How to Navigate a RV Insurance Claim
Your RV is damaged. Now what? Here is how we navigated our RV insurance claim after a wreck and some tips we learned along the way.
First, always carry full coverage insurance for all your vehicles. We chose GEICO as our insurance carrier for the RV and tow vehicle, both of which were totaled. Some insurance companies will not cover a RV if it is lived in full time. We disclosed our full time status to GEICO, and they were fine with it. However, that topic never came up during the claim process.
If anyone was hurt during the incident, send them to the hospital in an ambulance. We learned that lesson the hard way from a previous wreck. My husband’s back was injured after being rear-ended. He hurt enough to go to the doctor the next day, which led to multiple chiropractor visits.
Because he didn’t go to the hospital immediately following the wreck in an ambulance, it was difficult to prove that his injuries were caused by the accident. (Also, the man who rear-ended the vehicle denied causing the wreck altogether.) Eventually a lawyer won that case for us, but it was an inconvenience that could have been avoided. If there is any chance that you are hurt, go to the hospital in an ambulance.
After damage is caused to the RV and all people involved are taken care of, call your insurance provider to open a claim. GEICO offers this service in their app, but they still call to confirm all the information submitted. It is easier and faster to call directly.
In the initial report, information will be collected about the location of the incident, who was driving (if applicable), any passengers, inflicted injuries, and general damage to the RV. Answer the questions succinctly and honestly.
Next they will offer to tow the vehicle and make arrangements for a rental car or emergency cash assistance if they are included in your plan. If the RV is in a safe place, you can take the time to research repair shops within the area, select one and call to schedule the tow at a later time. Considering that everything we owned was inside the RV and there was a chance it could be repaired, we chose to schedule the tow for the following day. That gave us time to get the rental vehicle and a U-Haul trailer to move all of our belongings into.
If your plan includes emergency cash assistance, keep your receipts for emergency expenses to submit for reimbursement. We were provided $1,000 which covered the cost of the U-Haul, a storage unit, and several nights in a hotel.
Once the RV is relocated to the repair shop, an adjuster is assigned to the claim. The adjuster conducts a damage inspection and generates an estimate for repairs. This typically takes a couple of days unless there is high demand due to a recent natural disaster in the area. The adjuster called when the repair estimate report was available online to review. Each repair was detailed in the report along with the parts and labor needed to make the repair.
After receiving the repair estimate, a RV can either be repaired or deemed a total loss. If the estimate is at least 75% of the cost of the RV, it is considered a total loss. In our case, the estimate was thousands of dollars more than the cost of the RV. The adjuster said GEICO would make a settlement offer within 48 hours. During that time, he advised us to do our own research on the value of the RV so that we can make a counteroffer if appropriate. We did as told but felt the initial settlement offer was fair.
A loss department handles all total loss claims. They provide instructions on how to receive the settlement payment. We held the title to our RV free and clear, so all we had to do was sign it and mail the title to the loss department. Payment was issued when the title was received and the signature was verified.
The total process from wreck to payment took approximately two weeks. I checked our claim status and called for updates each day of those two weeks. Don’t be afraid to be proactive, especially with the loss department. They did not process our title until I called and asked if they received it.
You can also ask to set up direct deposit to receive your payment faster. I did that for the emergency fund, so we were ready to go when the settlement was made. However, the loss department wanted to mail a check until I asked about direct deposit as an option.
You are the customer. It’s OK to ask questions and expect reasonable answers. Do you have any for me? I’m not an expert, but I’m happy to tell you more about my experience with our RV insurance claim.