RV Extended Warranties. Are They Worth it?

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If there is one thing more stressful than having something break on your RV, it’s worrying about how much the repair is going to cost you! Especially if you don’t have a stash of cash sitting around and waiting for your RV rainy day. Breakdowns, mechanical failures, and appliances that quit working are all part of the RV “adventure”. And we have certainly had our fair share of ‘adventures’ when it comes to RV repairs and breakdowns!  Both with and without an RV extended warranty. We cover these in our recent in-depth expense report on the real cost of RV ownership, after 6 years of full time RVing and two motorhomes.

RV repairs can get expensive, stressful, and take some of the fun out of your RV lifestyle. That’s where an RV Extended Warranty may be worth considering – as a way of protecting you against these kinds of unknowns, and hefty repair bills. But they aren’t exactly cheap. Which brings us to the million dollar question…

Are RV Extended Warranties Worth It?

Throw this question around on an RV Forum or campfire and you will be inundated with plenty of strong opinions, stories, and even heated arguments. But will this help you get any clearer on whether or not an RV extended warranty is right for YOU? After all, this isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ proposition. You need to start by keeping all the hearsay in perspective. And make your own decision.

There are people who hate them. If you go looking, you’ll find plenty of bad reviews and stories about companies that are difficult to deal with, don’t pay claims, and folks who felt they wasted their money. Then there are those who love them. They did their homework, weighed up the pros and cons, bought the right kind of policy from a reputable company. And ended up saving a lot of money on their RV repairs, coming out ahead. So, at the end of the day, who is right?

These extended RV warranty policies – especially the good ones – can cost a pretty penny. But they can also save you much more. They certainly are not for everyone. But they are certainly worth considering, as an option to protect your RV ‘investment’ and manage expenses. As long as you do your homework.

What prompted this thorough post?

We discussed this topic in Chapter 3 of our book “Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road” – and also covered in more detail our RV Success School courses.

But recently, we have been getting a ton more questions about RV extended warranties. So we’ve put together this comprehensive article – with answers to the most common questions. Here, we share examples based on our 5 years of full-time RVing experience with two RVs – one newer and one older – and one with an RV extended warranty and one without.

Hopefully, by the time you’ve finished reading this article, you should have a good idea of whether an RV Extended Warranty is right for you, or not.

Grab yourself a beverage and some snacks, and let’s dive in!! 

What is an RV Extended Warranty?

RV Extended Warranty, RV Warranty, RV Extended Service Contract, and RV Extended Service Plan. These are all names for the same thing. We’ll mainly use the term most commonly used – RV Extended Warranty – throughout this article. 

This is basically a policy you can buy that will cover (most of) the repair bills for the failure of almost every working mechanical component, system or appliance on your RV. An RV Extended Warranty is essentially a way to protect you from a major financial blow in the event of these failures. Your financial outlay is usually limited to a “deductible” that you determine at the time of buying the RV Extended Warranty.

In a way, it’s like buying insurance. Some say when you’re buying an RV warranty, you’re buying peace of mind. But it’s also different. You have to take out insurance on your RV. You don’t have to take out an extended warranty. That is optional. And whether or not an RV Extended Warranty is a worthwhile investment is a very individual choice, with many variables.

Ultimately, it’s all about risk management, and peace of mind. And what you are willing to do or pay for that.

It is an RV. What could possibly go wrong?

An RV – no matter the type, brand or price point – is a moving vehicle with countless moving parts, traveling down the road like a rolling earthquake. Things will shake, rattle and roll, and eventually something is going to break. Possibly many things over time, and sometimes many things all at once!

No two RVs are the same. They won’t necessarily have the same issues, even if they are the same make, model and year! There are many variables that play a part in an RV’s reliability. How you take care of the RV and how well it was built. How you drive it, and how much you use it. The road and weather conditions its exposed to. And honestly… luck plays a part too! Sometimes you can do all the right things and it STILL goes wrong. Go figure. Don’t take it personally. Welcome to RVing 🙂

But you CAN minimize the likelihood of things going wrong and minimize the financial impact if it does. By taking good care of your RV and being protected by an RV extended warranty.

What does an RV Extended Warranty cover?

An RV Extended Warranty is designed to cover mechanical and electrical breakdowns and repairs on your RV. Things like the repair costs of slide-outs, furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, appliances, engines and so on. An exclusionary policy will cover everything (non-maintenance) related that is not specifically listed on your policy as not being included. An Inclusionary (or Listed Components) policy will only cover what is specified in the contract.

Buying the right TYPE of RV warranty is very important. Many of the complaints and bad reports you may read about RV warranties most likely come from people who did not understand their policy or buy the right kind of coverage.

Exclusionary vs Inclusionary RV Warranties

An EXCLUSIONARY policy is the best type of RV warranty, as it offers the highest level of coverage you can get on your RV. It covers EVERY mechanical component on your RV, except for what is specifically listed under the “What is Not Covered” or “Exclusions” section of your policy. An Exclusionary RV warranty is the most comprehensive coverage available for your RV. 

An Inclusionary Policy is also known as a “Listed Component” RV warranty and offers lower (limited) coverage. These policies will list exactly which items ARE covered under the contract. If the item that fails is NOT on this list, it won’t be covered. That’s why it is considered a lower level of coverage than the “exclusionary” policy mentioned above. And are therefore less expensive. 

Wherever possible, you want to get an Exclusionary RV Extended Warranty.

What does an RV Warranty NOT cover?

An RV warranty is NOT an insurance policy, in that it excludes all collision-related and physical damages to your RV. It does not cover regular RV servicing and maintenance. So you will still have to cover the cost of oil changes, tires and rotations etc. RV warranties also exclude damage to your windows, flooring, furniture, upholstery and awning materials. It definitely pays to take good care of your RV, and service it according to your manufacturer’s recommendations, and also keep a log of all maintenance. 

As always, read the contract, along with the terms and conditions of coverage carefully before signing! Know what you are – and are not – getting! And make sure you understand the process for filing a claim in the event of a breakdown.

What are the odds your RV will need major repairs?

