FMCA’s new insurance partner, GMAC Insurance, shares tips for preventing some common RV insurance claims.
In our continuing effort to share important information with motorhome owners and provide our members with the best possible benefits, FMCA has partnered with GMAC Insurance, America’s #1 RV Insurance Specialist.1 The FMCA Motorhome & Auto Insurance Plan will provide FMCA members with the specialized RV protection they need at the exclusive, preferred rates they deserve. This article discusses the top RVing mishaps and what you can do to prevent them.
From floods to fires, the FMCA Motorhome & Auto Insurance Plan experts have seen it all. However, every year there are five types of RV claims that seem to recur most often. Check out these top five RVing mishaps and tips on how to avoid them. You might save much more than just your vacation!
1. Tire Blowouts
Tire failure is the cause of 60 to 70 percent of comprehensive claims. Tires usually blow out as a result of an overloaded motorhome, improper inflation, or excessively worn tread. Follow these simple tire safety tips:
- Check your tire pressure monthly, and before starting any trip. Check the air pressure when tires are cold.
- Don’t let air out of a hot tire, because it may be underinflated when the tire cools.
- Level your motorhome and chock the wheels whenever it will be parked for a couple of days or longer.
- If a tire is punctured, have it dismounted and professionally repaired from the inside.
- Don’t use petroleum- or alcohol-based tire products that can accelerate tire wear.
- Remember, it is recommended by the RV industry and RV safety experts that tires should be replaced every five to seven years regardless of mileage or outward appearance. So, if a tire is more than seven years old, replace it, even if it looks new.
- Help prevent ozone and UV damage by washing your tires with mild soap and water and scrubbing them with a soft brush. Also, be sure to keep your tires covered when your motorhome is off the road.
- Know the weight of your motorhome (when loaded) and make sure your tires are rated appropriately.
If you do have a claim as a result of a tire blowout or other covered mishap, rest assured that the FMCA Motorhome & Auto Insurance Plan will provide the specialized protection you need. For example, if your motorhome and towed vehicle are ever involved in the same covered accident while they are attached, you’ll be responsible for only one deductible “” not two “” when you put your RV and auto on one convenient FMCA Motorhome & Auto policy. Plus, you’ll earn a multi-vehicle discount of up to 20 percent.
And if your covered claim involves damage to your hitch, FMCA Motorhome & Auto Insurance Plan will cover your entire hitch assembly at full replacement cost. Ordinary auto insurance policies may not pay for everything you need if you have a claim involving an RV and a towed vehicle. When you insure both your auto and motorhome with the FMCA Motorhome & Auto Insurance Plan, you don’t have to worry.
2. Refrigerator Fires And Propane Leaks
Hundreds of claims every year result from refrigerator fires caused by malfunctions in the fridge’s cooling system. A motorhome can burn up in minutes as a result of these malfunctions. When it comes to the refrigerator in your motorhome, familiarize yourself with the make and model and always be on the lookout for recalls. The experts at FMCA Motorhome & Auto stay in contact with propane appliance manufacturers, and you should, too. Bookmark the Web site of the manufacturer of your RV refrigerator, for example, and periodically go online to check for recalls or other safety information. If you attend RV shows or rallies, stop by the booths of RV manufacturers and ask whether there are any recalls that pertain to your refrigerator. Also be sure to follow these basic guidelines:
- Never paint your propane tank a dark color.
- Be sure your oven or stove burners are completely off when not in use.
- Make sure your engine and any propane appliances are turned off before refueling.
- Be certain that older propane tanks have an overfill protection device.
- Check exhaust and intake vents for any blockages.
- Install a propane gas detector.
- Do not drive with your refrigerator running on the propane setting.
If the unthinkable does occur and your motorhome is damaged or lost to fire, the RV claims experts at FMCA Motorhome & Auto will quickly get you back on the road with as little hassle as possible. And with FMCA Motorhome & Auto’s Personal Belongings Coverage, the possessions in your motorhome “” from laptops to linens “” are automatically insured for full replacement cost up to $3,000 at no extra charge. You can add more coverage if you need it. Plus, if you have FMCA Motorhome & Auto’s Optional Full Replacement Cost Coverage and your motorhome is totaled or stolen (and not recovered) in its first five model years, it will be replaced with a comparable new motorhome, even if you’re not the original owner. After the first five model years, you will receive your full original purchase price “” not a depreciated amount “” toward the purchase of the replacement motorhome. And the FMCA Motorhome & Auto experts will be happy to help find a replacement motorhome that meets your exact needs. Replacement Cost Coverage must be purchased during the motorhome’s model year or within the following four years. It could save you thousands by protecting you from depreciation.
