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Author Topic: Full Timer's Insurance Options?  (Read 3896 times)
technomadia
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« on: June 28, 2011, 05:48:08 PM »

We are literally hitting our heads up against our aluminum walls trying to figure out if we've properly insured our 4106 for full-time use.

Ok, to start things off with..  we do currently have a Progressive full-timers policy, that, in theory - should have us covered.

BUT - we just heard from other Progressive customers that in the fine print (we've not yet gotten that part of the policy yet to read for ourselves), that the policy is VOID if we don't own another vehicle. Which we don't - we're intending to go toadless until we get comfortable driving the bus.   We have an emergency request into our agent to inquire about this, before we (hopefully) hit the road later this week with new shoes.


Curious what other full-timers have done for insurance on their buses?  (For reference, we are domiciled in South Dakota.)
 

We have a ton of questions into our agent about this to hopefully be answered tomorrow (based off what we've read in the archives - ie. motorhome vs bus conversion, actual cash value vs. agreed upon value, upping our liability limits/umbrella policy, etc.). But if any one has advice on how to navigate getting a motorhome titled bus conversion properly insured for full-time use, would love to hear it! 

Thanks a bunch,
 - Cherie

PS.  We've already followed the recommendation to contact Miller's Insurance, and they flat out turned us away.




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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 07:09:42 PM »

We got our insurance through Poliseek who placed it with GMAC after checking on different costs with different carriers in different states.  They are recommended by Escapees (does that mean they are reputable or they spend lots for ads?) but they seem to understand full timer's which is what Escapees is about also.

They also seemed readily available for questions.  and FMCA had a special deal with GMAC at one point last year.

If you don't belong to those 2 orgs, you should if you are full timing, imho.
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2011, 07:24:22 PM »

       I have Progressive and South Dakota plates & DL & My dakotaaddress & just upped my contents plus have a house in Pa. that I will loose my home owners Ins. so will get an add on for fulltimer ins. BUT Huh? So if you need Huh cleared check  my profile, My phone ## & e-mail there, 'm on both boards.
        One super important ?? where are you domasiled?Huh?   If you call me at time I am in Pa. so 3hr time diff.
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2011, 07:33:01 PM »

I have AAA and tried to move to Progressive and they refused me. With AAA I had to go to an office where they took pictures and I had to detail why the insured amount was higher than the price I paid for the bus.  I already had AAA on other things so that may have weighed in my favor.

AAA accepted my application and money but the reality is I won't find out how much I'm insured for until I have a claim.

Mike  
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2011, 08:38:22 PM »

Our experience with Progressive wasn't good at all. When we first signed up the premium was based on an "agreed value". 5 years later we filed a claim for hail damage. I was informed that they had done away with the "agreed value" and our payout was now based on "actual cash value". They neglected to inform me of the policy change. They tried to "burn" me for over 15K ! I produced over 12K worth of receipt,s besides proof of the purchase cost, and several "comparables". I still lost 5K. Same on our cars. One of our cars was deemed to have a salvage value of close to 70%. All told I figure we lost close to 9K from what I thought would have been fair. Also because they got hit so hard in that storm they added a "Cost of doing business in Colorado" policy increase. I cancelled 3 cars, 3 motorcycles, 2 trailers, and 2 buses, and renters ins. I carry 250K/500K on everything. They lost alot more than me in the long run.
 We ended going with GMAC, for everything, which was quite a bit cheaper than Progressive anyway. We have CoachNet for towing. 

Don & Sheila
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2011, 08:54:16 PM »

Call Poliseek (formerly AON, formerly RVAA, formerly Alexander & Alexander -- they seem to change names every two years).  They are a broker but cater to full-timers and the bus conversion market and they will find you something.  Brace yourselves, though: it's very hard to insure a 50-year-old bus.

FWIW, our scooters count as our "main automobile" for the purposes of our umbrella policy.  If you have to, buy a $200 motor scooter on Craigslist, insure it as your main vehicle (we use Progressive for the scooters), and strap it to the bumper.

