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Should you get an RV extended warranty or not? Who are the Best RV extended warranty providers? This is a hot topic not only among RVers but owners of any type of vehicle as well. And it’s understandable why – an extended warranty is a big investment.
If you’ve been thinking about protecting your RV with an extended warranty and have been looking for the best RV extended warranty providers, this material is for you. Below, we’ll provide you with a couple of options to consider, as well as will help you understand how to get a good deal.
Best RV extended warranty providers
There is no shortage of RV extended warranty providers out there. However, among them, only 2 seem to consistently satisfy their buyers – Wholesale Warranties and Good Sam. They aren’t perfect, but they do look better than other contract providers on the market.
Let’s now overview the services of each along with their downsides, if any.
Good Sam’s Extended Service Plan, which we think is better than a RV Warranty. is quite a renowned RV extended warranty provider. No wonder – this company has been on the market since 1935, after all. Over the years, they’ve had plenty of satisfied customers, as well as some dissatisfied ones, primarily because Good Sam is very nitpicky when it comes to claims and contract definitions.
One thing that you instantly notice with Good Sam is how much info they have on their website in regard to their warranty plans. In particular, they provide information on qualifications for RV owners, as well as list what is covered and not covered by their plans. From the get-go, you are getting more information to analyze with Good Sam.
Good Sam offers warranty plans for motorhomes and for trailers, 5th-wheels, and pop-ups. For each plan, Good Sam provides a list of what is covered and not covered, as well as the qualifications that your RV needs to satisfy. But unlike Wholesale Warranties, it seems that Good Sam doesn’t offer a coach-only plan.
Good Sam refer to their warranty plans as insurance, probably to make them stand out from competing plans. However, their plans are indeed warranties since they only cover mechanical failures, not failures caused by physical damage.
As a bonus to their warranty plans, Good Sam offer lodging and meal benefits – up to $100 a day for 5 days, plus $60 a day for 5 days for car rental by motorhome owners. Good Sam also offers free RV inspections at Camping World SuperCenters as often as necessary for contract buyers.
Additionally, Good Sam’s Extended Service Plan features the so-called Preferred Provider Network. With 1,000 service facilities and 100 Camping World locations, the network offers 10% discounts and a 90-day warranty on non-covered parts and labor. If you were to want to replace something not covered by the warranty, you could do so with a small discount at a Preferred Provider Network location.
So all in all, Good Sam appears to offer a wider array of services and bonuses than Wholesale Warranties, with the downside of being seemingly more nitpicky to the contract terms.
- Plenty of information available on the Good Sam website.
- A couple of interesting benefits available.
- Deductibles per occurrence.
- Labor and part costs are included in the contract.
- Good Sam plans are backed by QBE Insurance, an A-rated insurance company that has been on the market since 1886.
- Warranty plans are transferrable.
- 100% refunds within the first 30 days and pro-rated refunds past 30 days.
- RVs can be repaired at any repair facility.
- Seem to be more nitpicky than Wholesale Warranties.
- Good Sam appears not to offer coach-only plans for motorhomes.
You can check out Sams here.
Wholesale Warranties appears to be the cheaper contract provider among the two, though you won’t know until consulting with them directly since it will depend on your RV’s condition. In addition, RVers seem to be more satisfied with Wholesale Warranties than with Good Sam.
Wholesale Warranties offers 3 protection plans for RVs – motorhome warranties, travel trailer & 5th-wheel warranties, and pop-up camper warranties. Needless to say, one would need to go with the plan which corresponds to the RV they own.
Under the motorhome extended warranty, Wholesale Warranties covers a plentitude of motorhome components. In fact, they claim that they cover parts that aren’t usually covered by other contract providers, including things like wiring or the radiator. Aside from that, of course, this warranty plan covers the RV engine and transmission.
The motorhome extended warranty, in its turn, comes in 3 packages:
- Exclusionary, which is the most comprehensive package.
