RV Rentals: Companies vs. Marketplaces

RV rental companies vs. marketplaces is a debate that plays out in RV circles. While RVs are growing in popularity, it’s helpful to have a guide that covers the pros and cons of both. Here we cover both sides, the good and the bad of both RV rental companies and RV marketplaces, along with the top three organizations in each category.

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UPDATED: 2021-12-28T21:50:09.000Z
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What You Should Know

  • RV rental companies offer professionalism and familiarity for renters
  • Renting from an RV marketplace gives you access to more RV models and differing price points
  • Some RV rental companies and marketplaces offer insurance but you may need to purchase extra coverage
  • The choice between renting from a company or marketplace depends on your risk level and needs

So, you’re thinking about taking the plunge. The open road, a refrigerator, a bed, and the great outdoors. Renting an RV for a road trip is in your sights. But do you know how to get one and where to rent one? That’s what this article is for.

This guide covers the ins and outs of RV rental companies and marketplaces, what they’re all about, the process of renting an RV from them, and how that all-important topic of RV insurance works.

By the end, you’ll know how to find what you’re looking for, from cheap RV rentals to luxury RV rentals and everything in-between.

RV Rental Companies

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RV rental companies are the staple of the industry, being around since the early ’70s, far before online peer-to-peer marketplaces. There are some advantages and disadvantages to renting an RV directly from an RV company rather than using an RV rental marketplace. We’ll cover those here.

We include:

  • An Overview of the RV Rental Company
  • The Process of Renting from an RV Rental Company
  • How RV Rental Company Insurance Works

Finding out what insurance you really need is very important. Keep reading to learn about RV rental companies and why they might be a good fit for you.

An Overview of the RV Rental Company

The typical RV rental company is similar to car rental companies like Budget or Enterprise. You’ll generally get a professional experience — a good quality model that has been cleaned, polished, shined, and ready for you.

There’s likely courtesy with the agents and plenty of discounts. For instance, with one RV rental company on our list, there are discounts for one-way trips, West Coast trips, early-bird reservations, and more.

RV rental companies share some basic limits and fees with marketplaces, such as a daily mileage limit, a certain number of nights you’ll need to reserve, and a generator-use per-hour fee. And they have more limited options for RV rental insurance.

But if you like the handiwork and dealing with a company rather than a person, these might be for you.

The Process of Renting From an RV Rental Company

Renting from an RV rental company is similar to renting from a car rental company. You can go to one of their locations, rent over the phone, or choose your model and rent through their website.

The main detriment to renting an RV from a company is the lack of variety in models. While you can rent Class A, B, and C RVs and even trailers, your options are limited. You’ll get the “hotel” type of treatment — similar models with similar specs, at least compared to the variety you’d find in marketplaces.

There are discounts you can take advantage of, as we mentioned, that are offered carte blanche to all customers rather than discounts from individual owners like you might see in a marketplace.

If you like working with a company and the limited variety of models doesn’t bother you, this might be a good place to start.

How RV Insurance Through an RV Rental Company Works

If you rent an RV from a rental company, it’ll likely come with liability insurance. Some rental companies offer insurance coverage to their renters. If the company you choose does not offer RV insurance coverage, you will need to purchase coverage on your own.

Remember never to drive an uninsured vehicle, especially an RV, which may be too heavy to be covered under your car insurance.

RV insurance requirements vary on a state-by-state basis so if you are planning a road trip, check with the insurance and license requirements in those states.

Depending on the RV rental company you pick, it may offer you other coverage in addition to liability coverage such as collision, public liability, and supplemental liability insurance. If you choose to forego these insurances, be sure to check with your auto insurance provider to see if your insurance covers driving an RV or if you can get a temporary insurance policy.

Top 3 RV Rental Companies

These top RV rental companies are not ranked in any particular order, but they are the major companies out there. These companies have the longest histories, the most locations, the most options, or more.

After we thoroughly researched RV rental companies in America, these three came out on top.

