One of the confusing parts of purchasing an RV is the warranties. Many first-time owners can get quite anxious when reading over their RV warranty because they can be hard to understand, and if you do not understand them, it can cost you thousands. Luckily for you, we have made plenty of mistakes and have learned from them. Because of our mistakes, we made a comprehensive guide to RV warranties, which will help teach you everything you need to know before you make your final purchase.
What Does an RV Warranty Cover, and How Long Do They Last?
Warranties differ from company to company and cover repairs anywhere from one to five years after you've purchased your RV. Furthermore, the offers can also vary and can differ depending on the parts and amenities covered by the warranty.
For example, a basic RV warranty from Jayco will cover repairs for up to 2 years or 24,000 miles. This warranty will cover minor repairs caused by material defects like resealing the roof to repair a leak. A warranty like this will often also cover the frame, engine, and other mechanical parts for up to 5 years or a certain number of miles.
Other company warranties might offer a new engine once you have reached the end of your warranty. Keep in mind that some warranties might only last a year after purchase or only provide repairs for mechanical parts. That being said, you need to make sure that you are thoroughly reading your warranty before you buy your RV. You can always negotiate the terms for your warranty if it is not up to your standards.
Who Covers for the Repairs While an RV is Still Under Warranty?
If your RV is still under its original warranty, then the repairs will be covered by the RV manufacturer. However, some dealerships will offer warranties like that too. Typically, the warranties from a dealership are extended warranties and should only be considered when the original manufacturer warranty is about to expire.
How Do I Get an Extended Warranty for My RV?
When your original warranty expires, it will be wise to look into extended warranties. You can usually purchase extended warranties from the dealership where you bought your RV from. However, you can also find extended warranties provided by your RV's manufacturer and warranty companies. An excellent place to find an extended warranty is Wholesale Warranties. This warranty company offers warranties for RVs and vehicles. Wholesale Warranties offers a plethora of coverage types, including powertrain coverage, exclusionary policies, and listed component coverage.
When looking for an extended warranty from any of the places we provided above, you will have a specialist who will help you through the process. However, Wholesale Warranties require you to provide pre-authorization for all repairs and a deductible for each visit you must pay for.
Should I Purchase an Extended Warranty?
In short, yes, you should purchase an extended warranty for your RV. Purchasing an extended warranty will provide your RV with coverage once its original warranty expires. Furthermore, purchasing a warranty will significantly reduce the cost of repairs if anything happens. Repairs for an RV are extremely expensive, and depending on what needs to be repaired, the labor alone can cost over a thousand dollars.
You need to know that some states exclude RVs from the protection of lemon laws. Lemon laws cover defects or conditions that substantially impair vehicles and other purchased goods' use, value, or safety. While the original warranty offered by a manufacturer will cover initial defects to the engine, roof, housing, and other mechanical parts of your RV, it will not cover faulty appliances. This type of coverage will usually transfer to extended warranties. However, you can find or negotiate warranties to cover appliances, but this can be difficult.
When Should I Purchase an Extended Warranty for My RV?
The best time to purchase an extended warranty is right before or right after your original warranty expires. For example, if you purchased a used RV from its previous owner, you should get an extended warranty before you do any repairs. Furthermore, it would be best to always have a warranty for your RV before you take it out for a camping trip or vacation.
Most original warranties will not transfer to your name when purchasing a used RV. However, a few companies like Winnebago allow the original warranty to transfer to your name if you provide proof of purchase.
If you just purchased a new RV from a dealership, you should not purchase an extended warranty just yet. Doing so will only cost extra money and provide nothing of benefit because most original warranties will cover nearly everything for the first few years of ownership. Instead, only consider purchasing an extended RV right before or just after your original warranty expires.
What About Lifetime Warranties?
For RVs, this type of warranty is called Warranty Forever and will provide lifetime coverage. Furthermore, this type of warranty requires that you submit and make yearly repairs on certain parts of your RV. What's more, this type of coverage can be offered for new and used RVs, depending on the dealership you purchase from.
In order for your RV to keep its lifetime warranty, you are contractually required to meet specific maintenance requirements every year for your RV. Furthermore, you must submit paperwork that proves you have completed maintenance. For example, most lifetime warranties require you to do maintenance on the following items.
The roof and sealant
The axle hub and its lubricant
Clean and maintain the control compartments
Ensure that the gas lines do not have any leaks
Ensure that the water heater is in working order and flush the tank
As long as you comply with the requirements of your lifetime coverage, the labor and parts required to repair your RV will be covered 100%, meaning there will be no deductibles coming out of your pocket. One of the best things about lifetime coverage is that no matter how long you've owned or how far you’ve driven your RV, the price and coverage of your warranty will not change.
Do You Really Need an Extended Warranty?
Truthfully, it depends on a few factors. The main factor is your income and how much you use your RV. If you have a ton of money saved up and only use your RV once every few years, you might not need an extended warranty. Furthermore, the age of your RV also impacts this answer. The older the RV, the more likely you will need to service it. Most RV hobbyists will have different answers to this question depending on a number of things.
Most RV enthusiasts will encourage new RV-ers to shop around and take the time to look for a used RV instead of buying a new one from a dealership. This is because used RVs are vastly cheaper than buying the same model brand new from a dealership. However, this means you won't have a warranty to help cover repairs, and where you will need an extended warranty. Furthermore, if you purchased an older used RV model, it may be wiser to replace broken components rather than repair them.
