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Does Camper Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Published on May 14th, 2021 by Peggy Dent

camper water damage
Water damage at its worst reduced this camper to a pile of rubbish. Photo by P. Dent

Does Camper Insurance Cover Water Damage?

To write this article, I did some research in the hopes that I could get a definitive answer to this question, but the bottom line is, the more research I did the more ambiguous the answer became.  I looked at extended warranties and RV insurance policies, and I checked the iRV2 forums.

The findings in my research was vague, so I finally just picked up the phone and called my insurance agent to determine what kind of coverage I could expect on our rig if we had serious water damage.  The results of all this research produced one conclusion. One answer to the question, does camper insurance cover water damage?  

And that answer is…. it depends. 

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All of the extended warranty hype would lead you to believe that water damage as well as other kinds of system failures would be covered, until you really start to get into the weeds regarding the cause of the water damage.  It’s pretty safe to say that if your rig was suddenly trapped by rising flood waters and sustained water damage as a result of the flood that your repairs would be covered after you pay your deductible.

It’s also very likely that damage from hail that breaks windows or damages your seals and subsequently leads to more water damage would be covered. But what if you unknowingly gouge a hole in their conditioning unit with a stiff branch, or you don’t realize that the hot water connection behind your shower wall has been expanding and shrinking in the cold weather causing minimal but repeated leaking that seeps into the subfloor under the shower?  Will those events be covered?

What if your water heater hose fitting breaks while the rig is unoccupied, and water floods your floor for days? What if the ice maker in the fridge malfunctions and water just keeps flowing into the ice cube tray but never shuts off? Will that damage be covered?

RV repairs can be costly

In a motorhome, travel trailer, camper, or 5th wheel, there are so many ways for you to experience water damage. Water damage that is undetected for any length of time will certainly lead to other problems like dry rot and mold.  

Repairing or replacing all the parts of a motorhome that are damaged by water, once a negative event has occurred, may involve extensive and costly procedures. Flooring, subfloors, walls, appliances, and fixtures may need to be removed and replaced.  Doing that in a house is one thing.  At least you can get all the material out the door. But in an RV, just removing the damaged parts can be a challenge.  

sink in an RV
Sinks, showers, hot water heaters, ice makers may cause water damage. Photo by P. Dent

RVs are assembled in a specific order so removing the parts that were installed early in the assembly process can be very difficult.  We were at an RV repair shop and the rig parked next to us needed to have the entire front slide removed so the refrigerator could be replaced.  They disassembled all the slide controls, wiring, etc. then carefully extracted the slide with a fork-lift so the refrigerator could be replaced. The same procedure might be necessary to remove, repair the subfloor, and replace the shower, if there’s water damage below the shower. 

So will camper insurance cover these extensive repairs?  What I determined was… it depends.  Some people said their insurance covered all the damage that was caused by their water heater flooding two inches of water across the entire floor of their RV.  After the owner paid the deductible, all the costs to remove the carpet, flooring, subfloor, and damage to the cabinets was covered. They were fortunate.

What to do about camper water damage

All of the extended warranty and insurance companies I researched said it depends. You have to contact them as soon as the damage is discovered, report exactly how the damage occurred, get an estimate for what it will cost for the repairs, then their underwriter’s will determine if that specific damage and repairs are covered.  

When I had this very conversation with my agent (and we pay for top dollar coverage including a 2-million dollar umbrella policy) I gave her several “what if scenarios”, specifically: what if I unknowing gouge a hole in the roof or damage the air conditioning cover causing a leak, or the hot water heater hose comes unattached flooding the interior?  Her answer in each case was, “Well we’d have to see exactly what happened, the extent of the damage, the cost of the repair, the amount of your deductible…we can’t really give you an answer on what-if scenarios…there are so many things that could cause damage, I don’t want to give you false information…”

What is covered by camper insurance?

Frankly, it sounded like the typical double speak you usually get from an insurance agent.  When you’re buying coverage, it seems like EVERYTHING is covered. But after you have a policy, you can’t get a definitive answer about what is and is not covered.  

What I do know from reading the posts from other RVer’s experiences on, and from having talked to several extended warranty companies, is that if you do have any kind of damage or claim (water or otherwise) before you make arrangements to get the damage repaired you must get your agent to establish a claim and to authorize the repairs.   Getting repairs done before contacting the insurance company or the extended warranty representative will delay, complicate, or potentially result in the outright denial of any benefits. 

I sincerely hope no one has to deal with water damage of any kind but if you do experience an adverse event, be sure you consult your agent or representative as quickly as possible after you discover the damage and be definitive in your explanation about the cause and extent of the damage.

Continue reading: How Much Does Travel Trailer Insurance Cost?

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15 thoughts on “Does Camper Insurance Cover Water Damage?”

