What To Consider Before Buying An RV

So, you’ve decided to join the crowd and purchase your first RV. No doubt owning an RV has many benefits to offer when traveling—no need to worry about hotel reservations, ability to make stops anywhere along your route, freedom to travel where you wish, ability to bring more of your belongings along with you on your travels, and the companionship of other RV owners you will meet at your multiple campground site stops.

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association estimates that families can save 21-64% on their overall travel and accommodation costs for a group of 4 people when going on vacation in an RV.

But once you look at purchasing your first RV, you realize there are many more options than you knew when it comes to buying a recreational vehicle. Making the final decision can feel stressful and overwhelming if you’re not sure exactly what you should be looking for. We’ve compiled a few tips on things you should consider before buying an RV to help guide you in your decision and eliminate the stress of deciding.

DETERMINE WHAT YOUR RV BUDGET WILL BE

With RVs coming in varying sizes, styles, and prices, it is important to first consider what your budget will be for your RV purchase. RVs can range in cost from a few thousand dollars up to a few million dollars so making an informed decision on what your budget will look like will also help you narrow down your options for RVs that may be too far out of your budget range or RVs that do not have enough features for what you are looking for.

Things to consider when determining what your budget for an RV will include:

  • How you intend to purchase the vehicle—will you be buying it outright or financing it?
  • Will you need to put a down payment on the RV, and if so, how much?
  • What type of RV insurance will you need and what will the additional cost be?
  • How often will you be traveling with it and what will your fuel costs, parking, and campground expenses be?
  • How will you handle maintenance on your RV and what costs will come with the maintenance?

DETERMINE HOW YOU WILL USE THE RV

Once you have decided what your budget will be for your new RV, you will want to think about how you will use your RV and what type of features you would like your RV to include. Just as much as RVs come in a variety of sizes, styles, and prices, the way people use RVs also come in varying degrees.

Things to consider when determining how you will use your RV:

  • How frequently will you use your RV? Will you be using your RV for full-time living, be a “weekend warrior” going on frequent weekend trips, or using it for only the occasional road trip?
  • What is your style? Are you ok with the more traditional camping style or are you more of the “glamping” type?
  • How many people and pets will typically be traveling in your RV with you? What will you need the sleeping capacity of your RV to be? Make sure that the size and the features of the vehicle are going to fit comfortably with your lifestyle.
  • Do you want your RV to be towable or to be motorized? Travel trailers are the type of RV that are towed by the vehicle you plan to get around in while traveling white your travel trailer stays at your campsite. Motorcoaches can be parked and left, while you tow the vehicle you plan to use for getting around—or some like to use their motorcoach for getting around town, especially smaller Class Cs.
  • If going with a towable, what is the towing capacity and payload of your current vehicle? Larger travel trailers and toyhaulers may seem ideal for your needs, but can your current vehicle handle the weight? It is important to consider this before buying your RV, or you may be upgrading your vehicle at the same time to avoid causing damage by overloading your vehicle.
  • Where and when do you plan on using your RV? Will you be visiting large campsites or smaller campsites? Will you be going on long road trips and vacations or brief weekend trips?

DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF RV IS RIGHT FOR YOU

With all the different varieties and styles RVs come in, they are categorized into four main types: towable, motorized, specialty, and park model. Within each category, there are distinct features available that broaden your options, so narrowing down which category of RV will be right for you will help you in making that final decision.

Towable RVs

A towable RV does not have its own driving engine and will require you to use your own vehicle to tow it each time you switch locations. Because of this, if you are going to choose a towable style RV, you will want to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to make sure you know what its towing capacity, payload, and other towing limitations are.

Within this category of RVs, you can choose from a variety of styles, including: a foldable camping trailer, toyhaulers, truck campers, fifth-wheel travel trailers, and travel trailers with and without pop-outs.

Motorized RVs

A motorized RV is what most people typically think of when they hear the word “RV”. A motorized RV has its own driving engine, does not need to be towed, is built on automotive frames, and typically sleeps up to eight people. Another name often used for motorized RVs is “motorhome” or “motorcoach.” These can be further broken down into classes. Class C’s are smaller than Class A’s, which can look a lot like a tour bus.

Specialty RVs & Toyhaulers

Specialty RVs are recreational vehicles that are designed either for the mobility challenged or with special interests and hobbies in mind. Specialty RVs for the mobility challenged may include features such as lifts, ramps, roll-in showers, low cabinets, and wider doorways. Specialty RVs such as toyhaulers are designed with special interests and hobbies in mind—such as the inclusion of a horse trailer or garage to transport motorbikes or other sporting equipment.

Park Model RVs

Park model RVs give more of the look and feel of a regular “home”. RVs in this category are typically much larger RVs that look like a home but still need to be connected to electricity, sewer, and water, like any other RV does. These RVs are specifically designed for a longer-term seasonal camping experience in which the user parks at one campsite and stays throughout the season, treating the RV like a vacation home.

Contact Your Independent Insurance Agent To Discuss RV Insurance

Florida rules for RV insurance differ on which type of RV you purchase. Class A's and Class C's—motorhomes—are required to have insurance while towables do not. Essentially, if you drive it, it needs insurance.

The minimum coverage you must carry on your motorhome RV in Florida is the same as the coverage required for other vehicles:

$10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Provides coverage for medical expenses for you and any of your passengers.

$10,000 Property Damage Liability: Provides coverage for damage caused to the other vehicle or property involved in the collision.

It is recommended for owners of other types of RVs, such as campers, travel trailers, and fifth wheels, to add insurance coverage in the event of an accident or damage.

Also, if you are financing your RV, regardless of type, your lender may require some form of insurance to be purchased during the life of your loan. 

Read More: Florida RV Insurance Requirements - What You Need To Know

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