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If you have purchased a new or slightly used RV, you may have a warranty. In fact, you will most likely have several warranties. There are many individual parts of your vehicle and on the appliances in the coach. They come in many varieties and cover items for different time lengths. So how can you keep track and use your new rig appropriately so that you don’t void the RV warranty?
Below are tips to assist you with discerning the coverage on your motorhome or travel trailer. Keep in mind that a warranty does not take the place of RV insurance. It does not cover physical collision and a warranty will not cover regular maintenance issues like oil changes, tuneups, etc. Each warranty is different so be sure to read through your paperwork thoroughly. Now, let’s dive in!
Don’t Void Your RV by Knowing What’s Covered
You will need to start with your owner’s manual(s). The vehicle should have one, and if your unit is brand new, your appliances should also have separate owner’s manuals and paperwork. If you purchased a used vehicle that is still under warranty or has a transferable extended warranty, you should have received that information from the seller. It’s important to differentiate what’s covered and what’s not through your RV warranty, so you don’t void it by accident.
Know What’s Covered
These are called “listed component warranties” as they should list in very specific terms. They will explain which items are covered on your engine, transmission, slide-outs, levelers, hot water systems, air conditioners, refrigerators, etc. We suggest keeping a list as you go through each warranty agreement.
Make your own list with the item covered and for how long. Then put the list in a notebook that is kept with your RV manual. It will be easy to see your coverage when the time comes to use it. Check out our online RV printable store to find helpful spreadsheets, worksheets, and checklists to stay organized on the road.
Know What’s Not Covered
Called an “exclusionary RV warranty,” these will list all of the items that are not covered by your blanket warranty. In other words, whatever is not on the list is covered. Make your own list of these items, as well, and place the handmade list in your notebook.
Don’t Void Your RV Warranty With Modifications
If you make any changes in the parts of your RV that come under warranty, be sure that you are not altering parts that might void that warranty. Check the warranty requirements on the following parts before you modify them:
- System Upgrades (electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling) – will update an air conditioning unit, hot water heater or furnace put extra stress on your RV systems?
- Appliances – changing out higher voltage appliances might affect your electrical system adversely, etc.
- Attachments to the Frame – would adding levelers, new suspension, or a different kingpin to the underside of your RV affect the warranty?
- Interior Design – will you be adding heavier furniture, tile, etc on a slide that might affect its performance?
How You Use Your RV so You Don’t Void Your Warranty
Most warranties are written based on “normal usage.” This obviously leads one to consider what will be covered if you use your recreational vehicle for full-time living. There are RV manufacturers and extended warranty companies that will cover full-time living but you need to read the fine print. It will also help to be upfront and flat out ask if the warranties are covered by full-time living.
Most warranty coverage, as stated before, is mentioned in your RV manual. And yet, when purchasing a new vehicle from a dealership, many new owners have discovered, after telling their dealer that they will be living in the RV full-time, nothing is ever stated about voiding their warranty by doing so.
Each warranty is different, but some of the most thorough warranties state “no commercial use while full-timing will be covered.” I have yet to see a full-time RV owner not get reimbursed for warranty-covered issues and parts, but it is something to consider as a part of your overall budgeting strategy. Will you be able to cover repairs if denied coverage because of full-time travel status?
One good habit with all warranty issues is to talk with the manufacturer first. Some will guarantee reimbursement and others will pay the repair shop outright. Don’t ever assume.
And for those considering purchasing an “extended” warranty, do your homework. Now that you know what to look for in the way of items covered and those that won’t be, look closely at the warranty agreement before signing. We recommend Wholesale Warranties because they do cover full-time living and have fantastic reviews from their customers.
Warranties can be helpful tools in times of trouble, and a little effort on your part can make them useful just when they need to be. Do a little homework on your coverage before you hit the road, and you will be well prepared for any mishap that might occur.