According to RV warranty claims records, at least 3 out of 10 RVs will require a major repair in their second year on the road. By the 5th year, that leaps up to 8 out of 10. And within 8 years, virtually ALL RVs will need a major repair. These days, with the increasing complexity, with new technologies and more appliances being added to RVs, we would not be surprised if those numbers are much higher in the years to come. Again, we feel the overall lower quality of recreational vehicles built in recent years may also increase the likelihood of that.

What do RV repairs cost?

Of course, that depends on the nature and complexity of the repair needed. Motorhomes – especially bigger Class A’s and Super C’s – tend to be more complex and expensive than, say smaller Class B’s, Class C’s, travel trailers and fifth wheels.

RVs are becoming increasingly complicated these days – with more technology, electrical and mechanical and systems. This means more things can also go wrong! We have seen RV repair facility hourly labor rates range between $85 and $150 an hour. The average tends to be around $120 – $130 an hour. But these can also creep up to $200 an hour on more expensive rigs. 

It has been estimated by many in the RV industry that an RV repair will cost, on average, $300 an hour, including parts and labor. So as you can see, these things really can add up… fast! And that can put a real dampener on your RV travel experience! Not to mention your bank account.

What are the most common RV repairs?

According to Wholesale Warranties, the top 5 repairs for both motorhomes and towable RVs are air conditioners, slide outs, leveling jacks, generator, and inverter.

 

Of course, there are many more things that can fail and need repair. We have personally experienced a failure of two of the five items listed above. One in our first coach, and one in our second coach.

Let’s talk a bit about some of the RV repairs we have made over the years. And what was covered (or would have been covered) by an RV extended warranty.

Our Experience - With and Without an RV Extended Warranty

Of course, it can be extremely difficult trying to imagine what kinds of RV repairs you might face. Or what they may cost. Especially if you have never owned an RV before. So we’ll share our experience over the past 5 years. Having owned two RVs – one newer and one older. One with an Extended Warranty and one without. What we repaired on each, and what it cost. 

Now, keep in mind that every RV is different!

We are not suggesting our experience with either RV is “typical”. After all, you may experience more or fewer RV repairs than us. We do believe our first RV – which we DID have an RV extended warranty on – was a good quality, reliable and well maintained RV. BUT we still had our fair share of big repairs! Hopefully, by sharing our experiences, it hay help open your eyes to just some of the kinds of unexpected things that can happen.

Our RV Extended Warranty History

We had an RV extended warranty on our first RV – a 2012 Tiffin gas motorhome – that we purchased used from a private seller. Being newbie RVers, getting an extended warranty was important to us. The last thing we wanted was the “unknown” of what a major RV repair might cost us, in the case of a breakdown. And we didn’t have the time, place, nor the skills or tools, to diagnose or make big repairs ourselves. We knew we wanted the peace of mind of an RV extended warranty, to protect us financially.

Luckily, when we bought our first motorhome in 2014, we inherited the RV extended warranty (exclusionary policy) from the seller, and only had to pay a small transfer fee of $75. The seller had purchased the RV warranty in March 2013 – with 5 years of coverage – which he included when selling the RV to us. That RV was 2 years old when we bought it, and had 23,000 miles. We were the 3rd owners and took excellent care of it, as did the second owner. The first owner, we are not so sure about. We owned that RV from May 2014 – March 2018.

We actually considered our Tiffin to be a good quality, reliable coach. But we still used the heck out of that policy, right up until we sold our RV in March 2018, just two weeks before the extended warranty expired. Our RV extended warranty covered many repairs – plus travel expenses – while the coach was in the shop being fixed. Below is a summary of what we had done.

What was covered by our RV extended warranty?

It’s worth noting that we owned the coach for 46 months out of the entire 60 month policy. Here’s a summary of what we had fixed, during that time:

  • 2014: The furnace and hose in the front area of the coach. Faulty ceiling light wiring.
  • In 2015: Water heater. Driver side electric window switch.
  • 2016: New leveling jack springs. Track bar bolt and nut (suspension). Wheel Alignment. King Pins. Hotel accommodation and meals (twice)
  • 2017: Jacks Controller for Leveling Jacks. Driver side electric window switch. Fresh Tank Water Valve.

Our RV extended warranty covered parts and labor. Each time we took the RV in for a repair visit, we paid a $500 deductible (per visit, not per item), plus tax, freight for parts, shop supplies and other items etc.  

On top of the repair costs, our RV extended warranty also covered us for “out of crib” expenses. This was a set daily amount of $225 to cover hotels and meals while our RV was in for repair, up to to 5 nights per repair visit. In November 2016 alone, they covered over $1,300 in accommodation and meals. You can read more about this and get the full detail in our blog post about our 2016 breakdown here

And while it was a great benefit to us to have ‘out of crib’ travel expenses paid by our extended warranty coverage, we recently learned that this is a benefit the industry is trending away from. You can, however, add a comprehensive roadside plan that offers this kind of benefit/coverage.

What did it all add up to?

  • The total of these RV Repair bills and ‘out of crib’ expenses came in at around $8,683
  • We paid $2,696 in deductibles, tax, freight for parts, shop supplies etc
  • Our RV extended warranty covered $5,987

Policy cost and prior claims

The previous owner owned the coach and policy for 14 months, and in that time (from his recollection) he made a claim for a faulty roof heat pump, which was covered.

He recalls paying around $4,000 for the 5 year exclusionary policy at the time of purchase from an RV dealer. It had the highest available deductible, $500 per visit.

A few important notes

If you look at our costs, as reported on in other articles, you will see some of the figures may be a little different. That’s because we sometimes had other, non-qualifying, repairs done at the same time. So it was tricky to determine the exact allocation of costs relating to freight, tax and shop supplies. But the summary above should give you a pretty good guideline. 

Looking back, we found we ended up with one major repair/claim per year, on average, with that coach. And honestly, it could have gone either way in terms of whether or not the RV extended warranty was worth it.

But as full-timers who use our coach 365 days a year, and are able to identify and jump onto issues as soon as they present themselves, we personally appreciated having the confidence and peace of mind that having the RV extended warranty policy brought us. It was just one less thing for us to worry about. A mechanical breakdown on the side of the road is stressful enough, without having to worry about the repair bill!

We also did some repairs and trouble shooting on our own, without going to an RV repair facility. Had we done all repairs in a shop, the warranty claims would have been higher.

As inexact a science as our example may be, we hope it was SOMEWHAT helpful.

