This is our second post of our two blogs that we promised about insurance. It is designed for you to read the portions that interest you. Do you understand all your insurance coverages on your RV or vehicle policy? Skip down and read the coverages that are confusing for you. We know you will not read this entire blog. It’s way to long and boring to read every page. Unless you are having trouble sleeping at night. Then you can dig this post out and read until sleepy. Should only take a few minutes. LOL
If you haven’t read our post titled Insurance Part One, it’s a “must read”. Should be read before Part Two. (If you believe that we have a bridge we want to sell you.) LOL… Part One has a lot of info about the mistakes we see people saying online. It gives you a really good insider view about insurance that will help you when buying and/or talking with a sales rep for any insurance company. Scroll down thru the travel post until you find it.
We will not do another post about insurance unless something comes up that would cause a need to make a third post. Like if we are reminded how we forgot something important. We hope not, because we really want to blog about our travels and want you to read our blogs and hope you look forward to them. Tell your friends about our travel blog and our Facebook posts which is also under the name “ROW With Mick and Chick”. In Facebook, you can search under “Mick and Chick” and it will direct you to our FB page titled, “ROW With Mick And Chick”. If you “Like” our FB page then you will see our post every time we do another blog post.
We also realize that we are still licensed but no longer active in the insurance business (as of May 1, 2016) and not staying up to date with the changes in the industry. However with our 45 years experience… we did learn a few things that hopefully we can pass on to you and help you understand a little more than what you knew before reading these two blogs. The basics about insurance has never changed. So once you know the basics, you will be able to discuss your insurance needs with any agent, agency or insurance company. We hope you will come back to these posts and reread portions when you have a future need.
We also want to post a disclaimer. We are not responsible if the State you live in or have an accident in does not follow what we say in these two posts. The laws are different in every State. We try to point out the areas that you need to look at so you know where to study your State law. Also, every insurance company has little changes in their policies. Plus, some companies do things a little different in the claim settlements. Please, do your own “due diligence” and be responsible and verify everything we say with your own insurance company/agency/agent. This post is designed to pass on general information that will get you to think things thru. We do not know all 50 State’s laws and do not pretend to know and in fact, do not want to know. We do not know every insurance company. When you own an insurance agency, you learn the policies for the companies you represent. In this post we are attempting to give you information that applies to all casualty insurance policies. Big difference. This is general info, and… you need to verify because we are not selling insurance in this post. Hopefully that takes care of the legal part. We do not want to try to help people and then have someone sue us by claiming that we misled them. Please, please verify with your company or with your insurance advisor.
ARE YOU FULL-TIME OR PART-TIME
This was mentioned in our first post on insurance but believe it is important enough to repeat. Not every company will insure a full-time RV’er. One of the main reason is there are way more part-timers and insurance companies have their premiums set for those people. If you still own a home and only drive your RV for a vacation or two plus a few weekends then the companies know their exposure is not as great as someone who lives in their unit full-time. They only charge an annual premium for what would normally be a six month premium. These clients will also need to insure their home, two cars or more, maybe a motorcycle, quads, boat, etc… More policies for the company to sell. Where a full-timer might have a toad vehicle and little to none of the other items to insure. Plus a lot more exposure on the RV. And the RV will be traveling throughout the U.S. and not basically stay in one State. When a claim occurs in a State that the insurance company does not have a claims force then they have to hire an independent adjuster, creating more expense. These companies think full-timers are a small percentage and not enough for them to design a policy. We think they are missing the trend in the RV industry and will eventually have to offer coverage for full-timers. The number of full-timers is increasing daily. But, lucky for you there are companies that want your business and specialize in full-timers. Make sure you let them know if you are a full-timer. You don’t want a surprise if you have a claim.
ADVANTAGES TO BEING FULL-TIME
Probably the biggest advantage is you can set up your residency in any State and City you wish. You can shop different States for taxes, cost of insurance, cost to plate your RV, etc… For the lowest premium for insurance on your RV, you want to set up in a small town in a State that does not have catastrophic storms. Stay away from States that have hurricanes, stay away from States in tornado alley, stay away from States famous for hail storms, etc… The States that have catastrophic storms have higher insurance premiums to cover the cost of those claims. They spread the storm cost to everyone in the State. You want a small town because small towns have less congestion and lower premiums than heavily congested big cities. Big cities have way more accidents per capita, more vandalism, more theft. Small towns have less accidents, less crime and much lower premiums. Let me give you a challenge. Get a quote and give them your residence address in Deadwood, South Dakota. Then get a quote using an address in downtown Chicago. You will be amazed at the difference. A rural farm community could be even lower. Farmers rarely have a claim and their premiums reflect that fact. You lucky full-timers can set up residence anywhere. Lucky you! ! !