1 – Cruise America

Cruise America is the largest RV rental company in the United States (and even stretches into Canada) and has been around since 1972. It offers its RVs depending on size: large, standard, compact plus, compact, and truck camper. They are all Class C.

Cruise America also sells RVs and offers major discounts that many marketplaces can’t match, such as early bird specials, one-way trips, and geographical discounts like the West Coast discount. Finally, there are 122 U.S. pick-up locations, double what the second-largest RV rental company has.

This RV rental company only offers supplementary liability insurance to its renters. If you want more protection during your trip, make sure to explore third-party insurance options or talk to your insurance provider.

2 – Motorhome Republic

Motorhome Republic was founded in New Zealand in 2005 but has since expanded to North America and Europe. It offers Class A, Class B, and Class C RVs as well as several deals and 66 pick-up locations in the U.S.

If you need assistance while browsing the Motorhome Republic website, there is a helpful chatbot and a number to call if you want to talk to someone over the phone.

Motorhome Republic touts itself on price matching — if you find the same RV from the same supplier at a cheaper price, they will match that and waive your booking fee.

Motorhome Republic doesn’t offer insurance directly so be sure to speak with a third-party insurance company or your own that offers RV insurance.

3 – Escape Campervans

Escape Campervans may seem like an odd choice here with its 10 U.S. locations and four campervan models (all Class B) in its fleet. But it fulfills a need and a niche in the marketplace: traveling way, way off-the-grid.

The models are equipped with what you need to get off the beaten track and into deep nature. They have roof-top sleepers, dual-powered refrigerators, propane stoves, great gas mileage for vehicles of that size, and an ability to handle the rigors of tricky terrain.

It also offers collision coverage and third-party liability, so you’re protected from all damage incurred or caused in an accident. If you’re looking to get way off-road, this company might be right for you.

RV Marketplaces

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RV Marketplaces are a different breed than RV rental companies. The majority are peer-to-peer, kind of like the Airbnb version of renting an RV compared to the hotel professionalism of the RV rental company.

There you will find the same models but more variety, and with more pick-up locations. But there are downsides as well. The next three sections cover:

  • An Overview of the RV Marketplace
  • The Process of Renting from an RV Rental Marketplace
  • How RV Rental Marketplace Insurance Works

Let’s dive in.

An Overview of the RV Marketplace

If the equivalent of an RV rental company is like a hotel, then the natural comparison is that an RV marketplace is like an Airbnb. You have people who sign up to rent their RVs when they aren’t using them and those who want to rent RVs.

This means you rent on the platform but work with the owner of an RV directly. An RV marketplace has strengths and weaknesses, which we’ll cover in the next section. Everyone who has rented an Airbnb knows the good and bad — the ratings and the evaluations, the arbitrations and the fees.

One thing is for sure: You will likely find one in your area, which is a huge, huge plus for many RV renters. Let’s get to the process of renting an RV through a marketplace.

The Process of Renting From an RV Rental Marketplace

If you go to a marketplace, it might strike you how similar it looks to an Airbnb. You have the options to select your pick-up location (where you’re looking to rent), the amount of time you want to rent, and certain filters you might be looking for.

Click search and it’ll pull up a list of RV owners renting their RVs. You will find available RVs that fit your needs based on your search parameters, including location and duration of use.

The good: You have many more options for RVs of all different models on a marketplace. You have access to reviews and evaluations as well as photos of the RVs, the condition, the amount of mileage, the rating of the person who is renting the RV out, the price per night, then price per the duration of the trip and any fees.

The bad: As always with dealing with these platforms, the owners of RVs can mislead the condition of their RVs through old or doctored photos. Technical aspects of the RVs might be omitted — like the condition of the RV bathroom, for instance. Then, each RV owner has their own stipulations (perhaps no pets or a certain limit of miles driven per day) which can make choosing an RV an overwhelming decision due to the amount of data.

You may pay for something that you don’t get. Or you may have a wonderful experience. But there is a level of risk as you’re dealing with individual owners and not a company. Be careful as well in the worst states for auto-related fraud.

