This week, we talk about extended warranties for RVs. What parts break the most, how an extended warranty will hep save money and why December is the best time to get an extended warranty because prices will rise come Jan.1 and how some older models will become ineligible for coverage after the New Year.
Also this week, lots of RV News, your questions, an off the beaten path report and comments and much, much more.
Show Notes for Episode #271 Dec. 4 2019 of The RV Podcast;
WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK
This week finds us snug in our Michigan home for the holidays. We use this time to make all the annual checkups necessary with health professionals that we can’t attend to when we’re on the road. Plus we’ll catch up with family and friends and plan out the next year of adventures.
Our RV is sitting in the driveway. We had it winterized last week but that doesn’t mean we don’t use it. I drive it as a second vehicle and run errands with it when Jennifer is out and running around in the family car. And we also camp in it during the winter. In fact our annual winter campout at Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is coming up in a little over a month.
We usually have two-and-a-half feet of snow on the ground for that gathering. It’s so much fun. I can’t wait.
But mostly during December, we catch up on the things around the house that we couldn’t do while we were traveling. Even though we are gone for about eight months of the year, we keep our sticks and bricks home in Michigan. We have family nearby and it’s good to connect with them at this time of the year.
This is a good time for us to remind the audience to please subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcast app. Just go to iTunes, search for RV Podcast, and subscribe. It’s that easy. New episodes are released every Wednesday and subscribers always have it waiting for them. And don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes so other RVers can learn about this podcast.
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RV LIFESTYLE NEWS OF THE WEEK
Canada’s Prince Albert National Park to permit Christmas tree harvesting to reduce wildfire threats
Parks Canada has an interesting plan to reduce wildfire hazards in one town near Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan – Christmas tree harvesting. Anyone wishing to harvest a Christmas tree can apply for a free permit between Dec. 1-24, then choose a tree in a specific area, and carry it away. Spruce trees, conifer, jack pine and balsam fir are apparently among the most flammable types of trees, so park officials are removing them for a section of the park with this method, creating an open green belt.
Two children dead, one missing after heavy rainfall floods Arizona creek, submerging their RV
Heavy rainfall is being blamed for flooding a creek in Arizona last weekend that swept away an RV, trapping two adults and seven children inside. Rescuers saved the two adults and four of the children, using a helicopter. Two children were later found dead, and as of this writing, a third was still missing. Apparently the RV was crossing a creek, got stuck, and by the time rescuers arrived, the RV was completely submerged in water. The family was visiting relatives for a family reunion Thanksgiving weekend.
New RV Toll Pass to work on toll roads throughout the country
For those of us who like to travel the country, but get frustrated with the ever-growing areas with toll roads, a story we saw over the weekend on a new RV Toll Pass may be of interest. The RV Toll Pass apparently will offer nationwide coverage under a single account. Sounds like the new pass is designed for RV travelers, allowing those who use it to only activate it for the months they are on the road, and the toll rates will be discounted from cash rates. To learn more click here.
No more minimum stay for Louisiana state park campers
If you are planning to do some camping at a Louisiana state park, you will soon have a little more flexibility. Reservations during the week will no longer be subject to a minimum stay starting Dec. 9. Louisiana has 21 state parks and officials hope this will give visitors greater flexibility when making reservations.
Vermont state parks offering creative camping gift packages
Vermont is offering some creative gifts for outdoor enthusiasts who like exploring the Green Mountain state. Vermont State Parks has created gift packages that include passes for visiting a park, camping in a park and more. For example for $99 a person could purchase a gift basket which includes two nights of tent, lean-to or RV camping in a state park, a coupon for a free armload of firewood, two Vermont State Parks wine tumblers, and an LED lantern. It looks like a creative way to bring in a little money for the state park, and give a unique gift.
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LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
Here are the questions we answer on the podcast, phoned in on our 586-872-6990 Voice Mali message line:
QUESTION: Hi Mike, this is Jim from Chicago, Illinois suburbs. My wife and I really enjoy your podcasts and videos and we have a question. I noticed on your one of your recent videos that your leisure travel van is a licensed in New Mexico, and just wondering the the reasoning behind this. We’re in the process of getting a new class C and looking for maybe an alternative ways of licensing and titling. So appreciate any insights. You might have. Thank you.
