We knew it was going to be at least noon or so before our fifth wheel was ready. When we got a call around 10:00 a.m., we hoped we were going to be ready to go earlier rather than later.
As it turned out, it was late afternoon before everything was finished. So, Linda worked on bracelets. She had a special order for custom RV bracelets.
I started reading up on a Tire Pressure Monitoring System that I'm going to test.
When we get to the next campground, I'll install it on the truck.
I also did a little research on various RV extended warranties or service contracts.
I got three quotes. There are different types of contracts, different coverages, different deductibles, different terminology, etc. There are different contracts for motorhomes and towables. It takes some work to figure out the differences and figure out values.
I got an online quote from Good Sam Extended Service Plan. I read over the "sample contract" to get an idea of coverages and exclusions. The quote was for one year at various deductibles. At the $100 deductible the price was over $1,300 for one year. At the $500 deductible, the price was over $600 for one year. The Good Sam ESP is a good plan for RVers and you can get it on RVs up to 15 years old. It's underwritten by QBE Insurance with an A.M. Best "A" rating, and it is recognized by most RV service centers. But my gut was saying it was just too expensive for our needs.
Extended warranties are one of those 50/50 things among RVers. Half like them and half hate them. Many people say to just deposit the fees in a savings account and self-insure. For many that's a good idea, but for many others, it may not be. It's important for each person to calculate potential value.
Our seven-year extended warranty has a $50 deductible and the annual cost came out to $270 a year or $315 a year if you don't count the first year under the manufacturer's warranty. Prices on an extended warranty for a seven year old RV will be higher, but the Good Sam ESP just seemed too high.
Another quote I received was for a $200 deductible with rates for one, two, or three years: $2592 for one, $2736 for two, and $2964 for three. I also got a copy of the coverages and exclusions. It's another very good warranty, but way too expensive.
Finally, I went to WholesaleWarranties.net. They had contacted me a few months ago about working together. We've corresponded back and forth, but we haven't yet worked out anything. I'm skeptical about most extended warranties, and I wasn't exactly sure how to go about getting comfortable with them. I did find some good reviews online.
Anyway, I did the online chat feature on their website and "spoke" with Staci. You can have the chat transcript emailed to you, which I did. Within ten minutes, another person, Stephanie, called me with a quote, gave me an overview of the contract. She then emailed me the quote and a sample contract.
The Wholesale Warranties quote was about $1,400 for three years or $1,500 for four years ($50 deductible). On the four year plan, that comes out to $375 per year which is much more in line with what I was hoping. It is underwritten by American Bankers Insurance Co., a member of the Assurant Property & Casualty Group which also has an A.M. Best "A" rating. The sample contract was very similar to the Good Sam sample contract.
Before getting the quote from Wholesale Warranties, I was about to say "forget it". But now, I'll go the next step.
We recommend a five-step process when looking at extended warranties for RVs.
- Get multiple quotes and sample contracts
- Review the coverages and exclusions
- Determine the underwriting companies and their financial positions (an extended warranty is certainly a waste of money if the company goes out of business, and some of them have)
- Call a sample of large dealers across the country and speak with the warranty specialists to determine ease of working with the warranty companies. Sometimes dealers have had bad experiences with warranty companies. If the dealer requires you to pay them upfront and then you have to get reimbursed by the warranty company, that's a bad sign. If you get a lot of "I've never heard of them", that's a bad sign.
- Complete the analysis as to whether the cost is a worthwhile gamble for you or you would be better off "self-insuring" for major issues.
A couple more tips if looking at buying an extended warranty or service contract when buying a new RV. We did neither of the following, but we know better now. :)
Determine whether or not the extended warranty kicks in after the manufacturer's warranty or if they run concurrently. Unless the extended warranty fills some gaps in the manufacturer's warranty it may not make sense to have them overlapping.
Also, extended warranties sold by dealers have quite a bit of profit built in, so feel free to negotiate the price if buying from a dealer.
Again, extended warranties aren't for everyone - for every person that swears by them there is another person that thinks they are a waste of money. In the end, it's up to each individual.
Ours has certainly paid for itself even considering that we've learned to do a lot of minor repairs ourselves.
At the end of the day, our gray tank was installed and tested. The underbelly was put back in place, and we had some rusty parts in the water heater replaced. We thanked Jeff, the service manager, and Louis, our technician, and pulled the rig out of the bay.
It was too late to head to our next campground, so we parked in the Long View RV parking lot for one last night. Even with the noise from I-4 and the bright lights of the lot, it was still much better than a hotel. :)
It will be so good to be back on the road and camping again. :)