How RV Rental Marketplace Insurance Works

All RV rental marketplaces we researched offered some type of insurance. At the minimum, it was liability insurance. But some also offered collision, comprehensive, third-party liability, physical damage protection, and more.

You will likely have more insurance options with a marketplace than through a company, which can help limit your liability if you’re involved in an accident or damage the vehicle.

Now, keep in mind that owners have their own stipulations and may bill you for clean-up costs, damage costs, overuse of generators, and more. So while RV rental insurance will protect you in a major event, you’re still using another person’s property, and that can open you up to all sorts of liabilities.

If you choose to use your own insurance, there are many ways to lower rates, such as a defensive driving course. If RVing becomes your full-time lifestyle, this could be helpful.

Top 3 RV Rental Marketplaces

As with the Top 3 RV Rental Companies section, these three RV rental marketplaces are ranked in no particular order. But they are the most popular, have the most model options (including trailers), and offer insurance packages.

They also cover the spectrum from RVs you can take to the campground and those that you can take to the most remote areas of the United States. After our research, these three stood out.

1 – Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy bills itself as the “Airbnb” for RV rentals, and looking at its site, you can see just that. It’s laid out in a very similar fashion where you can search for your pick-up location and the departure and return dates. When you search, it’ll pull up a page of RVs with the classes, prices, photos, and star ratings listed.

It also shows you a map of where these RVs are located, like a radius of sorts. You can contact the owner, read evaluations, and more. For kicks, it offers free roadside assistance.

Each owner can set certain specifications, such as whether pets are allowed or the hourly charge to use the generator. An important detail to pay attention to is the number of miles you can drive each day. If you happen to go over that limit, you’ll be charged extra.

For RV insurance, it offers liability and physical damage protection. If you want more protection during your trip, reach out to an RV insurance provider or your own insurance company.

2 – RVnGo

RVnGo has gained popularity relatively recently and is known for no transaction fees. It offers a helpful step-by-step guide on how the renting process works on its site and just about every type of RV or campervan: Class A, Class B, Class C, fifth-wheel, toy-hauler, camper trailer, pop-up trailer, and campervan.

The search option is similar to the Outdoorsy search option, but it pulls up a series of pictures and prices rather than all the information that Outdoorsy showed right in front of you.

You can also see RVs for sale rather than just for rent and sort by nightly rent, relevance, and year of the RV. For insurance, it offers a $1 million liability insurance policy. If you want more, you can go outside the platform for third-party insurance.

3 – RVshare

RVshare has the most professional look of all of these three marketplaces. It is easy to navigate with a search section for renters, a destinations section, and a top “RV” section, picks made, assumingly, from the company staff.

You can search by “All RVs,” “Drivables,” Towables,” and “Destination Delivery,” the last one meaning the owner drives the RV to you rather than you having to pick it up.

You can also add the number of guests for your trip, which might filter the RV selection a little bit better.

After you search, the site pulls up a page with pictures of the RVs in that area, including the make, model, Class, year, rankings, how far the RV is from your location, how many people it sleeps, and whether the owner offers delivery.

There are also over 20 search filters if you’re looking for an RV with a specific feature.

Of these three we’ve reviewed, RVshare offers the most insurance policies: comprehensive, collision, and state statutory limits for liability insurance. They also offer free roadside assistance, towing, and tire service.

RV Rental Companies vs. Marketplaces

So, now it comes down to a head-to-head: Are RV rental companies or marketplaces better? Below, you’ll see a graphic that highlights their pros and cons.

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Essentially, it comes down to what you’re looking for, your location, and your risk tolerance. If you want stability, professionalism, the kind of cookie-cutter hotel experience of an RV company, then that’s the one you might want to go with. You might not get the range of options or the number of pick-up locations, but you get the discounts and the trust of consistency. You know what you’re getting.

If you have a higher risk tolerance, live in a region where there are no rental company pick-up locations, or want more model options, you might want to go with an RV marketplace. They offer different insurance packages and you can find an RV that fits your specific needs. There are risks — especially with misleading photos and descriptions — but you can get exactly what you want or close to it. Just play by the owner’s rules.

