Is RV Insurance Required in California? [Read This First]


rv-insurance-requirement-california

California is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States and for good reason. Its sprawling natural landscapes and bustling and exciting cities offer a lot of places to explore, and one of the best ways to do that is with an RV!

Touring California with an RV can be a fantastic experience for families and solo travelers alike, but there are things to know before you plan out your adventure.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that the California government approves of your RV, and your first consideration should be insurance.

Is RV insurance required in California? Yes, California requires that RV owners have liability insurance, but does not require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. California requires the following liability limits:

  • $15,000 bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 property damage

In California, it is required by law that you have, at minimum, liability coverage for your RV.

Before you go out and buy your policy, though, let’s go into a little bit more detail on what that exactly means, as well as whether or not you should consider going for a policy a bit more comprehensive than the minimum requirement.

What is Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance is the most basic form of insurance coverage available and is required in all states for both cars and RV of all classes, according to Trusted Choice.

Liability insurance is in place not to cover your damage in the event of an accident, though. Instead, what liability insurance does is absolve you of any legal liability for the injuries or property damage done to others in the event of an accident.

So, if you get into an accident, your liability insurance coverage policy will protect you against having to pay for the other party’s accident-related expenses, but it will not cover your own accident-related costs, like bills for repairing your RV as well as medical bills.

Liability insurance is generally broken down into two separate categories: split limit and combined limit. The limit to which these two terms are referring is the monetary limit of the coverage, so the dollar amount up to which liability will actually be covered.

Split limit coverage breaks down the limits of what it will cover into three different categories.

In most cases, all the different categories will have different thresholds. The different limit categories are:

  • Per person bodily injury liability
  • Per accident bodily injury liability
  • Per accident property damage

On an actual insurance policy, these limit values will be expressed in a way that typically will look something like this: 25/50/15. If this were the case, this policy would offer liability coverage up to $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 property damage per accident.

On the other hand, we have combined limit coverage, which is different from split limit coverage in that it entirely does away with these different limit categories.

Instead, combined limit coverage simply lumps everything into one, and will offer liability coverage for everything up to a certain amount.

So, whereas a split limit coverage policy may offer something like $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 property damage per accident as we outlined above, combined limit coverage will just offer $90,000 in total liability coverage.

What Are California’s Laws Regarding RV Insurance?

Now that we understand exactly what liability insurance coverage is, we can go a little bit more into detail about the laws in California relating to this.

As we mentioned above, California does require RV owners of all classes to have at least liability insurance coverage. The reason for this is fairly simple: it prevents drivers from being unduly burdened by the potential mistakes or misdeeds of others, which is one of the most basic principles of law.

In addition to just requiring that drivers have liability insurance, though, California, like all other states, also outlines the actual minimum limits that you must have on your policy.

California requires that RV owner’s insurance policies protect them from up to at least the following amounts:

  • $15,000 bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 property damage

So, when you are buying your insurance policy for California RV’ing, make sure that you have liability coverage up to at least these limits.

RV Insurance Minimun Requirements?

What is the minumum RV insurance required? the states minimum required coverage limits can vary.

In the table below you can find the minimun RV insurance requirements Across 27 States:

StatesMinimun RV Insurance Requirements
Alaska$50,000 bodily injury liability per person
$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
Arizona$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
Arkansas$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
California$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$5,000 property damage liability per accident
Colorado$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$15,000 property damage liability per accident
Connecticut$20,000 bodily injury liability per person
$40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$20,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$40,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
Florida$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$10,000 personal injury protection
Georgia$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
Hawaii$20,000 bodily injury liability per person
$40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$10,000 personal injury protection
Illinois$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
Kansas$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
Personal injury protection, including $4,500 in medical expenses, up to $900 per month for disability or loss of income, $25 per day for in-home services, $2,000 for funeral burial or cremation costs, $4,500 for rehabilitation
Kentucky$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$10,000 personal injury protection
Michigan$20,000 bodily injury liability per person
$40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
Personal injury protection (unlimited)
$1 million property protection
Mississippi$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per acciden
Nevada$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
New Jersey$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$5,000 property damage liability per accident
$15,000 personal injury protection
New Mexico$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
New York$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000 liability for death per person
$100,000 liability for death per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$50,000 personal injury protection
North Carolina$30,000 bodily injury liability per person
$60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$30,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$60,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage per accident
Oregon$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
$15,000 personal injury protection
Pennsylvania$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$5,000 property damage liability per accident
$5,000 medical benefits
South Carolina$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage
Texas$30,000 bodily injury liability per person
$60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
Virginia$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident
Washington$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
Wisconsin$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
Washington, D.C.$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
$5,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage per accident

California is notorious for being one of the more heavily regulated states, especially when it comes to their automotive and RV regulations.

However, they are actually on the more lenient side when we start comparing California’s insurance laws to the insurance laws of other states.

