Buying an RV in Alberta

By Samantha Lemna | April 15, 2019

With nature like this it’s no wonder camping and RVs are so popular in Alberta. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or upgrading your unit this article will help guide you through the process of purchasing an RV in this great province.

What to Consider When Buying an RV

There are 5 major factors to nail down before you can really start looking to buy an RV:

1. Budget

  • How much do you have to spend on an RV?
  • Will you be financing an RV?
  • How much are you willing to spend on fuel maintenance and insurance costs?
  • Do you want to buy a new or used RV ?

2. Use

  • How often and for how long do you plan to use your RV?
  • What type of camping will you be doing?

3. Size

  • How many people do you need to sleep?
  • How much storage do you need?
  • What will fit in the campsites you plan to stay in?

4. Towing

  • What size of a rig (in length) are you comfortable driving or towing?
  • What is the tow rating of your tow vehicle ? You’ll want to stay well within this limit or consider upgrading your tow vehicle.
  • Do you want to be able to drive around easily (if you plan on purchasing a motorhome)?

5. Features

  • What features are necessities?
  • What features are nice-to-haves?
  • Do you need additional or speciality storage for special equipment?
  • Do you require heating or air conditioning?

Your answers to the above will help you identify the type of RV you’ll need. This is a great guide to help you understand and compare the different types of RVs. We also have a few articles that might help you choose the right RV:

You may want to consider renting an RV to give it a try before buying. You will be able to see if a certain type of RV works for you or even possibly test out the exact brand and model you’re looking at.

Luxury fifth wheel with an awning and slides at the 2017 Calgary RV Show.

Where to Buy an RV in Alberta

Luckily you have tons of options for buying an RV in Alberta. You may also want to look at RVs in BC and Saskatchewan especially if you camp there often. While the US is another option, the weak dollar and import duties can drive the costs up. There’s also some extra work to do if you’re importing.

1. RV Shows

The season for RV buying in Alberta kicks off with the RV shows in January and February . The Calgary RV show takes place the third weekend of January while the Edmonton RV show is usually the second weekend in February. Both events are fantastic places to shop for an RV.

With many of Alberta’s RV dealerships in one place, you can check out the hundreds of RV models of all different types and sizes. There is something for every budget. Get your questions answered, check prices and compare features. The deals can be pretty great, too.

2. Dealerships

If you missed the RV shows, weren’t ready to buy at the time, want to finance an RV, or are considering buying used,  dealerships are a great option. They’ll have a selection of new and used RVs and you can buy with confidence knowing the RVs are all cleaned, checked over and often come with a guarantee.

Different dealerships carry different brands and models of RVs and they may offer different incentives. It’s a good idea to check a few different dealerships out especially if you’re not certain which RV you want.

For a list of dealerships in Alberta visit this link.

3. Private Sales

If you’re looking for a used RV lots of people advertise theirs on Kijiji and various Facebook groups. This is usually a more budget-friendly option but ensure you know what you’re looking for when it comes to checking for damage. It’s not a bad idea to require a vehicle inspection report for motorhomes or an RV technician as a condition of the sale.

Black GMC truck hitched to a small grey and white travel trailer. The rig is parked on a roughly paved campground road with green deciduous forest in the background.

Advice on Buying an RV

Always do your research on the brand model and seller. Don’t be afraid to walk away if a seller makes you feel uncomfortable or is showing you units above your price range or not what you want. Trust your gut – there are always other RVs out there. Stick to your requirements and budget and walk away if they’re not met.

The busy time for buying an RV is in the spring before the camping season. Buying during the off-season or at the RV shows is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

Get any service promises in writing. It’s also a great idea to ask to be shown how to hitch up as well as how to perform the basic functions of the RV. Ask about particular maintenance requirements too!

RV Insurance

As soon as you sign the sale papers the RV is yours. That means you need to protect it right away. While some home insurance companies may allow you to add your trailer to your policy, we recommend having a separate RV insurance policy. The benefits are better coverage, available perks like roadside assistance, and not having to make a claim on your home insurance if something happens to your RV. Of course, if you have a motorhome you’ll need a separate policy regardless.

We offer RV insurance through a few different insurance providers, meaning we can get competitive quotes and find the right insurance for your needs. We’re also happy to answer your questions! You can get a quote here or give us a call at 403-271-7831.

Best of luck with your buying journey and your next adventures!