3. Hitting Bridges Or Gas Station Overhangs
You’d be surprised how many claims result from forgetting an RV’s height. Getting lodged under a gas station overhang, bridge, or other overhead obstruction is no joke. In order to avoid this typical accident, create a constant reminder by posting a note with your motorhome’s height on your dashboard “” and be sure to take into account any antennas or other rooftop attachments.
If you do incur damage because of inadequate clearance or some other mishap on the road or at the campground, the experts at the FMCA Motorhome & Auto Insurance Plan will work with you to have the repairs completed as quickly and conveniently as possible based on your needs. They have an extensive network of RV Direct Repair facilities that will complete your repairs with the backing of a lifetime guarantee. They can work with the shop of your choice, or they can send an appraiser out to inspect your motorhome at the campground or other location. Depending on the extent of damage, they can even work with mobile repair vendors to have your motorhome fixed without having to take it to a shop.
Other insurers may ask you to pay not only for minor repairs but also for a service call. FMCA Motorhome & Auto is designed to pay for both your service call and for covered claims repairs (minus your deductible). And if you do find yourself stranded, FMCA Motorhome & Auto’s Emergency Expense Allowance will even help pay for food, lodging, and travel expenses.
4. Forgetting To Retract Steps And Awnings
It’s easy to forget minor things when you’re eager to move on to your next RVing destination or are finishing up your vacation. So, it’s no surprise that many claims are the result of forgetting to retract steps or awnings “” or otherwise ensure that your motorhome is completely ready to get back on the road.
Before starting your engine, avoid common RVing mistakes by taking the following preventative measures:
- Be sure that awnings, jacks, and steps are fully retracted.
- Ensure that sewer, water, and power are disconnected.
- Walk around your motorhome to check for obstructions such as low-hanging branches, curbs, signs, etc.
- Check tire pressure and tread condition.
- Ensure that the oven and burners are off.
- Check underneath your motorhome for leaks.
- Make sure the coolant, oil, and transmission fluids are at the correct levels.
- Double-check tow bars and safety lines.
- Make sure all brakes are functioning properly.
- Check intakes and exhausts for blockages.
- Check for propane leaks and ensure that smoke detectors and propane leak detectors are functioning properly.
- Close and latch bay doors.
If you happen to forget and nip an overhang, a branch, or what have you, don’t fret. With FMCA Motorhome & Auto’s Permanent Attachments Coverage, your awnings, rubber roofs, antennas, tow kits, levelers, and more are automatically insured for the full amount it would cost to replace them “” not a depreciated amount.
5. Animal Infestation
When your motorhome sits empty over the winter months, mice, squirrels, and other animals can make it their home; chew through wires and lines; and cause other mayhem. While damage from these unwelcome critters generally is covered by FMCA Motorhome & Auto’s comprehensive coverage, it’s best to periodically scare away unwanted pests by starting your motorhome weekly, even during the off-season. That may help to spook your unwanted guests and let them know that they’re not alone.
You should always maintain your comprehensive coverage to protect your motorhome against threats such as animal infestation, fire, storms, wind, and theft. However, the FMCA Motorhome & Auto Storage Option lets you save money by suspending the other coverages you don’t need during the months your motorhome is off the road.
The Storage Option allows you to suspend your liability and collision coverages to reduce your premium by an average of 53 percent when you’re not using your motorhome. Just six months of this exclusive Storage Option could save you up to $400.
For more information, or to get a free rate quote from the FMCA Motorhome & Auto Insurance Plan provided by GMAC Insurance, visit www.gmacinsurance.com/fmca. Or call (877) 833-8941 and mention Savings Code YS-AC to get the best rate.
1 Based on results from an independent study conducted by URI Information Services and Dr. James E. Fisher, St. Louis University. America’s #1 refers to GMAC Ins.
Eligibility, benefits, discounts, and coverages may vary.
Underwritten by these member companies of the GMAC Insurance Group, Winston-Salem, NC: National General Ins. Co., National General Assur. Co., MIC General Ins. Corp., and GMAC Ins. Co. Online Inc. Coverage not available in HI and MA. Coverage in NJ provided by High Point Property and Casualty Ins. Co., which is not affiliated with GMAC Ins. Some features may not be available.
Underwritten by National General Assur. Co. in TX and National General Ins. Co. in WA.