What is an Extended RV Warranty and is it worth it?

 What is an Extended RV Warranty and is it worth it?

Many RVers wonder whether an Extended RV Warranty is worth the investment of protecting what already is the most expensive investment they will ever make besides their sticks and bricks home – the RV.

The answer is dependent on a number of factors that we consider in Episode 344 of the RV Podcast. But for those who plan to keep their RV for many years, an extended RV warranty provides something hard to measure: The peace of mind of knowing that pretty much whatever happens, whenever it happens, they're covered.

Listen to the entire podcast in the player below. Scroll to about 25 minutes in to hear the interview. And keep reading below for a transcript of the interview

Here's a transcript of my Interview with Staci Ritchie Roman of Wholesale Warranties

staci ritc

What is an Extended RV Warranty?

Mike Wendland:           Well, joining us now to sort out this whole issue of extended RV warranties is our friend Staci Ritchie Roman from Wholesale Warranties. And Staci, first of all, welcome to the podcast. It's always great to have you on. I think you've been on, a couple years ago we had you.

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Yeah, thank you so much for having us on again.

Mike Wendland:           It's such a crazy time in the RV business. Let's start off with the real basic discussion. What is an extended RV warranty?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Sure. So what most of us know as an extended RV warranty is actually an RV extended service contract, and what it is, is a policy that will step in to pay for repairs to some of the most common mechanical failures your RV is going to face. And so that ranges, everything from a diesel engine down to a microwave, and pretty much everything mechanical and electrical in between.

Do you need an Extended RV Warranty for a new RV?

Mike Wendland:           Well, then what about when someone buys a new RV? Do they need an extended warranty for a new RV?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Yeah, so it kind of comes down to personal preference, but we'll tell you what we think. So your RV comes with a manufacturer's warranty and that definitely takes precedence. So if you have a manufacturer warranty, you're going to go there first. Those don't always cover everything, and things start to drop off after a couple of years.

The great thing about an extended warranty is you can lock in several years of coverage all at once, and the best rate you're ever going to get, the best price you're ever going to get for an extended warranty, is when it's brand new because the extended warranty companies know that they're probably not going to be paying too many claims right off the bat.

So the longest term, the best price you're ever going to get is to buy right when your rig is brand new. And there are some added benefits that come with the extended warranty that you'll be able to use as well, during that first year of manufacturer coverage.

What are the added benefits of an Extended RV Warranty

image of extended rv warranty claims
The most common times major breakdowns occur on an RV  Source: Wholesale Warranties

Mike Wendland:           What are some of those added benefits that you can use?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Sure. So there are additional things like roadside assistance on some of the policies. So it kind of varies policy to policy, and so as a broker, we have several different options available, and that's something that you'll want to discuss with your warranty specialists. But some of these policies do come with added benefits and coverages that maybe the manufacturer coverage didn't come with, so appliances and things like that. Every rig is different, and the manufacturer warranties that come with them are different, as well.

Mike Wendland:           And that leads me to a question. You talked about being a broker. When you buy a new RV, they try and get you to sign up right there at the dealership. Is that necessarily the best place to do it?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      You know, you have options. That's what we want RVers to know. So most of us are familiar with the only time you can get an extended warranty being when you're buying that rig brand new and at the dealership. And that's just not the case. So there are online brokers, like Wholesale Warranties, where you can get a quote for coverage.

Always recommend getting a quote and getting some different options available to you, and having some of that education before you walk into the dealership on that day when you're going to be in that F&I office, and, you know, “Hey, here, get this extended warranty, as well. It's great.”

Take some time before you lock in your rig, work with somebody like Wholesale Warranties, and see what extended warranties are available to you, what options you have.

And it's good to know, too, if you're buying private party or you just have a used rig that you've had for a while, you can still get an extended warranty. So even though you won't be going to a dealership, you can work with a broker like Wholesale Warranties and get coverage on a used unit, as well.

Mike Wendland:           So basically before I take possession of that rig, before I sit down and sign those final contracts, that's the time to really check with you guys and tell you what kind of information would you want, and then what kind of information would we have then to be able to go into the RV dealership, and say, “No, I don't want that. I got my own.”

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Yeah, sure. So we'll just need basic information on an RV in order to pull up a quote for you. So that's going to be the year, make, model, mileage, if that applies, what the purchase price is going to be on your rig, and then some personal information. So how do you use your rig? Are you a full-timer? Are you worried about all types of failures, or maybe you're kind of handy, and you're just worrying about those huge engine repairs and things like that.

