RV Insurance Shopping Tips from Tim Heintz
Tim Heintz of Heintz Designs is probably one of the most respected and resourceful people in vintage trailer restorations. Tim is also a frequent contributor in a number of RV forums and groups, has spoken at conferences and seminars and recently shared a post about RV insurance. We were so impressed with that post we asked Tim if we could re-post it here to help more people - he said sure!
This comes from the absolute leading authority on vintage trailers and vintage trailer restorations and he has dealt with a great number of insurance issues recently.
RV Insurance - Tim Heintz
“I know we all talk about insurance constantly and I have talked about the many aspects and issues with getting the right policy. I had been lucky in the past that my insurance on my vintage trailers was with my auto insurer and I was able to get an agreed upon value policy many years ago. Well now I can share a personal experience that is a bit of a warning that can happen just as easily to you!
Living where I do (Panama City, Florida) it was only a matter of time before my insurance was going to go up from Hurricane Micheal (bad Hurricane years are always bad for we Floridians when it comes to insurance hikes). Well my policy runs out July 1st and I got a call that my policy would be increasing just over 25%!! So I decided to start looking for another insurance company.
I called around and it is not easy to find insurance companies that will write an agreed upon value policy, but I did find a company that told me they would write a Stated Value policy and the man on the phone kept assuring me it was the exact same as an Agreed Upon Value policy.
No matter how much I pushed the issue that the two were not the same, he kept insisting that both allowed the client to state the value that the trailer was worth (with or without an appraisal) and insure it for that amount, no questions asked.
Knowing a little bit about this subject I demanded that he ask his supervisor who agreed with the agent that the two were the exact same. I continued to push the issue and the supervisor contacted the manager who also stated that both were the exact same.
Finally I had enough and wanted them to contact the underwriter and get it in writing from the underwriter stating that both kinds of policies where the same with no depreciation ever added.
You see the difference that I was telling them was that a stated value policy did in fact allow you to insure your trailer for a set amount (appraisal or no appraisal), but it allowed the insurance company to use blue book values and/or depreciation as a determining factor for payout and they would choose which ever amount was the least.
I soon got an apology from the insurance company as they were shocked to find out from the underwriters that everything I had said was correct, the two policies may seem similar at first, but when it comes to paying out on a claim, they are nowhere near the same! Who knows how many other people were told the same thing and just went with it?
So make sure you know the ins and outs of the kind of policy you have, and do not trust any agent when they tell you your trailer is covered for the amount you think. Basically an Agreed Upon Value policy bases the value of your trailer on an appraisal and that amount only will be paid out if you file a full loss claim. You also need to ask your insurance company how long they will honor such an appraisal as most insurance companies will only use an appraisal that is five years old or less, a few will honor it for as many as 10 years, but make sure you keep up with the age of your appraisal.
I am now happy that I did not listen to the agent and get a stated value policy, I ended up calling Farm and City Insurance (FCIS) and they were able to find me an Agreed Upon Value policy for the same price I was paying before the 25% increase!
If you think you have the right insurance on your trailer please call and ask before it is too late: “If I have to file a full loss claim three+ years from now will I get the full amount of the actual policy?” That is when they will realize they have to tell you ‘no’!”
Heintz Designs offers all sorts of great services to the vintage RV world and Tim Heintz has an incredible knowledge of vintage RVs. He’s also a great guy who has shared much to further the field of vintage RV restoration and we appreciate his sharing his experience here.
From posts on social media he has had a rough go of things lately with a combination of hurricanes and burglaries so we continue to wish him the best moving forward and sure appreciate his sharing his beautiful work on vintage RVs.
If you are looking for an incredibly well restored vintage RV or just parts and tips, look up Heintz Designs.