MAKE SURE THEY HAVE YOU LISTED AS AN RV
This sounds dumb but is more important in motorhomes than travel trailers or fifth wheels. The VIN doesn’t always tell the insurance company that it is not a panel van but instead a motorhome. Our personal RV is a Class B Roadtrek built on a Chevy Express. The VIN just shows our vehicle is a Chevy Express panel van. If we didn’t correct this and make sure the company knows the true value, we could have a big problem. If we had a claim we would have a nightmare settling the value. The difference is from 20,000 to about 90,000. If your agency is local, take your vehicle to them so they can see what you have. Bring the paperwork showing the value and what you paid. Make sure they insure your unit correctly. If they have never camped and have zero experience with RV’s they just might not know how to insure your unit. The problem might not be the insurance company but instead the person you are talking with at the local agency. They might not be giving you the discounts you deserve or the endorsements you need or have the value correctly listed.
Also RV’s receive some special endorsements like vacation expense coverage. They also receive a lower premium knowing that it is not a daily driver (read the above about full-time).
Let’s go over the basic coverages for your RV.
What is liability insurance? When will it pay? What does it pay? How much do you need?
WHAT IS LIABILITY INSURANCE?
In the States that do not have no-fault insurance then liability insurance will pay up to the limits of insurance you buy for the repair of other people’s property and/or other people’s injuries if you can be held liable and do something negligent in an accident. The secret is, who was negligent? Who did something that causes them to be at fault and can be held liable? Receiving a ticket does not necessarily mean you are liable. You might receive a ticket because you did something against a local ordinance. The fact that an officer says you deserve a ticket does not mean that the officer is making a decision about who has to pay for the repairs or injury for the other party. You might beat the ticket in court. Sometimes the ticketed person is also liable. Sometimes they are partially liable and sometimes they are not at all liable. As an example, we had a lady who was driving on snow and slid thru a stop sign and broadsided another vehicle injuring passengers and a lot of vehicle damage. We paid thousands of dollars settling the claim. She called later and was upset that she was being charged for an at-fault accident. We asked her why she thought it was not her fault? She said because the cop didn’t give her a ticket. We are not going to explain this here and hope everyone reading understands why she was at fault. We hope this explains what we were saying about the ticket does not necessarily reflect as to who is at fault.
NO FAULT INSURANCE
No fault insurance comes in many different hybrid types of policies. A pure no-fault would mean that each person would pay for their own damages in an accident and no one would be responsible for the other party. Does any State sell pure no-fault? We do not know that answer. Every State we have heard is a hybrid no-fault and only sells no-fault up to a limit and then all damages above that limit are charged back to the party at fault. We know one State’s no-fault limit is $2,000. Which means all damages and injuries under 2000 are paid by your own insurance and not the party at fault. Is no-fault good or bad? There are a lot of different opinions. We personally do not care for no-fault. We believe the party at fault should always pay for the damage and injuries of the party not at fault. The cost of liability does go down in the States that have no-fault. That sounds good, right? But, common sense tells us that it goes down because some of the accidents are now covered under the party’s own insurance but under a different coverage than liability. So, a little less is paid out of the liability coverage and it can go down but now you have to buy an additional coverage mandated by law that will cover you and everyone in your vehicle up to what the State set the limits for their no-fault. As an example… the State we mentioned earlier was no-fault up to 2,000 now mandates you buy no-fault coverage to cover claims up to that no-fault limit. So, in that State the cost for liability goes down because liability no longer covers any claim until they go over 2,000. But, you now have to buy the no-fault coverage and the cost for the no-fault is more than the savings on the liability. Go figure? ? ? They get no-fault voted in because they run ads saying the cost of liability will go down with no-fault. Yes, that is true. They are not lying, They are just not telling you everything. Under no-fault they are paying for the accident under two different coverages instead of one. The total paid out is the same. The cost of the accident has not changed.