Thought Leaders Weigh In on RV Rentals

We’ve got the best of the best here — RV rental company owners, RV enthusiasts, world travelers, and more. They are thought leaders in the field and their takes on RV rentals will bring you insight into the intricacies of renting an RV, whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran.

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What should prospective customers look for in an RV rental company?

“Prospective customers should look for daily included mileage, included generator hours, and what the RV will be stocked with. Some companies like Cruise America will not include any miles, and some will include 200 miles a day. This makes a big difference if you are going on a long road trip.

Look for what the per mile coverages are and calculate what you expect to use on your trip.

Also, if you are in a warm climate, the AC in the back will only run if the generator is running. If only two hours of generator use is included for free, but you plan on driving five hours a day, you could rack up some charges from just staying cool.

Rent an RV that has a slide. You are going to want the most room once parked or set up at camp. Slides can make RVs twice the square footage, so look for one with slides.

In addition, ask the rental company what amenities are included, like dishes, linens, camp chairs, grill, and more. You do not want to have to go out and buy all of that stuff. Find a company that includes it for free.

Also, look for a company that is going to do a thorough walk-through and truly teach you how to use everything. Last but not least, make sure you are getting excellent insurance coverage. Accidents happen, and RVs are expensive.”

What are the best (or worst) types of RVs you can rent?

“The best RV is going to have multiple slides and lots of indoor and outdoor storage. You will need lots of closet space for clothes and lots of cabinet space in the kitchen for food.

The worst types of RV are the ones that Cruise America rents. They have zero slides, no awning, and no steps into the unit. I also highly recommend not renting anything 6-7 years old. You do not want to run into engine issues on your vacation.

Class C RV’s or a small A class are the easiest to drive and still provide lots of room. If it is just two people, a B plus RV is also a great option. Do not rent a camper van. It’s just a van; it’s not going to have a real toilet or shower. If the camper does not have a toilet, shower, or a grey and black water tank, do not rent it. You will also need a built-in generator.”

What are the forms and liability issues RV renters have to deal with?

“You will most likely sign a rental contract, do a driver verification, and complete departure/return paperwork. A rental contract should state rules, pickup/drop-off times, extra fees, your liability, and other relevant information. Read this in its entirety.

Driver verification requires the company to run a DMV check to make sure your license is in good standing.

Departure/return paperwork must be read and understood. Make sure you have a copy of this. The paperwork should state gasoline levels, oil level, tire check, miles, generator hours, any previous damage to the RV, and photos of in and around the unit. This will be used to charge miles/generator overage and any damage claims from your trip.”

Before renting an RV, what should prospective customers consider?

“Consider how much room you truly need, how many seat belts, how big of beds are needed, your destination, and what kind of hookups you will have. I have repeatedly seen renters not have any campsites booked, and it always ends in a disaster. If you are not a regular camper, do not try to go boon-docking!

RV gray water tanks fill quickly, meaning you are only going to get a few showers in before you fill it, and if you have no place to dump, you are going to have issues. Also, if an RV only has six seat belts, do not try to bring eight people along.

RV beds are not created the same as normal beds. The queens are usually short, and the dinette conversion beds are only for small children. Truly understand the bed situation in the RVs before you book.”

What are some insider tips you can give for first-time RV renters?

“Watch YouTube videos before pickup so you can ask more questions during your walk around. Do not try to boon-dock for your first camping experience. If you want it to go easy peasy, reserve all your campsites ahead of time and get full electric, water, and sewer.

Watch videos on tips to drive the RV. Never leave the awning out unattended. Make sure to have the company teach you how to reset all of the breakers. If you want a nice comfy unit, rent from a small company or a peer-to-peer platform.

Some companies may be cheaper, but they won’t have any included amenities, no mileage, no slide, no awning, no stairs, or other benefits. You are going to want 24/7 support, so find a company that is going to answer the phone when you call during your trip with questions.”

What are the benefits of an RV versus a regular vehicle for a road trip?

