Ten Reasons Why Every RV Owner Should Have a Service Contract
1. Save Money
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Saving money is a top priority for almost everybody. People love a good deal and if you can successfully illustrate how when their two-thousand-dollar refrigerator breaks the only cost to them is a small deductible, the value of a service contract (aka a VSC or Vehicle Service Contract) is immediately brought to light.
2. Peace of Mind
Peace of mind is hard to put a price tag on. I’d say that being able to fully enjoy the use of your motorhome or towable without the fear that every time you do, something will break and you’ll be stuck trying to pay for a costly repair, is pretty valuable. RVing is supposed to be an opportunity to relax and spend quality time with friends and family. A costly repair or even the thought of a costly repair has the potential to ruin the relaxing experience for anyone. Having a service contract allows you to rest assured that if you do hear some strange noise in your RV, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Bring the unit to your local dealer and get it fixed! You’re only out of pocket your small deductible and even that is waived sometimes when you come back to the dealer where you bought the unit. Peace of mind may be the hardest to put a price tag on when it comes to benefits, but I’d say it’s easily one of the most valuable.
3. Additional Benefits
Everyone knows that service contracts pay to repair your RV when it has a mechanical breakdown. Engine repairs, appliances, and slide outs are generally going to be covered repairs. However, what a lot of people may not realize, is that often, service contracts come with a host of additional benefits aside from mechanical repair coverage. Some examples of these additional benefits included with a service contract are:
i. If a repair requires the unit to be towed, the contract will often pay all or part of that additional expense for towing.
ii. If a repair requires multiple days to rectify the problem and other criteria are met, then the service contract can help offset the costs of a hotel, food, and a rental vehicle (if the unit is a motorhome).
iii. Roadside assistance is a huge benefit that comes with most service contracts. This can cover battery jump starting, flat tire assistance, and fuel, oil, and other fluids delivery. Often, a stand-alone roadside program such as AAA won’t cover an RV, and if they do, it’s usually at an additional monthly cost. This service is included at no extra charge above what you paid for the service contract.
4. Protection From Inflation
The price of everything is going up every single year. From 2010 to 2019 average inflation was a little under 2% a year, which is way below historical averages. This may not sound like much, but if a repair cost $2,500 in 2010, that same repair would cost over $2,800 seven years later. Without a service contract, a customer is paying for that difference out of pocket. With a service contract, that customer is paying their deductible (that hasn’t gone up at all over the seven years) and the contract covers the rest of the covered repair.
5. Increased Resale Value
Buyers like units that have or have had a service contract bought with them. It’s an indicator that no repairs would have been put off since the owner wouldn’t have had to pay out of pocket. A well-maintained unit is obviously going to fetch a higher price both via a private party sale, or when traded into a dealership. If the contract is still active, then it also means that the customer can charge more for that unit if they decide to sell it to a private party. Most service contracts are transferable and the benefits can be passed on to the next buyer for a nominal transfer fee.
If you’re one of the lucky ones where all of the cost savings that come with a service contract don’t get you all excited, first off, good for you, and second, the added convenience that comes with owning a VSC is just as big of a benefit if not more. There is the convenience with having all of the emergency roadside and towing benefits. The convenience of having a dedicated technical support line to help walk you through how to run the increasingly complex systems within your unit (included with many service contracts, and available for a small surcharge on others). Lastly, most service contracts pay for service calls out to your unit. That means that when your fridge stops working after you’ve spent the last hour unhooking your truck and getting your camp site setup, the contract will pay to have someone come to you to diagnose and fix the problem. That can be worth its weight in gold and can salvage an entire weekend that could’ve otherwise been ruined. In that scenario you’d have to partially tear down your campsite, drive the unit who knows how far to your nearest repair facility, and wait for them to diagnose the issue, all while the kids get more restless by the minute. Instead, the service tech comes to you while the kids keep swimming and you keep relaxing and the technician diagnoses the issue.
7. DIY Repairs are Much Less Common
Back in the day, RV’s were fairly simple machines. Few models had slide outs where now two or more are commonplace. They were much more mechanically driven as opposed to how more and more is controlled by computers. Slide outs and computers just aren’t things that a weekend warrior can safely repair by themselves. Slide outs are generally far too big for one or even two people to handle on their own. All of the computer systems usually require special diagnostic equipment to determine the issue, and then most of them aren’t repairable, they get replaced. These are just two examples of common breakdowns that are generally covered by a service contract that are extremely difficult if not impossible for an RV owner to repair. The days of the weekend warrior being able to fix anything in their RV are long gone.
8. Covered Wherever You Go
For most service contracts their coverage extends to all fifty states and Canada. This is critical for a couple different reasons. For one, your local go to dealer or repair facility may charge a very competitive labor rate, or maybe you’re even close enough with the dealer that they cut you deals from time to time. Unfortunately, the majority of RV claims happen far away from home and far away from your trusted local dealership. You may be caught in a situation where a critical repair can’t wait to be done until you get home, and that dealer or repair facility you’re now working with has a high labor rate and he’s the only game in town. Instead of getting stuck with a much higher bill than you’d expect from your go to repair facility, with a service contract, you simply pay the deductible you would expect to pay anyway, and the contract covers the rest. You’re insulated from the increased cost of this new repair facility. This could save the contract holder hundreds, if not thousands of dollars depending on the nature of the repair.
9. A VSC is More Likely to be Used Than Your Comprehensive and Collision Insurance
Nearly everyone has comprehensive insurance on their cars, homes, and RV’s. The likelihood of filing a claim against any of these policies is few and far between. When you think about all of the components present in an RV and then take those components and bounce them down the road for thousands of miles, it becomes pretty clear that a service contract claim is a lot more likely than filing a claim for an accident. That coupled with all of the emergency roadside benefits included with most VSC’s or available for a small surcharge, even more potential opportunities to gain value from the service contract arise.
10. Get a Refund When You Trade in Your Unit
The world is full of uncertainty. It’s hard to predict what things will look like a year from now, let alone five or six years (which is often the term of many service contracts). Luckily, uncertainty of how long you’ll actually own the unit doesn’t need to be a deterrent for purchasing a service contract. If and when you trade your unit in, the contract can be cancelled and you receive a full refund of the unused portion remaining on the contact. This refund can be used to help payoff your remaining loan balance on the unit you are trading in, or be put towards a down payment on the new unit you’re purchasing.
Hopefully this opened your eyes to why a service contract can be such an asset. Or if you were already a proud contract holder, it helped reaffirm that you made a great choice. Feel free to comment on how you’ve gotten value out of your service contract or if there’s a different benefit that we didn’t mention here.