RV Insurance In California
The open road is your living room—and also your kitchen and bedroom, not to mention your bathroom. Yep, the RV/Motor Home life is sweet. But finding insurance coverage to keep it safe can be complex. Fortunately, our experts understand the ins and outs of RV and Motor Home insurance policies—so you don’t have to. So, how do you know if insurance is required or if insurance is optional for your RV?
You can find out by simply answering these 2 questions:
- Is your RV only towable and not drivable?
- Do you own your RV outright with no financing?
If you answered NO to both of these, RV insurance is required.
If you answered YES to both of these, RV insurance is optional.
California law states that if your RV can operate independently or without a tow, it is considered a private passenger automobile and you must carry financial responsibility. If you are financing your or leasing your RV, your lien holder will usually also require you to carry insurance. Make sure your home-on-the-highway is adequately protected with an insurance policy that covers it all: antennas, air conditioners, and awnings, as well as collisions and breakdowns.
What Vehicles Types are Considered Motor Homes, Travel Trailers, or RVs and Must Carry Insurance?
These vehicles are considered Motor Homes and by California law must be insured:
These vehicles are considered Travel Trailers and carrying physical damage insurance is suggested:
These vehicles are considered Utility Trailers and carrying physical damage insurance is suggested:
What is the Minimum Amount of RV Insurance Required in California?
If your RV or motor home can operate independently without a tow, the minimum amount of liability insurance you must have on your policy is:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
- $5,000 for damage to property.
While most drivers usually just purchase a state minimum liability car insurance policy, there are actually a few other ways to satisfy the legal requirement for financial responsibility. These alternatives are usually not that common and often require a significant amount of resources. Instead of buying an insurance policy you can:
- Deposit $35,000 worth of cash with DMV.
- Obtain DMV-issued self-insurance certificate.
- Purchase a surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California.
What Does RV Insurance Cover in California?
RV and motor home insurance policies can range from basic to comprehensive depending on your needs. While only a minimum amount of financial responsibility is required by law, it is hardly sufficient coverage for most drivers. Here is an example of a standard amount of coverage you might find on a policy:
|Coverage Component||Example Limits of Coverage|
|Bodily Injury Liability||$15,000/$30,000|
|Property Damage Liability||$10,000|
|Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury||$15,000/$30,000|
|Uninsured Motorist Property Damage||N/A|
|Personal Effects Coverage||$3,000|
|RV Emergency Expense||$750|
|RV Vacation Liability||$10,000|
|RV Mexico Coverage||No|
The standard policy coverages are similar to that of car insurance. You can these basic forms of coverage to both your car insurance policy and your RV insurance policy are:
- Collision coverage – Covers you against damages to your car that occur as a result of a traffic collision such as an accident with another driver.
- Comprehensive coverage – Protects you against damages that might occur to your car that do not involve traffic accidents such as theft or vandalism damage.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage – According to the latest statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III) 12.6% of California drivers had no car insurance. Uninsured/underinsured coverage can cover damages caused by one of these drivers.
- Rental reimbursement coverage – Helps pay for the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired after a car accident or after suffering damages that are covered through your car insurance policy.
- Towing and roadside coverage – If your vehicle has stops running due to non-accident related events (e.g. mechanical or electrical breakdown), this coverage can be of assistance.
- Medical and funeral services coverage – pays for the medical or funeral expenses of you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault.
In addition to these coverages there are some RV/motor home specific coverages you should consider:
Diminishing deductible – With a diminishing deductible option, your insurance deductible decreases a certain % each year you’re claim-free until your deductible hits zero. It applies to both your comprehensive and collision deductibles. The standard reduction percentage is 25%; however, some policies do offer up to a 50% reduction each year.
Personal effects coverage – This form of coverage protects non-permanently attached personal property within an RV or motor home. Common covered items are personal electronics, clothing, jewelry etc. Some carriers include up to $3,000 in personal effects coverage standard or at no charge, provided comprehensive coverage is purchased. You will always have the option to purchase additional personal effects coverage to meet your needs.
RV emergency expense coverage – Sometimes called “trip interruption coverage”, you will be reimbursed for for these items if you are stranded more than 100 miles from home:
- Alternate transportation
RV vacation liability – Sometimes called “campsite” liability, protects you if anyone (other than a family member) is hurt at your campsite, or in your RV, while it’s parked. If you travel with pets, this coverage can be especially important in case they get out and injure a neighbor, or a visitor trips over a some of your equipment and injures themselves.
RV Mexico coverage – If you travel south of the border, a regular U.S. RV insurance policy typically will not cover you under Mexican law. Motorists are required to have insurance or “proof of financial responsibility” which, generally speaking, means vehicle insurance underwritten by a Mexican insurance company taking into account the specifics of Mexican law.
RV consignment coverage – The majority of insurance companies have an exclusion that will not cover loss to your vehicle that occurs while it is in the custody of someone else for the purpose of selling it. It is important to understand this exclusion if you plan on consigning your RV with the intention of selling it.
Who Are the Best, Most Responsive RV/Motor Home Insurance Carriers?
There are over 150 California admitted insurance companies that do business in California. So just like the vehicle you drive, your ideal policy is distinctive to your circumstances, your preferences, and your needs. As a result, you need an RV insurance agency that offers a large variety of vetted carriers—and can find you the best policy for the best price. Here is a list of some of the top insurance companies by market share, as of 2016. In no particular order:
- National General
- The Hartford
- Pacific Specialty
- RV America Insurance
- National Interstate Insurance
- State Farm
Do I Need Special Insurance If I Live In My RV/Motor Home Full Time?
Yes. If you use your RV or motor home for more than 6 months at a time, you should consider purchasing “Full-Time RV Insurance“. This coverage will bridge the gap between your standard RV insurance policy and a full time California homeowners insurance policy. With this type of coverage you will see:
- Increased bodily injury limits
- Increased property damage limits
- Increased medical payment limits
What RV/Motor Home Insurance Discounts are Available in California?
- Claims Free Renewal Discount
- Original Owner Discount
- Paid-In-Full Discount
- Good Driver Discount
- Prompt Payer Discount
- Responsible Driver Discount
- Accident Free Discount
- Defensive Driving Discount
- Theft-Recovery Discount
- Prior Insurance Discount
- Storage Discount
- Multi-Policy Discount
- Automatic Payments Discount
- Multi-Vehicle Discount
- Marriage Discount
- RV Safety Course Discount
- Defensive Driver Discount
- Low Mileage Discount
- Homeowners Discount
- RV Association Discount
Get Complete RV Coverage That Other Policies Miss
What has a steering wheel but isn’t a car? And what has the comforts of home but isn’t quite home? Your RV or Motor Home. Don’t make the mistake of relying on either your auto insurance or your homeowner policy to cover your home-on-the-road.
Motor Home and RV insurance policies are a unique hybrid of home and auto insurance; we’ll help you find the best—and most economical—one for you.
Comprehensive Policies—Protection You Can Count On
No one wants to be broken down on the side of the road, even if they’re surrounded by the comforts of home. Towing and roadside assistance are essential pieces of your RV/Motor Home policy.
We’ll find a policy with high enough limits to cover towing and servicing larger vehicles, so you can get back on the road as soon as possible.
Live safely, on the move. Call us today.