What Are Insurance Costs for an RV?

Owning a recreational vehicle means ponying up for RV insurance. Costs vary widely, typically from a few hundred dollars to several thousand annually. RVs are a pricey purchase, and insurance protects your investment by promising to replace or repair the mobile home after an accident. Most states require RV owners to have liability insurance to cover property damage and medical and legal costs if an accident is the owner's fault. Some require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

Variations in Expense

RVs have become popular ways for families to take vacations.

Trusted Choice, a brand representing members of Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, provides figures to show the wide variations in RV insurance. In Michigan, the median annual cost is $4,490; in the District of Columbia, it's $2,570; and in Oregon, the median annual cost is $1,108.

Highest and Lowest

Trusted Choice also reports some of the highest and lowest RV insurance rates by state. Michigan residents, on average, tend to pay the most because the state requires personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage. The second most expensive state is Louisiana, with a median annual premium of $2,912. The least costly RV insurance, on average, is in North Carolina, with a median annual cost of $860. Oregon's relatively low rate is partially due to the state being home to fewer luxury RVs. Following Oregon is Massachusetts, with a median annual premium of $1,128. Massachusetts' rate is due to a very competitive RV insurance market in the state, Trusted Choice notes.

Relative Costs

Esurance reports that many RV owners pay less for RV insurance than they do for their annual cable bill. And RV insurance is typically much less expensive than car insurance, according to Gregory J. Blanchard, an associate vice president with Nationwide insurance. As an example, he says, Nationwide's annual car insurance averages $1,500 annually, while RV insurance averages $550.

Factors Determining Expense

State requirements for the type and amount of RV insurance play the greatest role in insurance costs. The class of RV also matters. Coverage is most expensive for Class A RVs -- including luxury coaches, converted buses and motor coaches up to 75 feet long. Class C RVs -- including fifth wheels and standard cargo vans with a sleeper compartment over the cab -- are next most expensive. The least expensive to insure are Class B RVs, which include cargo vans without sleeping compartments over the cab, travel trailers and campers. Other determinants of insurance cost include whether the RV is used only recreationally and how it's stored or whether it's a full-time residence, the vehicle's age and condition and where it's driven. Insurers also weigh the owner's age, gender, marital status, homeownership, driving history, past claims, policy limits and deductibles and additional riders or coverages, such as for personal belongings.

How to Save Money

RV owners can save on insurance by storing an unused RV in a contained carport or garage, installing anti-theft devices, being a safe driver with no accidents, bundling insurance policies and paying annual premiums at once. Membership in RV-related associations might provide discounts, as well as completion of a safe-driver course. Some insurance agencies also allow RV owners to suspend coverages they don't need if their RV is stored. This option can cut premiums by 50 percent.

About the Author

Located in the mid-Atlantic United States, Elizabeth Layne has covered nonprofits and philanthropy since 1997, and has written articles on an array of topics for small businesses and career-seekers. An award-winning writer, her work has appeared in "The Chronicle of Philanthropy" newspaper and "Worth" magazine. Layne holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The George Washington University.