trailers and fifth wheels are not motorized, they’re still subject to the ravages of the road.

RVs are also expensive to repair. RV Repair Co, an online RV service center directory, lists the prices of some of the most common repairs: a diesel engine costs up to $25,000, generators cost up to $10,000, and a refrigerator can cost up to $2,500. Air conditioner repairs can be pricey, too. Warranty plans can cover these repair costs and others, and there are several types of coverage offered.

Many coach items such as the water heater and fresh water system are much more likely to breakdown than they are to be damaged, but some Rv’ers mistakenly believe that insurance will cover these failures.

Exclusionary Policy

The most extensive coverage can be found under an exclusionary policy, and the coverage is simple. The policy contains a list of noncovered items, typically including things like water damage, damage caused by collisions, cosmetic items like paint and carpet, and nonmechanical items like furniture and cabinetry. Anything not listed under the exclusions is covered by the policy.

These plans protect both functions of a motorhome, covering failures of its motor vehicle function, like engines and transmissions, as well as the appliances in the coach, such as refrigerators, water heater, televisions, wiring, and cooling systems. They also cover luxury features such as slide-out mechanisms, leveling systems, and even solar panels.

Comprehensive Policy

A comprehensive policy, sometimes referred to as a listed component warranty, is the opposite of an exclusionary policy. This policy provides a list of items that are covered; anything not found on the list will not be covered by the plan. 

While the coverage isn’t as all-encompassing, comprehensive policies often cover many of the same failures that an exclusionary policy covers. They are also more affordable.

Drivetrain/Powertrain Policy

A comprehensive policy, sometimes referred to as a listed component warranty, is the opposite of an exclusionary policy. This policy provides a list of items that are covered; anything not found on the list will not be covered by the plan. 

While the coverage isn’t as all-encompassing, comprehensive policies often cover many of the same failures that an exclusionary policy covers. They are also more affordable. Note that regular maintenance, such as oil changes, are not covered by warranties or insurance.

Where to Purchase

Extended RV warranties can be purchased through the RV dealership at the time of purchase or through a third party at any point. Buying from a third party warranty company instead of an RV dealer has a few benefits.

First, coverage is generally more expensive through the dealer, and coverage options are more limited. If the RV purchase is financed, then the RV owner will be paying interest on the cost of warranty as well as the cost of the RV. If the owner chooses to cancel the coverage, the monthly payments will not decrease Instead the payments will simply end sooner.

Purchasing with a third party allows RV owners to shop around and compare prices and coverage. Most companies provide coverage info online, and obtaining a quote is easy. Unlike extended warranties purchased from dealerships, these warranties can be cancelled for a pro-rated refund.

For research, use resources like the Better Business Bureau and Google reviews to find the companies with good reputations. Websites like Today’s Best Company compare different companies and plan features.

When reading a company’s policy, it’s a good idea to pay attention to who can perform repairs. Many companies allow any licensed repair facility in the United States or Canada to perform repairs, making it easy to find RV services anywhere you want to travel.

Not all RVs are eligible for coverage. Most companies have mileage or age limits on the RVs they cover. Because older RVs are more likely to require frequent service, policies can be more expensive.

Which Do You Need?

If the RV is a motorhome or if its purchase is financed, some form of insurance will be required. Beyond that, purchasing additional coverage through insurance or an extended warranty relies on the owner’s level of comfort with risk (or their belief in their own good luck).

Some RV owners can afford an expensive repair without destroying their budget or compromising their RV lifestyle, while others prefer the peace of mind that coverage provides. 

Insurance covers you in the case of events like fire, vandalism, theft, and collisions. But even if you never have an accident, you’ll likely need major repairs at some point. Warranty coverage allows you to budget for those repairs and to be protected from the largest portion of the costs. It also protects your RV against rising repair costs over time, since the price for coverage and the deductible for repairs is set at the beginning of the plan.

Many full time RV’ers have an extended warranty plan because of the peace of mind and flexibility it brings to the RV lifestyle—if you have an issue, you can use your choice of repair facility, and if you’re disabled roadside, you can take advantage of mobile RV repair. In many of these situations, insurance does not help RV owners stay on the road.


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Exclusionary vs Inclusionary: RV Warranty Plans Explained

When buying an extended warranty, the options can be overwhelming. The different policies and add-ons can confuse RV owners, leaving them unsure how the plan saves them money. Nothing seems simple about finding the right warranty plan.

Warranties are complex, but they’re straightforward. With a little information, it’s easy to understand. Warranties assist with repair costs when an item suffers mechanical breakdown. Where plans differ is in which items they cover.

There are two main categories of extended warranties: Exclusionary policies and inclusionary policies. They may offer similar coverage, but they do so in different ways.