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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011, 09:44:34 PM »

Thanks for the recommendations on Poliseek, I actually do have a request into them - but have not heard back.  (And didn't feel like following up after the unhelpful attitude we encountered with Miller today).   So I will definitely follow-up on them if we don't get some reasonable answers from our current RV full timers agent.

And hey Ralph.. we're your neighbors at MyDakotaAddress Smiley  We've been domiciled there for 4 years now.

We figure worst case, we just bump up the eventual plans to get a vehicle (dreaming about a VW Bug) and I just drive behind the bus until we're comfortable enough with it to tow (or leave it parked at a friend's place).  But strapping a scooter to the back ain't a shabby idea either!   


We're not thrilled with Progressive - aside from all the stories we've heard, they also won't insure our contents for above $1000/each. Which leaves our laptops at best, half insured. And, if we title the bus in both our names - they want to charge us 50% more for being legally unmarried.    So if we can get into a better company, that would be ideal.

Thanks again all.... oh the adventures !
- Cherie

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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2011, 06:20:59 AM »

We have GMAC insurance with towing and so far so good.I had my bus towed last year and was impressed with the service. I also my bus and toad registered in S.D. We will see how good the company really is after they handle my hail damage claims on both vehicles.
    Don
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2011, 11:25:14 AM »

When Progressive doubled my insurance because they said I spent more than 180 days in the coach, I changed.

Good Sam gave me a quote lower than USAA.

USAA had just begun insuring RVs. I went with them because all my other insurance is USAA.

If you have served in the military you are eligible to join USAA. They are the most outstanding company I have ever dealt with. I've been with them over 40 years.

Everyone eligible should check them out.

https://www.usaa.com
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2011, 05:38:41 PM »

I, just last week, changed the insurance on my toad to GMAC. The agent wasn't sure if GMAC would insure coaches at this point...but that's OK 'cause I don't want the same expiration dates for both vehicles.

We full time but when I got down to the fine print in the Nationwide policy I discovered that they're coverage is only for a 'vacation period of 2 weeks.  Not a problem as far as I'm concerned because I only drive the bus 2 days a year...one day to get to FL for the winter and 1 day to get home to NC. That might come back and bite me in the butt!

My agent is going to see if GMAC will give me coverage on my 43 year old bus (MC5A) for Liability, Comprehensive and total loss. I'm not concerned about collision...God Help the guy who runs into me...he might be in a world of hurt!

I'm going to keep plugged into this thread and hope we all come out winners in a game where we can't deal the cards.

Bob
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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2011, 06:17:07 PM »

And, if we title the bus in both our names - they want to charge us 50% more for being legally unmarried.   
Thanks again all.... oh the adventures !
- Cherie

I was privy to a similar situation once. The folks involved were not married but had several material possessions together. They ended up forming an LLC holding company. The LLC owned all the possessions (car, boat, house, furniture etc.) & they owned the LLC. They had to write up & carry with them a copy of the agreement showing they had "permission" to use the "resource" however they wanted. LOL! It worked very nicely for them. They could insure everything & if tragedy struck, the legalities & ownership were already handled.

YMMV,

TOM

BTW, your adventures haven't started yet!!  Grin Grin
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2011, 10:27:05 PM »

Just a quick update on the insurance situation.

Our South Dakota full-timer specialist agent at Epic Insurance (http://www.epic-ins.com) is going to bat for us.

She has contacted our current insurer, Progressive, and has gotten them to agree to waive the penalty for having two unmarried titled owners - after she explained to them our domestic partnership situation, and how long she's worked with us.  She is also surprised to learn that they do have an internal policy that at least one other vehicle owned is required for a motorhome full-timers policy to be valid, and has bumped our situation up to her contacts within the company.  We currently have a 'non-owners' liability policy with them for use with renting & borrowing vehicles as we travel, and hopefully that will meet their intentions of us not intending to use the bus to run all our errands (grocery, movies, etc.).   Worst case, we can just buy a scooter (as Sean recommended) or a cheap-o car and park it somewhere to meet the requirement.

