Sunday, June 28, 2015

Motorhome Insurance Issues


Wesley Chapel, Florida (high hot and sticky, low almost as hot and equally sticky)


It’s too hot to do anything fun so we’ve been binge watching old TV series. We just finished Homeland and are going to start The Americans next. 

We had hoped to leave for Blairsville on July 8th, but Al has an emergency dental issue so it looks like we’ll be delayed another week.  It’s too bad because a cold front has moved in  up there, and the high tomorrow is supposed to be 78 with a low of 52.  Perfect!


Ok.  On to the insurance issues.

We have our cars insured with USAA and would prefer to have the motorhome insured with them as well since I know from personal experience how great they are when you have a claim.

Unfortunately, USAA doesn't offer insurance for RV’s or full-timers, so we went with National Interstate when we bought the coach.

The first two years we had no rate increases, but last year it went up about $200.  I called and was told it was due to a rate increase.  I didn’t go any further and just let it go.

This year when we got our renewal it was going up another $200. This time I decided I had better do some research and see if I could do any better.

Since I used to be an Insurance Adjuster, price is not the most important thing to me. I would rather have a company that has a great record in handling claims, than an insurance company that is cheap, but after two rate increases in two years, I decided enough is enough.

I called  Gilbert Insurance Agency who was the agency that handled our insurance for our old motorhome.  When we bought the coach from Lazy Days, I got a quote from their insurance department (yes, Lazy Days has their own insurance department) and saved quite a bit of money so we went with the Lazy Days Insurance Agency.

When we first bought our coach, we had “Agreed Value” on the policy.  This means that whatever value you agree on  at the time, is the value you get should you have a total loss.   The problem with that is that once your coach is so many years old (eight I think), they will no longer continue to insure it for the agreed value and it reverts back to ACV or actual cash value.

I noticed the additional premium for the agreed value coverage had dropped off last year, so I assumed all was well.

As it turns out, they had dropped the additional premium but still had the “rating basis” showing the higher amount that the coach was valued at when we bought it.

Like any vehicle, they drop in value each year and after 4 years it’s significantly less than when we bought it.  In the event of a total loss,we would only get the ACV (actual cash value) on the coach.

If you don’t have a new, or newer coach and have the Agreed Value coverage, you should check the first page of your Declaration Page to see if you have anything stating “rating basis” with a dollar amount.  Just because it says one amount, it does not mean you would get that amount if you had a total loss.  You would get ACV.

Since they dropped the coverage and the extra premium but neglected to change the rating basis, so we were actually still paying several hundred dollar more each year.

Once they changed the rating basis, our premium dropped $522 annually!

I got a few other quotes, one of which was from Progressive and they were higher than National Interstate even with the lower ACV value.

After a little research the agent at Lazy Days found coverage for us with Blue Sky for $765 less than what the renewal with National Interstate was going to be.  She insured me it was an A+ company.    I decided to increase our liability and UM limits and still saved a significant amount of money.

The only thing I don’t like about Blue Sky is that the maximum you can get for personal contents coverage is $15,000.   I would prefer that amount to be higher, but truthfully with the limited coverage you would get for contents coverage, you probably won’t need it anyway, unless you have a catastrophic loss like a fire. 

When you own a home and have your contents insured, the coverage is for covered losses anywhere in the world.  When you have contents coverage for a motorhome, the coverage is for the contents inside or attached to the motorhome, or in some cases within a few feet from the motorhome.

If you have expensive bikes and have them on the back of your car and they are stolen. No coverage from the RV policy and no coverage from the auto policy.  If you have an accident in your car which is your fault, no coverage on the auto policy because the bikes are not a part of the vehicle. The bicycle rack MIGHT be covered.

If it’s someone else’s fault, their property damage liability insurance would cover the bikes, provided they have high enough limits.   Just a heads up because I think many people are misinformed on how their contents in the motorhome are covered under their insurance.  As full-timers, we have a LOT of stuff inside our rigs.

If you still have a home somewhere, then your contents coverage would come from your homeowners insurance, and you should be fine, providing you have high enough limits.

If you have a home (like us) that you rent out, then you have what is called a “fire policy” on the home.  Your personal property is not covered, except for a small amount you have for appliances and the like inside the rental house.  The renters property is not covered either and if they are smart, they should have a renters policy, which is very inexpensive.

