Warranties – the Good, Bad and the Ugly

Extended Warranties – to have or not to have? If you ask 5 people about warranties, you’ll get 5 different answers or opinions. Not everyone believes in having an Extended Warranty. They are costly and can be exasperating when you have something to break but can also be a lifesaver when you have a big ticket item fail.

We are big proponents of having an Extended Warranty!

Let’s start with defining the different warranties:

  • Factory Warranty – Provided by the manufacturer of your RV and is usually for the first year after purchase. You can take your RV to a local authorized service center or take it back to the factory for repairs. The warranty usually covers anything that might fail – bumper to bumper and is not cost to you and not deductible.
  • Dealership Warranty – Used RV’s can sometimes come with a limited warranty from the dealership. They are less robust in coverage and usually only last 3 – 6 months. Should not be a cost to you but not all dealerships will step up to the plate and offer a warranty. If they don’t, try to negotiate for one and get it in writing. Deductibles vary and service locations are usually restricted to the dealership you bought at unless they are a national chain.
  • Extended Warranty – Starts after your factory or dealership warranty expires. They are longer in duration, will be limited by time and mileage depending on your policy, are less robust than the factory warranty, don’t always cover full time RVers (check the small print and ask) and can be costly.

You also need to know that whoever sells you the warranty is not going to be the one that services your warranty. They sell it to you, get a commission, take your money, and you have to deal with them when you have repairs, etc., but they are not the one approving the repairs needed. The policy underwriter is the one that will be doing that and not all underwriters are created equal and each has a different criteria you have to meet. Our first underwriter never sent out an inspector to confirm repairs; our second one required an inspector each time.

So before you buy an Extended Warranty there are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • New coaches usually come with a Factory Warranty that usually covers the first year. The dealerships always try to sell you an Extended Warranty at the time of purchase but you actually are wasting a year of coverage if you buy an Extended Warranty when you purchase your RV because the Extended Warranty company will expect you to file any claims for the first year on the Factory Warranty. So don’t bother getting an Extended Warranty at time of purchase unless they are willing to make the effective date a year later. Most won’t though.
  • Used coaches usually have a Dealership Warranty but for less time than a new purchase. Usually 3 to 6 months. Same thought applies for used RV purchases – wait and purchase just before any Dealership Warranty expires.

You heard the expression “Lesson Learned”? Well I’m going to share our “Lesson Learned” in order to help you from having to experience it the hard way like we did.

We bought our RV new. It was a 40′ Class A. We were newbies to the whole RV life. Still working but were looking forward to retiring and traveling in our RV a couple years from then. We fell for the pressure sale and bought an Extended Warranty at the time we purchased our RV. They don’t give you any time to look at the warranty and being newbies, we had no idea what to ask or what to look for anyway. We were all excited about getting our new ‘baby’ and all the places we were going to go and see! Yeah us! Right? Big mistake. Well not big but we should have thought it through and read the warranty. But we’re cool. Not full time yet. Only traveling on weekends and holidays. A few things had to be fixed as usual with any new RV. Factory Warranty covered them – not the Extended Warranty.

Fast forward 2 yrs – We retired!!! Yeah!! Sold the house and hit the road full time. Had a few things that needed repairs, nothing major and didn’t have any issues. The Extended Warranty worked with our repair shops and everything went smoothly.

Fast forward 2 more years – Extended Warranty is getting close to expiring either by date or by mileage – can’t remember which – and of course we have an issue. Actually several issues at one time and of course they were big ones – power inverter failed, our microwave/convection oven isn’t working and the dash radio with cameras stopped working. The microwave/convection oven actually went out several months before the inverter and dash radio when we were in Indiana. We made arrangements for a mobile repair guy to replace it. The warranty company approved it but the guy was taking his sweet time to replace it then on the day he was supposed to come out to replace it, he called and said he couldn’t get to it. He was too busy. Not very professional at all. I called the warranty company and told them what happened and that they should remove him from their approved list of contractors and they said no problem. They note it in our file, close the claim and when we got back to Texas we could open up another claim and get it replace. So we head home and on the way home the inverter and dash radio went out. We took it in to our local, reputable repair center and they did their diagnosis and sent the info to the repair company. The warranty company called and refused to pay for the microwave/convection oven because the lousy repair guy in Indiana filed and claim and got paid even though he didn’t replace it! Creep! During the telecon with my husband, they asked why we didn’t just drop off the RV at the repair center and my husband said ‘because we are staying in it’. Immediately the warranty company informed him that they do not cover full time RVers and cancelled our policy. Total cost for the repairs was $6k and we had to eat it.

In case your wondering, the warranty was sold by RVCare and administered or underwritten by Phoenix American Warranty Company out of Miami, FL.
We paid $3,301 for 7 yrs /50,000 miles.