She is also trying to work angles with GMAC to insure us.  They normally will not provide comp/collision on a bus conversion, but she has asked for special consideration for us. We shall see if anything comes of that, and we're prepared to get an appraisal done if they agree to insure us.


She says we're not her typical client.. and she's enjoying the challenge of our unique situation Smiley Usually it's the other way around I suppose, the RV is younger and the owners older.  Oh well, we never claimed to do things the typical way.

I'll update when we learn anything further.

 - Cherie



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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2011, 05:02:46 AM »

When I called GMAC they were more than happy to sell us full timers insurance. We carry 250K/500K on the liability side and a 1K deductable on the comp/collision. Contents are based on a percentage of the busses value, and as such, only around 8K. That bothers me, but, honestly it's only cloths/dishes/personal stuff that prolly isn't worth much more. As I recall the policy is around $800 a year. It was cheaper than Progressive's "full coverage", and like, $200 a year cheaper than Progressive's full timer policy. Our rates are based on living in Denver, Colorado. Also when I sold our 2 Harleys Progressive TRIPLED the rate on my Gold Wing. Gmac's rate rose on the 'Wing and I went with Geico. Gmac quoted me $202 for our Corvair and 4 days later got a bill for $292, (that's a 45% difference). So... GMAC lost that one, as well. So my point is... pay attention, No insurance Company is "all that". Shop around and make sure every one is "on the same page".
Coach Net for towing is a good safe bet. One tow could equal several years worth of premiums.

Don & Sheila
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« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2011, 06:19:18 AM »

Quote
PS.  We've already followed the recommendation to contact Miller's Insurance, and they flat out turned us away.

Cherie and Chris, your comment really bothered me.  I have often recommended Miller as a broker that understands and works well with bus owners.

I have been insured through them (Progressive Policy) for many years.  First they worked with me when I did my truck conversion and then when I bought the bus.  Always been very supportive and friendly folks.

After thinking about your comment, I called them to ask if they had changed their policy.  They were very clear that they still work with bus folks. 

Your situation of running your business out of your bus, may have raised a flag.  I talked to them at length, since we, like many folks, use our bus as a mobile office.  They said that as long as there is no signage on the side of the bus and no "foot traffic" into the bus, they have no problem with insuring a bus that is used as a mobile office.

I wanted to post this information to make sure that folks understand that Miller Insurance is at least one company that supports our life style.

Jim 
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2011, 09:19:32 PM »

when i bought my bus a year ago, I checked with Miller also and they wouldn't cover me. I don't remember the particulars as to why though. There was some kind of technicality which I don't remember right now. It might have been because it wasn't professionally converted, but i don't remember for sure. It's been a while now and I talked to a lot of insurance co's back then. As a side note though, I have GMAC and they have no problem with buses, but for full coverage i was told they do now require it to be a professional conversion.
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2011, 10:38:44 PM »

Cherie and Chris, your comment really bothered me.  I have often recommended Miller as a broker that understands and works well with bus owners.



Your situation of running your business out of your bus, may have raised a flag.  I talked to them at length, since we, like many folks, use our bus as a mobile office.  They said that as long as there is no signage on the side of the bus and no "foot traffic" into the bus, they have no problem with insuring a bus that is used as a mobile office.



I wish it were true that they were friendly and supportive folks, but that is definitely the opposite of our experience with them.

I put in a quote request via their website, and left a note that with that we had been referred to them via Escapees & BCM as creative folks for these types of situations, and we were open to any and all suggestions for solutions (including forming a LLC or trust).  We initially got a flat-out 'this agency can not place insurance for this risk' message from someone named Maureen.  She mentioned that we weren't allowed to live in our bus full-time AND run a business  (uhh... excuse me, who are you to tell me what I can and can't do with my life???). 