QUESTION: Hey, Mike, and Jennifer. How are you guys doing? This is Chris from Pennsylvania. My wife and I just this year got our very first travel trailer and we absolutely love it. I also picked up an inverter generator. I got a question though. And this is kind of a sticky situation obviously not at night time. But can you please speak to proper etiquette when running your generator? Is it okay to do it around noon time first thing in the morning and early evening. Like I said, obviously not overnight when you’re going to disturb people. But when is it proper and when is it not proper to run your generator if it’s not specified by the campground or even if you’re in a free camping like a BLA area like that. Okay. Thank you guys love the podcast Happy Thanksgiving.
Do you have a question you’d like us to answer, or a comment on the things we’re discussing. If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990. If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at rvlifestyle.com and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.
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RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK
As the year comes to an end, many have their RVs in storage for the year. If that’s you, and you have or are thinking about getting an extended warranty for your RV, there are some things you need to take into consideration before Jan. 1.
First, you may want to have your RV inspected now by an extended warranty representative to protect you against the things that often go wrong when an RV goes out of storage in the spring.
Second, if you have a unit that will be 20 years old next year, or a travel trailer that will be 15 years old, if you don’t get that extended warranty before the end of the year, it will not be eligible for coverage.
Third, prices are going up. If you renew or activate that extended warranty before Jan. 1, you’ll get a lower rate.
To help us sort through all this we have invited Staci,Ritchie-Roman of Wholesale Warranties to come on the podcast and help us understand the ins and outs of extended warranties and who December is the month you should take action.
Here’s a transcript of the interview with Staci:
Mike Wendland: Joining us right now from San Diego, Staci Ritchie-Roman from Wholesale Warranties. Staci, how are you?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: I am doing wonderful. Thank you so much for having me. How are you doing?
Mike Wendland: I am doing awesome. You know, this is such a great lifestyle, this RV lifestyle, how can you not? Well, let me start. It’s the end of the year and everybody I know is very busy come December it’s just crazy time, but if someone has an extended warranty, or is thinking about getting one why is this time of year a must time for them to do some serious checking before the first of the year?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Sure. So the big thing that changes at the first of every year is that your model year on your RV is considered one year older. When that happens, unfortunately, we see a price increase on extended warranties across the board, so it’s a really good time. Even though some people are winterizing their units, or holidays are crazy a lot of people aren’t thinking about something like warranties, but you’re never going to get a better rate on your policy than before the switch at the end of the year, so it’s a good time to start thinking about coverage.
Mike Wendland: Everybody often is very surprised at the beginning of the year when they see that the cost has gone up. It’s a simple reason, their unit, like you say, is a year older. What about those who have bought 2020 models because some of the 2020s are on sale now. What about them? Is there a price increase for the new ones?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: On the 2020s, if you’re brand new and you have a lot of manufacturer warranty remaining you’re going to be golden. You can wait until the new year, although, there might be a few reasons you don’t want to on that as well, but if you did purchase a 2020 early in the year, and your manufacturer warranty is running out soon keep in mind that that’s something that the extended warranty companies consider when they’re creating rates. They know that if you’re coming out of manufacturer warranty soon they have a higher liability and your cost could go up as well.
Mike Wendland: Now am I correct in saying that certain model years become ineligible for coverage completely after the first of the year, or at least they lose the level of coverage that they had because it’s a year older and they cross some threshold there, explain that. If they renew now do they keep that same price next year?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Exactly. Yes, currently at Wholesale Warranties for motorhomes we can offer policies to vehicles that are 20 model years and newer. Right now that’s a 1999. Come next year that’s going to be a 2000, so if you have a 1999 unit we can actually offer you a coverage right now that we won’t be able to offer you in just a couple of months’ time. For 15 model year and newer, towables are going to lose coverage as non motorhomes, you’re going to lose the highest level of coverage available to you, and we’re going to have to pare that back to some more basic coverage. The good news is if you do lock in a policy with us before the end of the year we can’t change your rate, and we are going to lock you in for the longest term available to you, which is usually three or four years, so you’re going to set yourself up for success for a while.
