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.
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.
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 iRV2.com, 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?