Purchasing a new RV is a significant investment. But, of course, you have done your research and chosen a reputable RV manufacturer to ensure that your investment does not end up costing you even more hard-earned cash in repairs and maintenance.
Still, mechanical problems will sometimes arise, and even the best brands can experience unexpected issues. An RV warranty is the solution to help you protect your investment and avoid spending additional dollars on RV maintenance and repairs.
RV Manufacturer’s Warranty
THE RV MANUFACTURER PROVIDES an RV Manufacturer’s Warranty and differs depending on the particular RV brand. Most RV Manufacturer’s Warranties cover any needed repair or replacement that directly results from a manufacturer defect or shoddy construction or assembly. However, as a general rule, an RV Manufacturer’s Warranty will not cover the cost of repairs or replacement of any components not manufactured by the RV maker. Unfortunately, this means that if your refrigerator stops cooling or the stove won’t turn on, you are often left tracking down the appliance manufacturer and attempting to negotiate with them directly for assistance.
- Manufacturer’s Warranty Duration
The duration of an RV Manufacturer’s Warranty differs from brand to brand. However, most RV manufacturers offer warranties that extend from 1 to 3 years from the date that you purchase your new RV.
- Manufacturer’s Warranty Mileage Cap
Many Manufacturer’s Warranties impose a mileage cap of anywhere from 15,000 to up to 100,000 miles of travel. Once you exceed the maximum allowable miles, your manufacturer’s warranty is no longer valid. The industry standard for most major RV Manufacturer’s Warranties is one year or 15,000 miles.
- Non-Transferability Clause
One additional consideration to note, a Manufacturer’s Warranty is generally considered non-transferable, meaning that any sale or transfer of the RV to a new owner will immediately nullify the Manufacturer’s Warranty.
RV Extended Warranty
An RV Extended Warranty is a warranty or service plan offered as an option by the RV dealership where you purchase your RV. As the name implies, the RV extended warranty is designed to act as an extension of the Manufacturer’s Warranty to provide coverage for repair or replacement costs that are not covered under the umbrella of the original warranty or those which occur after the original Manufacturer’s Warranty has expired.
Like Manufacturer’s Warranties, RV Extended Warranties will differ in scope and duration depending on the particular dealership where you purchase your RV.
There are two basic types of Extended Warranties, exclusionary and inclusionary. Let’s take a look at the different coverage offered by each type.
- Exclusionary Warranty
As counterintuitive as it may seem, an exclusionary warranty generally provides the greatest amount of coverage. This is because an exclusionary warranty provides an umbrella of coverage that extends to every type of damage or malfunction except those specifically listed as not covered or excluded from coverage.
For example, a typical exclusionary extended warranty may contain a provision stating that water damage or damage caused by a collision or roll-over accident is not covered under warranty. However, every other repair or replacement cost for any part or component, including accessories and appliances, furnishings, and fixtures, is covered just as long as the damage or malfunction was not the result of water damage or a collision or roll-over accident. If it is not on the list of excluded items or circumstances, then it is covered.
In the interest of transparency and realistic expectations, let’s look at the most commonly excluded repair and replacement costs under most RV extended warranty policies.
All lighting components or lamps are generally excluded from warranty coverage. This includes interior lamps, tail lights, headlights, and control panel or service panel indicator lamps.
This exclusion often causes some confusion for RV owners. It is important to understand the difference between weatherstripping and seals or gaskets. These terms are often used interchangeably; however, while seals and gaskets are usually covered under most RV extended warranties, weatherstripping is almost always excluded from coverage.
A simple way to differentiate weatherstripping from other types of seals or gaskets is to examine the purpose of the seal. Weatherstripping is a stationary seal attached to a non-mechanical component. Its sole purpose is to keep the weather outside your RV from coming inside of your RV. In contrast, a seal or gasket is part of a mechanical or moving assembly and is required for the proper functioning of that component.
- Certain Surface Materials
As a general rule of thumb, most aesthetic components of an RV are excluded from coverage under an extended warranty. Aesthetic components are those items that improve the appearance or comfort of the RV but serve no mechanical purpose. For example, carpet, curtains, furnishings, countertops, screens, windows, and exterior and interior wall coverings are commonly excluded from warranty coverage.
- Upgrades and Modifications
It is important to note that all changes made to the originally installed equipment for your RV will be excluded from coverage. Furthermore, adding an upgrade or modification will generally result in any component that is affected by the upgrade or modification either directly or indirectly being excluded from coverage as well.
- Inclusionary Warranty
In contrast to an exclusionary extended warranty, an inclusionary warranty contains a provision stating the specific parts and components covered under the extended warranty. Anything that is not included on the list of covered items is not protected by the warranty.
Most comprehensive inclusionary extended warranties provide coverage for the major mechanical components required to keep your RV functioning as intended. Specific coverage depends mainly on the dealership or the third party providing the extended warranty coverage, and the specific options are chosen by the RV owner when the RV extended warranty is purchased.
There are generally restrictions in place regarding the age and mileage of the RV, which will determine the level of inclusionary extended warranty coverage that will be offered. Let’s look at the examples provided below to get a better understanding of the standard structure of inclusionary extended warranty coverage options.
- Comprehensive Coverage
Comprehensive coverage will provide the most inclusionary extended warranty protection. While not as extensive as a typical exclusionary extended warranty, a comprehensive inclusionary warranty will generally cover all the mechanical components required to keep your RV functioning as intended.
- Coach Only Coverage
Coach Only coverage is usually offered for older or high mileage RVs that fall outside the scope of a comprehensive inclusionary policy. Under a Coach Only warranty, most interior components, and fixtures that make an RV comfortable are covered while major mechanical systems are not.
- Catastrophic Coverage
Catastrophic coverage inclusionary extended warranties are generally limited to providing reimbursement of costs for big-ticket repairs of major components like major engine, axle, or drivetrain repairs.