“RV travel is super fun and convenient if planned the right way. Benefits include having a refrigerator, bathroom, and bed to use at your convenience. Nothing saves time like making a quick meal while your partner is driving instead of having to stop! Also, it’s way easier and more comfortable when taking your furry friends along.

My absolute favorite thing about RV travel is that I only have to pack and unpack the RV once, compared to dragging your luggage in and out of a hotel during the entire road trip. Kids also just love RVs!”

Why do you love RVs or choose other modes of transportation if you don't?

“RVs give you the option to stay anywhere! From state parks, private campgrounds, farms, wineries, beaches, lakes, you name it. Endless possibilities! You truly make memories that last a lifetime. You can be in nature, but also have all the luxuries of home. Glamping is by far one of the best ways to see beautiful America.”

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Joelle Konze is the owner of Escape RV Rental.
Her company provides RV rental and consignment services.

What should prospective customers look for in an RV rental company?

“There are many factors to take into consideration when searching for an RV rental company. The prospective customer should look for:

  • Whether the rental company offers the desired type of RV
  • The length of the rental period and whether they offer an extended rental period
  • The cost of the rental

They should also look for extras offered such as awnings, GPS systems, etc.”

What are the best (or worst) types of RVs you can rent?

“The best types of RVs you can rent are school buses and party buses.

School buses are great because they have plenty of room for guests and the driver. Party buses offer a variety of amenities, including TVs, bars, and dance floors. School buses also typically have a restroom that can be used as an office or breakroom. The worst types of RVs you can rent are pop-up campers, campervans, and motorhomes.

Pop-up campers only offer one bed which is not enough for large families or groups of friends planning on hanging out together in the RV all day long. Campervans don’t have any space to store luggage if you’re staying somewhere overnight, so it has to be constantly moved around the small interior, which causes major frustrations.”

What are the forms and liability issues RV renters have to deal with?

“RV renters have to deal with many different forms and liability issues. They are not only liable for the rental of the RV but also for driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance, and any other vehicle-related costs.

The liability issues that RV renters have to deal with vary depending on the state they are renting in. In some states, if someone is injured during use of the RV and it is a result of negligence on their part, then they could be held liable for paying damages or getting sued; however, in other states, if they meet certain conditions then they may not be held liable.”

Before renting an RV, what should prospective customers consider?

“The customer should have a clear idea of what they are looking for in a recreational vehicle before renting one. If the customer is not sure, then they can do some research and read online reviews before renting one.

The prospective customers should also consider their budget. RV rentals can vary widely in cost depending on the length of the rental and the type of vehicle chosen. The customers should not spend more than they have planned, or risk having to cut their trip short because they ran out of money.”

What are some insider tips you can give for first-time RV renters?

“Before you sign up for an RV, do some research on the company you are renting from. Many of the major rental companies offer discounts for first-time renters.

Another tip would be to check out the company’s website or read reviews before committing to renting from them. You want to make sure that they have a good customer service history and don’t charge any hidden fees when it comes time to return your RV.

If you are going on a road trip, make sure to find out what is included in your rental price and see if there are any additional fees for mileage, gas, or other items that may not be included in the base price.”

What are the benefits of an RV versus a regular vehicle for a road trip?

“One of the main benefits of an RV is its ability to provide shelter and space for more than one person. There are many models that come with a pop-up roof allowing for a bedroom. This means that you can sleep in the same vehicle as your family on a long trip.

You also have a lot more storage space and bathroom facilities in an RV, which is always beneficial when traveling long distances. They are also much easier to maneuver than traditional cars, which can be crucial when trying to get into those tight parking spaces at national parks or on busy campsites!”

What has been the best (or worst) experience you’ve had with an RV rental company?

“With a little planning and research, you can have a much better experience when renting an RV. The best experience was when we rented our RV from a company that had five stars on Google reviews. The worst experience was when we rented an RV that had mechanical problems, and we had to wait eight hours for the company to send someone out.”

Why do you love RVs or choose other modes of transportation if you don’t?

“I love the freedom and independence of being able to go wherever I want, whenever I want. Having my own home on wheels is a blessing for me. I don't have to worry about where I'm going to stay or what I'm going to eat. It's all there waiting for me; my home, my kitchen, and my pantry are always stocked with food.”

