Below we will list and discuss the major factors that affect your RV Insurance rates.
1. RV Location - By State & By Zip Code
In all of our discussions on this website and in our seminars, we stress how much insurance rates of all kinds are largely dictated by state and zip code.
Why is that?
Well, insurance rates are largely based on actuarial tables that examine the probabilities of claims and the costs of repairs.
Rates will be higher in higher cost-of-living zip codes. They will be higher if the RV is stored or "garaged" in a zip code where hurricane threats are probable or where crime is prevalent. They will be higher where experience and math (actuarial predictions) says they should be higher.
For full-timers, the choice of domicile is so important as it determines where the RV is registered and what address/zip code is used for insurance purposes. The good news is full-timers have more choices and can more easily shop locations than recreational RVers.
But even recreational RVers may find it beneficial to store their RVs in zip codes different than where they live. Consider all your options.
2. Type of RV
Most people won't change the type of RV they have or want because of insurance costs, but it can be an important factor in the purchasing decision. If you have an overall budget for the total costs of buying and operating an RV, your choice of the type of RV may keep you within budget.
Generally, the more expensive the RV, the higher the insurance premiums. Class A motorhomes tend to have higher insurance rates than Class C motorhomes. Towable RVs tend to have lower rates than motorhomes (although the insurance on tow vehicles can erase that difference).
3. Use of RV
Those that live in their RVs will need much different coverages than occasional weekend RV users.
Certainly, those that live and travel in their RVs full-time present more risk of claims than weekend warriors. Also, Full-timers often need coverage that is very much like a floating homeowners policy, Full-timers coverage, and that additional coverage is more expensive.
If you are a recreational RV user, your insurance company may ask how many days a year you use your RV and adjust premiums accordingly OR your insurance company may allow you to suspend some coverages while your RV is in storage.
4. Coverage Choices
If you haven't checked out our "Understanding the Coverages" page, this might be a good time to do that. If you already understand all the coverages, then you know that certain coverages may be required by law, by lenders (on financed RVs), or by insurance companies themselves (Full-timers Coverage for those using their RV as a residence).
But you may decide to increase the coverage limits beyond what is mandated which, of course, increases premiums.
You can also choose from a menu of optional coverages to fit your situation. Those choices, of course, also factor into your total premiums.
5. Multiple Policy Discounts
Most people know that insurance companies provide discounts to customers that have multiple policies with them.
If you have two cars insured with the same company, you get a discount. If you have your autos and homeowners policies with the same company, you get a discount.
So, if you get your RV insurance through the same company where you have your auto policies or homeowners policy, you would get a discount.
However, not all auto and homeowners insurance companies offer specialized RV coverages as we discussed on our "Understanding the Coverages" page.
To get the RV insurance you need, you may have to insure your RV with a different company. If you do that, it might then be wise to check into switching your auto and homeowners coverage to your RV insurance company to get your multiple policy discounts. At least get a quote to switch - it can't hurt.
6. Membership In An RV Association
Many of the largest RV insurance companies have special arrangements with the large RV associations like Good Sams, FMCA, Escapees, and others.
Always mention your memberships to your insurance agent and inquire about possible discounts or special pricing.
7. Choice of Deductible
It's pretty common knowledge that the higher deductible you have, the lower your premium on all kinds of insurance.
The same holds true for RV insurance. However, it is important that you set your deductible low enough that it doesn't put you in a financial bind if you have an accident.
So, choose the highest deductible that you know you can handle. Don't choose a high deductible to get the lower premium and hope you don't have an accident.
Now, if your policy includes a Disappearing Deductible where your deductible is reduced each year you don't have a claim, here's a little trick. If you've had enough years without a claim that your deductible would be zero if you had an accident, you can increase your deductible to a high level (it doesn't matter because it will be zero for your next claim). That will help reduce your premiums a little bit for the following years until you have a claim.
Of course, once you have a claim, then your policy deductible is back in play and you start the disappearing deductible timeframe over. You can change your deductible back to the lower amount at that point or you can keep it at the higher amount, whichever combination of premiums/deductibles you are comfortable with.