We replied stating that there was no signage, no foot traffic, no client visits, etc. - and that 'business use' would be a gross exaggeration for two geeks who are on laptops all day. She said that part was ok (and virtually slapped our hands for marking 'is this vehicle used in conjunction with a business or professions?' on the request form - sorry, I will always err on the side of authenticity), but alas, there were absolutely no insurance companies that would insure a bus without an appraisal except Progressive, and they required we have a second vehicle. (Note, at no point did we say we wouldn't get an appraisal, or wouldn't be getting a vehicle or were closed off to any ideas.)

No offering of advice on what we needed to do get insured (ie. buy another vehicle, get an appraisal, form a LLC, etc.), no follow-up to get additional clarification of our situation, etc.. Just a flat out 'we can't really can't help you, good-bye' - with a strong vibe of 'leave us alone already'.   

I was very turned off, upset and disappointed in how we were treated - and absolutely would not recommend at least their web/e-mail side as 'friendly and supportive' folks. Instead of continuing to argue with her, we just dropped it and moved on.   If they want to continue being portrayed being 'friendly and supportive' to full-timers in bus conversions, they have a long way to go in offering potential customer support. We certainly won't be recommending them to our many followers.

 - Cherie

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« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2011, 04:09:13 AM »

I was very turned off, upset and disappointed in how we were treated - and absolutely would not recommend at least their web/e-mail side as 'friendly and supportive' folks. Instead of continuing to argue with her, we just dropped it and moved on.   If they want to continue being portrayed being 'friendly and supportive' to full-timers in bus conversions, they have a long way to go in offering potential customer support. We certainly won't be recommending them to our many followers.

 - Cherie

I think sometimes the "old line" companies have perfected their customer service skills in person but are sadly lacking on the web/email side. Some of my customers jumped headlong into websites & online marketing without having a plan to handle the requests. That's not an excuse for this company, as I know nothing about them. Just a general observation.

TOM
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« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2011, 06:19:36 AM »

Have you checkout statefarm in South Dakota, i have them here in Nevada, no problems,good rate, but i have all my rigs thru them for thirty years, i never say the word bus to them always RV .
I keep my replacement value realistic , when we first got our RV we took to them and they took Pict. to send

 to underwriters, no problem, less than 500. a year full coverage including glass.
Good luck
Matt
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« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2011, 06:20:57 AM »

Wonder what is going on I know Progressive is doing some weird stuff now I just got my new policy and they changed things around and told I Miller to find me someone else so she is trying
.FWIW my new policy stated clearly I could not live in the RV for over 6 months each year never before did it have that in the fine print
I been with Miller for years  John and the daughter have always given me the best service available to them hate to hear this but I do it with a phone call I am not into the internet for insurance service so I'll probably be with Miller till I die lol.
 You mention LLC or corporation then you become commercial a different can of worms the insurance co's watch that some times
 I have trouble with our homeowners policy because of our trust have to go through a bunch of bs about every 3 years with the same co that we have had for over 20 years


good luck  
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« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2011, 07:14:49 AM »

After seeing how Progressive deals with customer claims, there is no way I would carry them. They show up fast, but cheap out...
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« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2011, 10:19:33 AM »



I think sometimes the "old line" companies have perfected their customer service skills in person but are sadly lacking on the web/email side.

Totally agreed with this observation, Tom.  For as much effort as Miller has put into their online request forms, their follow-up just didn't match up.  We sent the request in after business hours, and left a phone number for them to call if they had questions.  While we definitely prefer dealing with internet savvy companies whenever possible (part of that whole tech-nomad thing), we're not completely phone-phobic.

We are exploring every angle we can to find the best solution for our situation.  We have what is apparently a unique situation - being younger, life partnered but unmarried (by choice), business owners, full-timers and an old bus that we want full-coverage on.   

