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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!!
Quick links to sections of this article:
- What is an RV Extended Warranty?
- What does it cover?
- Our Experiences With One
- Our Experiences Without One
- Considering an RV Extended Warranty?
- Should You Buy From a Dealer?
- Considering Self-Insuring?
- Pros and Cons
- To Buy…Or Not To Buy
- What To Look For
- Who Do We Recommend
- Related: The Real Cost of RV Ownership after 6 Years and 2 RVs
- Related: When to Buy an RV Warranty? How to Beat Price Increase?
- More Related Content
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 it is exposed to. And honestly… luck plays a part too! Sometimes you can do all the right things and something 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. And quite a few others.
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 quite a few 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.
UPDATE: We published this article on the real cost of RVing after 6 years of full timing. In that post, we go into detail about the RV repairs to our Country Coach from March 2018 – June 2020. In a nutshell, we spent $23,268 in repairs and maintenance on our 1999 Country Coach motorhome, with almost a third of that related to a single major repair – replacing the diesel fuel pump. We did not have an RV extended warranty, so had to pay for this out of pocket (around $8K).
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.
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.
We ‘self insured’ our second RV – a diesel Class A motorhome – and you can see what those repairs (among other expenses) cost us in this in-depth expense report.
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.
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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