As mentioned above, we sold our Tiffin in March 2018, just a couple of weeks before our RV extended warranty contract expired! At that time, we switched from our newer gas motorhome to an older diesel Class A.

Our Experience Without An RV Extended Warranty

We do NOT have an RV extended warranty on our current motorhome – a 1999 Country Coach Intrigue. We actually never expected we could get an extended warranty cover for a 19 year coach (we bought it in 2018). But believe it or not, some companies DO offer a limited RV extended warranty for vehicles up to 20 years old, with less than 100K miles. However, we did not qualify, as our CC had 170,000 miles on the clock when we bought it, exceeding the mileage limit. 

As most of you know, we picked up our CC for such a bargain price anyway (the dealer had it listed at $50K and we bought it for $25K). So we ended up being willing to take the risk. We figured if anything major happened to CC (say an engine repair which could cost $10K-$15K) we could actually sell the coach for parts and still get our money back. 

And, by this stage, we were much more experienced RVers with 3.5 years under our belts. Plus, I am pretty handy, and able to fix a lot of things myself. So we went ahead with the purchase of our CC anyway, knowing we weren’t eligible for any RV extended warranty products on this motorhome. We figured our financial risk was fairly low, considering how little we had invested in the RV.

Ultimately, it’s all about risk management!

While RV shopping for our 2nd RV, we were mostly looking at RVs in the 3-10 year old range. We did get some quotes from Wholesale Warranties on a few RVs that we got serious about. This helped us plan and budget for the overall cost of a potential purchase. But at the end of the day, we decided to roll the dice and bought our cheap, older motorhome. This means we pay for our own repairs and labor, so essentially we’re now self-insured. How’s that working out for us? Let’s take a look.

What repairs have we made on our current RV?

Already, in the first 18 months of owning this RV, we have replaced the starter, transfer switch, solenoid, inverter, and refrigerator on our Country Coach. These are all items that would typically be covered by an RV extended warranty. All up, these came to over $4,000 just for the parts. There was NO LABOR charge, as we did them all as DIY jobs, with helping hands from some fellow RVing friends. However, if we’d had the repairs done at an RV service center, we estimate the labor would have easily cost many thousands, as some were very large and time consuming jobs. 

In addition, a coolant hose burst last year, so we had the coach towed to a Cummins shop. The tow was covered by our roadside assistance policy. But we had to pay for the actual repair of $888 repair for parts and labor, after our Cummins membership discount of 10%. While our RV was in for repair, we stayed at a hotel for 3 nights and ate out. Luckily, most of our hotel and meal expenses (about $600) were covered by our roadside assistance plan. 

We have also replaced the tires, added lithium batteries, switched the (working) microwave for a convection oven and added solar panels. These would NOT have been covered by an RV Extended Warranty as they fall under maintenance and upgrades – not repairs.

Considering an RV Extended Warranty?

Enough about us and our RV repair experiences. Let’s move onto some questions related to YOU! So you can start considering your own situation, RV, and risk tolerance. We’ll answer some common questions about the nuts and bolts of RV Extended Warranties and what to look for when shopping around.

Do you need an extended warranty on a new RV?

Technically, if you have a brand new RV, then you don’t need an RV extended warranty… YET. Most of your repairs should be covered under your manufacturer’s factory warranty. These usually last for one year, some may be 2-3 years.

However, the RV extended warranty company knows this, and factors that into the price of their RV extended warranty. When you buy a new RV, you will not need to get an RV inspection to qualify for an extended warranty. BUT there are still advantages to buying an RV extended warranty right away – cost savings and convenience.

Every year on January 1, RV warranty prices increase. So buying an extended warranty when your RV is new helps shield you from subsequent price rises. You also save on the $450-ish it costs to have a professional RV inspection done. This is necessary on all RVs – unless you are buying it brand new – to determine pre-existing conditions and eligibility. You will also have the added convenience of being immediately eligible, when buying the policy new along with the RV.

Additional considerations

Also, when new, a model doesn’t yet have a history of repairs. Some RV models may develop a higher than average reputations for repairs. Those models will then end up with higher priced policies as the years go on, as they are now known to be more troublesome. Buying the policy when the RV is new shields you from the risk of a higher priced policy, while of course also paying for the repairs in the meantime.

If you plan on owning your RV for more than a year, it’s probably a good idea to buy the RV extended warranty at the time of buying your RV, to get the best price possible. Some companies offer a payment plan if you aren’t in a position to pay for it up front. But do try to avoid rolling it into your RV financing! If you do, you could end up paying much more for it in the long run due to the interest charges.

Considering an RV warranty for a Used RV?

If your RV is say 1 to 15 years old – you can still buy an RV extended warranty, with full exclusionary coverage. The older an RV gets, the more it starts needing repairs. And it’s likely no longer covered under the factory warranty. Remember, 30% of RVs need a major repair by year 2, and up to 80% within the first five years. 

If, however, you have (or buy) a much older and less expensive RV (like ours, which is a 1999 model) it may not be worth the investment of an RV extended warranty. The coverage term offered is usually shorter, and price of the warranty is often higher. You may want to consider getting a quote on a limited RV warranty that covers certain components, if you are worried they may fail. Or you may want to take the risk and cover the cost of repairs yourself. For RVs 16-20 years old, you can still buy a powertrain warranty, which is more limited, but still provides coverage on important parts.

It’s important to be aware that not all RV warranty companies sell direct to the consumer. If you are planning on buying a pre-owned RV from a private party, you will want to deal with a company that sells policies direct to RV owners, and not just RV dealers. Some extended warranty companies only sell policies exclusively through RV dealers. Which brings us to the question…

Should you buy an RV warranty from the dealer?

Probably NOT. Why? Well, there are multiple ways an RV dealer will try to make money from you when you are buying your RV. The RV itself, financing, non-essentials (eg. paint protection), and an RV extended warranty, to name a few. The RV extended warranty is almost always marked up by the dealer (meaning you will pay more than if you bought a policy direct). AND the dealer will also try to convince you to roll the warranty into the financing. Typically RV loans can be 10, 15 or 20 years…. And you’ll be paying interest on that. So you will end up paying WAY more than you should for the RV extended warranty there too. That means they get you on two counts – a marked up policy AND financing costs. 