This is where our disclaimer can be applied. If you live in a State that has no-fault, then you need to apply this general info with your knowledge about your State’s hybrid requirements. As we said earlier, we do not know the law in all 50 States and each State that has no-fault is completely different.
WHEN AND WHAT WILL LIABILITY PAY?
Insurance companies do not spell out the types of accidents that they will pay. They instead will pay if the courts can or would hold you liable because you did something negligent and can be held responsible. So, you buy liability to protect your assets from someone else because you can be held responsible for their repairs or injuries and do not want to lose your assets over an accident.
Some States say we are held liable according to the percentage we are at fault in the accident. In these States an accident can be ruled 100%/0%, 90%/10%, 80%/20%, 60%/40%, 50%/50% or any combination imaginable. So, if we have an accident in a State that has percentage settlements and it is ruled that you are 80% at fault and the other party is 20% at fault. Then you and/or your insurance company owe 80% of the other people’s damage and injuries and the other people and/or their insurance company owe you 20% of your damage and injuries.
Some States say if we are over 51% then we are 100%. In those Stats you are either at-fault or not at-fault As we travel thru the U.S., we are not going to know how the liability works in each State. We do not study the laws about liability before we drive thru a State. We just make sure we have enough liability insurance to cover the damages and injuries that we could be responsible for paying because we want to protect our assets that we have accumulated. The State law where you have the accident trumps the State law where you bought the insurance. In other words, your insurance policy will pay if you are held liable according to what the law says in the State where you had the accident. So, if we live in South Dakota and bought our insurance there and we have an accident in Nebraska. Then our South Dakota policy will pay if we are liable up to the limits purchased according to what the Nebraska law says we are liable.
One of the most important things to remember is, your liability insurance will not pay above the limits that you select to buy. It will only pay, if you are liable, up to the limits that you bought. Not above those limits. So, the next important question is…
HOW MUCH LIABILITY INSURANCE DO YOU NEED?
There is no way we can really answer that question. We can only give you some general guide lines. The more you have accumulated in life, the higher your assets, the higher your net worth has become… the more liability you need to purchase. And the reverse is also true. If you do not own anything and have 0 in assets, you could buy the lower limits of liability. If you sold everything you own what is left is your net worth. On a balance sheet, if you list your assets and your liabilities; your net worth is what is left after subtracting your liabilities from your assets. You need to list everything that you own. What if your house is worth 300,000 and you still owe 200,000. Then you have a net worth of 100,000 from your home. You have a 100,000 equity in your home. How about your 401K. How much equity do you have in it? As an example… If you have a total net worth of 100,000. Then you want to protect that net worth because it took you a few years to accumulate that amount. Buying a liability policy that will pay up to 100,000 for a claim might not be enough. Where this becomes tricky is… you do not buy dollar for dollar to protect your assets. As an example… If you are at fault and someone has property damage and injuries that they can claim against you for 150,000. Then your insurance company could pay up to the 100,000 that you bought in liability insurance and the judge can rule that you now owe the additional 50,000 from your net worth. We do not know what kind of accident we will have. So, you are better to be safe than sorry and buy the higher limits. More than you think you need. I can tell you some tragic stories of people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up injuring people very seriously… all in the blink of an eye.
SPLIT LIMITS vs SINGLE LIMITS LIABILITY
The most common liability limits sold are called split limits and the most common split limits are; 15/30/10, 25/50/25, 50/100/50, 100/300/100 and 250/500/250. Some companies do not sell split limits and instead sell what is called single limits. The most common single limits are; 50,000, 100,000, 250,000, 300,000, 500,000 and 1,000,000. Do you know what the split limits mean? The first and the second number are for bodily injury and the third number is for property damage. If you have bought the 100/300/100 limit then if you are held liable in an accident, your policy can pay up to 100,000 for any one person’s injuries and up to 300,000 total for all injuries in any one occurrence. So the max that your insurance company can pay for all people that are injured in an accident that you can be held responsible would be 300,000 and no one person can receive over 100,000. Then in addition to how much is paid for bodily injury, your policy can pay up to 100,000 for all property damage. That could be other vehicles, guard rails, street lights, bridge abutments, front porches, fences, etc…. So, that sounds pretty good right? It can pay up to 100,000 for any one person’s injuries and up to 300,000 in total injuries and up to 100,000 in property damage. But, lets look at it another way. How much does it cost if you are in the hospital emergency room for 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours? Of course we can’t answer that because we do not know what is wrong and what they have to do for you. But, it could be 25,000, 50,000, 75,000? ? ? I know of a head on collision where the 67 year old male was in the hospital 30 days and then died. What was his hospital bills? If you were at fault in that accident and your net worth was 100,000 and you carried 100/300/100 limits, are you going to lose your net worth? You might. This is why agents frequently recommend to clients that have a higher net worth to buy limits of 250/500/250 and then an umbrella policy on top of that.