So we started looking for another Extended Warranty company and Wholesale Warranty was recommended to us by a friend. We contacted them to get a quote. They send out an inspector to check out everything on our RV and we got a quote for 4 yrs / Unlimited mileage and the cost was $8,845. The underwriter or administrator is Strategic Administrators. They cover full time RVers and we got the top of the line coverage with a $100 deductible PER TRIP TO SERVICE CENTER regardless of how many items they repair.

Fast forward another year – Need repairs to a slide, new rear air bags and a new rear axle. They covered the first two but not the rear axle. Warranties cover ‘failed parts’ not any damaged cause but outside forces and it was determined that some outside force cause damage to our rear differential so we had to foot the $4k bill for that. They did cover the slide mechanism and the rear air bags but it wasn’t without arguing our case.

So you’re probably wondering why we are proponents of having an Extended Warranty? Here’s why……

Let me introduce you to our friend – we’ll just call him Mr T. He was the one that recommended Wholesale Warranty because he had good service from them……until he didn’t. Isn’t that always the way it works? He had some major repairs that had to be done over a couple of years. I know he had several AC units repaired and I’m not sure what other things but over time his repairs totaled over $50k and his policy still had time on it, but then they cancelled him. They were good about it and helped him find another company but they had to part ways. He now has a new warranty company and is in the middle of a $15k repairs to replace a generator. He also had a $15k repair for damages done to the wiring and AC under the dash caused by mice. The warranty company didn’t cover that but his comprehensive insurance on the RV will.

I’m researching the new warranty company Mr T has now and if I find it viable, I will update my post with info.

So….many people will say ‘Don’t buy a warranty. Just put your money in a savings account for repairs’. Like that’s going to happen, right? Well maybe you’re better at saving money than me but I’d rather have an Extended Warranty than risk having a repair (or multiple repairs cause bad things come in 3’s, right?) that costs double or triple what an Extended Warranty would cost. The choice is yours.

Update 29Sep20: Had to take the coach in for repairs. Bedroom slide won’t go out and fireplace won’t work. Took it to the Thor factory service center in Wakarusa, IN. They had to replace a motor on the slide. The fireplace can’t be fixed. It needs to be replaced but delivery time is out 3 wks and we can’t hang around for that long. Wholesale Warranty worked with Thor in an expeditious manner and Thor was able to get approval on replacing the slide motor and even though they didn’t replace the fireplace, they confirm it would be covered at a later date and annotated the problem with the warranty company. Our cost for repairs: $100 for deductible and $52 for diagnostic time (not covered by warranty). Thor got the slide fixed, warranty claim filed and we were in and out in record time – 1 day!! Yeah!! We’ll get the fireplace replaced when we go back to Houston in Dec and have time to wait on delivery.

This was a relatively low dollar repair but still one of the reasons we feel an extended warranty is a good thing to have.


Here’s another story that proves warranties are a good thing to have.

Let me introduce you to Bob Brown. He’s a fellow RVer on one of our Facebook groups. His story is rather awesome and really makes me feel even more comfortable knowing we picked Wholesale Warranty to cover our coach!

Bob: I’m on a number of RV FB pages. Seems like once or twice a week the question of an extended warranty comes up. Some people have some real horror stories about different companies. We purchased one through Wholesale Warranties and here is my experience. Extended warranty on a 2010 4386 Newmar Dutch Star. 3 years for $9200, exclusionary policy.

We have had it just over 2 years Up until last month they had paid out over $7000 in claims for water pump, slide motor, air conditioner, etc.
All claims handeled quickly and professionally.
Then last month we experienced every Diesel Pusher’s worst nightmare…a blown engine. Took it to Cummins of Grand Rapids, Michigan. A claim was filed with Wholesale Warranties and after an investigation where we had to show our maintenance records, the claim for $24,000 was APPROVED!!!

Obviously I will be singing their praises forever. You just couldn’t ask for anymore from a company. Thank you Wholesale Warranties for being a stand-up business in an industry full of shady companies!


  1. I believe you are proof that you really DON’T need a warranty. So far you have probably outlayed more than the cost of repairs and you had the grief of dealing with these clowns.

    • Nope. We still feel it is necessary to have an extended warranty you just have to have a good one. It just covered having our slide motor replaced and our fireplace. If we have a major repair such as the generator or even just having the refrigerator replaced you’re looking at major costs (fridge has to be taken out through the front windshield). The key is finding one that has good customer service, good coverage and a good price.

  2. Bobby Vincent

    I trying decide right now on extended warranty…The only one I found when buying from a private part is Wholesale Warrianties….6300.00 for 4 years… On the fence & have not pulled the trigger yet. Looking forward to your opinion & options

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