By the way, our agent explained to us that bus conversion is a sub-class of motorhome when dealing with insurance.  And if you fail to disclose that you have a bus conversion when you get your policy quoted, you run the very real risk of having claims denied later on.  GMAC confirmed this when she spoke to her contact here.   So no, we will not withhold that information.  We need to be as up front as possible about our situation, and be insured for such.

Hopefully we'll have news early in the week on what our options are.

 - Cherie
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« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2011, 11:52:27 AM »

Speaking with my Farm Bureau agent today he told me they have dropped all RV coverage to many claims in today's economy, he told me to many fires I am going to post what type lighting he called it but it was gasoline and a match.
If it wasn't for the good price I get on tires,batteries and oil etc I would drop Farm Bureau I never have the same underwriter for over 2 years in a row   

good luck
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« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2011, 04:43:17 PM »


By the way, our agent explained to us that bus conversion is a sub-class of motorhome when dealing with insurance.  And if you fail to disclose that you have a bus conversion when you get your policy quoted, you run the very real risk of having claims denied later on. 
 - Cherie

I probably should not have talked you all out of a Wanderlodge!  Grin

BTY, now that you guys have bought your bus, there is a PT35 over on the Bird board that really looks nice for $5000. Owners died & nephew-in-law is settling the estate. That's just one more hazard of buying a bus: as soon as the money changes hands, there will be a better one, cheaper!

TOM
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« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2011, 11:12:03 AM »

Have you checkout statefarm in South Dakota, i have them here in Nevada, no problems,good rate, but i have all my rigs thru them for thirty years, i never say the word bus to them always RV .
I keep my replacement value realistic , when we first got our RV we took to them and they took Pict. to send

 to underwriters, no problem, less than 500. a year full coverage including glass.
Good luck
Matt

Matt, I think you'll find that State Farm doesn't do a 'Fulltimer's' Policy.
We had SF for years, up until about 12 years ago when we went Fulltime. They dropped us like a hot potato. Progressive upped our policy each year, so we dropped them like a hot potato. We found a 'Fulltimer's' policy through AARP's Hartford Ins. based on replacement value with a 500 ded and contents coverage. The policy amount has dropped every year we've been with them. FWIW you have to be old to  qualify LOL sorry, Will
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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2011, 02:46:36 PM »

So.. here's our (now successful) insurance update!

Progressive:  Progressive has told us they are canceling us on July 27, unless we purchase & insure another vehicle/scooter. They will not accept that we each carry a 'non-owners' liability policy with intentions of renting/borrowing vehicles when stopped for running local errands. Our agent was able to get them to drop the 50% 'multi family' premium increase for us being unmarried. In addition, Progressive will only cover our personal possessions up to $1000/each for a maximum of $13,000 (which doesn't help us much with our high end electronics, like laptops). And of course, Progressive only covers 'actual cash value' for older conversions.

GMAC: After much prodding from our agent, they have agreed to cover our bus for full-coverage (GMAC will typically only do liability for non-professional bus conversions), as we were able to provide them with our video tour and plenty of blog posts/photos showing the bus is a quality conversion. GMAC does not have penalties for non-married ownership, nor any requirements for owning a second vehicle.  So this gives us more time to get comfortable driving the bus before rushing into buying something else. They'll also cover our personal possession for whatever level we wish to purchase at replacement cost, and coverage for the bus itself will be for market value inclusive of all the upgrades we add (solar, etc.).  

*whew*  

Solution found, and we're super super happy with our agency and the extra work they went to find us a solution - http://www.epic-ins.com .