- Comprehensive, which basically is a listed component RV warranty. This warranty offers limited coverage compared to the exclusionary package.
- Coach-only package, which specifically excludes the powertrain and engine components. This warranty is suitable for those whose RV’s mileage is ineligible for other motorhome plans.
The travel trailer & 5th-wheel warranty differs from the motorhome warranty in that it doesn’t cover engine components since there are none in towable RVs. Wholesale Warranties offers two packages for their travel trailer & 5th-wheel plans – exclusionary and comprehensive.
The last warranty package covers pop-up campers. Unfortunately, Wholesale Warranties doesn’t provide a whole lot of information about this package, so there is some digging that you will need to do yourself.
And all in all, Wholesale Warranties’ website provides a little less information about their plan coverage or requirements. Good Sam is better in this regard, though there still are some things that will need a consultation with the contract providers.
In addition, a thing to keep in mind is that Wholesale Warranties service contracts aren’t available in California. If you live in the state of California, you won’t be able to get an RV extended warranty from these guys.
All in all, the benefits and downsides of Wholesale Warranties services, as far as we could find out, are the following.
- Consistently positive online reviews.
- Deductibles per visit.
- Labor and parts are covered for approved repairs.
- Warranties covered by A-rated insurance carriers, as claimed by Wholesale Warranties.
- Warranty plans are transferrable and cancellable.
- You can take your RV to any licensed repair facility in the US.
- Not so much information available on the warranty plans on the company website.
- Plans aren’t available in California.
What is an extended warranty?
To avoid confusion, let’s first understand what an extended warranty is and how it differs from a traditional manufacturer warranty.
A warranty, in general, is a guarantee of a product’s integrity for a certain period of time. During the duration of the warranty, the maker of the product is responsible for the repair or replacement of defective parts that are covered by the warranty.
A manufacturer warranty is a warranty that is issued by a manufacturer after a brand-new product has been bought. The price of this kind of warranty is usually already included in the product.
An extended warranty is a warranty that provides extended coverage beyond the manufacturer warranty. In other words, an extended warranty is a kind of warranty you can buy after the manufacturer warranty has expired. This extended warranty may or may not be issued by the original manufacturer of a product.
Unlike manufacturer warranties, providers of extended warranties do charge money for their services. In return, they are obliged to cover the costs of those components’ repair which are covered by the extended warranty.
RV extended warranty vs RV insurance
It may seem that an RV extended warranty and RV insurance are the same things, but this isn’t quite right. In fact, they are the inverse of one another.
RV extended warranties are specifically designed to cover the repair costs of mechanical failures which have not been caused by physical damage. Conversely, RV insurance policies are designed to cover the repair costs caused by theft, collision, or physical damage.
Another thing that differs between an extended warranty and insurance is that the cost of extended warranties across providers can vary significantly. RV insurance, on the other hand, is sold by many major providers, which means less price variance. In addition, insurance plans can often be bundled to save money.
Extended warranties can be purchased for a significantly longer period of time, possibly reaching a decade for brand-new RVs. Insurance plans usually need to be renewed more often.
With that being said, the differences between RV extended warranties and insurance plans mean that you could complement one protection type with another. If you buy both an extended warranty and an insurance plan, you will be able to safeguard yourself from sudden costs incurred by both physical damage and mechanical breakdown. Of course, this will cost you more, but the protection level will also be higher.
Why get an RV extended warranty?
RV extended warranties cost money, and quite a lot of money, mind you. So why would you even want to buy an extra protection plan for your RV? Here are a couple of reasons.
Peace of mind
The very first benefit that buyers of RV extended warranties seek is peace of mind. Surprise expenses in RVs can be costly. Without a warranty, there is always a risk that something could break in your RV unexpectedly. And the older your RV, the likelier it will be.
What’s worse is that you can never predict what and when will go wrong, so you could possibly have to pay large sums for repairs at a time when your budget is not ready for it. With an RV extended warranty, you wouldn’t have to think about dealing with surprise costs.
