A motorhome is a significant financial commitment. Hence, whether you buy a new or used model, you want to know that will be suitable for those all-important holidays for many years to come.
A warranty will cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle if a problem arises – but read the terms and conditions carefully!
It’s also a guarantee: if your motorhome is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, you can expect it to be in good shape. Yet, there are lots of different types of warranties available, resulting in many owners believing their Motorhome is insured for all repairs, only to be disappointed when their claim is denied.
So, what warranties are you going to be given? What is included and what is not? What is the protocol for making a warranty claim? And how are they different from Motorhome insurance?
Read on for the WSG complete guide to motorhome warranties.
Most motorhomes are basic vehicles that have been transformed into a home-on-wheels by an authorised manufacturer. When you buy a new motorhome, you get two warranties: one from the manufacturer and one from the converter.
The manufacturer’s warranty is the most comprehensive, covering the vehicle’s mechanics and electronics, including the engine and transmission, fuel and ignition system, gearbox, steering and suspension, clutch and brakes, and so on.
Often, roadside assistance is included just in case your new vehicle breaks down.
In summary, this sort of warranty covers the expenses of fixing almost everything that the manufacturer claims should not require repair within the stated time frame if the vehicle has been regularly serviced.
It is likely that ‘consumables’ will be excluded. Essentially, this is everything that would ordinarily need to be replaced after a given length of use, such as wiper blades, tyres, and brake pads.
‘Diagnostics’ are another common omission. So, if you suspect a problem with your car, you’ll have to pay for it to be diagnosed by a specialist. Only necessary repairs will be covered by the manufacturer.
The warranty period varies based on where the motorhome was produced. If it is in the United Kingdom, it is likely to last for three years, but if the donor vehicle was made in Europe, it is probably going to be two years. So make sure you check before you buy a vehicle.
Also, keep in mind that this term may begin when the base was created, and it may already be a year old by the time you acquire your RV.
And, depending on your policy, don’t confuse the warranty with your motorhome insurance, which covers things that the manufacturer may not be responsible for, such as accidents, damage, theft of the motorhome or its contents, and fire.
The warranty on the upgrade company’s work includes the work that changes the motor home base into a liveable home-on-wheels. What is covered varies from business to business, so always read the fine print.
Even more perplexing, the warranty is likely to be divided into two.
The first covers motorhome and the fitted equipment repairs. The external body shell, the electrical system, the water system, appliances such as the refrigerator and oven, the toilet, and the windows may all be included.
The second section is known as a body structural warranty, and it effectively covers water ingress or leaks through fixed seam or seal joints in the motorhome’s living space. Not all conversions include them; it is dependent on the type of motor home you purchase.
As with motorhome insurance, you may be required to pay an extra for any repairs performed under warranty. There will be exclusions for items that are predicted to degrade, such as window seals.
If your converter’s warranty is good for several years, the terms may change after the first year or two, maybe covering fewer pieces or with a larger excess.
Dealer’s or insurance-backed warranty
If you purchase a reasonably new motorhome, you may be able to have the original warranties transferred to you for a nominal cost.
If the vehicle you’re looking to purchase is a few years old, the original warranties will have expired. Instead, your dealer may provide you with a warranty – sometimes for free, sometimes for an additional cost.
An insurance provider will underwrite this, which will cover both the basic vehicle and the modification. If you don’t like the warranty offered by your dealer, or if you’re purchasing a used model from a private owner, you may hunt around for an insurance-backed warranty yourself.
People disregard dealer warranties because they believe there are so many limitations that they aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. While this is not always the case, the terms do vary greatly, so read the fine print carefully to see precisely what is included and for how long.
They will very probably exclude wear and tear, as do manufacturer’s warranties. They may also exclude ‘consequential loss,’ or damage to an insured part caused by the failure of an uninsured part.
Some extended warranties are valid for ten years. However, the amount you are expected to contribute to any repair expenses may be determined on a sliding scale. As a result, the older your vehicle, the more you’ll have to pay if something goes wrong.
While a warranty maybe backed by an insurance company or underwriter, it is important to remember that they don’t replace your standard motorhome insurance policy.
What’s the difference between a motorhome warranty and motorhome insurance?
So, what distinguishes warranties from motorhome insurance policies? There are some significant differences.
A warranty is essentially insurance against faults that arise within your motorhome due to no external reason. Insurance protects you from financial loss caused by outside factors such as accidents, theft, or vandalism.
Most crucially, if you are at fault in an accident, your motorhome insurance will pay other drivers for any damage to them or their vehicles. As a result, having third-party insurance is a legal necessity, with severe penalties if you do not comply. However, there is no legal requirement to get a warranty.
Additional add Ons such as breakdown cover may be included with both, so it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re not overpaying. Examine the terms and conditions of any warranty or insurance coverage you’re thinking about purchasing.
What will invalidate a warranty?
You may also be surprised to learn that typical motorhome usage might void your warranty. The following are some of the most typical reasons why a claim may be denied; nevertheless, check the conditions of your own warranty to be certain.
It might happen if you spend more than a particular number of consecutive nights or total nights in your vehicle every year. If you were planning a lengthy summer journey around Europe, you might easily exceed this limit.
You will almost certainly be required to provide proof that you have had your motorhome professionally serviced at specific intervals, and there is typically a maximum mileage allowed as well. Missing a service or exceeding the mileage limit can void your warranty.
If you’re an amateur mechanic, consider carefully before attempting to fix a problem yourself. Your warranty may be voided if repairs are performed by anyone other than an approved specialist.
Any motorhome changes are likely to void the warranty, however they may be approved if performed by a competent specialist. So, consider twice before making any changes, such as installing solar panels yourself!
You must also adhere to the warranty claims procedure. Typically, this entails going through your dealer and obtaining manufacturer clearance before having a repair performed, rather than later. Owners frequently grumble about how inconvenient this is, so it’s always a good idea to buy your vehicle from a dealer with a solid reputation for aftersales service.
However, if you damage your motorhome due to your own negligence, such as using the wrong fuel, you are unlikely to be covered by the warranty. Another typical mistake is continuing to drive your motor home after a warning light or an issue has been detected on the dashboard.
Many warranties are null and void if you go outside of a certain area, such as Europe. Check before making any trip plans. Of course, you are free to travel anyhow – but it is important that you understand the repercussions, especially if you intend to sell your van after your trip. Keep in mind that motorhome insurance sometimes only covers EU nations.
Should I take out a dealer’s warranty?
So, with all of this in mind, is it worthwhile to pay for a dealer’s warranty on your used motorhome? You must choose whether option is more cost effective in the long run: purchasing a warranty or doing repairs yourself. You must also consider whether you are willing to bear the risk of getting an unaffordable repair bill.
Consider the following questions to assist you in making your decision.
• Which motorhome components are covered by the warranty?
• Is there a maximum amount per claim?
• How much are you required to contribute to any repairs, especially in the later years of an extended warranty?
• How straightforward is the claims procedure?
• Can you have a motorhome serviced by a technician near you if you bought it from a dealer far away, or do you have to return it to the dealer? Is there an authorised repairer network in the UK and Europe?
• Who pays for the expense of transporting your broken-down motorhome to the garage?
• Do you get a free substitute car while the motor home is being repaired under warranty?
• Does it matter which garage does the regular service if the warranty is only valid with a regular service schedule?
• Is the warranty more suited to cars than to Motor homes – does it cover the living area as well as the mechanics and the electrical?
• Does it correspond to your intended usage – your estimated milage and the countries you want to visit?
• Does it cover water ingress or leaks?
Remember that, like insurance, you may wish to shop around for a warranty rather than accepting one from your dealer.