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As full-timers since 2009, we’ve experienced a lot of what it takes to live the RV life. Unfortunately, one of the less fun experiences every RVer will inevitably face is suffering a mechanical breakdown while traveling. Whether the repair needed is large or small, a few things are always true: RV breakdowns are disruptive, frustrating, and costly.
One way to alleviate at least a small part of this stress is to secure an extended RV warranty for your coach. This is a decision we made when we purchased our 2007 Alfa back in December 2009. Before we dive too deeply into that story, let’s go over some quick info on what exactly RV warranties are and what they cover.
RV warranties 101
RV extended warranties are aftermarket service contracts, and are not affiliated with your original manufacturer warranty in any way. These policies can be purchased on new or used vehicles. You will usually be able to secure coverage from a dealership as part of your purchase, as a transferred policy during a private party sale, or, more conveniently, at any time from an online warranty provider, like Wholesale Warranties.
So, what do RV warranties cover? That will depend on the policy, but in general, you can expect most warranties to cover the cost of repairs for mechanical or electrical failures your rig may face. This can range from your engine and transmission, to coach items like heating and cooling units, leveling jacks, slide-outs, appliances, and more. Warranties will cover the parts and labor associated with these repairs, while you are responsible for a deductible.
It’s important to work closely with an RV warranty specialist when you are looking into coverage, as there are varying levels of coverage available. Some policies are designed to only cover the most expensive potential breakdowns, such as your engine and powertrain components. While others, like an exclusionary policy, will cover just about any mechanical or electrical breakdown your rig might face. Knowing what is available to you, what the cost differences are, and what your desired level of risk is will help you choose the right policy.
What Isn’t Covered
No warranty covers absolutely everything, and we think knowing and understanding what isn’t covered is one of the most important parts of the buying process. Exclusions are grouped into a few categories. First and foremost, any damages that would otherwise be covered by your comp and collision RV insurance will be excluded. This includes failures due to physical damage, and anything caused by weather or accident. Next, warranties will never cover aesthetic items, like paint, upholstery, windows, flooring, etc. Lastly, anything considered a maintenance task or requirement will be excluded by your policy. This includes things like oil changes. When you are working with a company on a potential warranty purchase, be sure to request a full copy of the contract, so you can read these exclusions for yourself before making a final decision.
Back to Our Alfa
When we purchased our rig, it had very little manufacturer warranty remaining, and had been sitting for a few years. We’re not mechanically inclined (sorry Jim!), so an extended warranty seemed like the right play at the time. We were pleased with how this warranty has performed over the first several years of ownership, but when it came up for expiration, we realized that we could not renew that particular policy.
First, we considered dropping a warranty altogether. I like to have he comfort of knowing that coverage is there for us,
but Jim doesn’t love the upfront expense. While we were debating our next move, we visited with a friend whose son works on diesel engines. He highly recommended that we get one, and that sealed the deal for us. It was time to research a new provider.
Jim had seen a lot of info and heard a lot about Wholesale Warranties. In addition to checking with other companies, he talked with Wholesale Warranties and got a bid. They were very helpful in explaining how they worked as brokers for other companies to help us get the best deal with the best product for us. After getting a few different quotes with various deductibles, we decided to move forward with their exclusionary policy and lowest deductible ($100). Since Jim always looks at the dollars, we decided to pay for our 4 year/40,000-mile warranty upfront for a discount. They also offer payment plans, which might be the right option for you.
The Most Important Question: Have We Used the Warranty?
Yes! In fact, I recently decided to do a spreadsheet of repairs we’ve had and how much the warranty paid for and saved us. I would have to say it’s probably one of the best “Returns on Investment” we have ever had! Our covered repairs include:
Do you dream of traveling full-time(FT)? You can join us on our RV journey sharing places to stay, visit and eat and other how-to and tips. Jim and I (Becky) have been living in our Alfa RV FT since 2009. Join us and experience the lifestyle, ask questions and share your experience and desires.