Purchasing an RV in Calgary

By trufla-admin | May 25, 2023

You might be new to the world of RVs or perhaps it’s not your first time around the block. If you’re planning on buying a new RV in Calgary you’ll need to do plenty of research and set a budget. Whether you’re buying new or used, it’s important to know what you want and what you can afford.  

You can purchase an RV (new or used) from one of the many RV dealerships in Calgary or across Alberta. You can also purchase an RV from a private seller (note Alberta’s tips for buying vehicles from private sellers, to avoid unfair practices.) We’re here to help you through the process of purchasing an RV in Calgary.  

Figure Out What RV You Want 

Similar to purchasing a new car, you’ll want to ask yourself a variety of questions in order to identify the RV you want. Consider the following questions: 

  • Do you want a motorhome or a trailer? Motorhomes come in a variety of sizes and are often more luxurious and expensive. They can also be huge! Trailers come in many different types, sizes, and finishes but require an adequate tow vehicle. 
  • Do you have a tow vehicle? How much can it comfortably tow? Don’t forget to include the weight of all your stuff and passengers! 
  • How many people will be using your RV? This will impact the size of the RV you choose. Consider how many people need to sleep in it and how many need to be transported to the campground in the RV or your tow vehicle. Note that sometimes an RV will say it seats a certain amount of people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will seat that many people comfortably.  
  • What are you using your RV for? Some RVs that are good for weekend trips may not be the best for long-term living. You might also need something different if you boondock than if you’re a front-country camper. 
  • Where are you planning to go? What season? Summertime traveling is always a popular choice, but if you want to brave the winter forces, you’ll have to choose your RV accordingly. 
  • What features are a must-have? Which are nice to have? Do you want a new RV or a used RV? You can sometimes save a lot of money buying used, but these units may have issues or may not have the features you want. If you’re not sure what you want, we recommend renting an RV in Calgary to try it out. A few dealerships offer this option and there are also platforms like Outdoorsy. Alternatively, you can dive into online research as many companies offer walkthroughs and details. You can also visit dealerships to take a look at what they have. Many of the RV dealers in Calgary know their RVs inside and out and can help you narrow down your options. If this is your first time, be picky about your decision, and don’t be afraid to check out numerous RV dealerships in Alberta.  

Consider Your Budget 

How much are you willing to pay for your RV? Prior to your big purchase, you’ll want to research pricing for new and used units. Don’t forget to factor in ongoing costs like maintenance, gas, and insurance. Since the pandemic, the cost of RVs has gone up, including for used units. There are also shortages of new units which can increase the price.  

Financing an RV is also an option. This can allow you to buy a more luxurious RV without having to dish out thousands of dollars upfront. You can pay for your RV slowly over time with this option. 

The price of an RV will depend on the size, year, make, model, and features. Brands known for quality are generally more expensive. Prices can fluctuate greatly depending on the season, so you may want to do your research well in advance to determine the best time to buy.  

Your average new RV may cost between $20,000-$45,000, but higher-end RVs such as fifth wheels can cost upwards of $75,000. Consider, as well, Calgary registry fees, insurance, and maintenance… That’s no small amount, and an RV is a long-term investment. Buying a used RV over a new one can be a good way to get what you want for a reduced price. It’s important that the RV was well-taken care of and is a quality model, as otherwise, you’ll be paying hefty repair bills. Make sure to get an inspection for any used vehicles and ask for maintenance records. 

Factor in the insurance! 

If you buy a motorhome, you’ll need to insure it before you can take it on Calgary’s roads. That’s because all vehicles must carry insurance – making motorhome insurance a requirement! 

Is RV insurance required? No, not for tow-behind RVs. Still, insurers highly recommend it. Furthermore, if your RV is financed, your lender may require you to have full coverage on your motorhome or trailer. This protects their investment in case something happens.  

Finally, RV insurance can help protect you financially. If your RV is damaged, insurance can help cover repairs. It can also cover replacing your belongings or cover legal expenses if it’s involved in an accident. RV insurance can also include extras like emergency vacation expenses and roadside assistance. Talk with an RV Direct Insurance broker for further information regarding RV insurance in Calgary and its cost and benefits.