The advantage to the consumer for buying the split limits over the single limits is no one person’s injuries could use up all the liability leaving nothing for anyone else that is injured or for property damage. Let’s say someone has an accident with another vehicle that has four people as passengers. One dies at the scene and three are hospitalized. Let’s assume the person at fault had a 500,000 single limit liability policy. That 500,000 is there to pay injuries and property damage. The family of the deceased passenger can claim quicker because the injured people do not know the extent of their claim for months, until they are healed. Let’s say the family of the deceased is a wife who does not work outside the home and three small children. It would be easy for them to show the loss of the father’s future wages is worth more than the policy limit. They could claim the entire 500,000. This would leave nothing for the other injured people. However, the single limit would work better, if only one person is injured or dies. They then could claim it all and not be limited to the first number of the split limit. If you buy a split limit liability with an umbrella on top, then you have both worlds. Because the umbrella is a single limit that kicks in after the split limit basic auto policy is used first.
PERSONAL UMBRELLA LIABILITY POLICY
Why a Personal umbrella? Because it will kick in after the auto policy’s liability has been used and pay up to an additional one million dollars. That is if it is a regular umbrella and not an excess umbrella. The regular umbrella will pay up to an additional one million and the excess pays the difference after the auto limits pay up to a total of one million. Let’s say you carry 250/500/250 and only one person is injured plus they have property damage of 50,000. The auto can pay up to 300,000 (250,000 for the injuries and 50,000 for property damage) and then an umbrella can pay up to an additional 1,000,000 for a total of 1,300,000. Now if your umbrella was an excess umbrella then after the auto paid the 300,000, the umbrella would pay another 700,000 to bring the total to one million. Big difference.
The umbrella policy is a secondary policy and the auto liability policy is primary. The auto pays first. For that reason the insurance company that sells you the umbrella policy requires you to buy a minimum amount of liability on your auto policy. The most common required today is 250/500/250.
The Personal Umbrella policy normally covers you for more than just your auto claims. It normally will extend the additional coverage to your auto, home cycle, boat, RV and will cover some items that there is not a basic liability policy. A good example could be coverage for “personal injury”. Personal injury means someone’s feeling were hurt because of something you said. A good example would be slander. If you had a court settlement against you for slandering someone. Most insurance companies’ Personal Umbrella policies would pay and there is no basic policy to be primary because personal injury is not covered in any policy other than an umbrella. In this case the umbrella becomes Primary. We are being very careful in our wording about Personal Umbrellas because every company sells something different in their policy. Not all umbrellas will cover personal injury. They extend coverage differently with different basic requirements. Some even have a deductible between the primary and secondary coverage called a “self retained limit”. The most common we have seen is 10,000. So, after the primary auto policy pays and before the umbrella kicks in, you have to pay 10,000. A lot of insurance companies do not have that self retained limit and you should find one that does not. That is like a big fat deductible hitting you when you are not expecting it. Some companies require you to insure all the basic policies with them in order to extend the Umbrella and some will surcharge you additional premium if you do not. Again, do your “do diligence”. It’s your responsibility to check with your company. We are just giving you basic info hoping it helps you think about something you might have forgot or didn’t know.
Most companies will sell their Personal umbrella with coverages of one, two, three, four or five million. We had a client who had a net worth of one million and he bought a five million dollar umbrella. He said he felt like he needed the five million to protect his one million. Good point. Lawyers tend to go after someone who has money for them to get (they are not going to spend the time and expense to go after someone who has no assets, why get a judgement if there is no money to cover the judgement). To give you an idea about the additional premium for higher limits for an umbrella. It normally cost around 65% additional premium to increase your one million policy to a two million policy. If you have a net worth of 250,00 or more, you should think of a two million dollar umbrella. Some of these big RV’s can do a lot of damage. What if a bus full of passengers was passing you or you are passing them and you slide into their lane? A claim like that could cost millions. You might have to take a bankruptcy. Think about the amount of liability you carry. Is it enough?
