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5 Golden Tips for Hassle-Free RV Insurance Claims

Aug 18, 2007
Some RVers go their whole RV careers without ever having a mishap costly enough to warrant an insurance claim. In the unfortunate event that you do have to file a claim, your life will be easier - and you'll be more likely to receive the full extent of your financial compensation - if you follow these five simple tips for hassle-free claims.

1) Take Photos and Retain Receipts
Your best friend when filing a claim will be your adjustor - the person who checks up on your claim to make sure that it's legitimate. Your adjustor's best friends are the receipts and photos of your RV and the items in it that sustained damage. This need for documentation is a great reason to spring for that digital camera you've been eyeing.

The documentation habit is easy to get into - simply photocopy receipts for your RV along with receipts for significant upgrades and costly bring-alongs such as bicycles, fishing poles, binoculars, video cameras, etc. Photocopying is important - most people don't realize how quickly the ink on receipts fades. Put these photocopies into a file and keep them safe at your house. If you're a full-timer consider a safe-deposit box at your bank.

Then, in the two minutes before you leave for each trip, take your digital camera and snap photos of the outside and inside of your rig. Once you've gotten into the documentation habit for yourself, you're well on your way to hassle-free claims.

2) Take Post-Damage Photos and Retain Post-Damage Receipts
Once you're sure that everyone involved in the mishap is safe, healthy, and accounted for, it's time to get that digital camera back out and start snapping photos of the damage and the overall situation. Depending on the severity of your claim, your photos could well be what tips the scales in your favor. Be as thorough as possible without being annoying or overly insensitive to other parties involved.

On claims involving major damage to your rig, you'll have estimates and receipts for work done. Obviously you'll be saving all of these. At that point your claims adjuster will help walk you through the proper steps.

Photo documentation is especially crucial for mishaps that don't restrict your rig's mobility. Let's say, God forbid, your TV wrenches loose, flies through the air and smashes your new kitchen cabinets. Your RV's still fine to drive but if you clean up the mess and get back on the road, you're cleaning up evidence vital to your claim adjustor's work.

3) Determine the Damage Cost That Pays You to Make a Claim
Let's say your RV insurance policy has a $500 deductible. You just had a mishap that you documented with receipts and photos (good job!) for a total of $750 in damages. Does it pay you to file a claim for that $250 you'd get after the $500 deductible?

Here's where things get tricky, because in some cases making a claim for that $250 means that your rate may go up. Talk with your agent and fellow RVers to get an idea of how much and when your rates go up to determine when it really pays you to file a claim. Once you know that amount, set that much aside for potential mishaps on the road. You could end up really thanking yourself in the future.

There's another important reason to set that limit for yourself. Insurance companies of all shapes and sizes use a service called CLUE which tells them how often individuals file claims against insurance. Think of it like a credit rating for insurance. The more claims you file, the more likely your insurance is to go up. Ultimately, you could stand to be rejected for insurance on other possessions in your life.

Save yourself the hassle by knowing when you'll file a claim and when you'll pay out of pocket expense.

4) Be Honest in the Application Process
Being honest sounds simple, right? We were all taught that lesson by out parents as little kids. You'd be amazed how often people "fudge" the truth in order to save a little bit on their yearly insurance costs. If you really want to have hassle-free claims, then do yourself the favor of being completely honest about things such as how you plan to use your rig, how many days per year you'll be using it, and whether or not you'll be lending it out and for how long.

Usually you make these statements on the phone with a sales rep and you're thinking about saving as much money as possible. Take some time to really think about these questions so that you can answer with complete honesty. If you keep yourself honest, your claims adjuster won't have to. Save yourself the major hassle of a claims adjuster denying your $25,000 claim because of a lie that saved you $25.

5) Keep Your Insurance Phone Number and Policy Number Handy
Once you've purchased your insurance policy, you're likely to receive a handy packet with your insurance policy number and the phone number you call in the case of making a claim. The problem is that there will be loads of other information in the packet and it may be bigger and bulkier than necessary for your RV. Write those two numbers on a single piece of paper. Photo copy this piece of paper and put one in your glove box and one in your wallet or purse. Keep them handy in the unfortunate event of a mishap and you'll save yourself the agony of needing the numbers and not having them.

6) Your Hassle-Free Insurance Claim Recap
Documentation, knowing your claim threshold, honesty, and preparedness - these are the hallmarks of hassle-free RV insurance claims. If you follow the five golden rules in this article, you'll make your life as hassle-free as possible and ensure that your dream vacations don't turn into nightmares.
About the Author
RV America finds you the lowest rates for your RV insurance by comparing coverage from six major rv insurance companies so contact RV America today by visiting http://www.rv-insurance-coverage.com or calling 1 800-400-0186.
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