It definitely pays to do your homework and get a quote in advance. At least then you will be informed, and know what to compare their policy and price to, so you can determine if it’s a good deal or not. Of course, you also want to compare “apples with apples” when looking at what you get – that’s price, coverage, terms, company reputation, and after sales support, when it comes time to make a claim.

Knowledge is power

It can be stressful and overwhelming enough buying an RV. Being pressured into buying an RV warranty on the spot when it is time to close the deal – especially when you don’t know enough about them – can end up being an expensive mistake. That is why we strongly recommend buying an RV extended warranty from an unbiased, reputable, independent provider. And getting a quote before you even buy your RV, so you can budget accordingly. Be prepared!

Buying your RV extended warranty directly from a company that deals directly with the end consumer – and when the RV is new – is always the most cost effective way to purchase a policy.

Should you 'self-insure' instead?

This is when you put the money you would have otherwise spent on an RV Extended Warranty in a bank account to use when your RV needs a repair. You will need to have the discipline to put that money aside, and only use it to pay for repairs as you go. Of course, you are also taking a gamble that the repairs won’t exceed the price you would have paid for an RV extended warranty.

But the gamble goes both ways. If you have a reliable RV and don’t experience any major or expensive issues, you could break even or come out financially ahead. But you won’t have the peace of mind that an RV extended warranty may bring. Only you can put a price on what that is worth to you. 

One potential risk we see with self-insuring, can occur if you are not disciplined – or don’t have the financial means – to take care of large and important repairs when they arise. There may be a temptation to “put off” RV repairs because you don’t have (or want) to spend the money. Having an RV extended warranty may motivate you to make RV repairs promptly, knowing it’s covered by your policy. Thus, reducing the risk of a smaller issue becoming a bigger and more expensive one down the track.

What does an RV Extended Warranty cost?

Every RV extended warranty is different. The type of RV, mileage, year, purchase price/ value, engine type, make and model all help determine the cost of an RV Warranty policy. It also depends on what type of coverage you want – or qualify for – at the time.

Typically, RV extended warranties are less expensive on towable RVs like truck campers, travel trailer and fifth wheels, as there is no drivetrain as found in motorized RVs (Class A, Class B and Class C).

The price will also vary depending on the deductible. You get to choose what level of deductible you’re most comfortable with. And, much like your insurance policy, a less expensive RV extended warranty policy will mean you pay a higher deductible. Choosing a lower deductible will mean a more expensive policy. We have seen deductibles range anywhere from $50 – $500 per repair visit (not per item).

Something to keep in mind. If you end up selling the RV before the contract expires, you can cancel the contract and get a pro-rated refund, based on the unused time or mileage remaining on your RV Warranty term.

When is the best time to buy?

If you decide an RV warranty is worth the investment for you, it is better to buy sooner rather than later. Buy when the RV is new, and you won’t need to get an inspection to qualify. You’ll avoid future policy price increases. You will avoid (or reduce) the risk of finding a ‘pre-existing condition’ that may be disqualified for coverage on the contract. And you’ll be able to secure a longer contract period. You’ll have immediate peace of mind.

You can purchase your RV extended warranty in full up front. Some of the most reliable and reputable companies will also offer a payment plan on RV extended warranties.

Make sure you get a quote, for the specific RV you have in mind, before you buy, and factor this into your RV shopping budget. 

Pros of an RV Extended Warranty

  • Allows you to manage financial risk, with increased control of your RV-related expenses
  • An RV warranty company (administrator) will ensure RV service centers are not over charging for repairs
  • You can include the warranty when selling the RV privately – an advantage for the buyer, while making it easier for you to sell
  • A good policy will give you peace of mind knowing ‘you’re covered’ for major RV repairs
  • Policy may also include roadside assistance and towing benefits

Cons of an RV Extended Warranty

 
  • Usually a sizable investment – which you may not get the full value out of, if your RV doesn’t need many major repairs
  • May be cost prohibitive – or maybe even ineligible – for RVs that are older (16–20+ years) or that have high mileage

Almost anything can go wrong. And it will.

Remember that RVs are becoming increasingly complex machines. There are so many parts and systems on an RV that can go wrong that you would never even know existed. – and a lot of it is what you cannot see! It would be impossible to guess everything that may – or may not – go wrong.

That is why an Exclusionary RV Extended Warranty is the one you will most likely want to get, through a reputable and well-rated RV extended warranty provider. To ensure you get the maximum coverage.

I can tell you from experience, that LAST thing we would have ever expected to go wrong on our well maintained motorhome was a track bolt falling out on the highway. Causing consequential damage to our suspension, which compromised our driving safety. But fall out it did. And the claim – requiring repairs at two different shops – was covered. Not to mention many other repairs during the time we owned that motorhome.

In considering the overall reduction in build quality (an industry-wide concern), and the latest technology additions, we anticipate an increasing probability that even more RVs will need extensive – and expensive – repairs in the future.

RV Extended Warranty - To Buy or Not To Buy?

Again, ultimately every RV, owner and situation is different. Only you can determine whether or not an RV extended warranty is worth it to you. Just as with insurance and financial planning, we all have unique situations and levels of risk tolerance.

If you are risk averse, and want to protect yourself against unexpected major repair costs. And especially if you’re not willing or able to do RV repairs yourself, you’ll most likely want to purchase an RV extended warranty.

However, if you have the financial means to fund your major RV repairs – perhaps even do your own repairs, when possible – then you may prefer to roll the dice and self-insure. That is, paying for your own repairs as you go.

Over the years, we have spoken to a lot of people with RV extended warranties. Many get their moneys worth out of them and then some. Others break even. And a few end up buying the warranty and don’t claim enough to cover what they paid. 

I remember when we took our RV in for our first extended warranty repair  – to replace the furnace in 2014 – the RV Service Center Manager shared his advice (paraphrasing):

“Cover yourself with an RV extended warranty and get the lowest deductible you can. These things are always breaking and in the shop. And it can get very expensive.” 

Our RV wasn’t ‘always in the shop’. We averaged about one major repair each year. But we figured he sees a lot more RV repairs than us, having been in the biz for over 20 years. Importantly, he didn’t sell the warranties. He ran a service center that repaired RVs, rang up the repair bills, and dealt with warranty companies every day. So he spoke from a lot of experience.

