Here's How the Right RV and Vehicle Insurance Protects Your Summer Fun


Summer can be a great time to get the big toys out of the garage. Jet Skis, off-road vehicles, RVs, and other expensive forms of transportation can make a summer trip more enjoyable.

Those toys also need insurance to fix or replace them if they're damaged or destroyed in an accident. Here's what you need to know to keep all your forms of transportation protected this summer.

RV insurance

Most owners of recreational vehicles, or RVs, only use their vehicles for a few months a year and may be able to get their existing auto and home insurance policies extended to their RV for those few months a year. But if you live in one full-time or rent an RV, you'll want separate RV insurance. A bank may also require you to have it if you're financing the purchase of the vehicle.

Insurance for an RV isn't as straightforward as auto insurance. Because an RV is essentially a house on wheels, it requires a mix of travel, auto, and home insurance. Your existing auto insurance policy may cover some insurance needs for an RV, but because of the high value of an RV, specific RV insurance will also likely be needed.

An RV insurance policy can provide personal property coverage, which will cover your RV when it's parked at your home and when it's out on the road. Your home or auto insurance policies may cover some things stolen from an RV, but only up to certain limits or on specific items. Expensive camping equipment and a flat-screen TV inside an RV, for example, will likely require extra personal property coverage in an RV insurance policy.

If an entire RV is stolen or damaged in an accident, you'll want full replacement cost coverage. It's offered only for newer RVs, while the actual cash value, or depreciated value, is available for older vehicles. Full replacement coverage can be worth having if you just bought a new RV and don't have the money in the bank to pay for repairs. Without it, the depreciated value may only be covered, and new vehicles depreciate quickly in the first year.

Laws in your state may require a minimum amount of liability insurance, and some also require uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage. You can set the collision and comprehensive insurance limits.

RV insurance averages $550 per year for a motor home and $250 for a trailer that doesn't have a motor. This low cost is partly due to the fact that RV owners are usually more experienced drivers. Age, driving record, and credit score also affect rates.

RV insurance rates will also be affected by how often you drive the vehicle, the type of RV you have, how old it is, where it's stored, and if you use it as a primary home.

Personal watercraft insurance

Personal watercraft insurance, or PWC insurance, is for a Jet Ski or other watercraft that's part boat and part motorcycle. It protects against accidents, vandalism, and liability, regardless if you use the vehicle yourself or loan it to someone else. PWC insurance can be bought as a separate policy or can be added to an existing boat policy.

PWC insurance can cover you in many instances. For example, you may crash into a dock or another boat, causing death or injury. PWC insurance can include bodily injury liability to pay the medical bills of someone you injure in an accident. It can also include property damage liability coverage in case you damage someone else's property. Or, if you let someone else use your personal watercraft and they're negligent — such as by towing water skiers or wakeboarders, or getting too close to other watercraft — PWC insurance could help.

Areas that typically aren't covered include a craft that's been modified to improve speed or performance, after dark usage, and operating a PWC without a valid driver's license.

Depending on the type of watercraft, coverage options, deductibles, and your driving record, PWC insurance costs $300 to $500 per year.

ATV insurance

A standard homeowners insurance policy doesn't normally cover off-road vehicles such as an ATV, golf cart, dune buggy, or dirt bike. It will cover your off-road vehicles when they're on your property — but once the vehicle leaves your property, you're probably no longer covered by a homeowners policy.

ATV insurance can protect the vehicle and owner against liability, collision, and other things. For example, collision coverage can cover the cost of replacing a fence you've hit, and then can pay to repair your vehicle.

Like extra coverage for watercraft, there are two types of liability insurance you may want for ATVs — bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your ATV during a severe storm or other natural disaster, or if it's stolen.

Annual premiums for ATV insurance range from $99 for bodily injury and property damage coverage to $1,500 for every type of coverage.

Yes, your toys need insurance

However much money you've spent on your summer toys, factor in

their cost and how much liability you're willing to expose yourself to if you cause an accident. Chances are they weren't cheap, and they can cause just as much damage as an accident in a car.

That's what insurance is for — to cover catastrophic expenses you can't cover on your own. Even during the joys of summer that's something worth remembering.

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