RV Extended Warranties - A Conversation Among Professionals About What Purchasers Need To Know

From the RV Repair Tips series

What a fellow RV technician said to me: An owner gives us a list of repairs to be done and hands us an extended warranty contract and says to fix it all because everything is covered bumper to bumper, then goes nuts when he/she finds out something is not covered. Extended Warranties have limits on what they can repair.

My thoughts: OK THIS ONE'S HUGE! I totally agree with this and there are so many things an owner doesn't realize when they purchase the warranty, I'm not even sure I can list them all, but here's a few:

  • Most warrantyies have a written list of what is covered and, trust me (read the list too!), they never cover everything. Some are really good and cover more than others.

  • If you call the warranty company before having the repair done, be careful what you say. For example: You call and say your water heater has a leak and it's only 2 years old and say you're hooked up to well water and the water is really hard and you think that is the cause of the problem. They're going to agree with you and will turn down the authorization because you just admitted using what they would term as "contaminated water in the system." This happened last month with a repairman here in San Diego. Once they have this call noted in their computer you're not going be able to claim it anywhere else.

  • Putting off major repairs until you have 2 or 3 problems to save on the deductable doesn't work. Most extended warranties have a deductable that is "Per Incident." This means that if you have a $150.00 deductable it can be assessed towards each problem you're having. This is all up to the guy on the phone. Some will allow multiple repairs but not many of them.

  • Regardless of what your contract says, your warranty company knows the small print better than you and I. They seem to know how to refuse any claim and can normally direct you to the small print on another page of your contract.

  • Emergency road service does not include repairs on any system that can normally be taken in to a repair center. If you live full time in a motor home or trailer and the water heater goes out, SOME warranty companies will not pay the service call and they don't care if you're living in it. A few of the better contracts do cover Service Calls.

  • A new thing in the last year is warranty companies will not allow MOBILE service techs to do a repair. They are requiring all repairs be done by a company working out of a fixed address and building. Now, recently one warranty company has required mobile services to register with them showing they are licensed and insured to become an authorized repair center (a good idea anyway) and some are just saying NO WAY. This saves them money as some owners just put off the repairs done until their contract expires. So far just a few companies have these restrictions, but owners don't figure this out until they need the service.

NOTE: I'm in no way saying extended warranties are bad, I just wish the dealerships selling them were more up front about what is covered. This is made even harder when an owner is being sold the warranty while in a finance office of a dealership being pressured to add it into his or her financing. Remember, the person selling the contract is normally receiving a GOOD commission for selling it to you.


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Robbie Warford, San Diego RV Repair

Hi, I'm Robbie. Welcome to Money-Saving-RV-Repair.com!

Like the name implies, this site is all about helping you save money while keeping your RV in tip-top shape--and that is all about you having the knowledge to do so.

I've been a technician in the RV industry for 30 years, operating out of San Diego, California. And let me tell you, I love my job.

But I also love empowering RVers with the knowledge they need to make the right decision on repairs, or to make the fix themselves--and that, my friend, is the reason for this website. I hope you enjoy.

Or, learn more about me, my RV service practice, & this website here.