The cost of owning an RV, camper, motorhome or travel trailer is more than just paying the purchase price because what a person pays to buy the RV only represents the start of their overall expenses. While there are no exact stats to represent what an RV owner has to pay, it’s easy to estimate the general cost if you have some experience.
There are several issues tied to how much you’ll have to pay to own an RV and use it as a travel unit. For example, unless you have a storage facility on your property where you can park free of cost, you’ll have to rent a parking spot which can cost you up to $2,500 a year. Furthermore, unless you are able to pay for the RV upfront, you’ll have to spend a lot more by paying interest on the payments. This is, of course, if you take out a loan to purchase the RV. Your state of residence also determines the sales tax that you’ll have to pay. So your state of residence can save you thousands of dollars, or cost you, depending on the sales tax charged by that state.
Costs of purchasing an RV
There are several different manufacturers and separate classes, so calculating the actual cost of buying an RV is a daunting task. Motorhomes are large and luxurious and offer most of the comforts of a home. They also have different classes, so a Class A motorhome would cost you $50k to $100k or even more, but you can get a Class B motorhome for anywhere from $40k to $100k. Fifth-wheel trailers are available for $15k to $50k, and they are much more manageable and stable than the average RV. Travel trailers are usually able to connect to a tow vehicle and cost between $10k and $60k. Pop-up campers are the lightest options and the most manageable. They cost around $8k to $20k. Truck campers are also usable for trips, and a low-end truck camper will cost you at least $3k, with the highest price somewhere in the range of $40k.
You Bought an RV And Need Trip Destination Ideas? Check Out Our Travel Category
Costs of renting an RV
Rental companies charge per night for an RV and during the peak rental months, their rates can vary greatly. The miles of your trip also make a significant difference as RV rental companies charge a certain fee per mile and this rate is usually 34-45 cents per mile. Hence, the total cost of renting an RV depends on the number of nights and the total miles traveled.
Similar to sales tax, some RV owners may have to pay property tax, while others don’t. Those who are renting a public or private spot won’t have to pay property taxes as it’s already marked into their camping fees. Those who own the land won’t get billed unless they develop it or attach their coaches to the land permanently. The smaller size of the property usually means you’ll have to pay less, but people living in large cities and near popular areas always have to pay more than the rest. New Hampshire has the highest property tax rate of 1.89%, while it’s the lowest in the state of Louisiana at just 0.18%.
An RV isn’t considered a dwelling for insurance purposes, so there’s no need for homeowner’s or flood insurance. Since your RV is classified as a vehicle, you’ll need to get automobile insurance for it. The cost depends on the insurance companies and while most companies charge reasonably, some can go outrageously high and others limit the coverage of your insurance plan.
Before Getting an RV, Check Out The Price of Car Insurance
It’ll cost much more to insure a $350,000 RV than a $50,000 one. A poor financial history or a bad driving record will also up the insurance costs greatly. While car insurance has increased considerably in the US due to the number of natural calamities, you can get a $2,000/year insurance for a $40,000 RV and your car if you have a clean record and stable finances.
The utility costs of an RV vary, depending on how much people are paying for water, sewer, and electricity. Depending on the circumstances, the utility costs can vary from $50 to $500 a month or even more, depending on the usage.
Should the average working Joe get an RV?
If you like to travel as often as possible, then getting an RV can be a great investment that will pay for itself in time, because you won’t have to spend a fortune on hotel rooms. That being said, an RV is pretty expensive so before buying one, be sure that by doing so you won’t put yourself in too much debt and it won’t hit your savings too hard. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but still want to spend less on your trip, then the best idea would be to rent an RV for the full length of your vacation.