What to look for in an RV Warranty company

There are many things you should look for when selecting an RV Extended Warranty company. Focusing on price alone is very short sighted. You will want to consider these important points:

1. Confidence in a reputable company, with a proven history?

You may have heard horror stories of people being left high and dry by companies that went out of business, rendering their RV extended warranty useless. Be sure to buy your RV extended warranty from a company that has their policies backed by “A” Rated Insurance Carriers, that have proven financial stability and staying power. Steer clear of any RV Warranty programs offered through “Risk Retention Groups” (RRGs). If you want to read more about those and the risks, click here. But really, just avoid them.

2. Knowing where you can get repair work done

Find out your options for using RV repair centers all around North America. You don’t want to be limited to using certain RV shops, networks or facilities. When traveling around the country, you will want convenience and flexibility in where you get service.

3. Option to transfer or cancel your plan

You should get a plan that is transferable, in the event you sell your RV. It may make your RV more attractive to a buyer. Ot you may choose to cancel the policy for a pro-rated refund. Check the terms, refund policy and find out if there is a ‘probation period’. Admin fees may apply.

RV Extended Warranty Companies / Policies

There are a few companies out there offering RV extended warranties. Mostly, you will find a dealer trying to sell you one – at a premium price! Some of the most common companies you will hear people talk about are Good Sam (owned by Camping World), Xtra Ride and Wholesale Warranties. Let’s take a closer look at them all.

Xtra Ride (through Protective Asset Protection)

  • Our first RV extended warranty (that we inherited with our Tiffin) was an Xtra Ride policy through Protective Asset Protection. While they were, for the most part, good to deal with in terms of having our claims paid, they have also changed some of their business practices in recent years. They do not deal directly with the public. And you can only buy a policy through an RV dealership at the time of an RV purchase. So you cannot buy a policy a month, or a year or two after your RV purchase. You also cannot buy a policy from them on a pre-owned RV that you purchase from a private party. And, because you can only buy the policy through a dealer, it also means the price is more likely to be marked up. Therefore, more expensive. It may not be as easy to get an advance quote from Xtra Ride or the dealer, before purchasing your RV. Which makes it difficult to compare prices or accurately budget for your total purchase costs.

Good Sam Extended Service Plan (through Good Sam)

  • Good Sam is owned by Camping World Holdings. While we have not had an extended RV warranty – known as an extended service plan (XSP) – through them, we did have Good Sam Roadside Assistance – for just one year. (We changed to another provider, after a few poor experiences with GS). Based on our research of Good Sam extended service plan policies, we found reviews at both ends of the spectrum. Some good. Some bad. We have been alerted to some recent concerning news stories about Camping World’s financial stability. We do not know first hand the current financial state of Camping World, nor do we wish to speculate. But as with all big purchases, we simply encourage you to do your homework before signing any contracts. And stay aware of potential risks

Wholesale Warranties (Viking Protection Plan)

  • Wholesale Warranties is an independent brokerage company that deals directly with the consumer. They can offer RV extended warranties at “wholesale” prices, as they are not marked up by the dealer. Wholesale Warranties have access to several warranty providers, so are not biased to just one. They will recommend the RV Warranty program that best suits your specific needs. The Wholesale Warranties Viking Protection Plan is their exclusive, white label plan. It also covers consequential damage, or commercial use, including renting out the RV. We like that Wholesale Warranties has a strong focus on customer service and education. And they provide guaranteed coverage, positive customer service, and competitive, fair pricing.  Their team also acts as the middle person between you and the RV Warranty company, This makes it easier to navigate the claims process, and act on your behalf as needed. Wholesale Warranties also offers contracts to Canadian customers. In our research, we found they have an A+ rating on BBB and a 5-Star rating on CustomerLobby. We have obtained several quotes from them while RV shopping, and always found them to be extremely competitive, knowledgable and helpful. We recently purchased an RV extended service contract from them, and will be sharing more about this in an upcoming post/video.

So Who Do We Recommend?

It is for all of these reasons, that we personally recommend Wholesale Warranties. We have consistently found them to offer the best service, most competitive prices, and best options for customers – while getting consistently high ratings. Over the years, several of our RVing friends, RVLove community, and students of our RV Success School, have purchased an RV extended warranty through Wholesale Warranties. We have only received positive reports and feedback about Wholesale Warranties so far. You can also Google some of their 100+ reviews, with an average rating of 4.9 out of 5.

It was Wholesale Warranties that we contacted to get quotes during our own RV shopping process in 2018 when preparing to switch our motorhome. And it is who we would personally choose to buy a policy from, for our next RV purchase.

You can click here or call 800-939-2806 to get an obligation-free quote

In summary, we recommend you get at least two quote comparisons. Crunch the numbers. Consider your own risk tolerance, and weigh up whether or not an RV extended warranty is worth it for you.

Well, we hope this article has been helpful. We would love to hear your experiences, questions and comments below. 

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58 thoughts on “RV Extended Warranties. Are They Worth it?”

  1. Fantastic article for a 75 yr. old widow woman who just bought a 2021 Winnebago Micro Minnie. The quotes from the dealership were outrageous. I was going to purchase Good Sam and just pay for the entire 6 years in one shot. Now i am going to contact Wholesale Warranties and get a quote. So does the the company who sells me the warranty coverage – do they pay for repairs? Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Hi Pam, WOW good for YOU buying your Winnebago Micro Minnie! We are so excited for you and your new adventures. So glad the article was helpful. And thank you for sharing your experience with the dealer quotes – we have heard reports of some policies being marked up 2-3x! When you get a policy through Wholesale Warranties, yes they should pay for the repairs HOWEVER we have had an experience where we paid for a repair and had it subsequently reimbursed by the warranty company. It may depends on the situation / repair. But DO ask this question of the person you speak to at Wholesale Warranties. Having warranty coverage will give you peace of mind, especially being a solo widow woman traveler without a handy hubby to fix things as you travel. You are very welcome. We wish you all the best for safe and happy travels!

