I’ve managed to get awesome rewards flights to the states with the help from tips on Points Hacks, but am having trouble with the finer details on hiring the right motor home for our trip. We arrive and depart from L A, for a 7 week trip in late September this year. I’ve been concerned about insurance as none of the companies seem to offer any cover for the roof, undercarriage, wheels, windscreen, side mirrors. They also charge something called demurrage for the period of time the vehicle is off the road for repairs. Does anybody with any legal/insurance knowledge know how to get cover for these? Or do you just be super careful and pray that nothing goes awry? By the way we have a 28ft fifth wheeler and F250 that we have been towing around Aussie for many years, so we are not novices at road trips. I’d also be interested in any tips on which is a good company to go with, that other people have used in the last couple of years in the states.
Hey there! Firstly, I wrote an article about rental vehicle insurance over on RideHacks, I’ll leave a link below. However because your question is about both Motor Homes and the US, most of that guide may be limited in its use.
Firstly, most rental providers don’t cover roof, undercarriage, wheels, windscreen, side mirrors as part of their standard excess reduction. The ‘secondary coverage’ insurance policies, otherwise known as ‘excess policies’ (like TripCover and Hiccup et. al.) will cover these providing that you are not ‘breaking the terms of the rental agreement’.
Which brings us back to the rental agreement. I noted in the article that for some rental providers it was a ‘serious breach’ if you had underbody or overhead damage (I believe it was Europcar), whereas the others just called this ‘full liability damage’. The latter would be covered by your additional insurance whereas they could wriggle out of the former.
With this aside, I need to address the two key points. Firstly, if your Motor Home is over 4.5 tonnes GVM, pretty much all secondary policies (including those with your credit card) will not cover any excess reduction. As the motorhomes in the US can be pretty darn huge…you should check this. If it’s more than 4.5 tonnes (ensure you don’t get caught between ‘tons’ and ‘metric tonnes’…the conversation is t = 0.9mT) than it’s safest to purchase the rental company’s cover for your protection. Always check the PDS of any policy to ensure it’s not a different weight or basis (GVM etc).
The second note is that you’re renting in the US where cars are rented typically with full insurance (no deductible…except for those exclusions) or no insurance. Be careful here with wording such as ‘extra cover’ that explicitly says something like ‘$10m of civil liability’ or similar. Whilst in Australia most ‘extra cover’ is useless, over there it is actually third-party insurance to protect you if you hit a human and they sue you. For locals this is covered in their normal auto insurance.
So whilst I’m not a legal expert, I hope this has provided some context and given you the next step forward in your research.