Should You Purchase an RV Extended Warranty?

Discussions on extended warranties are akin to dumping a can of freshly dug earthworms in a fish bait and lure shop.

warranty_bgIt’s a messy topic with heated opinions on both sides of the fence. I’m going to be honest and tell you upfront that there is no absolute answer.

Extended warranties are not for everyone. They can be a waste of money, they can be supremely helpful, and they can also be everything in between.

For most items you buy in your lifetime, extended warranties are simply not worth the money. Most are overpriced for the protection you get and you rarely get your money’s worth. In fact they are lucrative only for the company that sells them.

However, this question becomes “iffy” when you’re dealing with a very expensive item—like an RV—where the cost of repairs can be extremely expensive. At this point it becomes a grey area.

For many people simply putting money aside every month for repairs and using that “self-insurance bucket” when an expensive repair becomes necessary puts them ahead of the curve. For others the financial worry of a major repair bill is simply too much to bear and buying a warranty for “peace of mind” simplifies their RV lifestyle. You have to decide, based on your own financial situation, the potential cost of big ticket repairs, and risk tolerance whether self-insurance will work for you.

Cleaning your RV will take some time. But taking care of your RV is an investment that can pay off if you choose to resell in the future. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Should You Purchase an RV Extended Warranty? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The key thing to understand up-front is that an extended warranty is simply insurance against repairs and mechanical issues as they pertain to your RV. It is a contract that you may never use and you need to abide by all the details to get your insurance to pay up. If you go into the process with this understanding you can then make an informed decision.

The one- or two-year bumper-to-bumper manufacturer’s warranty you receive when you purchase a new RV from a dealer is a true warranty in that it covers pretty much anything that requires repair.

Extended warranties are different. You’re basically buying insurance against some future breakage/failure on an item which is no longer supported by the manufacturer. These non-manufacturer warranties can be very specific and have lots of potentially tricky “outs”.

Understanding what is and is not covered is perhaps most important thing you can do when looking into a RV extended warranty policy.

Many RV dealers will try to sell you an extended warranty when you buy your RV. They are a money maker for the dealer but may be of questionable value for the consumer.

Should You Purchase an RV Extended Warranty? Pictured above is Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Should You Purchase an RV Extended Warranty? Pictured above is Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Assuming you’ve decided to purchase an extended warranty look around and obtain quotes on several policies and read each of the contracts before making a decision. Treat the extended warranty like insurance and determine what the policy covers and the exemptions.

Make sure you read all the fine print so you know the potential “gotchas” up-front.

Most warranties will deny claims if you do not follow manufacturer-recommended maintenance guidelines.

Extended warranty companies require the claim to be assessed up-front and approve the repair before any work is started. Pre-authorization is a vital part of the service contract and it is YOUR responsibility to make sure your repair facility gets that authorization.

Knowing what your extended warranty actually covers before you sign can save a lot of headaches later. It is therefore in the best interests of every RV owner to research available warranties before making a purchase decision.

Talk to other RVers about their experiences with extended warranties, both pro and con.

Should You Purchase an RV Extended Warranty? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Should You Purchase an RV Extended Warranty? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This will also help you to gain insight about the various types of coverage currently available in the marketplace. Armed with this information, you are better prepared to make an informed decision.

Purchasing an extended warranty is a personal choice that should be based on many factors.

Extended warranties are not for everyone, but they can be a cost-effective way to safeguard the investment you’ve made in your recreational vehicle. Ideally, a RV extended warranty should allow you to save time, control your budget, and have less worries while enjoying the open road. Travel safe everyone!

Worth Pondering…

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

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