The 5 Most Common RV Renter Insurance Claims (and how to avoid them)

Josh SchukmanJuly 24, 2023

The 5 Most Common RV Renter Insurance Claims (and how to avoid them)

Keeping our rigs rentable is one of the most important jobs we have as hosts. That’s because even minor damage to our RVs can result in cancellation of future bookings. And cancellations = lost revenue.

On top of that, RV mechanics are tapped out during the summer and RV parts are in short supply (or heavily delayed).

But there are a handful of things you can do to make sure your RV stays rolling this summer. Let’s dig into some of the best strategies we see our hosts using right now to keep their rigs on the road. 

The Top 5 RV-Rental-Stoppers and How to Avoid Them

Most of us are still in the thick of our busy seasons — that time period where we seem to see our rigs rolling out almost back to back. And that makes the busy time the most important time to have your ducks in a row so the wheels keep a turnin’.

You know that insurance line about seeing a thing or two? Well, you could say the same for us 🙂 

We’ve seen quite a few ways that RVs can get put out of commission. The good news is these top 5 show-stoppers can usually be avoided with certain strategies:

  1. RV Tree Scraping — Your renters are likely to go off the beaten path. The road less traveled also means a road less pruned. Many of our renters haven’t RV’d a ton in their lives, so they won’t be naturally inclined to give your rig the berth it needs to avoid trees.

    That’s where a good test drive comes in handy during your key handoff. Coach your renters to take it slow, use their mirrors, be aware of what’s around them, and take ‘wider’ turns.
  2. Damage at the gas station — Look up! You and I both know that an RV is twice as tall as a car, but do your guests know that?

    And if you tell them, will they remember at the most critical times?

    One of the biggest show-stoppers we see happens when our RV guests whip around a gas station like they’re in a car.

    This can almost always be avoided with some proactive steps.

    That test drive you did during the key handoff (you did that, right?) – it’s the ideal time to demonstrate to your renters the importance of wide turns and awareness of all things up, down, and to the side.

    Post your rig height in a place that’s easy for renters to see. Follow that with a note for renters to check the spacing and height clearance at gas stations and other low-clearance areas.

    By coaching our renters to stay spatially aware, we can reduce the chances of damage at gas stations and other tight spots.
  3. Hitting objects while backing up — Our guests should always have a backup for the backup. Even seasoned RVers ought to always back up their rigs with a spotter who can call out obstacles.

    Remind your guests to always have one of their fellow travelers guide them in whenever backing into a campsite (or anywhere else).

    If you’re renting to a solo traveler, encourage them to recruit someone at the campground who can help them avoid the trees, picnic tables, and other pitfalls when backing a rig.

    Top tip: Most folks at RV campgrounds get the stress of backing up (there’s even a t-shirt about it), so they’re usually more than happy to help a solo traveler. 
  1. Colliding with other vehicles — This one’s a biggie. And we’re not just talking about heavy hits. We’re talking the ‘small’ stuff too, like when renters fail to appreciate their width and gently nudge another vehicle.

    Coach your renters to drive slowly and brake early when on the road. Put a sign front and center in your rig that reminds them of this.

    Remind them to check blind spots when switching lanes.

    And, plugging the test drive again, that’s a great way to impart this wisdom before handing over your keys.
  2. Wind and weather damage to awnings — When winds pick up, awnings act like sails and try to fly away — causing thousands of dollars of damage in the process.

    Put notes on your awning controls, on the awning, and in your guest communications to make sure your renters are super careful with this expensive RV amenity.

    The best bet with this is to require that awnings be put away whenever your renter isn’t present. Even if there’s zero wind forecasted that day, it never ceases to amaze us how Mother Nature finds ways to rip those suckers off when no one is watching. 

Rentable rigs are the name of the game for us hosts. But there are a bunch of things that renters can do to put our RVs out of commission – resulting in expensive claims and cancellations.

Steer clear of the most common mishaps with the quick and easy tactics we’ve unpacked above. 

Josh and his wife traveled around the country in an '88 Airstream for 4+ years of full-time RVing. They made an unexpected pitstop in Montana in 2020 and haven't left since. That's because they got hooked on the glamping resort they run by Glacier National Park. Fittingly, they keep up their RVing love by renting out vintage Airstreams and other retro RVs to travelers hitting Montana.

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