If you’ve owned, rented, or want to borrow someone’s RV or travel trailer, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you go ahead and get that recreational vehicle.
Repair costs for RV’s, campers, and travel trailers are huge! There is always the risk of getting into some sort of accident. Many times, it isn’t with another vehicle but it is with mother nature. Some examples I’ve experienced are driving over a rock, running into a tree, or sliding down a hill side.
If you haven’t towed something before or driven a camper that is longer than an SUV, you need to take an hour or two before you head out on your long journey to become familiar with the way everything handles on the road. Each camper or travel trailer I use all provide a different experience; One, that for me, is never the same. It is always an adventure.
It is important to have a contingency plan in place when that fateful day comes and you smash into something. Or perhaps it smashes into you.
What Does It Cost To Repair An RV?
The cost to repair a travel trailer, camper, or RV varies because of the type but you could be in the $2,000 to $20,000 range. For the accident I was in, the cost was well over $5,000. The damage to the trailer looked insignificant; however, it did end up costing just over $5,000 to fix it.
Should you get insurance?
For me, I haven’t found the type of trailer I’d like to buy yet and so over the last few years, I’ve been renting them. I go through a rental company and they provide a reasonable supplemental insurance policy that comes with a $1000 refundable deposit and a $1500 deductible.
Now I know what you are thinking, $1,500 is a lot of money and I agree with you; however, at the end of the day, I am willing to pay that $1,000 and enjoy my trip knowing that if something happens, I am covered. When you are dealing with travel trailers, campers, or RV’s, that deductible is the safety net and it is well worth it. Otherwise, you will be forking over a substantial amount of money to repair the trailer you borrowed.
Now, depending on the type of trailer you are towing, the damage that was done, and how far they have to tow it for repairs, the costs can be anywhere from $2,000 to over $10,000+. If you are borrowing the trailer from your neighbor and you didn’t come up with some sort of contingency plan beforehand, you’ll likely be held responsible for the repairs. And without some sort of insurance policy to cover you for the trip, that could be very costly and probably ruin your friendship.
So should you get insurance? The answer is always YES!
Below is a picture that I hope provides a good case to getting some sort of insurance. The damage doesn’t look too bad but underneath tells a different story. I had pinched the hot water line. Yes, no warm water. The snow had melted the next morning but at 11 PM in a snow storm at an elevation of about 10,000 ft there was close to a foot on the ground and in the dark where things are hard to navigate as it was, I ended up in a ditch.
I have been towing travel trailers for quite some time and every time, I take every precaution I can think of. When I say that getting into an accident can happen to anyone, you better believe it. I never thought that it would happen to me. Before I got into the accident, I had been accident-free for well over ten years.
Every year, my brothers and I go on a deer hunting trip and the weather is always nice and cold. I enjoy dry camping in a nice cozy travel trailer when it is 25 degrees outside as well as sleeping on a nice soft bed, it makes getting up at 5 AM more bearable. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are nice tents and camping gear out there that provide a very similar comfortable living space but for me, I enjoy the home feel that comes from staying in a travel trailer.
For towing, I have a 2014 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel with an 8ft bed. It is a beast! All the kids in the neighborhood call it Optimus. My previous vehicle was a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab SB. I loved that truck as well but I really love my diesel. It has everything I need to pull what I need as well as that little bit extra for peace of mind when traveling down the freeway.
One of the first brands I ever used was a Keystone Hideout and for several years I was able to rent a 2016/Keystone Hideout 24BHSWE. Unfortunately, the owner moved to Texas and this past year, I was left trying to find another trailer to take on the deer hunt. I had become very accustomed to the Hideout and personally recommend it. It is a great trailer to use and has a lot of features that make dry camping great. If you are in the market and want to try it out before you buy, check it out on RVShare.com
My brother Joe was unable to go due to the birth of his first child and he was the one who towed all the ATV’s. So, my other brother, Jeff and I, needed a way to get our ATV’s, food, and all our gear into a travel trailer that was a bit bigger than we were used to.
With a diesel, I wasn’t worried about towing a bigger trailer, however, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anything. After a few minutes browsing around the rental site, these were the options I had:
|2014 Keystone Impact 260 Toy Hauler||$130/night|
|2016 Keystone Impact 312 Toy Hauler||$220/night|
|2017 Forest River Shockwave Toy Hauler||$150/night|
2014 Keystone Impact 260 Toy Hauler
After reviewing all the options and going back and forth on cost, I felt confident that the 2014 Keystone Toy Hauler was the way to go and so I booked it. RV Share makes the process very easy. Their site is very user-friendly and the claim process was even easier. I felt like they made the claim process very uncomplicated.