RV repairs tend to be quite costly, often reaching $300 per hour. And you would probably agree that it would be more efficient for you to pay for an extended warranty contract at a time when you are ready for it than to have to deal with issues which could occur at a time when you don’t have the budget to resolve them with.
In addition, paying a monthly fee for the extended warranty, you are basically distributing repair costs over a longer period of time. And paying smaller amounts of money each month certainly is more budget-friendly than having to pay a one-time large sum for a costly repair.
Aside from that, the warranty can ensure you from price changes on the market. Under a contract, even if a repair facility doubles their prices, the administrator won’t be able to force you to pay more money. You will be obliged to pay the price indicated in the contract, and no price changes should impact the amount of money you pay for your warranty.
Lastly, administrators certainly don’t want to overpay for the services provided by repair facilities. Due to this, it is likely that they will do their best to ensure that the repair facilities aren’t overcharging for their services.
Better RV resale value
An RV that is covered by an extended warranty is going to be more attractive to potential buyers. In addition, you may be able to put a higher price on your RV, though how much exactly is beyond the topic of this material.
When you should not get an RV extended warranty?
There also are certain cases when you should not buy an extended RV warranty. Among them are the following:
- Your RV’s manufacturer warranty hasn’t expired. Needless to say, there is no point in buying an extended warranty if your RV is still covered by the manufacturer warranty unless you are looking to cover parts which are not protected by the manufacturer warranty.
- You want to cover regular maintenance costs. RV extended warranties do not cover costs of maintenance like replacement of wiring, spark plugs, filters, or whatnot.
- You want to cover pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is one that has occurred before the purchase of an RV extended warranty. Warranties do not cover such issues, which is reasonable.
- You want to get roadside assistance. Some contracts do provide roadside assistance, but it is usually quite limited. Specialized roadside assistance plans would be much better for this purpose.
Parties of an RV extended warranty contract
Now that we understand what an extended warranty generally is, let’s overview the parties of an extended warranty contract.
The buyer is obviously you, the owner of an RV and the purchase of an extended warranty.
The contract provider or seller is responsible for completing the extended warranty contract, as well as for calculating the contract fee and collecting if from you. Contract providers can be manufacturers, dealers, or third-party extended warranty providers.
The administrator is the party (usually a company) that is actually responsible for paying out warranty claims. Aside from that, the administrator decides which claims are covered or not covered by the warranty.
Administrators usually take the largest portion of the contract fee and allocate it to a claim reserve, from which your possible future claims are going to be paid out.
The insurance company basically makes sure that your claims get paid out even if the administrator goes broke. It is very important that the administrator you are dealing with be backed by an insurance company. Otherwise, if it goes broke, you will have no legal options for receiving reimbursement.
The repair facility is the party (a contractor, an RV dealer, RV service center, etc.) that carries out the repair works. After completing the repairs, the repair facility submits the repair plan and its estimated costs to the administrator. The administrator then assesses whether the claim is covered by the contract and how much needs to be issued to you.
Things to consider in an RV extended warranty
Now, we want to talk about the things that you should pay attention to when searching for an extended warranty. An RV extended warranty is quite an investment, and you would probably want your investment to have returned for you. Knowing what we are going to describe below should help you with picking a good deal.
In our opinion, the most important thing to look for in an RV extended warranty provider is transparency. You should be able to find all the information about the contract provider, as well as the other parties of the contract. Otherwise, you will be buying a warranty without knowing everything you should know about.
Speaking of the warranty, it is crucial that the contract provider provides you with the full text of the warranty. If they do not, you will not be able to fully understand what is covered by the warranty and what is not.
Even though probably any contracted provider you may come across will provide you with the warranty text, you should be wary of those who do not. Moreover, you should outright avoid such providers and look for someone who is more transparent.
