Rider Justice’s love for motorcycles and the motorcycle community knows no bounds. Whether you ride a Harley, BMW, Triumph, Honda, or anything in between, we are on your team.
One unique segment of the motorcycle community that thrives in Colorado, Utah, and other mountain states, consists of our overlanding friends. These bikers love adventure, camping, and getting out into lesser-known parts to ride and enjoy the great outdoors.
If you’re living that #VanLife, even just for a couple weekends a year, please insure your vehicle in a way that protects YOU. Let’s get this straight: Rider Justice is NOT an insurance company or agent. We have no financial or personal ties to the industry. However, we know from decades of experience, that how you’re insured can dramatically impact you if you’re involved in a crash or something happens to your van–and that is our business.
As personal injury and motorcycle lawyers, we encounter an absurd number of people who choose the bare minimum insurance–insurance that protects someone else–because they assume that their own belongings (not to mention bodies!) will be fine.
Time and time again, this choice to save a few bucks on insurance backfires. You’ve spent a lot of money and/or time outfitting your rig so that it’s perfect for you. That is worth protecting. You could be the most careful driver in the world, but there are countless unforeseen obstacles and problems that can arise on a road trip, while camping, or even when you’re parked on your own street.
If you’re an overlander or curious about insuring your van or RV, read more.
What Is Your Van Like?
Before you change your insurance or purchase insurance for your van or RV for the first time, gather all your receipts from any modifications you’ve made or had anyone else make on your behalf. Your vehicle may be worth significantly more than the Blue Book value, and you’ll need to prove that while insuring it.
Let’s say you bought an older van for $10,000. You spent months fixing up the mechanics and modifying the interior to make it perfect for camping, which ended up being another $15,000 in repairs, modifications, and improvements. Now, if you’re simply insuring your van through a giant insurance company, speaking with an agent for that company (who frankly was just trained yesterday and hasn’t ever encountered a situation like yours), you might end up getting insured for a $10,000 vehicle.
That means that if, God forbid, something happens to your van, that $15,000 you spent fixing it up is just gone gone gone.
What About Renters’ or Homeowners’ Insurance? Doesn’t that Protect Me?
I’m so glad you asked. First let me explain the difference between what renters’ / homeowners’ insurance covers and what car insurance covers, then I’m going to drop a truth bomb about why your renters’ insurance probably isn’t enough.
Car Insurance vs. Renters’ / Homeowners’ Insurance
We talk about this on our overlanding page, but here are the specifics again: if something is permanently affixed to your vehicle, then your car or RV insurance should cover it. So, if you’ve built a kitchen or bathroom into your van, this is covered by your auto insurance or RV insurance (assuming your insurance agent knows what they’re doing).
However, anything that can be removed–all your motorcycle gear, mountain bike, generators, the guitar you carry with you so you can be that guy around the campfire–is NOT covered by car insurance. These removable items will be covered by your renters’ or homeowners’ insurance, but there is a caveat.
Why You Probably Don’t Have Enough Renter’s Insurance
A typical renter is insured for $20,000 to $30,000 for content, which includes any of your belongings that are not built into your house or apartment. This might seem like a lot of coverage. It would cover a nice mountain bike, some gear, and your Martin guitar. That is, it would cover those items if you had all that money available to you. However, only 10% of that $20-30k covers items that leave your house.
If something happened to your van, and your mountain bike, laptop, and gear were damaged, your renters’ insurance would only cover up to $2,000 or $3,000 worth of that gear (10%). That might cover some of your losses, but it certainly wouldn’t cover all.
It’s so frustrating that people don’t know this: increasing your renters’ insurance coverage for content might be just a few extra bucks, which is SO worth it. Don’t get the typical renters’ insurance. Look into your coverage for content, and if you have expensive gear that you’ll be taking out of your home, please please please have enough coverage that you’ll be okay if something happens to that gear.
Now, if you’re a homeowner, your typical insurance will most likely be adequate for covering your gear outside your house. However, if you’re concerned about it, talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have enough coverage.
How Do I Get Insured the Right Way?
Use an independent insurance agent who is not linked to one insurance company. Period. It’s so simple, and yet people assume that by contacting one of the giant car insurance companies directly they’ll save money and time.
Here’s a secret that’s not really a secret: you won’t pay extra to use an independent insurance agent AND you get the personalized attention, knowledge, and care that’s missing when you call a car insurance company directly. Nobody imagines that they’ll ever need their insurance, but here’s the sad truth: there are more than five million car accidents every year in the United States. This is more than one accident per minute. If you happen to be one of those five million, you’ll be relieved that you’re covered well.
Tell your insurance agent about all the modifications you’ve done on your van. Tell them about the gear you carry with you. They will help you get the right insurance so that all your investments and toys are protected when you hit the road.