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Are Extended RV Service Plans Right For You?

 By Mark Polk

 Someone e-mailed me recently and wanted to know what my thoughts were on extended service plans for RV's. I replied that I thought extended service plans offered great protection as long as you understand a little about them and how they work. When you are doing the finance paperwork on your RV most RV dealers will offer you some type of extended service plan that you can purchase. Before you agree to purchase a plan make sure you understand all of your options. You should not be pressured into buying an extended service contract.

If you buy a new RV and purchase an extended service plan that covers both the coach and the chassis, the plan would take over the day after all of the original factory warranties expire. For example, if you purchase a seven year extended service plan and the motorhome has a one year warranty on the coach and a three year warranty on the chassis the service plan would be in affect for six years after the coach warranty expires and for four additional years after the chassis warranty expires. The advantage of purchasing the plan when the RV is new is that it will be less expensive for a new unit as opposed to a used unit. Most plans can be purchased anytime up until the factory warranties expire if you don't purchase the plan when you initially buy the RV. Some extended service plans will offer coverage on used units that meet the plans criteria if you purchase the plan when you buy the used unit. Coverage on a used unit will cost more. It is usually based on the age of the unit and the mileage if it's a motorized RV.

I mentioned if you buy coverage for the coach and the chassis. That's because most of these service plans offer different levels of coverage. You may only want additional coverage on the coach portion or on the chassis portion. In addition to different levels of coverage, plans are available for different terms.

Make sure you read and understand the extent and time period of coverage before signing any agreements. If you don't understand something, ask to have it explained to you. You will also want to make sure that the company offering the plan is reputable and will be acknowledged by other RV dealers and RV repair centers. It should offer coverage in all of the USA and/or Canada. If you plan to travel outside your country of origin make sure the coverage is still available. You will also want to check on how a claim is paid. I have seen cases where you pay for the repairs up front and then get reimbursed when you send in a copy of the service order or repair bill. If the repair facility agrees to file the claim most plans only require that you call for approval before any repairs are made. A good plan should be transferable if you sell your RV, it should be renewable so you can extend the coverage and it should offer a pro rated refund if coverage is terminated during the term of the contract.

Pricing for these plans will be based on several factors. I have already mentioned some; the length of the plan, the extent of coverage, if the RV is new or used, the age and mileage, and the deductible. The deductible can range from $0 to over $200. This is not bad considering a $500 or $1,000 average repair bill if an appliance fails. Some items on the RV, like slide outs and entertainment systems may not be covered unless you pay an additional surcharge. Make sure you understand what these items are and if you want them to be covered by the plan.

Do not be pressured into purchasing a plan. Ask your RV dealer to give you a price on the plan they have to offer and then you can shop around and compare pricing for extended service plans. Just make sure the plans you are comparing offer similar coverage. Research and know in advance what you plan to do about an extended service plan before you go in to sign the finance paperwork.

Happy Camping!


Copyright 2007 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101

RV Expert Mark Polk, seen on TV, is the producer & host of America's most highly regarded series of DVD's, videos, books, and e-books. http://www.rveducation101.com/

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