One more important fact about the Personal Umbrellas. We hope you noticed, we did not mention rental property as one of the items the Umbrella would cover. That is because most companies (not all) say rental properties need a Commercial Umbrella not a Personal. There is a big difference between a Personal and a Commercial Umbrella policy. We are not going into Commercial insurance with this blog. We have thought about starting a company helping small to medium size businesses that do not have a risk manager as an advisor. Helping them with their commercial insurance. We have some thoughts about how to save money on commercial policies. Maybe this could be the reason we will need to do a third blog about insurance? Let’s see if there is a need to do a blog about commercial insurance? We could talk about forming an LLC and why. How easy is it to do yourself? Should you form an LLC or a Corporation? What’s the difference between the two? What if you own three rental properties. Should you form one LLC or three? … and why? Commercial insurance does not have a set premium. It can be credited or debited. How can you get more credits on your business policy? This is some food for thought. Let me know if you want to discuss Commercial Insurance?
UM, UIM & MEDICAL INSURANCE
Uninsured Motorist insurance is a very important coverage. UM is the first two parts of Liability only in reverse. If you carry 100/300/100 Liability then you are allowed to carry up to 100/300 in UM & UIM coverage. Remember what the first two numbers are in Liability? Up to 100,000 per person and up to 300,000 all people put together in one occurrence. The UM says they will pay up to 100,000 per person for you and your passengers in your vehicle if the other party is at fault and they do not have insurance. If they are uninsured. And, up to 300,000 for all people put together in your vehicle per any one occurrence.
Underinsured Motorist insurance will pay toward the people injured in your vehicle if the party at-fault had insurance but not enough. If the at fault individual has insurance then the UM will not pay. But, if they have insurance and it is not enough, then your UIM will kick in and pay secondary after the at fault insured’s liability pays up to the 100/300 limit.
UM & UIM are important because you do not know, if you have an accident, whether the other party has insurance or what limits they carry. With these two coverages you do not have to worry.
Most company’s UM & UIM will also cover you in other vehicles when you are a passenger with a few exceptions. You need to read the list of exclusions. Some of the exclusions state they will not cover you for UM & UIM if the vehicle you are riding in is a taxi, bus, airplane, ambulance, etc… There are exclusion and we have not listed them all but UM & UIM normally will cover you in most private passenger vehicles when riding as a passenger. Of course an Uber car is the same as a taxi.
Let’s say you are riding with moi in my car and someone blows thru a stop sign and broadsides our car. If the at fault driver does not have insurance then my UM will cover us both and then if you also have UM on your own private vehicle, your UM would also cover you as secondary. If the at fault driver does have insurance but it is not enough. Then his liability pays primary, then my UIM pays secondary and then you would also be covered by your UIM after his liability and my UIM.
Some people do not understand the many ways their UM & UIM coverage can pay. This is what personal injury attorneys look for when they take a claim. Many times they pick up 30% of your coverage for turning in a claim for you under UM or UIM and that is money you would have received anyway if you had turned in the claim. It’s easy money for them. They look like a hero when you would have had the full amount if you just understood your own insurance policy and turned in the claim.
Who has to be at fault when someone is injured in your vehicle for your Medical insurance to pay? No one. Medical will pay whether you are at fault or not. Medical is similar to your health insurance. It pays if someone is hurt in your vehicle. It covers you and any passenger in your vehicle. Many people carry enough Medical to cover their deductible on their health insurance. Now that it is common for a health policy to have a 5,000 deductible, then 5,000 coverage on your auto Medical coverage is becoming more popular. Not every insurance company will pay under medical if there is coverage somewhere else. Check with your company. Oops there is another “do diligence” for you to do.
COMPREHENSIVE & COLLISION
Comp and Collision coverage are the only two coverages that protect your vehicle. Other coverages cover injuries to others or in reverse to you are your passengers or even medical coverage. Finally, we are talking about coverage for your vehicle.