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  2. Marc,
    I have owned five different RV’s and the first thing I do when I buy one is enroll it on Good Sam’s Club Extended Service Plan.
    You briefly mentioned Good Sam’s plan but did not go into much detail.
    The extremely important difference between Good Sam’s plan and an Extended Warranty Plan is that Good Sam’s Plan comes is like an insurance policy under jurisdiction of insurance plans in the state of Colorado. With an Extended Warranty plan you are at the mercy of the using company in it being administered .
    The other dramatic difference is the cost. With an Extended Warranty Plan you have to pay for the total cost, depending on how many years you purchase, at inception, typical thousands of dollars.
    With Good Sam’s Club Extended Service you only pay at inception a monthly payment based on deductible. Taking the $500 deductible my monthly payment has been less than $100 per month. The policy is transferable and cancelled at any time without any penalty. Another trick I use when first buy my RV is to take the lowest deductible for the first months until have eliminated major problems then later raise deductible to lower payment.
    Another important feature, which I have used successfully, if they balk on a claim is to complain the the State Insurance Commissioner.
    Mike
    Florida

    Florida

    Reply
    • Hi Mike, thanks so much for sharing your experience. No we did not go into detail on the Good Sam policy, as based on our research and knowledge, did not feel comfortable recommending that as an option. Partly due to concerns around the company, as covered in the post. We don’t know about all Extended Warranty companies, but we do know that Wholesale Warranties does offer a monthly payment plan for a period of time, and the policy can be cancelled for a pro-rata refund, should the RV owner decide to sell the RV and no longer need the policy. Also a good tip about filing a complaint with the State Insurance Commissioner if you have any issues with claims. And starting with a lower deductible then dropping it later. As always, we recommend people do their own research and compare apples with apples, when it comes to deciding on RV extended warranties – and whether or not it is right for them. Definitely important to only buy from a reputable company with sound administration and that honors valid claims. We see the decision to buy an Extended Warranty as the price one is willing to pay for peace of mind and limiting financial impact of expensive repairs. And it’s always smart to get a few quotes when shopping around. Thanks again for sharing your experience – wishing you safe travels!

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  3. Warranties will not cover maintenance related leaks, so why not give your RV roof enduring protection with RV Roof Magic. RV Roof Magic is a multipurpose roof sealant that not only seals the roof, but also protects it from harsh weather conditions.

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  4. Hi! Thanks for the article. We purchased a Portfolio Protection ESP from the dealer only because we were told we can cancel for 100% refund within 60 days – which we will do. We found a comparable, and probably better, plan from Protective Asset Protection for about 40% cheaper. I don’t know if they have changed, but we did not have to get this policy through the dealer – they are selling direct to us. Also, in the interest of transparency, do you receive anything from Wholesale Warranties? I have seen a couple of people inquire, but you never did answer.

    Reply
    • Hi Sharon, That is good to know! We did not realize PAP now sells direct – so we will need to look into that. I wonder if it is because you purchased new from a dealer and it falls within that qualification? As you have seen – the dealer marked up the price of the policy substantially! So glad the article was helpful in terms of saving you some money! Yes, we are affiliate partners of Wholesale Warranties – we do not recall seeing any other questions about this that we missed or were unanswered…? Was that here on the blog? We are clear in our disclosure in the first para of the article (as you will see in all of our blog posts) that some links may be affiliates. We never recommend anything that we do not fully believe in. We regularly recommend companies and services that offer NO affiliate commissions whatsoever – that is never the reason we would recommend someone. It is ALWAYS based on the quality of the product and service, and our genuine belief that it would benefit our community, and that we can feel confident in sharing with our audience. And also based on our experience. Our opinions are not – and never have been – for sale. That is why our community trusts our recommendations. That said, we totally understand your reason for asking. Hope that helps!

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  5. My experience with extended warranties include Good Sam and it has not been good. They will simply tell you it was a pre-existing condition and deny your claim. I had a catastrophic failure of the wheel bearing spindle and hub which cannot be pre-existing under any circumstance. $2,200 in repairs in my claim is denied it’s 17 minutes. Be cautious if you have a new RV stick with the factory and extended warranties offered by a dealer stay away from Good Sam those guys are Crooks.

    Reply
    • Sadly we have heard many unfavorable reports about Good Sam. We are sorry to hear of your experience. We also caution people to look further than the extended warranties offered by the dealers, as we know several people have found they were over charged by several thousand dollars more than they needed to pay, as it was marked up substantially for the same kind of policy one could by wholesale (not retail. We consistently get positive feedback about Wholesale Warranties from our RV Love community, which is why we are confident in recommending them and always personally obtain quotes on policies when shopping for RVs so we know what to expect.

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    • Thanx! Great insight. We are purchasing our first RV, a 2017 Winnebago Journey 40R, from a very conscientious, long-time RV’r. He has 4 years left on their Coach-Net Extended Service Agreement, which he said was transferable to us. Not 100% sure this is as easy as it sounds. The Plan Administrator decides “if” the plan can transfer from the seller to us, the buyers. Even if transferred, it may take up to 30 days after approval to begin coverage.
      A new Coach-Net policy would be 300% higher than the transfer costs!
      Will check out Wholesale Warranties, apples to apples!
      Keep up the great Blogs and Emails!

      Reply
      • HI Robert, Glad you found the article helpful. Our first RV warranty was transferred via the original owner and only cost us $75 (back in 2014) and from memory happened pretty quickly – it was an Xtra Ride policy (which you can only buy new from dealers at time of RV purchase). Definitely worth getting a comparison quote from Wholesale warranties and check the inclusions, terms, coverage and price against the Coach-net option. We aren’t as familiar with the Coach-net policy. But definitely always worth getting other quotes to compare against before making a big, costly decision or purchase. Great to buy a used one from a conscientious, long time RVer – it will likely be much better than buying a new one and having to work out all the bugs! Glad you enjoy the content – more to come! All the best to you and enjoy your new coach and travels!

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  6. We are a couple of seniors who owned a pop up camper for many years. We sold that and have not camped in about 10 years. We decided if we were to ever camp again it would need to be a small travel trailer. After much searching we decided on a Kodiak Ultra Lite 201QB as that is large enough to fit our needs. After reading all of the comments on this page, I now wonder if we have done the right thing. What I understand is this: An Extended Warranty purchased from company other than dealer would be the best option for us and also purchase a separate contract for Towing.
    I found your article very helpful and thought provoking. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Glad you found it helpful Linda. You may get a decent price and extended warranty from a dealer – what we are saying is to do your homework and get a quote from a company like Wholesale Warranties, which can provide quotes on various policies from different companies – and compare apples with apples. Dealers often mark the extended warranty prices up – AND also encourage buyers to roll into the financing (which we don’t recommend). The main thing is you get some quotes, make sure it’s an exclusionary policy, compare the contracts carefully, and ensure the company behind it is reputable and not likely to go out of business so you are not left high and dry. Hope that helps!