Exclusionary Coverage

Exclusionary policies are the most comprehensive plans offered for RV extended warranty coverage. They are also the simplest policies to understand. An exclusionary policy lists the items that are not covered under the policy, and anything not listed under the exclusions is covered. America’s RV Warranty offers the Complete plan, an exclusionary policy for motorhomes and towables.

Warranties cover mechanical failure, so the policy specifically excludes damage from accidents, weather, or fire. Also excluded are nonmechanical items and items that are replaced through normal operation, such as oil filters. Here are a few examples:

  • Carpet
  • Cabinets
  • Headlights
  • Rust
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Paint
  • Noise from wind
  • Cosmetic Damage

Inclusionary Coverage

Often called listed-item coverage, inclusionary coverage works the opposite way, providing a detailed list of what’s covered. If it’s not on the list, it is not covered under the plan. Here are a few examples of items included in an inclusionary policy:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Fresh and waste water components
  • Heating and AC components
  • Generator
  • Leveling system
  • Slide-out mechanisms

Inclusionary plans allow customers to find the level of coverage that suits their needs. With America’s RV Warranty, listed item coverage for motorhomes comes in three different levels: Basic, Plus, and Total.

The Basic plan covers the engine and transmission, the most expensive items to repair on a motorhome. For those who want the biggest expenses covered, this plan offers peace of mind.

The Plus coverage adds several automotive coverages to the engine and transmission, including steering components, brake components, engine cooling components, chassis AC components, and more.

The Total plan goes one step further adding coverage for the items inside the coach, or home, of the RV. Items include fresh and waste water components, generator, AC and heating components, kitchen center components, and many more. For towable RVs, the Total Coverage includes items in the coach as well as the suspension.

Additional Coverages

For both exclusionary and inclusionary policies, extra coverage options are available. These coverages do not come standard with rv extended warranty policies. Not every RV owner will need them, but they may help bring peace of mind to the road.

Extended warranty companies offer RV services like roadside assistance, towing, and travel expenses, but they are usually separate from the policy terms. For this reason they aren’t on this list.

Power Surge

When an RV is hooked up to an external power source, it is prone to power surges. Nearby lightning strikes or mismanaged power grids can send a surge of electricity through the lines. Issues with the electrical hookup (often called a power pedestal) can also cause these surges. This coverage will pay for the repair of items damaged in the power surge, covering up to $2500 of repairs or replacement.

Commercial Use

Commercial Use add-ons extend coverage to RVs that are owned or operated by a business.

Consequential Loss

This add-on provides coverage for failure of a covered item even when its failure is caused by a non-covered part.

Navigation Package

This add-on covers navigation components on motorhomes. Coverage includes the compass, global positioning system (GPS), onboard communications system, GPS satellite antenna, back-up warning system, and electronic driver information display and module.

Tire and Wheel

This coverage pays for the repair or replacement of tires or wheels if they are damaged by a road hazard like a nail or a pothole. If the RV is a towable, this coverage also applies to the tow vehicle while it is towing the RV.

No warranty covers everything

No matter the company, no RV warranty covers everything. Damage due to accidents or weather will not be covered—this is where RV Insurance helps. Warranties cover the costs of parts and labor to repair covered items, but not damage caused by those items. This means if the refrigerator leaks and ruins the carpet, the warranty will cover the refrigerator, but not the carpet.

Warranties don’t cover maintenance. The RV owner handles the costs of changing the oil and replacing fluids. In fact, an RV must receive maintenance, otherwise failures might not be covered. Maintenance is also required to satisfy the manufacturer’s warranty. The RV dealer sometimes offers discounted or free maintenance during the first year.

By reading through the terms and asking questions, RV owners can understand exactly when and how they will be protected by a warranty. This knowledge allows them to get the most out of their coverage and be prepared when something breaks down.

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RV Road Trips: 4 Easy Planning Tips

Cruising down the highway on a road trip is one of the great American experiences, and an RV is the ultimate road trip vehicle. Everyone remembers their favorite road trip: the scenic overlooks, the good times, and even the mishaps. There’s another important ingredient to a great road trip, though: planning.

Hitting the road at the spur of the moment can be fun, but planning ahead never hurts, and makes it easier to include family and friends. It also helps travelers budget to get the most for their time and effort.

The prospect of planning an RV trip can be daunting. The dates, distances, and the sheer number of possibilities can feel like forbidding barriers. With a few tips, however, it’s easy to become a professional trip planner and build your dream vacation. Follow these steps for a smooth ride along the way.


The journey is important, but for most the destination is the big payoff. With the freedom an RV brings, the options can be overwhelming, making it tough to settle on where to go. To pick a place, try starting with one of these:

  • An event
  • A bucket-list destination
  • A recommendation


The perfect combination of time and place, some experiences make memories that last a lifetime. Many travelers first think of natural attractions, like the February Firefall in Yosemite or a winter wolf watch in Yellowstone National Park, but state fairs and festivals can be just an enjoyable. Many festivals, like the International Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta or Burning Man, have RV parks on location.

