RV Insurance & Renovations: What You Need to Know

By Sam Lemna | December 25, 2022

Many people dream of renovating an RV: either they want to update their existing unit, refurbish a van or bus, or simply make their trailer or motorhome their own. However, some renovations may not be covered by your insurance. If you’re thinking of starting a project, read on to review which renovations are and aren’t covered by RV insurance – or speak to your broker.  

Consider Your RV Insurance Before Renovations 

There are a few things you should know before renovating an RV when it comes to insurance: 

  1. You’re required to inform your RV insurance company of any major renovations (valued over $5000) within 30 days of starting the work. 
  2. Some insurance companies will only cover major renovations if they are completed by a professional.  
  3. You may want to request an increase in your limits of insurance (this reflects the increase in the replacement value of your RV after renovations).  
  4. Materials and supplies for construction (up to a specific value) may be covered under your policy except for the peril of theft. (This means if they’re stolen, you won’t be covered, but if the supplies are damaged by a fire, you would likely be covered.) 

Aesthetic Upgrades to Your RV 

Minor aesthetic upgrades to your RV don’t require you to notify your insurer, nor will they impact your RV insurance. This is because these changes don’t greatly affect the value of your RV. 

Here are some examples of aesthetic upgrades: 

  • Changing your RV curtains/blinds. 
  • Painting the walls or replacing wallpaper. 
  • Refinishing cabinetry.  
  • Adding personalized décor. 
  • Upgrading light fixtures. 
  • Updating the furniture. 
  • Adding shelving or storage solutions.  

A good rule of thumb is that if you spend less than $5000 and aren’t changing anything structural to your RV, you don’t have to worry. 

Major Upgrades to Your RV 

If your alterations or additions are valued at more than $5000, you’ll need to inform your insurer. You also may want to request an increase in your coverage limits to better reflect your RV’s value.

If you’re doing major renovations, including changing the structure of the RV or the cooking or washroom facilities, you should speak to your insurer before you begin the work.  

Wind or solar power technology is often covered under a separate endorsement, therefore you need to update your insurer if you plan to add this equipment to your RV. 

Bus and Van Conversions 

Bus and van conversions have become increasingly popular over the past few years. They allow you to build your dream motorhome with a blank slate, letting you choose the perfect layout, functionality and aesthetic.  

Since many people do these conversions as a do-it-yourself project, it can lead to substandard work that is more likely to result in a claim. Some RV insurance companies will cover conversions if they’ve been completed by a professional company, but others won’t insure them at all. Before beginning this type of project, talk to your broker or insurance company.