Some experienced RV-ers will suggest that you start putting money aside for repairs once the original warranty expires. At the same time, some of these RV-ers will say that an extended warranty will pay for itself over the years of use and put your mind at ease. On the other hand, some RV-ers will say that an extended warranty is an unneeded expense that will not pay for itself.
In the end, extended warranties are meant to provide coverage and reduce the cost of repairs that may or may not come up. Extended warranties can vary in price from $2,000 to $3,000 for a short-term agreement and can cost as much as $25,000 for a top-of-the-line coverage that lasts for many years.
Sometimes, you can purchase an RV and use it for many years before anything starts to wear down and needs repairs, in which case an extended warranty is not being used. At the same time, you can purchase a brand new RV that can make frequent visits to the repair shop. With that said, the final decision of buying an extended warranty falls on you and your current predicament. However, we will always advise that you pay the cost of an extended warranty, just in case.
Inclusionary Vs. Exclusionary
If you decide to purchase an extended warranty, it would be helpful to take a copy of the warranty home to read over before purchasing. Extended warranties will come in two varieties and will either provide an inclusionary or an exclusionary list. It is essential to know the difference between the two.
An inclusionary list will only list the items it covers. Inclusionary warranties will also list why a broken item needs to be repaired, like weather damage or vandalism. If you don't see something on an inclusionary list, then that particular warranty does not cover it. Inclusionary lists are straightforward, but it can be misleading too, and you can be surprised when you take your RV to get repaired and they say your warranty does not cover it for whatever reason.
On the other hand, an exclusionary warranty will provide more detail and clearly state what it does and does not cover. For example, an exclusionary warranty will promise to help with mechanical repairs. Still, it will clearly state that the warranty will not cover the repairs if they were damaged by vandalism, collision, or weather damage.
Exclusionary warranties provide you with a detailed list of what it covers and does not. On the other hand, inclusionary warranties will only list what they cover and nothing else, which may lead to confusion regarding getting repairs done.
When Does an RV Warranty Not Cover a Repair?
There are many things to consider when looking at warranties for your RV. Oftentimes, a warranty will not cover the repairs of specific parts for many reasons. For example, if your jack stands need to be replaced after several years of use, your warranty might not be able to cover their replacement because the parts are no longer being made.
Warranty companies take a risk when they sell a warranty to a consumer. Sometimes, a customer will purchase a warranty for their RV, and the RV will need to be serviced several times a year for repairs. Other times, an RV can go many years without needing any repairs. Because of this, many warranty companies will use underhanded tactics to ensure they are turning a profit wherever they can.
For example, some warranty companies will only cover the number of labor hours they say the repair should take. Often, these repairs take longer, or the number of hours that the warranty company dictates is very close to the time it took to service the broken part. If the labor hours required to repair the RVs broken part takes longer than the warranty company allows, you will have to pay for the difference.
Another underhanded tactic that some warranty companies use is that they only cut one check per occurrence. If the parts needed for the repairs are not on hand at the repair shop and require the warranty company to pay another company for the part, it can cause problems for the consumer. When this happens, either the warranty company will refuse to pay for the part and make the owner pay or make the repair take much longer than it should, which can also cause issues with labor hours and space at the repair shop, making the issue worse than it really is.
Furthermore, if the warranty company pays for the part you need, they will only pay for what their books say it costs. This can cause a bunch of issues. Some parts can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, and the price can go up due to age and rarity. This leaves the extra cost for the owner to pay out of pocket.
Unfortunately, many warranty companies will have misleading fine print and use vague terms like "components will be covered" when the warranty company will only pay for a portion of specific components.
While everything we have stated here may lead you to think all warranty companies are only looking to make money, there are many satisfied customers. Warranties are only to help you be prepared if something like this happens to you. Some warranty companies will use these tactics to help turn a profit, but most warranty companies are more concerned with their reputation and will provide excellent coverage and customer service.
What Causes Some RV Repairs to be Rejected?
There is a theory going around the RV community that warranty companies have a few different writers. If they have multiple writers for their warranties, it can make a massive difference in your coverage. Some writers will provide more in-depth warranties that the company must adhere to, while others provide vague warranties that favor the company. However, this is just a theory.
Some RV-ers will say that the repair shop has employees that can write up paperwork in a way that allows everything they did to repair your RV to be covered by the warranty company. If this is the case, make sure you keep going to the same repair shop because they are helping you out. Be sure to check with your warranty company for paperwork requirements to ensure your repairs are covered. Once you take your RV in for repairs, inform the repair shop of the paperwork requirements.
Missing any detail regarding the paperwork can cause the repairs not to be covered at all. You can request to see the paperwork after the repairs have been completed and before the repair shop sends the paperwork to the warranty company. Be sure to go over the paperwork in meticulous detail and make sure it adheres to the requirements of your warranty company. Doing so will ensure that the repair shop did not miss any detail that the warranty company can use to reject the payment.
RV warranties are crucial to saving you money on repairs. However, RV warranties can be confusing and vague. You can always ask for a copy of the warranty and take it home to read it over carefully. Any new RV you purchase from a dealership will come with a warranty that will last for a certain amount of years and help cover repairs. Once this warranty expires, you can opt to purchase an extended warranty. If you've purchased a used RV, there is an excellent chance that the original warranty can not be transferred to your name. With that said, it will be wise to purchase an extended warranty for your used RV before you take it in for any repairs.