Think the RV life is for you? Not so fast


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Have you ever fantasized about hitting the highway in a recreational vehicle (RV)? If so, don’t let your sense of adventure override common sense when it comes to knowing the many costs of owning one of these big rigs.

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1. New v. Used

New RVs are expensive, starting at anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 for a Class A motorhome with basic furnishings like laminate countertops and cabinets, according to You can buy an RV with more options and space and higher-quality furnishings for between $200,000 to $500,000. Luxury motorhomes can run as high as $800,000 or more.

A new RV depreciates by around 25% as soon as you drive it off the lot, so consider buying one that’s been gently used and meticulously maintained instead. If you want to buy new, try to negotiate for about 30% off the MSRP.

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2. Gasoline

When you have an RV, get ready to fork over serious cash at the gas pump. Depending on the size, age and type of RV, gas mileage ranges anywhere from four to ten miles per gallon. A diesel engine RV may get up to 20 MPG.

Before planning your RV vacation, check out Gas Buddy or another gas price comparison site to get an idea of how much to budget for gas.

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3. Maintenance Costs

Just as with a car, your RV requires annual and seasonal maintenance. To keep your RV in tip-top condition, you’ll probably need to spend somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000 a year, less if you perform some of the maintenance yourself.

Regular maintenance costs include a sealant inspection of moldings, windows, hatches and doors every spring and fall. Other maintenance costs could include brakes, bearings, sealant work, a propane gas test and repairs due to wear and tear.

The average cost for Class A motorhome tires is $300 apiece, which varies by brand and quality, according to The Camper Report.

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4. Storage Fees

You’ll have to store your big rig somewhere, and your neighbors probably won’t appreciate using your front yard or driveway as an RV storage facility. Before you buy, shop around to learn how much it will cost each month to store your RV.

Storage costs vary, ranging from $20 to $100 per month, depending on facility amenities and whether storage is inside a building or outdoor parking. Indoor storage is a good investment, since it offers protection from the elements and prevents early depreciation from sun damage, especially to tires.

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5. Campground Fees

When you camp with an RV, you typically pay for a basic 50-amp electric hookup. Fees for RV hookup spaces vary greatly, depending on region, popularity of the destination and whether the campground has basic or resort amenities.

The fee for an RV hookup in a private RV park in the U.S. can be anywhere from $25 to $80 per night, according to Camper Report. The Northwest is the most expensive place to camp. Hookup fees in the Southwest are cheapest.

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6. Repairs

If you thought getting your Honda Civic towed to the nearest mechanic was a pain, try it when your RV breaks down on a lonesome highway or a busy freeway. Finding a qualified RV repair shop isn’t as simple as having a car towed to the nearest available mechanic.

Your RV may also have to be towed a long distance to comply with warranty requirements. Consider getting roadside assistance specifically for RVs such as Coach-Net, which has plans that start at $179 a year.

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7. Insurance

You’ll have to cover the RV with liability and collision insurance, so that’s one more premium to pay annually. RV insurance can cost as little as $125 annually, according to Progressive Casualty Insurance Company. However, you’ll likely pay much more, depending on the size of your RV and how often and far you drive it.

North Carolina has the lowest average rate for motorhome insurance at $860 annually, according to Trusted Choice, an insurance information resource. Oregon’s median annual cost for RV insurance is $1,108, and Michigan’s median annual cost is significantly higher, at $4,490.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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