Mike Wendland: Now walk us through those years again. For motorhomes, what year does that kick in, and for towables what year?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Sure. Motorhomes, 20 model years and newer, we can offer coverage. Right now 1999 as of January 1st, 2020 that’s going to be a 2000 is the oldest we can go. For towables it’s 15 model years, so right now that’s a 2004 and next year a 2005 is going to be the oldest that we can offer.
Mike Wendland: So if I have a 2004 towable, or I have a 1999 motorhome, if before 2019 ends I renew for next year I’m locked in for another year then?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Exactly. Locked in for the longest term we can get you.
Mike Wendland: It could be even longer than a year then.
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Exactly, yeah. We like to offer the longest term. It’s the best value when you look at the yearly cost and that way, especially, on an older unit we can lock you in for two, three, four years and you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Mike Wendland: All right. So those are pretty good incentives, things that need to be done before the end of the year. Now a lot of people, you mentioned earlier, a lot of people are winterizing and they say, well, I’m not even using my rig. It’s stored for the winter. I don’t travel during the cold weather months. Is it important for them to do this now, or can they do this when they start using the vehicle again? What’s the best advice for those who store their units and aren’t using them right now?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Sure. There’s a few reasons that we are going to recommend you do lock in coverage before the end of the year. As we mentioned for all of the model years you’re going to get the best price, and the longest term right now before January 1st so it’s just kind of across the board. Another really good point is that most repairs are actually needed after the vehicle has been sitting for a while so if you secure coverage before the end of the year anything that comes up in spring when you’re getting ready for your first trip is going to be covered by that warranty. If you wait and you have a bunch of problems when you pull it out of storage those are preexisting conditions and those won’t be covered by the policy. Even if you secure something next year you’d have to get them fixed first.
Mike Wendland: Wow.
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Because we see such a high volume of claims right when people are pulling their units out of storage things kind of go wonky when they’re sitting for a while it’s a really good idea to lock in coverage now so that you know you have it come spring.
Mike Wendland: Do you have to get some sort of inspection done at this point for that kind of coverage? What is required of the RV owner?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Sure. We do a pre-purchase inspection before we put your policy into place, and what that does is it protects the customer from that preexisting condition exclusion that I mentioned earlier. We will come out. We come to you, take a look at your rig, make sure everything is in working order, and we put that in writing before you winterize. That way we can test all of the components that we need to test. We’ve got that inspection. We put your policy into place. Then if something does come up in spring the warranty company can’t come back and say, well, that was probably preexisting to the policy because we’ve got a copy of an inspection from an RV mechanic saying, actually, everything was in great working condition. So we like to have that inspection done before we put the policy into place.
Mike Wendland: So that would be also before winterization before you winterize the vehicle?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Yes. Best bet is to get it in before winterization because we do like to test things like water lines and things that will be kind of shut down if you’ve already gone through that winterization process.
Mike Wendland: What are the typical things that go wrong at the beginning of the year? I would imagine, like you say waterlines that perhaps were not properly winterized that may rupture or something if it wasn’t done right. Air conditioning that sit too long and something happens there.
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Yeah. We see a big variety of claims right off the bat in spring, but across the board all year long our number one claim is always slideout motors, and whether that’s just from sitting and not being used over the winter, slideouts are a super common claim. Same with leveling systems, and the two you mentioned as well. So some of the heating and cooling systems, those are really common claims, and they’re really costly so it’s a good idea to get coverage for those.
Mike Wendland: That just behooves me to suggest, too, that people visit their RVs when they have them in storage for long periods of time, and maybe exercise that slideout, or check your automatic leveling system because they could sit there too long, or don’t just leave it there for four or five months. Go look it over and try out a couple of things. Those are good things to know. You say most repairs are actually needed after it’s been sitting for a period of time. I want to make sure I understand. If you get coverage before you winterize it, and put it into storage if there are issues that come up in the spring those are considered new issues because you had it inspected, and it wasn’t there when you put it to bed in December. Is that correct? Am I getting that right?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: That’s correct.
Mike Wendland: All right.
