Summer is on the way and for a lot of folks here on the Peninsula that means vacuuming out the RV and getting ready to head out. There are plenty of things to do. First, shake out the cobwebs. Get any outside covers off and inspect your water heater and refrigerator. Make sure to clean and vacuum your stove burner units to clear debris and cobwebs. Check the caulking around windows, doors, roof vents and seams and open and close any awnings to insure they are working and safe. Water is your enemy and it can accumulate over the winter or rust out critical parts. Check all your LP lines by turning on the LP detector inside the RV and then opening the tank valve. Smell carefully possible leaks but also run a soapy water solution around the valves and look for bubbles. Make certain any leaks detected are properly fixed.
Check the vehicle’s running condition – brake pad condition, lights and turn signals and pay special attention to the hitch and wires if you tow. Check your tires for bulges or cracks and check the wheel bearings on each wheel; make sure your tires have adequate tread and tire pressure. Move on to the sewage system. Inspect the dump hose for punctures or wear and tear, then connect to a dump station and check your waste tank valves before you head out. Don’t be surprised if there are issues here. Dump hoses need periodic replacement and valve seals can dry out. Clean any corroded battery terminals and connections and check battery fluid levels if the batteries are not sealed. Fully charge your batteries, then check them; consider a load test – which ought to be done by a qualified mechanic and if batteries need to be replaced don’t combine old and new batteries.
Inside the RV, test smoke detectors and replace the batteries; install a CO detector if you don’t already have one. Drain any antifreeze from your holding tanks, shut off the water heater bypass and refill propane and water tanks according to manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to check faucets, plugs and valves for leaks and run water through each faucet to be sure that all RV antifreeze is removed. After getting the gas and water systems up and running, test your appliances. Be sure the water heater is full before you start it up.
Finally, check your insurance. Your RV is your home away from home so there are some differences between RV coverage and simply treating it as though it is a big car. You need to make sure you are adequately covered for emergency assistance; not just towing but extra coverage in case you need to stay in a hotel while your vehicle is being repaired. There needs to be adequate coverage for the contents of your RV and that could look more like your house than your car – there may be computers, stereo equipment and other items that cost more than would be considered under an auto policy.
You may also want to carry higher liability limits and look at how loss replacement is handled — RV’s typically have a steep depreciation so look for total replacement coverage or loan protection coverage in case of total loss. Flexibility is important as well, so consider a policy that can be suspended when your RV is not in use.
Here at Homer Smith Insurance we work with a number of RV insurance providers. We can help you understand the differences in policies and find one that meets your needs.