A warranty is, in effect, a written assurance of a product’s integrity and the maker’s recognition of responsibility for the replacement or repair of any defective parts. Warranties can provide peace of mind and, in the event of a mechanical failure, significant cost savings. But understanding the ins and outs of warranties can be hard to follow and downright confusing. To help make this learning process easier, we’ve created a simple guide to understanding RV warranties so you won’t just have the security offered with a warranty, you’ll also have the confidence in knowing you fully understand that warranty too!
Manufacturer Warranty vs. After-Market Warranty
Some RV makers issue manufacturer warranties for their products. For example, prominent RV industry-leader Jayco offers a two-year limited warranty on all of their products. Manufacturer warranties are pretty straight-forward and, unlike after-market warranties, they are most often included in the cost of your purchase. After-market warranties, or extended warranties, are offered and sold at an added cost either through your RV dealership or a third-party provider. These types of warranties operate much the same as insurance, and with these you can negotiate price, coverage, and duration.
Not Every RV Needs a Warranty
While it might sound like a no-brainer to opt in for that souped-up extended warranty when the salesman at the dealership is explaining it to you, it might not necessarily be the best decision. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider skipping over an extended warranty plan:
- You purchase a brand-new RV that comes with a manufacturer warranty - purchasing an extended warranty on top of this will be redundant and it will most likely go unused.
- You purchase an older, pre-owned RV - typically, if things are going to break, they do so in the first couple of years of being broken in.
If you’re a new RV owner, we recommend the best time to start considering a warranty purchase to be after your manufacturer warranty is up, especially if you feel like your RV still has some breaking in to do.
Reading The Fine Print
It goes without saying that any contract you sign should be read over thoroughly, and warranties are no exception. With extended warranties, providers often attempt to sneak in clauses and conditions toward the bottom to establish hidden loopholes that will get them out of covering your claims. Because of this you’ll want to always make sure you read the fine print carefully. To ensure that your warranty is as strong and as comprehensive as you want it to be, here are some factors to be aware of when choosing a policy:
Exclusionary vs. Inclusionary
Inclusionary policies are typically cheaper than exclusionary policies, but you better believe that cheaper price comes at a cost. Inclusionary policies only cover specific items listed on your contract, meaning if the part is not explicitly stated, it is not at all covered. Oppositely, exclusionary policies only list the items that are not covered by the policy, which gives you a lot more coverage that is a lot harder for your warranty provider to dispute. Although exclusionary policies are a bit more pricey, when you’re dealing with a product that has a lot of functioning parts, like an RV, they are much more appropriate and useful.
Inquire About Logistics
Make sure you have an understanding of your warranty’s transfer and cancellation policies. If you later decide to sell your RV you’ll want to know that you can get out of the contract or switch it to your new RV. Similarly, you’ll want to clarify any term limits. For example, if you get a 100,000 mile policy, does the meter start running from the day you purchased the RV or the day you purchased the warranty? Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that you can use any repair center. When you’re traveling around in an RV, you might need to access a repair center far from home, so make sure your policy has you covered nationwide.
You’ll want to be certain that consequential damage is included in your warranty policy. Doing so will ensure that your parts are covered, even if the part that initially caused the damage is not. Without consequential damage coverage you will find that your warranty provider has a lot more freedom to deny your claims.
Now that you have a simple guide to understanding RV warranties, give some thought to whether or not purchasing one for your RV is the right move for you. Before making any final purchasing decisions, shop around and always get more than one quote to make comparisons. It can also be a good idea to check on the reputation of your potential provider to make sure they are reliable and fair.
Have you purchased a warranty for your RV before? Share your first-hand tips with our readers who may be considering a warranty purchase by leaving a comment below!