It is crucial that you understand what exactly is covered by the extended warranty. Make sure to check what components the warranty specifically includes into the coverage and which ones it specifically excludes. This will allow you to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future.
Aside from that, check whether the administrator covers shipping costs and tax payments. These costs are usually not covered but do make sure to inquire about this not to come across any surprises in the future.
Types of RV extended warranty coverage
There are 4 types of extended warranty coverage that you should know about – exclusionary, listed component, motorhome, coach-only. Let’s overview each of these coverage types.
An exclusionary contract is desired by most RVers out there, even though it costs more than other types of coverage. There are several reasons for this.
This type of coverage includes all the aspects of your RV except for those that are specifically excluded by the contract. Due to such a formulation, it is easier for people to grasp what is actually covered by the extended warranty. If the contract doesn’t specifically tell that some part isn’t covered, then it is covered by the warranty.
Listed component contract
A listed component contract specifically lists the components of the RV that are covered by the extended warranty. Anything that is not on the list will not be covered.
A listed component contract is a cheaper option than an exclusionary contract. In addition, if there are certain things that you would want to take care of yourself, a listed component contract may be able to provide you with better options.
RVers find it quite difficult to determine what is actually covered by this type of warranty and what is not. Due to this, if allowed by their budget, people seek to go for an exclusionary contract instead.
A motorhome extended warranty includes coverage of a motorhome’s powertrain and engine. With a regular extended warranty, these items wouldn’t be covered by the contract. Thus, if you have a motorhome that satisfies the contract provider’s requirements, go for a motorhome contract.
Coach-only contracts are motorhome plans that specifically exclude the powertrain and the engine assembly of an RV. You should go for a coach-only contract in two cases:
- Your motorhome’s engine is still covered by manufacturer warranty.
- Your motorhome’s mileage makes it ineligible for powertrain & engine coverage.
You may have heard a couple of horror stories about administrators going bankrupt and the contract buyers being unable to receive reimbursement. This can happen if the administrator of your RV extended warranty contract isn’t backed up by an insurance company or if the insurance company isn’t reliable and has a bad rating.
Due to this, it is very important that you research who the insurance company backing the administrator is. Check out its financial condition, as well as look for their ratings. For the highest security, look for an administrator that is insured by an A-rated company.
Also, avoid administrators backed up by a risk retention group. Their activity isn’t regulated as well as that of insurance companies, so it is a venture to work with an administrator backed up by a risk retention group. A contract with such an administrator may be cheaper, but we think that peace of mind and reliability are far more important than price.
It would also be nice if the contract provided you with assistance should any issues arise after the purchase of an RV extended warranty. Unfortunately, contract providers very rarely provide post-purchase support to the buyers of their contract. And if a dispute arises with your contract’s administrator, for example, you probably won’t be able to resolve it in your favor.
If you can find an extended warranty provider who will also serve as a mediator in disputes, you should go for a contract with them even it costs more than other, non-mediated contracts.
Contract providers usually have certain age requirements that your RV needs to satisfy. In the case of motorhomes, they may also have mileage requirements. Some contract providers also place a limit on the purchase price of RVs. Since these are very individual with each contract provider, you will need to check each contract provider’s policy yourself.
Pay special attention to how the administrator and the repair facility handle warranty claims. Ideally, the administrator should pay the repair facility directly, without you having to make any upfront payments and then trying to get a reimbursement. You should avoid such administrators.
Likewise, avoid repair facilities that do not work with warranty companies directly and instead demand that you pay for the repair out of the pocket and then go and reimburse the amount paid on your own.
Such approaches would make receiving reimbursements inconvenient. If the administrator works with a repair facility directly, you won’t need to fill any paperwork and waste time on getting a reimbursement.
But if the administrator doesn’t work with repair facilities (or the other way around), it will be up to you to have your warranty claims paid. And if, for example, one of the parties refuses to work with the other, you will have a lot of headaches reimbursing your repair expenses.
