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 is this going to cost?”
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. The cost for coverage varies wildly, which is why companies ask for information before providing a quote. Prices can range from the $1,000s for a short-term travel-trailer plan up 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:
- Type of RV – Motorhomes (Class A,B, or C) are more expensive than towable RVs like 5th wheels, toy haulers, and travel trailers.
- Make/model – Generally, the more expensive the RV, the more expensive the coverage.
- Year and mileage – Older units are more likely to have issues, so coverage costs more.
- Coverage level – Exclusionary plans are more expensive than listed-component ones.
- Coverage length – Longer plans have a lower annual rate.
- Full-time or commercial use – Units in constant use require an additional charge.
- 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.
Among these, a Class A motorhome is the most expensive to cover due to size, while Class B and Class have similar pricing structures.
Towable RVs are less expensive, and the price different among towable types is often based 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, making repairs more expensive, so 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
An Older unit or used RV are 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 will have need repairs.
The price you pay also depends on the type of policy you want. There are two different kinds of coverage: exclusionary policies and listed component policies, also known as inclusionary plans. The difference between exclusionary RV plans and inclusionary coverage is covered elsewhere on our blog.
Exclusionary policies offer more complete coverage and are more expensive than listed component plans. Warranty options like wheels/tires and consequential damage also increase the price.
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.
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.
Full-time or Commercial Use
RV extended warranty providers require an additional charge for RVs that are operated full-time or commercially. Since full-time operation 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.
Where You Buy
There are two ways to purchase an extended RV warranty: from the dealership 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.
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. 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. RV extended warranty companies do not charge interest on payment plans.
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.
I'm spending all this money, so what does a warranty do for me?
An extended warranty for your RV is a vehicle service contract between you and the warranty provider. This service plan is meant to provide for RV repairs after your RV manufacturer’s warranty runs out.
A warranty functions as a service plan for when an RV breaks due to mechanical failure—the failures that come with routine user over time. When failures cause costly repairs, warranty holders only have to pay their deductible for covered repairs. 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 an accident or storm damage. 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.