Comp, as it it normally called, covers the damage to your RV that is normally covered by auto insurance, that is not a collision. Examples would be: fire, theft, wind, vandalism, glass breakage, hail damage, hitting an animal, hitting a bouncing boulder (you know… where they have those signs… watch for falling rocks – LOL). Since we mentioned the bouncing rock or boulder, did you know? If it is bouncing it is covered under Comp. If it is sitting on the highway it is covered under Collision. The same as if you hit a wall. If you hit any animal like a deer, elk, etc…; that is normally covered under Comp.
FULL GLASS BREAKAGE
FGB is only available in a few States. Under this coverage; if you have a glass claim, they will lower your Comp deductible to zero. With this coverage any glass claim is paid in full. All other Comp claims are paid after your Comp deductible. Arizona is one of the few States that sells FGB. We assume it is because of the desert and the many little rocks kicked up from the highway causing windshield chips and breakage. FGB is wonderful if you have one of those huge windshields that are on some motorhomes. Even without FGB, most insurance companies will waive the deductible and pay the total cost if you can repair the chip in the windshield. This has to be done before it gets to big and spreads. After it spreads then you have to replace the windshield and you have to pay your Comp deductible unless you are one of the lucky ones and have FGB. So, if you have a large windshield on a motorhome, it could be important to get those chips repaired quickly before they spread and the windshield has to be replaced.
This coverage pays for your vehicle if you are in a collision of any kind. It could be with another vehicle, with a tree, with a wall, a front porch, you get the idea. Collision pays if you are at fault or not. Now why would you want to claim against your own insurance company if your are involved with another vehicle and they are at fault? This happens quite frequently. Normally because the other company is giving you a hard time. Or the person at fault Is trying to pay it out of their pocket and telling you what body shop to take your vehicle. Or, their cousin Vinny does body work in their back yard. That’s a big no no.
If the other person is at fault, it is to your best interest to let their insurance company pay for the repairs on your vehicle. Why? Because they will pay in full with no deductible, they will also pay for a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired. But, if they give you a hassle, then by all means let your own Collision coverage pay for your vehicle. Once your insurance company has money invested in repairing your vehicle then they have the right to subrogate back against the party at fault. They will get their money back and also get your deductible back. You might be out your deductible for a few months or even a year or two. But, you will get it back and not have the hassle. Always try the other company first and if there is a problem then call your own company back. Believe it or not, we had to do that in an accident where we were rear ended. We couldn’t believe the hassle the other insurance company gave us. They said we were 75% at fault. We claimed against our collision coverage and had our deductible back in full in just two months with a ruling that we were 0% at fault.
This is where a good agent is worth their weight in gold. They can give you fantastic advice and help you in many ways. One way they CAN NOT help is to call the other company and talk for you. This would be representing you like an attorney and a big no no. That’s not allowed since we do not have a JD degree and passed the bar exam. But, once your company has money invested then they have a legal right to go after the other company. Does this make sense to you? Over the years we have had clients get very upset because they wanted us to call the other company and demand that company fix their car. We could not do that. That is what attorneys do. Accidents can be very stressful. Take a few deep breaths and a time out if necessary. Your agent is there to help you and has seen a lot and has some great advice. Don’t take a bat and start swing at people on your team. Give them a chance… they can help. Most of the larger insurance companies have 800 numbers where you can report a claim. These are great and get the wheels rolling faster. But, if you have any questions after talking with the 800 people, always call you agency and discuss it with them. They are like gold when you need them.
Always take your vehicle to where you want to get it fixed. If they want to give you some suggestions and they sound good to you, then by all means take their advice. But, never let them demand where you have to fix your car. Most insurance companies have specially approved body shops and will give you their list and suggest you try one of their approved shops. If you pick one of their shops some companies will give you a written guarantee directly from the insurance company. This is good and acceptable. But, you do not have to go this route unless you want. One thing we always cautioned our clients about is demanding their vehicle be repaired by their dealer’s body shop. A lot of dealers have great shops. But, a lot of dealers do not. Do you know whether their shop is top notch or not? Normally if you know of a body shop that has been in business for 20 years and has a great reputation, that is where you should go. Everyone can get your parts for your vehicle, not just the dealer. The dealer’s shop might have a lot of young boys learning the body shop trade. Where the long time shop owner might have the best repair people in the business. We also know of some dealers that have great body shops with many years of experience. This is why we suggest you look at and consider the insurance companies list of approved shops. Who knows body shops better than adjusters that deal with them every day? What you really want is the best body shop and that might or might not be the dealership where you bought your car.