For example, many states require drivers to have not only liability insurance coverage but also have some form of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Luckily for those California RV’ers, though, this is not true of the Golden State.

For your reference, here are some of the insurance laws for other states that have unique or spectrum-ending regulations, according to The Zebra:

Alaska

  • $50,000 bodily injury per person
    • $100,000 bodily injury per accident
    • $25,000 property damage per accident

Alaska’s RV insurance laws are unique in that they require the highest limits for liability coverage out of any state.

This is also a bit odd in that they have the highest required liability limits, but no requirements for under or uninsured motorist coverage.

Minnesota

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $40,000 personal injury protection

Minnesota’s RV insurance laws represent what a typical regulation of limits on the higher end of the regulatory stringency spectrum may look like.

Not only does Minnesota require RV owners to have fairly high limits on their liability coverage, but it also requires them to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection.

Some other states require similar plans, but Minnesota’s is one of the most regulatorily strict.

Florida

  • $10,000 property per accident
    • $10,000 personal injury protection

In stark contrast to Minnesota, Florida has by far the least strict regulations when it comes to RV insurance, basically requiring next to nothing as far as coverage.

This is an excellent piece of information to know if you want to live in a place where you will not have to be spending too much on RV insurance policies.

(Source: The Zebra)

What does RV insurance cost?

What does RV insurance cost? On average you should expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $1,300 a year if you use your RV 140 days per year. Most people pay closer to $1,000 a year.

In the table below you can find the Average RV Insurance Rates Across 6 States:

StatesInsurance rates per year (USD)
North Carolina$875
Oregon$895
Massachusetts$1,135
Michigan$4,485
California$4,085 
Texas $1,435

Insurance rates will vary depending on many factors. I recently wrote an article on this site called “4 Reasons RV Insurance Is Expensive“. In it, I mentioned all details you needs to know.

Best RV Insurance Agency

Which RV insurance is the best? Based on our own experience with Good Sam RV insurance and the feedback we receive from many of our friends, Good Sam is our first choice at the moment. 

Good Sam offers you more at a lower price compared to other RV insurance companies we have tested.

I recently wrote an article on this site in it I´ve review Good Sam Insurance…

In the following table you will find the best rated RV insurance providers I have found on the market at the moment (customer services, ratings, coverage options, discounts, financial strength):

RV Insurance AgencyCoverage Options
Good Sam (Top Choice!). 96% overall customer satisfaction rating
Customers report average savings of $321 per year
Total-loss replacement for motorhomes and travel trailers
. Specialized coverage for full timers or first-time weekend RV’ers
. RV storage option allows you to save even more by turning off coverage when your RV is not in use!
RVInsurance.com. Customers report average savings of $321 per year
. Covers everything from class A motorhomes to pop-up campers
. Quote and buy online
. Speak to a professional, licensed agent
. Fully licensed, multi-line agency can quote your auto, home, boat and other insurance products
National General. Top rated C=choice: A+ BBB rating
. “Turn Off” for liability & collision during storage – Save 53%
. Cover your personal belongings or attachments
. Full-timer coverage options
Mexico insurance options
. Total Loss RV replacement
. 24-hour claims support
Progressive. Progressive Insurance – Trusted by Over 18,000,000
. Competitive rates, tons of discounts (safe driver, pay-in-full, multi-car, multi-policy, quoting online & more)
. Name your price Tool®
. Comprehensive List of RV Covered Items
. Roadside Assistance Included
. Recreational Vehicles, Trailers & Fifth Wheels

Other Types of RV Insurance

Knowing that liability insurance coverage is the minimum required for RVs in California is an essential bit of information, but what if you are interested in satisfying more than just the absolute minimum requirement?

For many RV’ers, they will want more protection than just liability and will be interested in an insurance policy that actually protects them in the event of an accident.

So, to give you an idea of all the other insurance options out there for the people that want more coverage than what liability offers in California, RVDreams lists these as the most commonly found types of insurance for RVs:

Collision Insurance

Another one of the most popular types of insurance coverage is collision insurance.

Whereas liability insurance only protects you against liability for the damage you do to other people and their property in the event of an accident, collision insurance will actually help cover your own expenses for the damage that may have been done to your own property.

This is great peace of mind to have and is a significant reason why some people decide that it is worth the extra money to get collision insurance rather than just basic liability.

Collision insurance works by offering a policy that will pay for the damage done to your RV during a collision. However, there are a few stipulations.

The biggest contingency that comes along with collision insurance is that it only covers damage done during collisions with non-living objects.

So, if you collide with a telephone pole, a tree, or a building, collision insurance will offer coverage for the damage done during that accident.

However, if you collide with a deer or other animal, you will be on the hook for that.

This is interesting in that it is less likely to be the driver’s fault if they hit a deer as opposed to a building, but that’s just how it goes with insurance companies sometimes.

