ai image of man ripping lifetime warranty in half

Are Lifetime RV Warranties a Scam?

Many slick RV dealers try to use lifetime warranties to ease worries and close a deal with a potential customer. They’ll talk them up like they’ll take care of anything that could go wrong.

However, once owners try to file a claim under these warranties, they discover how beneficial lifetime RV warranties typically are. So, are they a scam?

Today, we’ll look at lifetime RV warranties to uncover the truth. What we’ve discovered could cause you to think twice about them.

Let’s get to it!

What Are Lifetime RV Warranties?

Lifetime RV warranties, often called forever warranties, are extended plans covering various components and systems on a recreational vehicle. These warranty coverages can provide an additional layer beyond what the manufacturer covers.

However, “lifetime” or “forever” is often very misleading as these are non-transferable and are only valid for the original owner.

What’s included under these warranties will significantly depend on the type of RV.

Generally, these warranties cover the engine, transmission, suspension, electrical, and other essential appliances and components.

Unfortunately, while these warranties can sound like the perfect solution for RV owners, they’re typically not as good as they sound. Digging into the requirements for claims reveals a darker side to them.

RV Dealers Make Bank on Lifetime RV Warranties

Like car dealers, many RV dealerships make a significant amount of money by selling various types of warranty packages. They use the appeal of these lifetime warranties to attract customers and convince them to sign their names on the dotted line. This is especially true for consumers aware that RVs are notorious for having issues.

Not only do dealerships make money by selling these warranties, but also in the servicing. Dealers know owners will likely return to their dealerships for future servicing and repairs. When successful, the dealership creates a steady stream of revenue.

Pros of Lifetime RV Warranties

We’ve seen many dealerships include lifetime warranties with new RVs. As a result, the customer isn’t paying anything extra for the coverage. However, we’ve found a few other benefits of having a lifetime RV warranty for your rig.

Long-Term Coverage

As their name indicates, lifetime RV warranties provide peace of mind for extended protection. Should an essential component or piece of equipment experience an issue, you don’t have to worry about getting it fixed. You’ll have to schedule an appointment with the appropriate service center, and they’ll take care of the issue.

This type of long-term coverage appeals to those planning to own their camper for several years. It can help mitigate the financial risk often associated with RV ownership and dealing with repairs.

Potential Cost Savings

Some RV repairs can be extremely costly and severely impact your bank account. Items like the slides, roof, and refrigerator are expensive. If you need to replace them, you’re looking at thousands of dollars in repair bills.

Luckily, if you have a lifetime warranty that covers these costs, you may not pay a penny. The warranty provider will pick up the tab from the expenses. When it works properly, this keeps more money in your pocket.

wallet with two 100 bills

Comprehensive Coverage

Another benefit of lifetime RV warranties is that they cover various components and systems. Owners can have a sense of security that they have coverage for many of the essential items inside their camper.

Additionally, some of these warranties include extra perks and services that RVers may need to use. These can consist of towing or roadside assistance, which can come in handy when experiencing a breakdown or emergency. This is just another layer of assurance and peace of mind for owners.

Cons of Lifetime RV Warranties

Unfortunately, while lifetime RV warranties may sound like a no-brainer, they’re typically not all they’re cracked up to be. Many dealers oversell their usefulness and leave out important details about why they’re not all that great.

High Initial Cost

While some dealerships include lifetime RV warranties with new RV purchases, not all do.

Some will offer these as additional packages that consumers can add when purchasing or financing. However, the price tags associated with these warranties can be astronomical.

Dealerships that charge for these coverages often charge premium prices for them. You can add thousands of dollars to the overall cost of your camper.

If you’re financing, you’ll end up paying even more when you factor in the additional interest over the life of your loan.

You’re often better off setting that money aside into a savings account. This way, you’ll have the funds readily available to pay cash for any issues that may occur.

Exclusions and Limitations

Another negative of lifetime RV warranties is the exclusions and limitations that providers typically use.

Typically, these warranties cover very specific items. Items like normal wear and tear or damage from neglect or misuse can completely void the warranty.

For some providers, full-time traveling is enough to void the warranty coverage.

As a result, you must be aware of the exclusions and limitations, especially if you’re purchasing the warranty. Take the time to read the fine print before committing.

Complex Claims Process

Some warranty providers don’t make it easy for you to complete the claims process. It may require a tremendous amount of paperwork and documentation.

You may also have strict timelines and procedures to complete in a particular order, or the claim is denied.

Navigating the complex claims process can be frustrating and stressful. 

Additionally, even if your claim gets approved, navigating the process with a repair facility can be equally as frustrating.

Many of these facilities have lengthy wait lists. It may take them several weeks before they can even look at your RV.

woman looking at complex rv warranty claims process with a headache starting

Maintenance Requirements

One thing that many dealerships don’t disclose is that some of these warranties require regular maintenance inspections.

Unfortunately, these can require you to take them to an “authorized” facility. Each inspection can set you back a couple of hundred dollars, plus the cost of any issues they discover that aren’t covered by the warranty.

Missing one of these required annual maintenance appointments can void the coverage.

Again, if you chose to add these expenses to a savings account, you’d end up with a healthy amount in savings to address any repairs or issues you may experience during ownership.

Provider Stability

The final con to lifetime RV warranties is the provider stability. Should the warranty provider go out of business, your warranty won’t even be worth the paper it’s written on.

You’ll have invested thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money and received nothing in return.

It’s also important to consider that changes in ownership can significantly impact the quality and consistency of these warranties.

Companies are merging and acquiring each other constantly. This can result in disruptions or changes in coverage that you may not have expected.

out of business sign hanging in window

Are Lifetime RV Warranties Worth It?

While lifetime RV warranties can be helpful in some situations, they’re typically not as great as dealers make them seem. Part of being an RV owner is learning to perform any DIY maintenance and repairs you can.

Luckily, recreational vehicles aren’t nearly as complex as most people think. It might surprise you how much you can repair and address on your own. 

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