Payments to the repair facility
It would be excellent if the administrator paid for the repairs with a corporate credit card. If the payment is made with a check, you may have to wait until the repair facility receives the payment before getting on the road.
Some extended warranty contracts require you to repair your RV at specific facilities or networks. This will limit where you can go for service, and if something goes wrong away from the required facilities, you will be unable to make use of the benefits of your warranty policy to cover your expenses.
So ideally, you should look for a contract that doesn’t restrict you to just a few repair facilities.
It would be a good idea if your RV extended warranty was transferrable. This would come in handy when selling your RV – if your extended warranty hasn’t expired, the remainder would be transferred to the new owner of an RV. A warranty on your RV would make it more attractive to buyers, allowing you to sell it quicker.
And for cases when you don’t want to transfer the extended warranty to the new owner, check whether it is possible to cancel the contract and get a check back.
Usually, contract providers offer some kind of a cancellation policy to encourage people to buy their contracts. With a cancellation policy, one would be able to get a refund should they not like the warranty services.
First of all, check what’s the cancellation period. Is it within 30 days, 60 days, or more? Is there a pro-rated refund based on the time left on the warranty? Are there any administrative costs associated with the refund that need to be covered by you?
Keep in mind that if the administrator has paid claims before the refund, the refund will likely be reduced by the amount of these claims. This is reasonable, so don’t be surprised if the cancellation policy requires this.
If you’ve ever dealt with insurance companies, you probably understand how a deductible works.
For those who are unfamiliar to this concept, a deductible is the amount of money that you need to pay out of your pocket before the administrator covers the expenses. For example, if the repair of your RV costs $400 and you need to pay a $50 deductible, you pay those $50, and then the administrator pays the remaining $350 to the repair facility.
Some extended warranties do imply deductibles, while others don’t. But it isn’t easy to say which kind of a warranty would be better since other factors – like the ones mentioned above – are often more important when making a decision.
Deductibles can be per visitor per item. As a general rule, you should seek an extended warranty that requires you to pay a deductible for each visit.
As implied by the name, per visit deductibles are paid for each visit regardless of how many items in your RV are repaired or replaced. Conversely, you pay a per item deductible for each item repaired, even if the repairs were done during a single visit.
Aside from type, it is also important to consider the amount of the deductible. Typically, the higher the deductible, the cheaper the policy is. And this could mean quite significant savings for you in the long term.
Administrators usually require an inspection of an RV before the conclusion of a contract. A pre-purchase inspection is done in order to identify any pre-existing conditions, issues that have occurred before the purchase of the contract. As you would expect, pre-existing conditions are not covered by the warranty.
Even if the administrator doesn’t perform an inspection, should you file a claim for a pre-existing condition, they will be able to determine that it has occurred before the purchase of the contract.
As a result, your claim will be denied, and you would lose precious time that you would otherwise spend on dealing with the issue. In addition, your credibility in the eyes of the administrator may decrease.
So, to safeguard yourself from any similar issues, you may want to go for a contract which allows for an RV inspection.
Extended warranties sometimes also offer such useful benefits as roadside assistance, lodging reimbursements, emergency repair provisions, and many others. These benefits can come in handy in an emergency. But keep in mind that they often have low dollar limits.
Tips to follow when buying an RV extended warranty
Now, we’d like to give you a couple of tips to follow when buying an RV extended warranty. They should allow you to get the most out of your deal, as well as avoid unpleasant surprises and disappointments in the future.
Understand the terms of your contract
Reading through dozens of pages in an extended warranty contract may be exhausting, but it is a thing that you absolutely must do.
If there is someone who you could entrust with reviewing the contract, ask them to explain its clauses to you. If you know no one with expertise in this field or if hiring a professional is too expensive for you, read over the contract slowly until you understand it fully.