Something else to think about is “after market” parts. Don’t fall for the line that they are inferior. Some after market have better guarantees and are better parts. Where do you buy batteries or tires? Those are all after market parts. What the after market parts industry accomplished was bringing down the exorbitant prices that use to be on sheet metal parts. We remember when after market parts first came out about 30 years ago. At that time a new fender would cost around 350 and the after market fender was 90. The original fender then came down to 125. They were gouging their prices and this was inviting someone else to manufacture and sell the after market parts. The original market parts caused their own problem. If they had not been over charging and gouging customers with ridiculous prices the after market business would not exist today. Now they have advertising campaigns trying to convince you the original parts are better. Don’t be afraid of after market. Most are better quality. Also, don’t be afraid of a used fender. Once it is painted it is as good as new. After all, your fender was not new when it was damaged. Sometimes, we get hung up over the dumbest of things that are not worth your time or effort. There are more important things to worry about than after market or used sheet metal. How about the people in the accident. Make sure they are ok. That they heal ok and are emotionally ok. Some people carry the scars from an accident for many years. Help them get back to normal. After 45 years we have seen so many horrible stories. This is what is important and what you need to work on and put your energy toward after an accident.
Some companies offer Replacement Cost instead of Actual Cash Value for your RV in case it is totaled. This is a very important coverage. Each company that offers this is a little different in their wording. So question them and find out exactly what they offer. Normally it is only offered for the first two to five years when your RV is new. So, in the year 2017; if your motorhome is a 2015 model and is totaled, they will offer to replace it with a 2017 model. They will replace your unit with a brand new unit (2017) and not pay you for the value your unit is now worth (Actual Cash Value for a 2015). If you buy this coverage your unit is covered by RC until it is two to five years old and then covered by ACV which is the normal coverage for all vehicles. Few companies sell this coverage. We like it and think it is worth looking for a company that does.
ERS, RENTAL REIMBURSEMENT/VACATION EXPENSE
Emergency Road Service can be very important for an RV. There are a few companies that specialize in RV ERS coverage. Make sure they know what type of RV you own and ask if their coverage will or can tow your RV. We have heard some bad stories from people who bought ERS from a company that is famous for selling this coverage for cars and would not send a tow truck because they could not tow their RV. You want to verify before a claim, not find out when you need them…
RENTAL REIMBURSEMENT/VACATION EXPENSE
A very important coverage for an RV. Always verify from your company exactly what is covered. Will they put you in a motel while the RV is being repaired? For How long? Are you a full-time or part-time RV’er? Do they know? Make sure they do know and that their coverage will pay. Save you from a surprise later.
CONTENTS COVERAGE FOR RV
If you have a homeowners on your main home then your contents will extend from your home to cover you anywhere. Right? Nope, there is one huge exception, it will not extend to another home owned by you. An RV is considered a second home. So, make sure you add contents coverage to your RV policy. If it is not there then they might not be giving you an RV policy.
Another important consideration… do you have equipment you use in a business. All business equipment needs to be covered in a commercial policy. Again as we stated earlier, we are not covering business insurance in this blog (could do a third blog). But just one note. If you are running a business out of your RV then you should form an LLC and buy a CGL (liability) and add property coverages to cover your equipment. A lot of people are making a living in their RV while traveling around the country. Most of the time it is something they are doing online. If you sell your items at a booth at art shows in different towns and cities, they will ask for a certificate of insurance for your business. If you have bought insurance on your business you can have your insurance company fax a cert to the party wanting the certificate. OOPS, we’er talking commercial insurance again. Sorry… just might have to do that third blog on commercial insurance. Hmmmm….
That’s it. If you read this far then you have finished our second post on insurance and probably snoozed thru half of it. This was our second of two. Let us know what you think. Did you learn anything? We certainly hope so. Did we make it simple to understand? Ninth-nine percent of this will also apply to your personal car insurance. Where else can you find this info in easy to understand language? Please, tell your friends to go to our blog and our Facebook Page…
CYA DOWN THE ROAD IN OUR NEXT TRAVEL BLOG… -Mick and Chick