So, I would recommend you review your Rv policy and make you adequately insure yourselves.  I’ve seen too many cases where people had some sort of catastrophic loss and no insurance, or not enough insurance.   I’ll never forget the guy I spoke to once who’s house was flooded half way up the walls.  He neglected to buy flood insurance because “he wasn’t in a flood zone.”  The only thing he had left was the one car that had comprehensive coverage.  The other car had no comp coverage so wasn’t insured for the flood.  I felt very sorry for him.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Few Motorhome Repairs


Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 92, low 72)

We have been hanging out, visiting Mom, and working around the coach on things we have been neglecting.

It’s hot every day from morning until evening so we haven’t been inclined to do anything outdoors.  If it’s not storming, we manage to sit outside on the patio in the evenings for a few hours, but usually we need to run a fan due to the heat and humidity. 

The otters have been entertaining us and last week we saw a mother deer with two new born fawns.  They chased each other around for a while, but I didn’t have my camera with me so I didn’t get any pictures. 

This morning the otters were again chasing around on the bank.  I think they were getting ready to mate. 


The larger one was digging in the dirt and acting kind of strange. 



We never did see any mating, and soon they got back into the water and frolicked some more.



Some people walked up with their dog and the otters were checking them out. 



We have been working on small repairs on the motorhome.  Small things have a way of adding up, and they never end up being easy, do they?

We have been lucky until recently and never had a string break on a day\night shade.  Our luck ran out and a string broke on our small bedroom shade.  I guess I’ll finally have to learn how to restring these things. 

As I posted earlier, we had another problem with our Thetford Aria toilet.   We thought the foot pedal broke again after just replacing that same mechanism not two months ago.  It’s extremely frustrating.

On top of that our favorite, and only mobile Rv tech moved to North Carolina, so we were forced to find someone else.

With some recommendations from campground neighbors, we chose The Toy Doctor.  It’s a man and his son in law working together. They both seemed to be good and the older man had a lot of experience working on airplanes, boats and RV’s. 

Mobile RV Service Dade City   Zephyrhills  FL   Florida     Toy Doctor

Using a mobile Rv tech, you never know who you’re getting.  Is it someone who just went through 2 weeks of Rv maintenance school and thinks he is a qualified Rv tech. We were happy with their work and will use them again.

They removed the toilet and discovered a new problem.  The cable that operates the flushing mechanism broke.  That was about the only part we didn’t have on hand.  We thought we had  any and all parts we may need, after our last fiasco in the Keys, but apparently there are still a few additional parts that we didn’t have.

Fortunately, they had a replacement cable but it was a tad longer than our old one, but they made it work.  We had them replace the blade mechanism also while they were there, so for all intents and purposes, we have a brand new toilet.  (hopefully)

One problem we discovered last time was that the main mechanism was not installed correctly from the factory.  They corrected that issue, so hopefully we won’t be having this problem again.  The foot pedal seems to be a lot smoother now, so hopefully we’re done with toilet repairs for a long time.


On the way home from the Keys last month, we noticed the blower on our dash a/c was only working on high.  We figured it was only a matter of time until high speed quit working, so we decided we’d better try and fix it.  Apparently, this is quite a common problem.

Al removed the blower switch which was located behind the controls on the front dash.  It was a Ford part so he took it to the Ford dealer, who told him it could only be two things.  It was either the fan switch or the resistor. 

We were happy to have found the exact part we needed, and it was relatively inexpensive.  Unfortunately, it turned out not to be the fan that was causing the problem.  We really didn’t expect it to be that easy.  :)

Al was able to locate and remove the resistor which is in the outside front generator compartment near the firewall on the passenger side.  Ford had no comparable part and recommended we go to NAPA.  They had a similar part, except the little connector plugs were a little smaller than the one we had.  He felt they would grab on when we plugged it in and would work.  The part was about $25 and not returnable, but we took a chance and bought it. 

It worked!  Yay……we again have a three speed blower.  In the process of getting this done, we got some feedback from the Monaco owners group and they gave us some places to go find the part, should it ever go out again. 

Merikay and Craig posted an interesting blog about their problems with a dirty radiator and engine overheating.   You can read about it HERE.  If you have never cleaned your radiator, you might want to read their story.  I think we’ll have it done by a professional at Cummins when we get our oil changed.  A lot of people do it themselves with a special Simple Green cleaner, but I think given the importance of this part, we’ll go the professional route.  We’re hoping since our engine has easy rear access it won’t cost as much as theirs!