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    • We switched to the program through FMCA, and have been very pleased with the service through them. Though we might be switching again to CoachNet. We have heard a lot of good feedback about CoachNet.

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  7. We purchased an extended warranty with our gently used 06 Southwind. The cost was about $4100, and to date has paid out $1300 for a slide out motor replacement. We are nearing the end of our 5 year contract and contemplating purchasing another, edging towards not doing it (didn’t make $$ sense based on our previous history).

    And that all changed a few days ago. Our Norcold 1200 fridge died. It developed the dreaded ammonia leak and the cooling unit is shot. Luckily we installed an ARP control and it shut the fridge down and averted disaster (the 1200 is notorious for causing fires). Our fridge repair (cooling unit) replacement was just approved, so we are closer to breaking even on our initial extended warranty investment.

    Thanks for a detailed article, I will use some of this info to help decide if we purchase another warranty or not.

    Reply
    • Hi Steve, Wow, thanks for sharing your story! Most importantly, we are glad no-one was hurt and a potential fridge disaster (fire?) was averted. Those RV fridges are expensive to replace – we have heard stories of RV fridge replacements costing up to $4,000 including installation! You are a great example of being able to go either way – self insure or get the extended warranty. Of course, the older the coach gets, the more things may require repair… but it really is a ‘gamble’ either way, and one that each person must weight up for him or herself. The way we look at it is, even if we come close to breaking even on a warranty, the peace of mind we get from ‘just in case’ a bigger repair may be required would be worth it to us… but again, that’s a very personal decision based on many factors. Glad what we shared was helped as you weigh up the pros and cons for your own situation. Cheers!

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    • Great article Mark! Your website is educating me on so much as we explore upgrading to our first new trailer. I was saddened to learn that your recommendation to purchase directly from Wholesale Warranties is not an option for California residents who do not have an out-of-state address. Any other tips or tricks to get a policy from Wholesale Warranties?

      Reply
      • Hi Doug, glad you found the article helpful. We’ve reached out to WSW to ask for their advice on your options. May not hear back until early next week, so stand by… or you could give them a call? But we’d like to know the answer ourselves and share it here. Thanks for your comment / question. We’ll get back to you ASAP. Have a good weekend until then!

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          • Hi Doug, well we got an answer back from Wholesale Warranties, and here is their reply:

            “It is true that the policies we offer are not available to those whose sole-address is California. We truly wish there were other ways around it but due to a recent CA law change the only way through this is providing a vacation home/rental, an LLC or a mail forwarding address that is outside of CA. I hope this helps and clarifies things a little better!”

            Not sure how helpful that is Doug… but if you are planning on doing full time or extended RV travel anyway (even part time) it can be very useful setting up a mail forwarding service that provides you with an address for your mail. They would give you an address with a “box number” and you could use that for your Wholesale Warranties policy/address. There are several mail service options – we use Escapees. We will continue to look for alternatives and update our blog post as necessary.

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  8. Thanks for your very informative article! We have bought a new Grand Design 5th wheel and hope to take delivery very soon. I would like to know who you would recommend for emergency road service. AAA has RV road service but I am worried about getting service if we should have problems in remote areas. Do you have any recommendations for emergency road service companies?

    Thanks,
    Caroline

    Reply
    • Hi Caroline

      Glad the article was helpful and congrats on your new Grand Design! While there are quite a few companies out there offering roadside assistance, we definitely recommend you get one that will cover your RV in the event you need to be towed! Also we recently learned that RV extended warranty companies are moving away from offering “out of crib” travel expenses while these are being picked up by some roadside assistance companies, so keep an eye out for that benefit, as well as RV towing and related incidents. While we used Good Sam roadside for one year, to be honest, we cannot recommend them as we were less than happy with the service. We changed to FMCA Roadside Rescue a couple of years ago and have only had to use once – to get towed! And they did cover all of that expense, as well as our ‘out of crib’ travel expenses while our RV was being repaired. Of course, we had to pay for the RV repair. The catch is you have to be an FMCA member in order to join their roadside rescue program…but we were already, they are good for tire discounts as well (FMCA).If you do decide to join FMCA, please let them know you were referred by RVLove member #464400. And we have heard only good things about Coachnet, so feel confident enough recommending them, even though we haven’t been a member… they are well known and respected. Hope that helps!

      Reply
    • I own a 2005 Newmar Dutch Star. 64 000 miles. I bought US Warranty full extended warranty cost 7000. I have had frige fail convection oven fail inverter fail washer fail deductible 150 per claim my coverage for 5 years 2023 or 120000 miles policy well worth

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  9. We purchased an RV, fifth wheel, and 2019 and only drove it from Arizona to Oregon and decided that full timing was not for us. We want to sell it now. Can we get money back from all of the warranties that we signed up for for the next seven years.

    Reply
    • Hi Beverly, Sorry to hear the lifestyle isn’t for you. It can take some time to adjust to, and we typically suggest people give it up to a year to adjust. We cover all this in Part 2 of our book “Living the RV Life” in the Emotional Considerations topics. Have you read it? It may be worth doing before making the big and (potentially costly) decision to sell the RV.

      Re your policies, without knowing what warranties you purchased, we cannot answer that question. You would need to contact the company(ies) directly to have them answer that question. But if you bought an RV extended warranty, most companies should let you transfer that to the new owner when selling the RV privately. Or if you trade it in at a dealer, they should refund you a pro-rated amount. Wishing you all the best!

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    • Hi Marc and Julie. Thank you for your well researched article on extended warranties. If I may, I would suggest adding one item to your pro list for buying an extended warranty, a consideration given to me by a friend who owns an RV repair shop. He tells me that since they are so busy, they will take care in priority of customers with warranties. Without it, you may have to wait longer to get your repairs done. Keep on your good work. Thanks.

