Is 5-Star RV Storage Worth The Money?
There are many different types of storage solutions for RVs, from parking your recreational vehicle in your own garage or on your property, to parking it in an open field near an RV campsite, to parking it in a fenced storage lot, or renting a private indoor garage.
Where is the best place to store an RV?
In my opinion, the best option is to park your RV in your own garage or somewhere on your own property. It is convenient and available when you want to prepare the RV for an outing. You can check on the motorhome or trailer as needed, plug it in to shore power so the batteries stay charged, and if it’s in a garage or barn, you can add heat to the storage space in the winter to keep it dry and mold-free.
A garage or barn also keeps your RV out of the sun in the summer. But many homes don’t have a garage large enough to accommodate an RV. Additionally, parking an RV on your property might not be permitted by the HOA rules, or there’s simply not enough room in the driveway, or the topography just won’t work for RV parking.
In that case, you’ll need to find an off-site RV storage solution. The alternatives are to put it in a storage facility and pay the monthly storage fee, or set it up in a campground or RV park which hosts seasonal campers.
If you set it up in a campground, it will generally cost more than the average storage lot, but at least the RV will be available as a weekend getaway. Many people choose this alternative because it turns their RV into a unique type of vacation home. In this capacity, the RV is always set-up and ready to use, but it is always in the same location, which may not be the way you intended to use your RV.
Consequently, if you can’t park it on your property, and you don’t want to set it up as a fixed vacation home, your alternative is to store your RV in a commercial storage facility when it’s not in use.
As mentioned above, the range of storage options goes from an open unsecured field to a closed private garage. The latter is what is typically considered a 5-star RV storage option. It comes with the widest array of benefits, but it may cost as much as setting it up in an RV park and it is the most costly storage option.
RV storage amenities
The amenities of 5-star RV storage include a private locked indoor garage space much like an oversized storage unit for household belongings. Most of these RV storage options are heated and cooled to a constant temperature to prevent mold.
Of course, in 5-star RV storage, the RV is always protected from sun damage. Some 5-star storage facilities provide shore power, so you don’t need to disconnect the house batteries when the RV is in storage.
Additionally, these facilities may offer a host of à la carte concierge services, such as washing and waxing the exterior, cleaning the inside, shampooing the carpet, emptying the gray and black water tanks, and turning on the refrigerator and ice maker prior to departure. These 5-star services may also include regular monitoring of the batteries, tires, and engine fluids, and for an extra fee, the storage staff can make sure the gas and propane tanks are full before each trip.
Is RV storage secure?
Not all 5-star RV storage facilities have private garages, but when they do, it is a definite advantage because RVs in storage are often targeted by thieves and vandals. The batteries and gear are easy targets for thieves. Even the tires can be removed and stolen when an RV is parked in a field or unsecured storage lot.
And even in secure lots with security cameras, an RV may still be damaged, vandalized, or subject to theft. Security cameras may be helpful in identifying thieves or vandals after the fact, but generally they do little to prevent the crimes, unless the cameras are monitored constantly.
In a 5-star RV storage facility, your RV is much less likely to be the target of a criminal attack. In a private secured garage, only you and the facility staff have access to your RV. It is hard to put a value on that peace of mind. Knowing that your RV is safe and that it will be intact and ready to go when you need it is a great comfort. It may be hard to quantify the value of that peace of mind, but it is much easier to put a value on the cost of a criminal’s misconduct if it’s targeted in an unsecured or poorly monitored storage facility.
Stolen batteries could cost several hundreds of dollars to replace, unless they’re lithium batteries, in which case, the cost could skyrocket to several thousands of dollars. Your solar panels, tires, camping gear, and even your windshield wipers, awnings, and catalytic converter, could be stripped from your RV in a poorly monitored facility.
The loss of the parts alone would be costly enough, but many times the thieves also damage the basement doors or other parts of the RV in their disregard and hast. These stolen parts and the damage done to the RV can mount up very quickly, and if a vandal tags your RV or breaks the windows, that repair could require a full exterior paint job or extensive glass replacement.
Our own experience replacing a windshield in a motorhome on three occasions revealed that it cost over $3000 each time, and a very small paint repair (smaller than a couple of quarters) was estimated at $1400. An entire exterior paint job and/or restriping could cost many thousands of dollars.
Your comprehensive RV insurance may cover the damage, but the inconvenience, your lost time, and the lost use of your RV are not covered. Additionally, sometimes these repairs will lead to more damage. In the case of one windshield replacement, it led to additional paint repairs because the installer’s knife slipped and he dug a deep scratch into the paint beside the window.
I used to be a police officer and I handled several crimes involving RVs. The RVs were almost always stored in a locked RV lot with very limited visibility from outside. Thieves and vandals either climbed the fence or gained access to the lot with a key or passcode, and once inside, they were able to act in relative privacy. At that time, there were very few security cameras in use, so investigating these crimes was virtually impossible since the victims didn’t even know how long their RVs had been damaged or stripped. Additionally, the keys or passcodes were widely distributed and very poorly controlled by the management.
How much does 5-star RV storage cost?
In contrast to an unmonitored storage lot, I parked an RV in my driveway for 20 years. In all that time, it was never vandalized or damaged, even though it was out in the open and accessible to disreputable characters. But in a 5-star RV storage facility, it is more secure than storing it on private property. Parking an RV in your driveway, however, is free, while a 5-star storage facility may cost more than $500 per month, and the à la carte concierge services are all extra.
For example, one storage facility, 24 HRS Storage in Rocklin CA, lists their monthly storage fee for a 45’ RV at $423 plus $45 for optional 50-amp power. This facility offers a wide range of concierge services, but all the RVs are stored together in a huge, heated warehouse, not in individual garages, so you must leave your keys with the staff so your RV can be moved if necessary. This facility would be considered a 5-star RV storage lot, but it is still not as good as a private RV garage.
The question of whether or not 5-star RV storage is worth it depends on a multitude of variables. If you have a million-dollar motorhome that you’re trying to preserve and protect, then a 5-star storage facility is probably worth the money. But if you have a 20-year-old travel trailer or motorhome, it probably is not worth it. The type, age, and value of the property you need to protect will determine the value of 5-star storage.
But the value of your property is not the only criteria. Another determining variable is your tolerance for risk. If the very thought of someone stripping your RV or vandalizing it, regardless of its age or value, just makes your skin crawl, then the value of 5-star storage is probably higher for you than someone else. 5-star RV storage facilities may have hefty fees, but for some people, the peace of mind it affords is worth every penny.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.
Peggy Dent is an author, writer, and full-time RVer, traveling around the US and Canada. She’s traveled more than 130,000 miles in a motorhome, over the past 20 years, and is currently writing for the RV industry. You can contact her through her website at www.APenInYourHand.com