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Exactly. Yeah. So that’s another reason to lock it in before you put it away for the winter.
Mike Wendland: And then if you wait to get your coverage until after storage any of the issues that arise during storage would be considered preexisting so they would not be covered. That’s correct, too, right?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: That’s correct.
Mike Wendland: Well, see, now this is all good stuff to know. Tell us, Staci, people who are either considering a new one, or updating what’s the best step for them to do? Give them where they should go, what they should check for with Wholesale Warranties?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Sure. It never hurts to get a quote. They’re completely free. You can give us a call at 800-939-2806, or visit wholesalewarranties.com. We’ll pair you up with one of our RV warranty specialists. They’ll walk you through all of your options and find coverage that makes sense for you.
Mike Wendland: All right. One more time give that phone number. I’ll put it in the show notes, but for those who want to call right now without looking at the show notes what’s that number once again?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: 1-800-939-2806.
Mike Wendland: And the website?
Staci Ritchie:Roman: wholesalewarranties.com
Mike Wendland: Pretty darn simple. Well, we will also put some links up in the show notes and we’ll get all that stuff, but one more thing everybody needs to add to their busy holiday to-do list before the end of December check out your warranty information. Renew it now at the best price. It’s all good stuff to know. Staci, thank you so much for being our guest on the podcast and have a wonderful holiday season this December.
Staci Ritchie:Roman: Thank you. You too.
The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country
OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT
By Tom & Patti Burkett
Just the other day we were talking about time, probably because of the wrenching change when daylight savings time goes away. For many years in the USA, standard time didn’t exist. In the few places where time was even important, local time was enough. One exception to this was for sailing ships. In order to plot an accurate location, ships’ navigators needed to know both longitude and time of day. As a result, accurate clocks were kept in port cities, and ships used them to set their clocks before leaving on a voyage. When railroads began to run, timetables were important to the operators. Each railroad established its own time, and railway stations often had several clocks, one for each line that ran across the tracks. The times varied by a half hour or more. All of this, and how daylight saving time came to be is documented in the book Spring Forward, which is a great read for any traveler.
At the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania, you can learn more than you need to know on the subject and see a mockup train station with the different clocks for the different rail lines. We’ve been in a couple of actual railway stations that still have the clocks on the wall—the B&O museum in Ellicot City, Maryland and the Mo-Ark Railroad Museum in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Anyway, all this talk about time is a prelude to telling you about the largest cuckoo clock in the world (maybe).
Back in 1935, cheesemakers Hans and Alice Grossniklaus opened the Alpine Alpa Swiss restaurant and cheesehouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio, on the edge of Ohio’s Amish country. As tourism began to draw visitors to the area, Hans decided to up his game by installing the world’s largest cuckoo clock. He hired clockmaker Karl Schleutermann to build it, and it was unveiled in 1975. Hans was a businessman and entrepreneur, but Alice was a crusader. She vigorously promoted the reclamation of strip-mined land in the region, and often took visitors around to see the damage done by coal mining. Click the link for an article about Alice’s crusade, with a photo of the clockmaker inspecting his work..
Over the next decade, more features were added to the clock display, and it was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. The clock was a bonafide tourist attraction through out the 80s and 90s, alongside Sugarcreek’s Museum and excursion railway, but the tourists moved west, and the restaurant closed, leaving the clock an orphan. Several years later it was auctioned off to a local businessman, who worked with the city to relocate it to a corner lot in the middle of town, formerly the site of a blacksmith’s shop.
It took twenty thousand dollars and a lot of sweat equity to get the clock working again. Volunteers replaced rotted wood, cleaned and lubricated working parts, and put in the plumbing necessary for the waterfall. Art students at the local high school repainted all the dancing and musical figures. City crews added landscaping features and new sidewalks. The official reopening of the clock happened at the Swiss Festival in September 2012. Come, sit on the benches along the sidewalk, and watch the show it puts on every hour. With all the great restaurants, cheesehouses, and farm markets in the area, there’s a good chance you’ll run across us, too, out here off the beaten path.
RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS
December 6-8, Fall Clean Sweep RV Show, Century Link- Lee County Sports Complex, Ft. Myers, FL