      Reply
      • Thank you Yves – we appreciate your sharing that tip! It is good to know that some repair shops prioritize warranty customers. We have personally been serviced fairly quickly in these instances… however have also hard opposite stories, that cash customers sometimes get faster service? Perhaps it depends on the shop. But we can certainly add that to the article as a consideration. Thanks for taking the time to share!

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    • Hi Paul, Not personally. And not enough to report on here in this article (yet). Our initial research on Compass shows the policy is offered by AGWS (American Guardian Warranty Services), through dealerships. Their reviews seem reasonable enough on Google (4 average based on 123 google reviews) but their BBB rating is fairly low. In trying to learn more about them, we were somewhat uninspired by the scant detail they share on their website regarding their policies. We will need to dig a lot deeper to learn even more before sharing / adding to our post. At present, the policy appears to only able to be purchased through a dealer/agent (not direct from the company) so do be aware there could be a markup on the policy cost. Definitely get some price comparisons from 2-3 companies and be sure to compare ‘apples with apples’ and pay close attention to their reputation when it comes to paying on claims. Don’t make your decision on price alone. The most important thing is the big ticket items are covered when you need it! And, of course, be sure to read the fine print of any contract you sign. Not sure how much that helps. We’ll continue to look into them.

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      • I liked your article but I do have one question.

        In your article you state; “Many get their moneys worth out of them and then some. Others break even. And a few end up buying the warranty and don’t claim enough to cover what they paid.” If this is accurate, how can the Warranty companies stay in business and make a profit. They must have more money coming in than going out.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • Hi Jim, This is a great question, and we felt it would be better answered in more detail, by a senior executive within a warranty company. We appreciate your patience, while waiting to get this response from Jeff Shelton, CEO of Wholesale Warranties. Hope it helps!

          “Great question. As you might guess, warranty companies need to make money to stay in business and at the same time add great value to consumers. When it comes to getting repairs done, warranty companies have several advantages that allow them to be more efficient and cost effective than the average consumer.

          Starting out, claims departments have access to complex databases that allow checks and balances to determine average repair times for most any repair on even the most complex of units. This gives them the opportunity to question labor hours and repair prices and is a deterrent to repair facilities to over inflate labor and repair costs.

          In addition, since warranty companies are a large portion of many repair facilities businesses, in many cases they are able to negotiate the labor and repair costs and receive “volume” discounts that would normally be unavailable to the average consumer. Although we will never be able to predict if any one particular unit will have high repair costs, the combination of high efficiency, and extremely accurate information using a large volume of RV’s, makes the idea of getting coverage a no brainer for more and more RVers. I hope that helps!”

          Jeff Shelton
          CEO,Wholesale Warranties

          Reply
  10. After reading an article from the Axle Addict who wrote that all RVs being manufactured are of such poor quality we are now hesitant in purchasing one. Your article shed some light but is the quality of RV manufacturing that poor?

    Reply
    • I haven’t read the article from Axle Addict that you mention, so I can’t comment on that specifically. But, RVs are very complex, and are built in relatively low tech facilities. People often try to compare them to automobile standards. RVs definitely fall short of automotive standards, and have a reputation for regularly needing maintenance and repairs. Ironically, new units often have more repairs than well cared for pre-owned ones as the previous owner has worked out the initial issues. If you are expecting a completely trouble free experience owning an RV, you will likely be disappointed. Some of those repairs can be quite expensive, and manufacturer warranties are relatively short, which is part of the appeal of having an extended warranty.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about warranties. We have been researching Rv’s and narrowed down to 2 prospects, if we do make a purchase. I’m trying to educate myself with as many things as I can, because I have heard too many horror stories. So all of what you had to say has helped a lot..

    Reply
    • Glad to hear it Karen. Yes RV warranties are a hot topic and people love to share their horror stories, but there are so many factors that play a part. On the other hand, we have also heard a great many positive stories, where RV warranties saved folks from some very scary bills. Like we said, do your homework, get some quotes, weigh up the pros and cons… and decide if it’s right for you. If you go with a reputable company that is financially stable, well backed and has positive customer reviews/ratings, that will help reduce your chances of having any horror stories of your own. All the best to you!

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    • Thankyou so much, we are purchasing a new entegra 36h 2020, were due to pick it up in march! Yes its brand new and friends told us we were crazy on buying new! But we’re comfortable and excited, we have the 2/3 year warrantybut were taking your recommendation for wholesale warranties! Thanks again , sincerely the Rojo family

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      • Hi there Rojo family! Congratulations on your new Entegra purchase! We do love Entegras, but haven’t actually seen the 36h model yet, so will have to check it out at the Tampa RV Show next month. Glad you found the article helpful. With so many technologies and electronics on today’s new RVs, there is just so much more that can go wrong… (welcome to #rvlife LOL) and therefore potentially be expensive. Considering your purchase is a sizable investment, if it were us, we would take out an extended warranty too. But we do appreciate that is a personal choice… it all comes down to what are you willing to pay for peace of mind. All the best to you and happy holidays! – Julie and Marc

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  12. Thanks for the GREAT info. Some great Sunday morning reading. Not buying yet but will save this to read at a later time. I am also reading your book “Living The RV Life” in my spare time.

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  13. Thanks for all of your hard work putting this information together. Everything you said makes sense to me. We made the mistake of getting the extended warranty when we purchased our first ever RV, from the manuf. I was smart enough to keep it outside of the financing. We were also sold a ‘tire’ warranty, which after 3+ years I have decided was not necessary. The RV Extended Warranty has been a worthwhile purchase as we have had several issues with the slides.

    Reply
  14. I had originally bought a road side assistance with Coach Net when I purchased my 5th wheel brand new and through the dealer. This last year have been looking for an extended plan. But if I bout before my plan was expired I had to go back through a dealer. Which I did not want to do. But when my plan was expiring I did indeed go back to Coach net and go the extend, road side and the tire plan. As I write this I’m not sure it if was exclusionary or inclusionary but I like what they had and had used the road side assistance previously and had a very good interaction with them. If I recall this plan covered a long time period than wholesale warranties that I had also looked at. With just about an identical price. Anywho, that’s my two bitts worth. Nice article you have written.

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  15. I’m surprised that you left out any information or comments about Coach Net. Obviously you must have some type of financial arrangement with WW.

    Reply

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