Should I Buy an Extended Warranty for my RV?

Jun 04, 2019 Collin Fitzgerald Comments Disabled
Should I Buy an Extended Warranty for my RV?

It seems like everything we buy these days has an extended warranty available for purchase, and RVs are no different. The popularity of extended warranties has prompted us to write the following brief outline discussing the wide variety of options available to today's RV buyers.


First, it is important to note what an extended warranty is NOT. It is not insurance nor is it a maintenance plan. Damages that occur due to accidents will still be covered by your insurance, and issues that arise due to routine maintenance will need to be covered out-of-pocket as someone without an extended warranty normally would.


At its core, an extended warranty is an agreement purchased that will cover specified problems/issues for a predetermined charge over a certain amount of time. Typically these agreements last for two to seven years from the purchase date. But oftentimes extended warranties are just one part of a broader program called a service contract, service agreement, or warranty program. These programs may offer numerous additional benefits such as road-side service, concierge services, technical support hotlines, service call reimbursement, travel expense coverage, and various other benefits. It is critical when considering an extended warranty to determine what other benefits the program offers.


Here's how most extended warranties work: you have a service issue arise that is not covered by the original factory warranty, you contact a local service center (this can be the original selling dealer or one close by if you're traveling), they analyze the problem and obtain pre-authorization from the program administrator, the repair is performed, and you pay the deductible for the repair. Depending on how the program was initially set-up, deductibles commonly range from $50-$200. Initial costs of most reputable programs cost in the thousands of dollars, ranging anywhere from $1,000 for less expensive new towable trailers to many thousands for more costly used motorhomes. They can be paid for up front, but oftentimes they are added in with financing.


This brings us to the next question: is it worth purchasing an extended warranty, and why? There are several reasons why many customers choose to purchase a service contract or extended warranty. For starters, many people simply value the peace-of-mind associated with knowing the majority of future repairs on their RV are in essence already paid for. Additionally, this makes it much easier to budget the cost-of-ownership, especially for payment-conscious buyers. Not having to keep a sizable, dedicated RV repair fund (yes, it does cost money over time to own and maintain your RV!) set aside at all times is an appealing advantage to purchasing a service contract. Furthermore, many of these programs can be transferred to the next owner if the RV is sold or traded to an individual or dealer. This can sometimes be used as a selling point to add value at the time of sale.


If you've continued reading until this point, you're probably now asking yourself which service contract or extended warranty is the "best" on the market. We encourage customers to look at several factors when considering purchasing a service agreement. First, determine the overall value of the contract in terms of benefits/dollar spent. Undoubtedly, some programs are far more comprehensive than others in terms of what is covered. Some programs cover only a select few items, while others cover almost everything on your RV. Consider too the reputation of the program. Does the RV industry overall endorse the product? Does the RVDA or RVIA endorse the product? What do online reviews have to say about it? Does the product do a great job of covering most major components, or do they attempt to deny as many claims as possible? Does the product require additional yearly fees or costly periodic maintenance check-ups in order to maintain compliance? Read the fine print and try to answer as many of these questions as possible when considering a program, and your decision may be made for you!


With the RV industry growing and performing well, there are many options available to today's RV buyers in terms of service contracts. It is imperative that potential buyers learn which one to purchase, what exactly they are buying, how it works, and why it benefits them. If your RV dealer cannot confidently and honestly answer these questions, consider purchasing elsewhere. If you have any questions about what we offer here at Arrowhead, call, text, or email us and we will be happy to help!