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Instead of booking a flight and car rental this year, you might be doing an RV rental instead. Self-contained RV rentals let you stay almost anywhere and tour the country at a leisurely pace. However, you should make sure you have adequate insurance coverage before you head out. Your credit card car insurance might be insufficient for this sort of trip. Here’s what you need to know.

Mountain Road in Stowe, Vermont
Visit Mountain Road in Stowe, Vermont, once you determine whether your car insurance covers RVs.

What is an RV?

RV is shorthand for “recreational vehicle.” To be more specific, an RV can be the following:

  • Tow-behind campers, travel trailers, and fifth wheels
  • Class C motorhomes
  • Class A motorhomes

When looking through your credit card benefits guide, search for recreational vehicles. Your benefits guide should clearly state whether or not they insure RV rentals.

Credit Card Car Insurance Basics

Most credit cards come with built-in rental car insurance benefits. This benefit comes directly from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover. The bank issuing your credit card may extend enhanced benefits.

In most cases, the credit card benefits are only for standard rental cars but not exotic vehicles, passenger vans, or some large SUVs. Rentals must usually be shorter than 30 days to qualify as well. The coverage limits and qualifying reasons depend on which credit card you have. Premium credit cards tend to have more extensive benefits as a tradeoff for the higher annual fees.

For instance, a Visa Infinite card may have more robust benefits than a Visa Signature.

Collision Damage Waiver

Credit card benefits intend to replace your rental car agency’s collision damage waiver policy. This add-on insurance is pricey and can save a small fortune if a qualifying incident occurs. You must decline the rental agency coverage option to qualify for your credit card benefits.

Qualifying incidents are usually collisions involving another vehicle and vandalism. A tree falling on your rental car or a hailstorm, however, most likely won’t activate your credit card coverage. However, it’s worth checking your credit card benefits guide to see if you can file a claim.

Primary or Secondary Coverage

Most credit card car insurance benefits offer secondary coverage. This means you must file a claim with your auto insurance first. You file a claim with your credit card company to see if they will reimburse any remaining costs. With secondary coverage, your credit card may only reimburse your insurance deductible.

Only a handful of credit cards offer primary coverage. Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and Chase Sapphire Reserve® are two of the best-known cards offering primary collision and theft coverage.

If you have primary coverage, you file a claim with your credit card first. You can file a claim with your car insurance provider or pay any remaining expenses from your bank account to avoid alerting your insurance policy.

It’s possible that your card benefits can cover the full tab for a minor incident with primary coverage.

Credit Card Car Insurance and RV Rentals

The Chase Sapphire rental car benefits are one of the most extensive car rental insurance benefits. Chase explicitly states that recreational vehicles are ineligible. Vans designed to carry more than nine passengers, expensive automobiles, and car-sharing services like ZipCar also don’t qualify.

Other banks and credit card issuers have similar coverage exclusions for rentals happening in the United States. As traditional car rental agencies like Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Thrifty do not rent RVs, your car rental insurance benefits do not cover RV rentals in 2020.

But, it’s still a good idea to use your credit cards for your trip. In response to the pandemic, select cards have added bonuses for gas purchases and grocery store purchases. You can still earn points and miles for future travel, depending on your card.

Related: 6 Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending 

Where to Get RV Rental Insurance

You won’t be able to save a few dollars on RV rentals by relying on your built-in credit card benefits. But you can pay for RV insurance with your miles credit card to at least earn bonus points.

Here’s how to get legit RV rental insurance.

RV Rental Company

Buying coverage directly from the RV rental agency can be your most straightforward option. You can quickly compare your total rental costs and make sure you have adequate minimum coverage for your state. The agency or dealership may also require you to buy the insurance they offer to secure your rental.

RVshare is one of the most popular RV booking sites. The standard collision and comprehensive insurance coverage is part of each rental quote. You can see the insurance cost in the taxes and fee portion of your rental quote.

Services like RVshare make it easy to rent out an RV for an epic road trip and get car insurance that covers RVs. Credit: RVshare

Rental agencies are likely to offer premium coverage that covers less common incidents. Comparing prices for standard and premium coverage can be worth the few extra minutes of research.

Your Car Insurance Provider

Some car insurance policies offer optional RV insurance. You should call your insurance agent to review your coverage options. Your auto policy may automatically extend to tow-behind trailers or the motorhomes that you drive if the rental period is shorter than 30 days. In other instances, you may have to purchase an add-on policy for your rental period.

Another option is by using a specialty insurance provider such as Good Sam RV Insurance. You might even stay at a “Good Sam” campground during your RV road trip.

If you’re going to be buying a camper or RV, specify if you’re staying for leisure or full-time. Your monthly rates are different depending on how frequently you use your RV.

Also, make sure you have the minimum coverage amounts for your state. You may decide to get more extensive coverage amounts for additional peace of mind.

Related: Car Insurance Guides and Resources

Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance

Your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy might cover damage or theft-related costs to your personal belongings. You will need to use another insurance provider to cover damage to the RV.

Travel Insurance

A standalone travel insurance policy is a great hedge for non-refundable common carrier travel expenses but not necessarily for RV rentals. For instance, the optional Allianz rental car damage protector doesn’t cover RV damages.

But you might pick up a policy for additional medical coverage or to protect a standard rental car if you don’t want to drive a Class C or Class motorhome everywhere you go.

It’s vital to mention that travel insurance companies exclude some pandemic-related costs. For instance, even the best travel insurance policies won’t cover government-imposed travel bans or COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The coronavirus pandemic is a known event. Travel delays and cancellations from COVID-19 are similar to buying travel insurance after a hurricane develops.

Summary of Does Credit Card Car Insurance Cover RV Rentals

Your credit card car insurance benefits won’t cover an RV rental. But, your credit card can still earn rewards on RV rentals. The best option is obtaining coverage through the rental agency or a standalone insurance provider.

FAQs

Does my auto insurance cover RV rentals?

Your car insurance might cover RV rentals. If so, it will likely cover rentals lasting 30 days or less. Premium car insurance providers are more likely to provide RV rental coverage than discount providers.

The RV rental agency may also require you to purchase the basic coverage that they offer. This policy may reflect your state’s minimum RV coverage. Both policies can cover any potential at-fault incidents that happen.

How much does RV rental insurance cost?

The daily cost for RV rental insurance varies on your state, type of RV, and coverage amounts. For instance, coverage might be free if your car insurance policy happens to offer short-term RV rental insurance. Otherwise, RV rental agencies usually charge a small amount for each day you rent a travel trailer or motorhome. Rental insurance for tow-behind trailers can cost less than motorhomes.

Here’s a quick example of how much you might pay per rental day on RVshare for their standard collision and comprehensive insurance. A tow-behind travel trailer that sleeps seven can cost $22 per day. The price for a luxury Class A motorhome can cost $49 daily for the same rental period and location.

Does my credit card cover rental car insurance?

Most unsecured credit cards in the United States that Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover issues comes with secondary car rental insurance, though it may not apply to the RV. The complimentary benefit can help reimburse damages from vehicle collisions and theft. However, you must file a claim with your car insurance provider first. Also, you must decline your rental car agency’s collision damage waiver option when pickup up your rental.

Secondary coverage can offset damage costs that your car insurance provider won’t pay. A few credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, have primary coverage and reimburses up to the actual cash value of your rental car. But, you should be aware of coverage gaps as not every car rental qualifies. For instance, exotic vehicles, RVs, large SUVs, large passenger vans, and heavy trucks are ineligible. Other coverage exclusions vary between credit cards.

It’s best to check your credit card policy to know exactly where you stand on coverage.

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