You can always ask your insurance agent to quote you premiums at different deductibles. At some deductible levels the difference in premium may no longer be significant enough, so find that sweet spot for you where you have a deductible you can handle that gives you the best premium.
8. Completion of a Safe Driving Course
Many RV insurance companies offer discounts with proof that you have completed an "approved" RV safe driving course or defensive driving course. Your agent should be able to provide details on what is required.
One such course, that is approved by several insurance companies, is provided at the National FMCA Family Reunion Rallies each year by the RV Safety & Education Foundation. It's a six hour course completed over two days, and you receive a completion certificate at the end.
However, check with your agent. This discount is not available in every state or with every RV insurance company.
9. Driving History
If purchasing your first RV and you have no previous RV driving experience, that may have a negative effect on your premiums.
Sometimes, quote request forms ask "Is this your first RV?" with no follow-up to allow you to explain how long you've been driving it.
So, be sure to tell your insurance agent if you have RV driving experience and how many years you have been driving an RV. It may help.
Whether or not you have RV driving experience, RV insurance companies also look at your non-RV driving records. A pattern of accidents or claims may be a red flag from a risk standpoint, while a clean record may result in more favorable rates.
10. Insurance Claims History
Your insurance claims history is certainly a factor in determining your RV Insurance rates.
Most of us will have a normal history of an occasional claim. However, if the records show a pattern of opening insurance accounts and then shortly thereafter filing a claim, that will certainly be an indication to the insurance company of a high risk and, therefore, higher premiums.
Though it is not as well known, insurance companies use an insurance reporting agency much like lenders use credit reporting agencies.
Before your RV insurance policy is finalized and the premiums are set, the insurance company will pull up your C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) Report. This report provides a history of all your insurance transactions over the last seven years, and it is used to help set your premiums.
There are two reports: 1) C.L.U.E. Auto loss history report, and 2) C.L.U.E. Property loss history report (homeowner and rental insurance).
Again, for most, this report is a routine check just to make sure there is nothing unusual. However, if there is incorrect negative information in your report, it could lead to unnecessarily high premiums.
Like credit reports, you are entitled to get your C.L.U.E. reports for free each year. You can get yours at the link below.
That page provides sample reports and information on how to read the reports. To get your report, you do have to set up an account.
Also, like credit reports, too many requests is a negative. So, it might not be a good idea to get your C.L.U.E. Reports every year, but it's certainly advisable to get them at least once every seven years to check the accuracy of the information.
If you find incorrect information in the report or want to add a clarifying statement, the web page provides a link explaining how to do that.
11. Safety & Anti-theft Devices
Just like autos, you may be entitled to a discount if you have anti-lock brakes, airbags, back-up cameras, etc. in your motorhome.
In addition, anti-theft devices like security systems, security cameras, steering wheel locks, etc. may entitle you to a discount.
Of course, you may have the above items because you are more concerned about your personal safety and security that lower premiums. But don't forget to mention them to your insurance agent.
If you don't think that security equipment is needed for your location and where you camp, the cost of installing the equipment may not justify the insurance discount available. Ask your agent before you make that expensive purchase.
12. Other Factors
In addition to all of the above, there are other factors that affect your premium simply based on insurance claim experience and actuarial predictions.
Older folks that are married and own a home are less risky according to claims loss experience. And females tend to have lower rates than males, although some states don't allow "Gender" to be used in determining rates.
You may not want to add your teenage son or grandson as an additional driver on your RV policy, but then don't let them drive it either. :)
On the other end of the spectrum, typically, insurance rates are the lowest when you are between age 55 - 65. But they start going up again when you are over 65. That's where a Safe Driving Course, as we discussed above, may provide you with a helpful discount.
As you can see from all the factors that may affect your RV insurance rates, there is no one-size-fits-all table or chart to estimate what your premium might be.
Your best bet is to work with an experienced insurance agent that knows the nuances of RV insurance. That way you can truly get customized coverage at reasonable premiums.