 - Cherie
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« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2011, 03:29:30 PM »

Better read the fine print when you receive your policy from GMAC Art has it on is Eagle that caught fire here a couple of weeks ago they had a agreed value on his bus and it was a pro conversion they don't want to pay the value they agreed on because it was over 5 years since they updated the policy he knew nothing about the clause and they didn't inform him of it either and he has been paying the same x number of dollars thinking he was good watch the insurance co's.
I read his policy it doesn't apply to him but they go back 5 years and base the value on what the PO paid and what he sold it to you for kinda screwy to me but I am slow lol.
Progressive must have a totally different package for you fulltimers I have it on S&S full coverage cost me 300 bucks a year even has pet coverage and that is the only vehicle I have with them never have they mention another vehicle   


good luck 
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« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2011, 04:30:00 PM »


Progressive must have a totally different package for you fulltimers I have it on S&S full coverage cost me 300 bucks a year even has pet coverage and that is the only vehicle I have with them never have they mention another vehicle   


With the full-timer's policy, they are concerned that if you only own one vehicle (your motorhome) then you are using that for running all your errands too (not just moving between campgrounds). They don't care who the second vehicle is insured with, just that you have another one.

As we'll be doing massive additions to the bus over time, we'll be updating our policy regularly, saving receipts, photographing the work, etc.

See ya tomorrow, luvrbus! 

 - Cherie
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
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« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2011, 09:09:03 PM »

When my conversion was finished I obtained a policy quote from my long time agent (Progressive quote).  Knowing about Miller for many years, and always hearing good things, I called them next.  They were chipper and friendly, but their quote was waaay higher than my agents.  I asked them who the carrier was and they said Progressive.  I asked why so high for the same carrier and same coverage.  They couldn't answer.  Case closed with Miller.
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« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2011, 09:20:32 PM »

technomadia, 
Have you guys considered allstate insurance? All of my insurance is thru them due to the fact that I have a very reliable and HONEST agent.  He will do every thing to work for his customers.  I can give you his contact info if your interested. 

I dont full time but my full coverage is $600 a year and it covers $5k in contents plus the bus.  I dont know if thats a good price but I am pertty happy with it.

Eric
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« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2011, 01:50:43 PM »

Thanks Eric..  as far as I'm aware, Allstate doesn't offer full-timers coverage, which we absolutely need.   Our full coverage rate with GMAC is not much more than yours (around $700/yr) and covers $20k replacement cost of personal contents, full-timing coverage, roadside assistance/towing (with our CoachNet & AAA - we are now triple covered there), 250k/500k liability & uninsured motorist.

We're happy.. and moving on to shopping for other things for our bus Smiley

 - Cherie
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« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2011, 02:01:42 PM »

^^ good to here. 

We have close to the same coverage except the full timing part.

Eric
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« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2011, 03:41:02 PM »

I'm not full time, but I haven't had the easiest time insuring my bus.  My current insurance company (Secura) had no problem insuring my bus, but their prices are kinda high in today's market.  My agent couldn't find another insurance company that would cover the bus.

I haven't pushed the issue to find new insurance recently because of several glass claims on the bus.  $2000 with labor for each replacement windshield!  I can't help it if I hit a goose and 18 months later got a crack from a rock.  I also had a large branch fall on my car last summer for another $3000.

I tried to buy a 53' trailer with semi tractor that was registered as an RV, but I couldn't get insurance for it.  I'm glad I didn't go that route as it wouldn't be as nice as having a motorhome to travel in.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2011, 04:10:13 PM »

I have had several claims on my allstate pollicy as well. Five in the last 6 years that I can think of off of the top of my head.
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« Reply #33 on: July 14, 2011, 04:32:32 PM »

You are real light on liability coverage driving a bus looks like to me girl doesn't cost much more to upgrade to 1,000,000.00 + we carry a mil on all of our vehicles I don't want the greedy lawyers working for nothing lol then they leave me alone all they see are dollars

good luck
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« Reply #34 on: July 14, 2011, 10:48:04 PM »

Unfortunately, $250/500k is the highest level offered.  We plan to also get a $1 mil umbrella policy.

 - Cherie
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
Full-time 'Technomads' since 2006 (technology enabled nomads)
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