Another vital thing to note is that collision insurance does not cover non-collision related damages, as you may have guessed judging by its name.

So, if your RV is damaged by a natural disaster or some other catastrophe that did not arise from a collision with another object, collision insurance will not cover you.

However, worry not! There are other types of insurance coverage options out there for the people that do want to be covered for non-collision related damages.

Comprehensive Coverage

If collision insurance is not enough to meet your RV insurance needs, you may want to look into a comprehensive insurance coverage plan. As the name would suggest, comprehensive coverage is, well, quite comprehensive.

If you pair comprehensive coverage with collision coverage, you will have pretty much all of your bases covered, and will not have too much to worry about when it comes to having to pay out of pocket for any damage that is done to you RV.

So, what exactly is comprehensive coverage?

Basically, comprehensive coverage protects you against everything that collision coverage does not. Where collision coverage only covers damage done during a collision, comprehensive coverage will cover all the other potential types of damage that your RV may sustain.

All plans are different, but some of the things that are commonly covered under comprehensive insurance policies are:

  • Damage from animal impacts
  • Natural Disasters
  • Fire
  • Theft and Vandalism
  • Falling objects

Comprehensive coverage policies tend to get very specific regarding exactly what they cover, but almost all of them will include coverage for the above-listed things as well as quite a few other, often obscure potential sources of RV damage.

Comprehensive coverage can be a great thing to have, especially for RV owners, as RVs often are exposed to conditions that may be more likely to cause damage that collision insurance will not cover.

For example, falling tree branch damage is not much of a concern for most car owners, but RVs and campers especially may be parked under trees and in wooded areas more frequently and will benefit more from this type of coverage.

Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

The final type of primary coverage offered for RVs is underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. This is also the only other type of coverage, besides liability, that is legally required in many states.

The function of underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is to cover you when or if a motorist with insufficient insurance coverage hits your RV.

In most cases, the motorist that hits you will have insurance, and their policy will help to cover the costs of the damage done to both your property, as well as compensate for any bodily harm.

However, the situation can become quite sticky when that person does not have insurance, or if they have coverage that does not actually cover the amount of damage done.

This is where underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage comes into play. If the motorist that hits your RV does not have an adequate insurance policy, your own under/uninsured insurance coverage policy will cover you where their policy, if they have one at all, cannot.

This is excellent peace of mind for the people that do not want to worry about being on the hook for any damage caused by someone else’s negligent decision not to take out an insurance policy.

Alternate Coverage Types

The insurance coverage types mentioned above are fairly comprehensive when combined, as they usually are, and for most RV owners, they will be more than enough to keep you protected.

However, for those that have unique circumstances, or just want the absolute best protection for peace of mind, there are even more specialty types of RV insurance plans available.

Of course, none of these are required by California law (or any other kind of law), but they are good options to be aware of for the hyper-cautious RV owners out there.

Personal Item Coverage

Personal item coverage does exactly what its name would suggest it does: it covers the personal items that may be damaged or lost during an RV accident.

This can be especially important for RV’ers as opposed to car owners, as people tend to carry quite a bit of items with them in their RV’s, and the aggregate value of these things can become quite high, especially with larger RVs and motorhomes.

What personal item coverage does is cover both the value of the item lost or destroyed in an accident and also cover the cost of a replacement.

So, with this coverage, you will not just be given the market value of whatever was lost; you will also get the value of a new replacement item.

Emergency Expense Coverage

We have made ample mention of the phrase “peace of mind” in our discussion of insurance coverage, and that’s because insurance is nothing more than peace of mind for the policyholder.

For the folks that want to maximize this, emergency expense coverage is a great option.

Emergency expense coverage will cover the costs of emergency expenses related to RV accidents, like towing the RV back home and paying for a place to stay while your RV is uninhabitable as a result of the accident.

Vacation Liability Coverage

Vacation liability coverage is an excellent option for the people that spend a lot of time in their RV and use it as a primary residence while on vacation.

If you use your RV as a primary residence while on vacation, this may affect your plan, and some companies can and will deny coverage because this is not the “intended use” as outlined in the policy.

So, for the people that spend a lot of time in their RV, vacation liability coverage is a crucial thing to have to make sure that you are covered when using your RV as a primary residence while on vacation.

Having this type of coverage will cover the RV while it is parked at a site or campground for an extended period of vacation time, something that the other types of coverage listed here will often not do.

Final Thoughts

After having read and understood all the information here, you are not only now privy to the RV insurance laws in California, but also the insurance laws in some other states.

Additionally, you are well-prepared to start shopping for your next RV insurance policy, after having read through all the various options available for RV insurance.

Just be sure to research each specific company and get the coverage that is not only right for you and your budget but will cover you adequately and protect you from potentially expensive costs.

Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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