Besides the initial big expense of purchasing your RV, there are other costs that come with RV ownership that can add up quickly and should be considered before you purchase. While some costs are a given (fuel), other costs can be overlooked or even unexpected.
The cost associated with owning an RV can vary dramatically depending on the age, size and type of the RV you decide to purchase, but also on other factors, such as how often you travel and how much time you spend on the road. Staying in one place for a while can save you in terms of fuel, maintenance costs and parking/camping fees (provided a discount is offered for long-term), but if you’re paying for your RV to sit in storage for months on end, those costs can quickly add up as well. Below are a few RV ownership costs to consider.
The first expense you’ll encounter after purchasing your RV (or even before) is insurance. Insurance costs can differ greatly by state, your usage, the value of the RV and type of coverage. It’s always best to shop around and make sure you’re getting a good price for the coverage and deductible that you need.
Before you’re able to drive it, you’ll need to register your RV. Registration costs also differ between states and depend on the age, weight, length and market value of the motorhome. Calculations can be complicated but you can often find calculators on many of the state DMV websites to help you estimate registration costs.
Maintenance & Repairs
Since there are a lot more things that can go wrong with an RV compared to a car, RV maintenance costs are usually the most unexpected and tend to be the most costly. Routine maintenance may include things such as tires, filters, and oil changes, while larger, less common repairs might include the engine, heat pump, appliances, generator, or furnace.
Sometimes insurance or extended warranties will cover the cost of repairs, but then you’ll need to factor in any deductibles you may have.
While it’s impossible to predict what could go wrong with your vehicle in a given month or year, if you budget for routine maintenance and give yourself a buffer for any major repairs you may encounter, you’ll be more prepared in the long run. Many people find it helpful to set aside a certain amount for maintenance each month, saving whatever they don’t use for any large, emergency repairs that may come up throughout the year. However you decide to manage, just make sure to budget enough for maintenance!
While fuel is one of the more obvious costs, it’s also one that is highly variable. Fuel prices are constantly fluctuating and total costs will vary depending on how often and far you travel. Some quick calculations can at least give you a general idea of how much to budget for fuel each year.
Depending on if you stay in an RV park or resort, a state park or national park, costs for parking your RV can fluctuate. Length of stay will also affect how much you’ll pay since many places offer discounted monthly or weekly rates. There’s also the option to ‘boondock’ – meaning staying in public places, such as parking lots, for free. While this may be okay for a night or two, it’s most likely not a long term option.
Consider how much traveling you intend on doing and how often you’ll move around when budgeting for camping/resort fees.
Storing your RV while you’re not using it may or may not come with a price tag. If you’re fortunate enough to have a place to store it at your residence, you don’t need to worry about this cost. If you need to rent a storage unit or pay for public storage, you’ll need to factor in this expense. Make sure you consider how long your RV will be in storage before you decide to purchase. If you do find that it’s spending more time in storage than on the road, it may be a good time to contact us about selling.
These are just some of the costs that come with owning an RV. To get a better idea, it never hurts to ask around and find out how much other people are spending on their RVs in a given year. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be when deciding to make a purchase.