  1. One thing that every RV owner should do at least a couple of times a year is to run the on-board water pump system to make sure that after it pressurizes it shuts off and does not cycle with all the valves closed. If it cycles, there is a leak somewhere in the system and must be found.

  2. Great article on water damage, we have a 2017 Thor Miramar we bought last summer and have what I thought was a minor issue. Apparently the previous owners had the issue and didn’t address it. It’s a know issue with the driver and passenger windows for leaking and now we are getting a $12K repair bill as the super slide needed to come for flooring and of course the sub structure is damaged. We have Good Sam which of course said “No”, Thor said we will open a case but we need documentation the windows were checked every 3 months. I’m not forced to open a claim on my insurance to cover.

  3. This is good information that every RV owner should be aware of. Stuff happens and knowing how to respond, can save a measure of panic. Thank you for providing some food for thought.

  4. Who offers RV insurance for….
    1989 Kountryaire in superb condition and it does not move: it’s our home

  5. Thank you for that valuable information. Could you give some prospective companies to check out? Also, I purchased my RV from Camping World,joined
    Good Sam Club,got coverage with Progressive Insurance of whom I’m not so thrilled about due to past dealings they had with my daughter that put a bad taste in my mouth!! However, that’s all I have,and as much money as I am paying for this monster, I need the best coverage that I can get!!! Hope that I have done the right thing!!

  6. Why repairing will delay the process? I am not sure about delaying. Yeah but I know they will pay you the money if anything happens with your RV if you have an insurance.

  7. My camper is 1 1/2 years old. I purchased it from Gander RV. They have had it in their posetion more than me. The roof started leaking and I contacted them they looked at it and said I did it by going through trees. Mind you it was at the dealer from July through The beginning of December. But they blamed me for the damage. I have National General Insurance(SCAMMERS) they didn’t send a adjuster to look at the damage ,they took Ganders word. Dont trust Gander RV or National General Insurance .

  8. There are TWO words that every Insurance Investigator wants to hear. Pipes burst and water gushed. BURSTand GUSHED are the operative words. In residential and Commercial Insurance slow leaks of any kind usually are not covered and I would expect the same methodology used with RVs. That is only my guess.

  9. Made me laugh. Especially the one about your ice maker in the fridge leaking. I never even had that in my house. Didn’t want one.

  10. You might want to caution your readers that any type of claim will cause their insurance rates to go up for the next two or more years. It does not matter that no money was paid out by the insurance company. Even changing insurance companies will not save them because the new company will see that a claim was filed with the old company and charge a higher rate. If in doubt, they should tell their company they are making an INQUIRY, not a CLAIM at this time. My experience was with a squirrel that nested in the engine compartment and ate all of the wiring.

  11. My 5th wheel ended up in five foot of flood water. The insurance totaled it. I was told by the insurance adjuster that they total all flood vehicles, cars or trailers. They do that because of mold.

    • Apparently the definition of “flood/water damage/mold” are all subject to the “it depends” statement.
      It is great that your insurance totals the flood vehicles due to mold. Mold is generally an exclusion on camper policies unless it is directly due to a covered incident, such as yours.
      My insurance apparently is having a hard time defining “flood damage.” I am a seasonal camper. The campground flooded, faster and higher than I’ve seen in about 8 years of being there. We have a great owner and fellow campers who go around and pull the travel trailers, fifth wheels, etc, to higher ground, for people who do not have vehicles that can pull them (such as my Jeep that can’t pull the 32′ travel trailer).
      I secured my camper, pulled the 3 slides in and unhooked the water and electric, then I went along to help others secure their stuff.
      I do not know who pulled my travel trailer, or when, just that it was before the creek was high enough to get in the door.
      It seems that as it was being pulled through the moving water, some got in under the slide. I made an insurance claim after noticing a puddle in front of my couch and the carpet and floor under the slide it sits on. There was also a musty odor.
      Apparently, if the camper was not actually sitting in the water, it isn’t flood damage. Although, the insurance company did give me an allowance for clean up (of the huge colony of mold that had grown between the two slides) they denied anything pertaining to the back of the camper as there was a previous leak there – the back area had no visible mold and I was fine with that exclusion.
      The problem I ran into though is, you can’t clean mold! And they will do nothing further because they believe the prior water damage in the back is what is causing it to grow…..not the water that came in during the “covered incident.” Now I have a camper that should have had all substrate removed about 6 weeks ago and an adjuster who won’t even call me back.
      Apparently, if your camper is not sitting IN the flood water. it’s not really considered flood damage.
      *On the positive side, I have learned so much about preventative maintenance, possible trouble areas and asking for the finer print that goes with the fine print when I buy insurance. Any camper I have (probably this one after I have to gut and remodel it this winter) will have monthly maintenance checks – it’ll be just like maintaining the Army vehicles again!


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