Insurance for travel trailers and RV’s isn’t cheap, but neither is replacing them. The seven most common claims were released recently by Geico, one of the nation’s leaders in recreational vehicle insurance.
In most cases, these items can be avoided with a little care.
If you could only prevent one thing from happening to your rig, choose this one. Avoiding a fire is easier than you think.
- Have the electrical wiring inspected yearly- replace any cracked or broken wires or “iffy” outlets.
- Never use appliances or light bulbs rated higher than the outlet is made to handle.
- Never leave a lit candle alone- not even for a bathroom break.
- Take care when cooking and don’t leave hot grease unattended. Keep the oven clean.
- Have the gas lines inspected yearly- replace any questionable fixture, coupling or appliance immediately.
- When turning off the outside propane tanks, go back inside and bleed the line. This eliminates trapped pressurized gas.
- Never turn on anything electrical or light a match if you think you have a gas leak.
Need more be said?
2. Blown/Flat Tires
The most common causes are under inflation, over inflation or overloading.
- A tire pressure monitoring system detects any underinflated tire or sudden tire pressure loss within seconds, giving you time to get off the road.
- Maintain your tires with the correct pressure only
- Use the right tires for your rig. Car tires aren’t meant for RV’s.
- Never overload your rig- when in doubt, take it to a weigh station and pay to have it weighed.
3. Awning and Step Losses
This one is almost too easy. I’m surprised that insurance companies pay for this.
- Before leaving, make certain that the steps are up, and the awning is retracted.
- Make sure both are securely in place before moving the rig.
- If the securing straps/clamps/devices aren’t working, replace them before hitting the road.
- A checklist, such as pilots have, would solve this problem.
4. Overhead Damage from Low Bridges, Awnings, etc.
Some bridges look taller than they are. Some bridges, after having work done on the road beneath, aren’t as high as indicated if someone didn’t re-measure it.
- When in doubt about the height of a bridge or overhang, go around.
- Know the real height of your rig. Measure from the highest point– the A/C unit, satellite dish, etc., to the ground. It’s probably taller than you think.
- If you installed a new A/C unit, or installed on in a vintage trailer, re-measure it for the new proper height. See above.
- Pay attention when the bridge says “low.” Never try to squeak through- you probably won’t.
5. Braking and Steering Problems
Maintaining the rig and tow vehicle’s brakes and steering system goes without saying, but other things can cause problems too.
- Maintain the trailer’s braking system, not just the tow vehicles.
- Never overload the trailer- this makes it harder for the tow vehicle to steer or stop.
- Always use the proper tow vehicle. Some smaller trucks are powerful enough to get a trailer to move on flat ground, but may not have the strength to stop it going downhill. If the trailer manufacturer says use a half-ton truck or larger, get one or select a different trailer.
- Always load a trailer evenly- a lopsided trailer is difficult to take down the road, to say the least. Throw in wet conditions, bumpy road or winds, and it can be next to impossible.
6. Damage to Slide Outs
Also called pop outs, these wonderful units give more space when the RV/trailer is parked. Unfortunately, some forget about the size of the slide when parking, and the result is damage to one or two rigs, sending the slide into a building or tree. Drivers have also driven off, forgetting to take it in before leaving, much like speakers at the drive-in.
- Again, a “pilot’s list” of items to make sure of before you leave would certainly include retracting the slide.
- Keep the slide in mind when parking. If in doubt that the slide will fit in the space open, grab a tape measure and check before opening the unit.
Remember the movie “RV” with Randy Quaid and Robin Williams? They had a problem with critters, solved in all the wrong ways.
- When parked in storage, inspect any openings critters might use as an entrance, and seal it.
- If you purchase a used RV that’s been in storage, have the wiring inspected if critters are even hinted at. Rats and squirrels find wiring irresistible to chew on.
- If bugs such as ants or spiders have made a home in your RV, check carefully before using pesticides such as a bug bomb. You’re in a small, enclosed space so fumes could be worse.
It’s also worth noting that stabilizers and stabilizer jacks, trailer jacks, television antennas, and more have sustained damage when RV drivers forget to retract them before hitting the road. A checklist would eliminate this problem.
Keep in mind that accidents do happen. Clips, clamps and devices fail at the most inopportune time causing damage to the rig.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll save money on your insurance because you won’t file as many claims, which helps keep your premiums down.
You won’t have tell the repair shop you forgot to retract the awning/stabilizers/antenna/slide out and listen to the “hmmmm- another one.” You also don’t have to face the laughter of friends or family.
If someone you know has the “forgetting” problem, introduce them to your checklist.
Source: Russ and Tina De Maris, “Insurance Company Lists Most Common RV “Accidents,”” RV travel website, no date given