If you do not understand its provisions, ask the contract provider to explain it to you. Of course, you will need to keep in mind the conflict of interest – the contract provider will want to sell the contract no matter what, while you will want to get the best deal possible. However, a good contract provider will do their best to help you understand the ins and outs of the warranty contract.
Understand what is covered by the warranty
This is an area that very often causes a lot of confusion. The contract may explicitly indicate what is covered and what is not covered, but people nonetheless sometimes overestimate the coverage of their warranty and get surprised at a reasonable claim rejection.
Do keep in mind that many things that should be routinely replaced by you are usually not covered by the base contracts. Among these things are tires, wheels, lights, mirrors, batteries, and other similar items that require replacement from time to time.
Cosmetic items like paint, as well as general maintenance items aren’t covered as well. The contract provider may offer additional coverage options, but don’t expect them to make your warranty comprehensive – no extended RV warranty is going to safeguard you from absolutely all expenses.
Also, be aware that there is a thing called consequential damage. This term refers to the damage that has been caused by a non-covered part to a covered part. Many RV extended warranties do not cover consequential damage, so be mindful of that. However, the contract provider may offer an option for covering consequential damage as well.
Lastly, if you are not sure whether some item is covered or excluded from the coverage, ask about it the contract provider.
Let the administrator inspect your RV
You should also let the administrator inspect your RV if they want it. In fact, you should seek your RV to be inspected for a couple of reasons.
First of all, if no pre-existing conditions are discovered during the inspection, there is less chance of a claim denial on the basis of a pre-existing condition.
Secondly, as we’ve discussed above, RV inspection allows you to save time on claim denial on a pre-existing condition. Even without an initial inspection, the administrator would be to determine whether a problem had occurred before the contract conclusion or not. This will lose you time, as well as may decrease your credibility and force the administrator to review your consequent claims with extra scrutiny.
Lastly, the administrator may discover an issue that you were not aware of. This is possibly the biggest benefit of an RV inspection since it allows you to deal with the problems present in your RV and avoid consequential damage. And you can be sure that consequential damage caused by a pre-existing condition will not be covered no matter the contract.
Realize that the administrator will want to avoid paying out claims
Extended warranty providers do business, and you need to realize that the contract administrator will seek to avoid paying out claims whenever possible. In fact, they won’t do this by breaking the contract – on the contrary, they will use the uncertainties and ambiguous points in the contract against you.
And without a good lawyer, there is pretty much nothing you can do about it. Your only choice is to trust the administrator’s honesty. This actually is an issue far beyond RV extended warranties, but you should still know about it.
This is why you should carefully read and understand absolutely everything in the warranty contract. Especially pay attention to the fine print. However, you should understand that you may be unable to spot ambiguousness and uncertainty in the contract, unless you are an experienced lawyer. Due to this, if you can, seek professional assistance with signing your RV extended warranty contract.
Get an extended warranty on your RV as soon as possible
If you are planning to get an extended warranty on your RV, do it as soon as possible. If you didn’t know, the price of an extended RV warranty is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. And the condition of your RV is going to play a huge rule in the price formation process.
The older your RV, the likelier it is that something in it will fail. Consequently, your RV poses a higher risk for the administrator since they will likely have to cover mechanical failures more often. As a result, the price of extended warranties for older RVs is higher.
This doesn’t mean that you should rush a decision and go buy an extended warranty today. You need to think over its benefits and disadvantages very meticulously.
In addition, if your RV is still covered by the manufacturer warranty, there is no point in purchasing an RV extended warranty, unless you are looking to cover some specific components that aren’t covered by the manufacturer warranty.
An extended RV warranty is an absolute must-have if your considering traveling full time in your RV.
Hopefully, our material has provided you with a full picture of what extended warranties are. Extended warranties have risks, but their benefits may actually outweigh these risks for you.
The good old self-insurance is still a thing, and for some people, it is going to be a much more feasible option than buying an extended warranty. But if you do find that you need the benefits of RV extended warranties, maybe you should give them a try.