So we work really closely with our customers to learn what type of RVer you are, as well, and that will allow us to recommend the best price and the best policy for who you are as an individual RVer and not just like a one size fits all policy.

Why is an Extended RV Warranty needed?

Mike Wendland:           Go over the key reasons why someone would need an extended RV warranty.

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Sure. So simply put, RVs break down. These are homes on wheels and they're built by humans. And some of those mechanical and electrical components are just going to fail you. And we see year after year, the cost of that repair is going up. And there's a lot that goes into that.

Right now, for instance, the demand for RV repair is so high because the demand for everything RVing is really, really high right now. And so that will drive up the cost of labor. It drives up the cost of parts.

And every year the RVs get a little bit fancier, too. We have all these new bells and whistles, and with that comes a higher skill level required for repair, again, driving up those labor costs.

And again, the more mechanical and electrical components in your rig, the higher the cost of repair on parts, as well. So when these RVs are traveling and even when they're sitting, you know, we actually see most of our repairs after RVs have been sitting for a while.

They're just not really made to do that, and so your electrical and mechanical components start to wear down and break over time, and a great way to protect your budget and spend your money on traveling and adventure and campgrounds and going places is to get an RV warranty and let us pick up the tab on the repair bill.

What are the most common Extended RV Warranty Claims?

Mike Wendland:           That leads me to the question of what are the most common claims for an extended RV warranty?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Yeah, so we see a lot of refrigerator, air conditioning, generator repairs, also slide-outs, and leveling systems. I think those just get used so frequently that those fail, as well. So those are some of the top repairs that we see, and a refrigerator is a great example of why the cost of repair is so high.

And so it sounds like a relatively simple fix, but just to diagnose and to look at a lot of those refrigerators, they have to remove the windshield and pull that refrigerator out of your unit. And your labor just starts going up and up and up, when they don't even know what the repair is going to be yet.

And so refrigerator sounds like maybe a simple, easy one. Those usually look around 1500 to $3,000 per repair, and it's super common to see those fail. So those things that you use regularly and that you rely on, those things are going to fail pretty frequently.

What does an Extended RV Warranty cover that the Manufacturer's Warranty doesn't cover?

Mike Wendland:           What are the things, Staci, that are covered by an extended RV warranty that may not be covered on a new RV from the manufacturer's warranty?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Yeah, so it differs rig to rig. Usually, the longest manufacturer warranty you're going to get is on your engine.

And so usually those are three to five years. But each individual appliance will come with an individual manufacturer warranty. A lot of them drop off after that first year, and that's why we like to lock people in for long-term coverages.

So as those things start to drop off, and rather than keeping track of, okay, I've got another three months on my fridge, I've got another six months on my air conditioning, as things come up, you can just say, “Okay, does this go to manufacturer,” or “Hey, I've got seven years of coverage from Wholesale. I can probably send it over there.”

And so common things that are covered under an extended warranty are going to be every mechanical and electrical components in your RV. And so those things do come with those different manufacturers' coverages, and it's tough to know specifically on each rig what is covered and what isn't and for how long.

So it's really good to kind of lock in that coverage right off the bat, extend it out for your best price. And then you're set.

What is NOT covered in an Extended RV Warranty?

Mike Wendland:           That's a great lead in to the other end of it. What's not covered in an extended RV warranty that people may assume are covered, things that aren't covered?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Yeah. So it falls into a couple of different categories, one of the biggest of which is anything that's covered by your comp and collision insurance. 

So RV insurance that you're required to have is different from your extended warranty. That's going to cover you for your physical damages, some of your weather damage, accidents, that kind of thing. Always going to be insurance that's not going to be covered by your extended warranty.

Something else that wouldn't be covered is aesthetic items. So scratches to paint, snags in fabric or flooring or things like that, not going to be covered. And then regular maintenance, so oil changes, any type of maintenance that's required or suggested by your manufacturer, that's going to be up to you.

The extended RV warranty is really there for the actual failure and breakdown of your mechanical and electrical components.

Is an RV ever too old for an Extended RV Warranty?

Mike Wendland:           Is there an RV that is too old to get an extended warranty, particularly when people are buying used RVs?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Sure. Yeah. So we go back pretty far. So on a motor home, we can offer coverage up to 20 model years old, and on towable RVs, we can go back 15 model years. So we're definitely here to help out people buying used rigs or people that have had their rigs for a while. We can go back pretty far.

