If you bring up the subject of getting RV extended warranty protection for your rig, be prepared. You are most likely going to get some very strong opinions, both for and against. Usually these opinions will come from those who already have made their own decision. And they often feel that what they decided is what everyone else should do as well.
But RV life is more complicated than that. The more you know about RVs, the more you understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everybody. There are just too many variables to make things that easy. So the two words most often uttered by me in matters like this is “It depends”.
Buying An Extended Warranty Depends On What?
A lot of factors come into play when considering the purchase of an RV extended warranty. If the rig is newer, do you still have a warranty from the manufacturer? Does it cover everything you want to have covered? If you have an older rig, are there extended warranties still available for that year? Do you have plenty of resources that will allow you to easily handle any major repair that may come up anyway? Then maybe an extended warranty isn’t necessary for you. What kind of RV do you own? Does it have an engine and drivetrain or not? And the list goes on and on.
Also, what do you want an extended warranty to cover on your RV? Do you want essentially everything covered? Or do you just want the most expensive items that could need to be repaired covered? What are your expectations?
What Are Your Expectations?
Actually, what is often referred to as an RV extended warranty is not really a warranty at all. This is because only the manufacturer can provide a true warranty on their product. And most extended warranties are offered by a company that is not connected with the manufacturer at all. But the term “extended warranty” has become so accepted in RV culture, there is no other way to describe it now.
Another important thing to realize about RV extended warranties is that they are essentially a form of insurance. You are being insured against a financial loss by the company providing the contract. And therefore, as an insurance product, you should not expect to make a profit on the warranty purchase. Insurance in its purest form is not an investment. It is a means to manage risk. The higher the risk that you insure against, the higher the cost of the insurance. It is just that simple. You are accepting a small loss on the cost of the insurance, to prevent the huge loss you are insuring against.
And if you never have to use the extended warranty to cover a high dollar repair, all the better. It just means that you have been very fortunate. You also did not have to deal with the hassle of filing a claim. Or getting the claim approved, or having the work done properly, etc. So not having the contract pay out more than what you spent for it does not mean that you lost. It means that you bought peace of mind all through the life of the extended warranty. And you managed your risk well.
What Is And Isn’t Covered?
There are no extended warranties out there that cover everything on the RV. Most contracts will not cover things like your furniture, your possessions in the RV, scratches or chips in the RV paint, etc. They also will not cover any maintenance work done on the RV like oil changes, chassis lubrication, coolant flushes, and so on. These are considered part of the normal maintenance and wear and tear that the RV owner is responsible for.
As for what is covered, that can be very different from one contract to another. Some extended warranties are very comprehensive and will cover almost everything that could fail on your RV including engine and drivetrain, leveling jacks, air conditioners, refrigerators, and much more. Obviously, the more risk the warranty company has, the more you will pay for a comprehensive contract like that.
Other extended warranties are targeted only for the most expensive parts of the RV. Usually these contracts focus on the engine and drivetrain mainly because that is where big dollar repairs could happen. For those who can afford to pay for most RV repairs on their own this could be a good choice. This is because it transfers the risk of only the really high dollar repairs to the warranty company while keeping the overall warranty costs low.
Also, extended warranties are designed to pay not only for the parts of the covered repair, but also the labor as well.
What About Filing A Claim?
If you have a claim, there will be a process to go through to get approval for the repair. But most warranty companies try to make this process as easy as they can. Keep in mind that some people try to scam the warranty company to pay for RV repairs that are not really covered by their contract. So if they seem to be overly careful in the approval process, just be patient. Most of the time, you will be rewarded with a covered repair soon enough.
Where Can You Get An Extended Warranty?
If you buy an RV from a dealer, you may be able to get an extended warranty on your rig through them. But it doesn’t hurt to shop online and see what is available to you as well. And if you buy your RV from a private party you will have to use an online warranty company. I do not specifically recommend a particular company myself. I think it’s a good idea to research each company that you are considering. A good place to start is online RV forums. Also look for online reviews on each company. Keep in mind that people who have a beef with the warranty company will be very vocal. And they are many times more likely to air their views online than those who had a pleasant experience. Just factor that in to your research and consideration.
The last thing I can say about RV extended warranties is that I own a contract on our diesel pusher motorhome. So obviously, I feel that they can be very useful. On the other hand, I don’t think that everyone should have an extended warranty on their rig. Consider, how much risk of possible repair costs you are willing to shoulder yourself first. Then determine what your budget will allow for the extended warranty cost itself. Using those two parameters, you should be able to find an RV extended warranty that works for your particular situation. Or you may find that it is not even needed in your case. Enjoy your research, and have safe and happy travels my friends!