An image of an RV camper in a forest surrounded by large trees located a campsite

Hidden Dangers While Camping: Essential RV Insurance Insights

Navigating the great outdoors in your travel trailer or motorhome brings a sense of freedom and adventure unrivalled by other forms of travel. However, this adventure comes with its own set of risks, from unpredictable weather to unforeseen accidents on the road. Knowing what your RV insurance covers can mean the difference between a minor hiccup and a major setback.

Whether you are researching insurance on a motorhome for the first time or looking to understand the extent of your current policy’s coverage, this guide aims to clarify what Recreational Trailer Insurance covers, ensuring you can focus on making memories without worrying about the ‘what-ifs’.

 

Common Camping Hazards

Fire Hazards

When camping in your RV, fire risks are a significant concern. With over 5,000 vehicle fires, including motor homes and RV trailers, occurring annually, the importance of tailored insurance coverage cannot be overstated.

Fires often start from electrical malfunctions or appliances, so you should regularly inspect your RV’s electrical system and propane setups to mitigate these risks. Ensure combustibles are stored safely away from heat sources and maintain functional smoke detectors to enhance safety.

Weather-Related Dangers

Weather can change rapidly, posing threats such as high winds and flooding that can be particularly hazardous for RV campers. 2023 marked one of the worst years for weather-related losses in the insurance industry, and IBC reported that it resulted in $3.1 billion in claim payouts caused by weather.

Meteorologists advise staying informed about weather conditions through apps or weather radios and using your RV’s mobility to relocate to safer areas when severe weather approaches. 

Accidents and Injuries

Camping often involves activities that can lead to accidents or injuries if not managed carefully. It’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and potential hazards, such as uneven terrain or bodies of water.

Equip your RV with a first-aid kit and educate yourself and your family on basic first-aid procedures to address injuries promptly. Burns are the most common type of injury as they are often caused by not paying attention to your surroundings. 

 

Understanding RV Insurance Coverage

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage is crucial if you operate and own a recreational vehicle, as it protects against damages or injuries you may be found responsible for. For example, if a fire starts in your camper trailer and spreads to the nearby parked trailer at the campsite, you can be held liable for the neighbouring trailer’s damage. Liability also includes bodily injury liability, which covers medical expenses for others involved in an accident.

Seasonal Lot Liability

Seasonal lot liability provides protection in case of any incidents that may occur on your lot where you’ve parked your RV camper trailer, such as injuries sustained by visitors.

If you are planning to buy, rent, or lease a seasonal site for the summer, it is recommended to include additional land liability coverage in your personal property insurance policy. This type of coverage will help to cover legal expenses if an accident occurs on your campsite and someone makes a claim against you. For instance, a simple slip and fall on the land you are renting could result in significant liability claims amounting to thousands of dollars.

 Additionally, you may want to consider adding additional coverage for any adjacent structures, such as decks or sheds you may have built or placed on the land.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is crucial in managing the risks associated with owning an RV camper trailer, especially when it is involved in a collision with another vehicle or object. This type of coverage, also known as collision or upsets coverage, provides financial protection if your trailer collides with or is struck by another object or the ground or if your vehicle rolls over.

SGI released in their 2022 Saskatchewan Traffic Collisions Report that there was a total of 29,983 collisions reported that year.

Most collisions happen at intersections. The 2022 numbers show that 61% of collisions with injuries and 26% of collisions with fatalities took place at intersections.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is crucial for safeguarding your RV against non-collision-related events such as fire, lightning, theft (unrelated to contents or personal belongings), vandalism, and natural weather disasters like winds from a hurricane or dents caused by hail.

If you choose to leave your RV or camper parked at a seasonal site throughout the year, comprehensive coverage becomes even more essential.

In the year 2023, the summer storms that swept through the Prairies and Alberta led to insured losses exceeding $300 million. This staggering amount underscores the importance of having comprehensive coverage for your RV to mitigate potential financial burdens in the event of such incidents. 

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Storage Coverage

Even when your RV is not being used, it still requires protection. Storage coverage provides security for your RV against risks such as theft, vandalism, and weather damage while it is parked.

While it is permissible to utilize your cabin or travel trailer for activities like sleeping, cooking, or dining during the storage period, it is important to inform your broker if you do so while the registration is expired. Failing to switch your auto policy to an in-storage policy when the plates expire but continuing to use the vehicle may result in being uninsured in the event of a claim.

If you have an Auto Policy, it is always wise to keep your broker informed when your vehicle, motorcycle, snowmobile, or travel trailer is unregistered. Your broker can offer expert guidance to ensure that you do not find yourself without insurance coverage.

For further information, please refer to SGI Canada’s guide on unregistered vehicles and trailers, which includes campers, motorcycles, and snowmobiles.

Personal Property Coverage

Your recreational vehicle serves as more than just a means of transportation; it is your home on wheels. However, as it is insured under your Auto Policy, there is no provision to protect the contents or belongings inside. 

To safeguard your personal belongings, including electronics and personal items, obtaining personal property coverage through your Home, Renter, or Condo Insurance policy is crucial. Content coverage is not included in an Auto Policy, so it is essential to have a detailed discussion with your insurance provider to ensure that you have adequate protection for your valuable possessions.

Rodent and Mice Infestations 

Your vehicle, camper, or trailer can serve as your second home. However, it can also become an inviting habitat for daring rodents such as mice, rats, and squirrels. These creatures can cause significant damage and create a mess when they take up residence. According to SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy,

Sometimes, if a vehicle is left unattended in wooded or grassy areas, Mickey and his friends may decide to move in.”

McMurchy emphasized that while rodent-related claims may not be a dominant area for SGI, they are still noteworthy. He added, “The average cost of one such claim amounts to $12,000.” Although most claims are much smaller in scale, there are cases where expensive trailers and motorhomes suffer extensive damage.

To prevent these furry critters from gnawing their way into vehicles, McMurchy suggests visiting SGI’s website and accessing a helpful list of tips on rodent prevention.

 

Recreational Trailer Insurance is a safety net that allows us to embrace the freedom of the road with confidence. 

Exploring the great outdoors in an RV combines adventure with the comforts of home, yet it inherently carries certain risks, from natural disasters to unexpected accidents. Equipping yourselves with the right insurance ensures that mishaps, whether due to weather, wildlife, or unforeseen damages, do not derail your adventures. 

 

FAQs
  1. Can I purchase a permit for my RV trailer online?

You have the option to buy permits for vehicles that have been registered under your name within the past 5 years. These permits are available in 24-hour and 8-day durations. With these permits, you receive basic insurance coverage while driving the vehicle in Saskatchewan. Additionally, these permits are valid up to 17 km beyond the Saskatchewan-Alberta border.

  1. Is RV insurance mandatory in Canada? 

Yes, you are legally required to register and plate your motorhome or camper to operate it on public roads in Canada. 

  1. Does homeowners insurance provide coverage for RVs? 

Homeowners insurance may offer limited protection for RVs, such as extending coverage for personal belongings or adding additional land liability for seasonal site locations.

Disclaimer: The statistics and news videos referenced in this article are based on publicly available information.

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