The Case of Unfortunate Events
I was scrambling to get all my gear together as well as get my food packed, all while trying to meet certain work obligations for the day. Jeff, my other brother, was also working and we opted to leave just before rush hour; however, that didn’t happen and we ended up leaving just as rush hour hit. While we were kind of in a hurry to get to the campsite, we were not in a huge rush. We stopped for dinner and then made it to the halfway mark.
The halfway mark was a small town and just outside the town, we passed the sheriff going in the opposite direction.
As he went by, I noticed him whip around really fast and immediately turned on his lights to catch up with me. I pulled over and my brother and I looked at each other wondering what I had done. When the sheriff got to the window, he said: “Did you all know that the door to the trailer is open?” My brother and I looked at each other and you could see the color of my brothers face go white as he just realized that his gun was close to the door. We jumped out and ran over to the side of the trailer and sure
As my brother and I arrived at our destination, it was a bit late ( around 11 PM). Each year, we camp at the same campsite and know the area really well. However, when we got there, there were about 10-12 inches of snow on the dirt road that lead into the campground. I was being very cautious as we drove down the road so that I wouldn’t hit anything or slide off into the ditch. As I went around a couple of tight bends, we brushed a few tree branches but overall not much of an issue.
The Volkswagen Bug
We finally pulled into the campsite and there was a lot of snow and space to move around. My brother and I got out and after a quick talk with my cousin, it was time for me to back into a sweet spot up against the mountainside.
The campsite was set up with a roundabout in the middle of the area and so I jumped in the truck and made a wide turn expecting to pull around the roundabout, straighten out, and have a straight shot to back into the camping space
Well, as I began to make the left turn on the roundabout I heard this crunching sound and all of sudden felt a big jerk and lost all forward movement. Not knowing what had happened, I rolled the window down and looked out into the darkness to see if I could see what happened.
At that moment, it became apparent the huge predicament I was in. I had not seen the Volkswagen Bug-sized boulder in the middle of the roundabout and I had the toy hauler sitting on it with the back end of my truck off the ground a few inches.
I immediately jumped out of the truck to assess the situation and figure out what the damage looked like. I think if my brother and cousin could have seen me at that moment they would have noticed my expression of shock and awe as I looked at the boulder and the trailer sitting on it. It reminded me of a looney toons cartoon and I was Wyle E. Coyote. Needless to say, I wasn’t too thrilled and after a few curse words, we began to unload the trailer to eliminate some weight as we tried to figure out how to undo what I had done.
With the ATV’s out of the trailer, the truck seemed to be on the ground for the most part and so I jumped in and began to back up. After spinning the wheels, I threw it into four-wheel drive and tried again to no avail. The trailer had moved a little bit but I was still stuck on the rock.
I decided to unhitch the trailer and move the truck into a different position. After a couple of attempts at that, I was able to get off the boulder but the Toy Hauler was still stuck in the ditch next to the rock with the tires sitting deep in the mud.
Diesel Power To the Rescue
We immediately unhitched the truck again and moved it into another position. Once it was hooked back up, I let the diesel do its magic.
To this day, I am still not sure how I got the trailer out of the hole I was in but I did. With a bit of repositioning of the truck and some good old fashioned diesel power, we got the trailer back onto the snow-packed road.
Now came the fun part. I still needed to back into the campsite and get off the main dirt road. That left turn had to be made to get perpendicular to the campsite in order to back in. During the repositioning of the truck, I noticed that I could take a wider turn than I had originally done, in order to avoid the rock and the ditch of death. With a better lay of the land, I was able to get the trailer where I needed it. All in all it turned out to be a great hunt.
Pro-Active Assessments: What Should You Do At Each Rest Stop?
Take some time at a gas station to assess the trailer and check for any loose objects that just don’t look right.
How To Tell If You Might Get a Flat Tire On The Way?
Check the tires for wear and tear and learn to recognize tires that are beginning to rot.
What Does The Lay of the Land Look Like?
Use Google Maps or other resources to make sure you know and become familiar with the area where you will be camping.