If you’re in the early stages of planning your great escape and researching the RV you want to buy for full-time RVing, there’s one component of your fact-finding mission that requires some homework: extended RV warranties. Specifically, you’ll want to learn if a bumper-to-bumper RV warranty is worth the cost for your particular situation.
When we researched our ideal rig, we thought we had done our homework. We spent ample amounts of time covering all of the important bases to make sure we were choosing the right rig, but on the day we cut a deal with the RV salesman and began applying our signature to layers of documents, the rep dropped a bomb in our laps and asked:
“Do you want to buy an extended warranty?”
We looked at each other, stunned. The rep shuffled his papers around; I’m sure he had seen that dumbfounded look on couples’ faces at least a dozen times a week. We hadn’t even thought about a warranty!
“How much is it and what exactly does it cover?” we asked. The rep explained that it was a bumper-to-bumper warranty that for the low price of $1800 would cover us for the next seven years. With a $50 deductible and specific provisions that allowed us to have repair work done at any RV service center, we blindly dove in and hoped it would be worth it.
Six years later, I’m happy to say that for us, it was definitely worth the expense. Our policy paid for itself within 2 years of covering costly repairs to our $8,000 roof-mounted mobile satellite Internet system. It also covered minor repairs to our basic house systems and most recently helped us replace our bath tub when a major crack appeared in the floor. The issuing warranty company, Xtra Ride has never hassled us about repairs as long as they were pre-authorized by the company before the work began.
Unfortunately not everyone has such a great experience with extended RV warranties. Scan the Internet for “Extended RV Warranty problems” and you’ll get lost for days in the search results. How can you protect yourself to make sure you get a good warranty? Do your homework!
In my opinion, full-timers benefit most from extended warranties, but RV warranties aren’t for everyone’s situation and the most poorly crafted policies don’t justify their expense. Whether your RV is new or used, you’ll have to perform your own cost-benefit analysis of warranties to decide if you can afford to self-insure in the event of repairs. Financial guru Dave Ramsey says extended warranties on vehicles aren’t worth it and instead advises people to squirrel away money for a repair fund. In a perfect world we would all be disciplined enough to do this, but most of us don’t live in that world and that’s why RV warranties can be helpful for many folks.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, I think you’ll find the following list of articles to be extremely helpful in posing the kinds of extended service contract questions you’ll need to research, such as weeding out policy limitations and exclusions, researching who can perform the repairs and how to find out if the warranty poses a cap on the amount of repairs made in a given timeframe:
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.