Mike Wendland:           Yeah. Tell us exactly how you guys work that's maybe a little different than what we'll hear at an RV dealer. How does a company, a broker, and there are other ones, it's not just you guys. There are others in the field. But how does Wholesale Warranties work?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Yeah. So something that is really important to us is finding reliable coverage that is backed by an insurance carrier and has an administrator that has a good history of paying claims, because they can say anything they want, but if they don't pay the claims, their contract's not worth the paper it's written on.

So we do a lot of work directly with those administrators and with the people who offer the warranty contracts to ensure they're going to be there for our customers when they need them. And we have absolutely dropped contracts that weren't. So we're in the business of making sure it's going to be reliable coverage.

And options. So I mentioned personalization, working with RVers to find out who they are and what they're worried about, to match them up with the level of coverage that makes the most sense, not just the most expensive policy, we're not trying to always sell that high dollar one.

We want to set you up with the policy that makes sense for you and who you are as an RVer. So the personalization is really nice. And usually, if you are going to a dealer and getting set up there, there's just so much going on when you're purchasing your RV. There's so many documents to sign, so much to discuss, that you don't really have the time to dig into these warranty contracts.

And so that's another thing we do, is you will get set up directly with a warranty specialist who is an expert in these contracts and most of the contracts on the market.

And we're going to educate you and allow you to make an empowered and confident decision, what policies, where to buy it, who it's with. We want you to have all of the information so that you feel really good about your coverage and you know what it's going to do and what it won't cover because that's equally as important as what it does.

What does an Extended RV Warranty Cost?

Mike Wendland:           And that takes me really to the last question, and I know it's a tough question because it depends, but with that in mind, what are some ballpark costs of an extended RV warranty that people want to consider when they're buying an RV, so they can put that into the budget that they're going to need for it?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Sure. So super hard to give a dollar figure, but I can tell you how we come up with our costs and I can also tell you, quotes are free. So it's not going to hurt you to get that dollar figure for your specific unit. But it comes down to the age of the unit, the mileage on the unit, and the value.

And so you can kind of surmise that the older the rig, the higher the cost is going to be, and the higher value. So a $400,000 motor home is going to have a significantly different cost than a towable. And so it comes down to your specific rig and how much it's been used, how much it's been driven, and then what the current value is of it.

Does an Extended RV Warranty cost more for fulltimers?

Mike Wendland:           And that adds a side question to that, then. Is there a difference in the rate between a full-timer, or an occasional user, or a half-timer, or does it depend strictly on the rig itself?

Staci Ritchie Roman:      It's just on the rig. So we will ask you those questions because it helps to set you up with the coverage that makes sense for a full-timer versus someone who barely uses it, or uses it for a few weekends a year. And it's good for us to know.

We want to make sure full-timers have access to certain things. But it won't affect the cost of your policy right now.

Mike Wendland:       Staci, thanks for joining us.

Staci Ritchie Roman:      Thank you so much.

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Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

4 Comments

  • I am not sure why Mike and Jennifer push Wholesale Warranty as being the company to go to for extended warranty coverage.
    Maybe wholesale warranty is who they are wanting to promote but I know for a fact that there are other companies out there that are just as good if not better.
    RV Ultimate Protection is a great company and their exclusions are not as lengthy as Wholesale Warranty.
    RV Ultimate Protection is just one company out of many others that offer extended warranties and as a consumer, I am here to let others know that they need to do their research on other companies and pick which one suits them best for the coverages needed.

  • Neither an RV nor an extended warranty is an “investment”. The question is, is it likely you will recoup what you paid for it? I had a number of clients in the warranty business and my observation is this: they bring in a lot of money but pay very little out. There are three very important factors in making the decision to obtain a warranty: 1) the cost, 2) the integrity of the company and 3) how likely you are to follow the required maintenance and pay attention to when you should make a claim. When we bought our 5th wheel toy hauler, we were offered a 7-year warranty for $5600 and I said “No thanks”! As the process continued, the price magically came down to $2600, which I gladly paid for our NAEWAN warranty. We have had the RV for almost 4 years and have more than recovered what we paid for it. The company is easy to work with and we have been very pleased with the coverage. I have heard less enthusiastic feedback from people who have coverage with less reputable companies.

  • […] Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 46:07 — 27.0MB) | Embed […]

  • Amazing Read!! I run into so many RV enthusiast that don’t realize the importance of regular maintenance and cleaning!! I`ll be adding your blog link to my website!!
    RV Cleaning In Tacoma

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