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RVers Need To Know These 3 Things Before Paying For An RV Warranty
We tend to believe that bad things come in threes. When it comes to an RV problem, you might just be lucky if it’s only three things that have gone wrong. That’s why we buy warranties.
Every RVer thinks about an RV warranty. If you are buying a new RV, you inevitably wonder what’s going to happen when the manufacturer’s policy ends and if there is any way to extend that coverage longer or find additional protection.
If you are buying a pre-owned RV, you might not even realize you can often buy an RV warranty for your new-to-you RV. As you dive into your research on coverage, focus on the three most important things to know before buying a warranty for your travel trailer, 5th wheel, motorhome, or campervan.
1. Knowing what your RV warranty doesn’t cover
As buyers, we tend to look down the long list of things a warranty might cover. Often, that list is very impressive, especially for new RV owners that may be unfamiliar with RVs to begin with. The old adage “you don’t know enough to know what you don’t know” might apply here.
When shopping, be prepared to try and find out what your RV warranty doesn’t cover. If it’s a good warranty, that list should be much shorter than the former. The list of items that are not covered may also help you understand the difference between a warranty issue and something that might be deemed an insurance concern.
Generally, you can expect RV warranty exclusions to fall into three basic categories:
- Insurance items: Failures caused by collision, physical damage, weather, and any other items that would likely fall under your comp and collision RV insurance will be excluded by an RV warranty.
- Aesthetic items: RV extended warranties are designed to cover mechanical and electrical failures. Items like flooring, furniture, glass, paint, etc. that do not serve a mechanical function will be excluded.
- Maintenance items: An RV warranty will not cover maintenance items or services, so don’t look for your policy to pay for that upcoming oil change or brake pad replacement.
This is also an important part of choosing who to purchase your extended RV warranty from. There is a distinct difference between a provider who focuses on generalizations about coverage or glossy brochures versus one who offers a full education of what is and isn’t covered alongside a full copy of the contract. It’s one of the reasons working with experts in the warranty industry, like Wholesale Warranties, leads to much happier customers down the line.
A confident RV warranty decision is an educated one! You can learn more about working with these RV warranty specialists by requesting a free quote here.
2. Who is allowed to work on your RV?
An RV warranty is only worthwhile if it’s easy to use, right? A huge part of filing a claim is choosing the repair facility who will be performing the work on your rig. Some RV warranties will limit you to a specific network of shops, and policies sold by dealers may even require you to bring your vehicle back to their repair facility if the breakdown occurs nearby.
But having limited options doesn’t really make sense for most RVers. Understanding who can and can’t work on your RV is key.
Always look for a policy that allows you a ton of flexibility when it comes to who can perform repairs on your RV. With Wholesale Warranties, for instance, all policies allow you to take your RV to any licensed repair facility in the US or Canada. Licensed simply refers to a company or individual with a tax ID number that is in business to work on and repair RVs. In fact, with many Wholesale Warranties policies, you can even use a mobile mechanic for your repairs!
However, this does mean that you can’t perform your own repairs. Nor can your friends or family, even if they’re mechanically-inclined. Repairs need to be handled by professional mechanics, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t coverage options that fit well for the DIY crowd. Handy RVers who like to tinker with more minor repairs might consider a different level of coverage, and you can learn more about that here.
3. Does all work have to be pre-approved?
Pre-approving RV work sounds easy on the surface, and it usually is. But what if you are out on the road and suddenly find yourself needing emergency service on the weekend or after hours? You’ll want to have a full understanding of how your RV warranty handles this type of situation.
Pre-authorization or pre-approval is the golden rule of RV extended warranties. Generally speaking, the process of getting that approval is pretty quick, but you won’t want to miss this step in the claims process.
For normal claims, pre-authorization is a requirement. This looks like your RV repair facility diagnosing the problem, but not starting repairs. Then they write up a diagnosis and estimate for labor and parts required to fix the issue and submit that to the RV warranty claims adjusters for this authorization.
Once approved, your mechanic can move forward with repairs. Mechanics love the policies offered by Wholesale Warranties because the majority of claims are approved via one phone call, and approved claims are paid via corporate credit card over the phone–no back and forth or time wasted for the busy RV repair facility.
Click here to learn more about the claims process and to get a free quote for a policy that meets these guidelines.
But what happens if the warranty company is closed? Depending on the specific contract you purchase, there is likely a clause regarding “emergency repairs”. In cases where a fix was absolutely necessary outside of normal business hours–and keep in mind, it’s pretty hard to find a repair facility during those hours as well–you are able to submit your claim for approval and reimbursement after that fact.
Keep all receipts, diagnoses, and any other information you are provided, and submit this to the RV warranty company the next business day for consideration.
The following questions aren’t part of our big three, but they deserve an honorable mention. While they usually aren’t at the forefront of a new RVer’s mind, they generally come up at some point early in the conversation, sometimes after you’ve signed the contract. It’s a good idea to be aware of these issues and be ready to ask these questions when you are buying an RV or shopping for a warranty.
Is there a waiting period after purchasing an RV warranty?
This depends on the contract, and it is definitely something to verify before agreeing to coverage. Many RV warranties will come with a 30 day AND 1,000 mile waiting period. This means that any claims occurring during the first 30 days you have the contract, and until you’ve driven 1,000 miles past the odometer listed on the contract, will be denied.
For many RVers, particularly weekend warriors or even full-timers who take a slow-and-steady travel pace, 1,000 miles can mean a long time. Purchasing an RV warranty that doesn’t start on your terms isn’t a great fit.
But not every extended RV warranty will have this stipulation. Wholesale Warranties, for instance, is an RV warranty broker specializing in coverage on your schedule. Their policies are active upon signature, meaning you can hit the road for your next trip with peace of mind.
What about pre-existing conditions?
A common RV warranty complaint you will come across on forums and review pages is claim denials due to pre-existing conditions. Every RV warranty on the market will exclude failures that existed prior to the contract. This makes sense, as no company wants to buy into existing claims. But it isn’t that straightforward from the RVer’s perspective.
Consider getting a policy on a used unit, even one just out of manufacturer warranty. Your dealer or private party is selling you that unit under the assumption that everything is in working order. You may assume the same, but if you run into an issue shortly after purchasing, you’ll be frustrated to hear a claim denied due to a pre-existing condition. How were you to know an issue was lurking?
Some RV warranties deal with this by instituting a waiting period. As we discussed above, that doesn’t make sense for most RVers. Wholesale Warranties has taken a unique approach to this issue by requiring an RV inspection before a policy can be activated.
A qualified RV inspector will go to your location, even if that’s the dealership or where you’re purchasing the unit, and do a visual inspection of the mechanical components on the rig. This inspection showing a clean bill of health for your RV is a great tool to have should you run into a mechanical failure and need to make a claim that could be considered pre-existing.
As consumers, we weigh the pros and cons of any purchase. As RVers, we realize that despite the fact RVing is a discretionary hobby for many, it’s also a home, and we want the best value we can find, the most bang for the buck, and protection when the buck goes bang—because with an RV, the bang is pretty much inevitable.
Ensuring we understand what an RV warranty has to offer, and what it doesn’t, is key in making a smart decision. To learn more about what coverage might look like for your home-on-wheels, you can get a free quote from Wholesale Warranties.