Choosing an event as a destination simplifies the when and where. From there, reserve a campsite near your destination. Since events draw crowds, you’ll want to make reservations early—campgrounds near popular attractions sometimes fill up months in advance.

Bucket-List Destination

Life is for living, so if there’s a place you’ve always wanted to go, GO! Keep in mind that campgrounds at popular destinations like national parks often fill up ahead of time, so it helps to make a reservations.

If the park’s reservations are booked, though, it doesn’t mean you can’t go. Many national parks have campgrounds that operate on a first come, first served policy. Popular parks like the Grand Canyon National Park are surrounded by public and private campgrounds.


Some people have a hard time making up their mind—that’s why pizzas come with toppings half-and-half toppings. A quick internet search for RV trip destinations results in plenty of resources to guide undecided travelers to their dream vacation (here’s an example).

There are plenty of books about road trips, such as the National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways and Road Trip USA by Jamie Jensen. From Pacific Northwest to the Gulf coast, these guides lead you to beautiful views and breathtaking scenes of nature.


RV owners want to enjoy their time on the road. It’s part of the adventure. Researching the route in advance makes roadtrippers aware of opportunities and hazards alike.

Resources like Google Maps can plot a course from point A to point B and offer information about traffic delays and mileage, but researching the specific routes in a search engine usually yields a wealth of advice from other travelers. Apps like the RV Trip Wizard cost money, but can simplify the route planning process. 

When deciding how to get where you’re going, keep the following in mind:

  • Cities and metropolitan areas can cause delays from traffic congestion, especially during rush hour.
  • A scenic route might take longer, but might be more enjoyable for drivers and passengers.
  • Be aware of any tolls the route requires. Tolls for a motorhome can be expensive.
  • Research attractions along the route—they’re might be something really fun to do on the way.
  • Check for narrow roads and steep grades, which can be difficult to navigate.
  • Smaller gas stations are harder to use when you have a large RV or a trailer. Truck stops offer room to turn around and back up.

When you’re on the road, apps like Waze can alert you, and newer motorhomes often come with navigation packages that can optimize the route. Other apps can help you navigate more easily and save money on fuel.

Leave Room in Your Schedule

When building an itinerary, add time to account for things that may come up unexpectedly. Construction and accidents cause traffic delays, and you may have to make unintended stops. You might also find a sudden opportunity, to visit a museum or enjoy a picnic lunch, for instance, and having room in your schedule to do so takes the stress out of spontaneity.


Where to Stay

There are hundreds of public and private RV parks and campgrounds across the country. To find campgrounds along your route or at your destination, use resources like RVBuddy, GO RVing, and Campedium.

Not all campsites are created equal. Consider these factors when choosing campgrounds and campsites:

  • Check-in and checkout times
  • Campsite size
  • Does the site has RV hook-ups?
  • Does the RV pull through the site, or does it back in?
  • Campground amenities

Discounts on campsites are available through memberships to organizations like the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) and KOA.

Setting up camp

For first-time RVers this step can be the most intimidating, but this process is straightforward. If it is your first time, let them know when you check-in, and they may be able to send someone to assist you.

  1. Find your site and locate the hookups. Park so that the hookups on the RV are on the same side as the campsite hookups and are close enough for easy connection. Chock the tires. If your RV is a trailer, unhitch it.

  2. Next, level the trailer by lowering the tongue hitch or using blocks or stabilizing jacks. You can check your work with a carpenter’s level. Pull out and/or secure the steps so that they remain in place.

    If your RV has slideouts, remove locks or brace bars. When the slideouts are in motion, check to make sure they have clearance.

  3. Once you’ve leveled the RV, hook up the trailer. For safety, turn the circuit breaker off, connect the power cord, then turn the break back on. Switch the AC to electrical instead of propane if needed.

    Attach the white potable water supply line to your drinking water tank, then to the connection at the site. Check for leaks. You won’t need the 12-volt water pump when hooked to a water supply.

    For sewage lines, attach the sewer hose to the drain outlet on the RV (wear gloves!). Make sure the tabs lock in place. Place the seal on the campsite connection and attach the other end of the hose. Use a sewer hose support so the line slopes downward from the RV to the campsite connection.

  4. Turn the main LP supply valve on and switch the fridge to AC power if it has been running on the battery. If you have an awning and want to extend it, now’s the time. Unpack and set up your campsite.

When it’s time to break camp, just reverse the order of the steps above.


When the trip is over, revisit the experience. Go over the highlights and best moments. Which parts of the trip would you recommend to others?

Ask which aspects of the trip could have been better, and what were some problems you faced? What could be done in the future to prevent these problems? Ask the other members of the group, and write down the most important points—this information can make your next trip even better.

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