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Ross Sparks is the Editor-in-Chief at TheSolarAdvantage.net.
His team provides RV solar product reviews and DIY guides.

What should prospective customers look for in an RV rental company?

“Prospective customers should look for companies with trustworthy insurance and payment protection policies laid out on their website that detail protection for both RV owners and renters. It also helps to look for positive reviews from past renters.”

What are the best (or worst) types of RVs you can rent?

“The beauty of a peer-to-peer marketplace is that rental inventory ranges from travel trailers to motorhomes, and travelers can rent to try out different makes and models. Each RV class differs in size, layout, and driving expertise needed, so conducting research before a trip ensures you'll be traveling in a comfortable vehicle.

A mistake we hope people will avoid, which can make for an unpleasant experience, is renting an RV that’s either much bigger and more difficult to drive than they had anticipated or one that’s smaller than they had planned for.

The 'best' RV is one that is the right fit for you and your travel plans, whether that’s boondock camping or entertaining family and friends at a sports tailgate.”

Before renting an RV, what should prospective customers consider?

“In addition to researching the best size and type of RV, prospective customers should keep in mind what will work for their trip; whether they’re looking for a camper van, airstream trailer, or modern luxury Class A vehicle, each provides different choices for travel.

Campgrounds, dining and entertainment, mileage, and generator usage are all things also to consider when planning a trip.”

What are some insider tips you can give for first-time RV renters?

“The vehicle’s owner is the best resource for addressing any questions or concerns about the RV ahead of your trip. Test driving the RV makes for a much smoother experience while on the road.

One mistake we see eager travelers sometimes make is planning too many stops with very short stays at each destination. Spending more time on the road, especially as a new RV renter, results in less time to explore.

For first-time users or those visiting a new area for the first time, we recommend fewer stops, so you’re not missing out on exploring your destinations. An RV trip is all about the journey.”

What are the benefits of an RV versus a regular vehicle for a road trip?

“Over the last year, privacy, the ability to socially distance, and access to outdoor destinations and activities have become the top criteria for travelers when planning a trip. RVing is an experience that provides all of this, which you cannot get any other way.

RV travel changes the camping experience, from camping in nature to camping out at music festivals and sporting events, by providing access to electricity, comfortable beds, AC, full kitchens, and so much more.”

Why do you love RVs or choose other modes of transportation if you don't?

“Compared to other modes of transportation, RVs provide flexibility, the ability to social distance and plenty of space to spread out, especially for families who are traveling together.

When compared to tent camping, RVing provides an elevated experience, allowing travelers the comfort of a home-on-wheels to enjoy the added convenience of amenities, from the basics like AC and comfortable beds to fully-stocked kitchens, outdoor living areas, and more.”

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Jon Gray is the CEO of RVShare.
RVShare is an online booking and listing platform for RVs.

“Prospective RV renters who have families should consider the car seat safety needs of child passengers. Since most RV users are renters and 39% need to transport children, families really need to plan for RV safety!

This includes understanding that in many cases, it's not safe to install a car seat in a standard RV; car seats can't be installed on the side- or rear-facing vehicle seats, RV's are not crash-tested (due to weight class), and rear seats in RV's don't need to comply/are excluded from the federal seat belt standard 208.

Not complying with the federal seat belt standard 208 means many seats have lap-only belts, missing necessary tether anchors for forward-facing car seats.

The vehicle seats themselves are constructed of wood so the weight and design can't withstand crash forces enough to protect occupants in or out of car seats. Finally, RVs crumble in crashes and have huge risks for projectiles.

These are absolutely considerations that need to be made when planning to rent an RV. Since families of more than two people and those who need to transport children can't safely use traditional RVs, there are safer alternatives (in this order):

#1 – You can use a non-motorized RV (the towable kind)

#2 – You can have children and other passengers travel in a separate vehicle following the RV, caravan-style.

#3 – If your family owns the RV, you can have captain's chairs installed/retrofitted into your RV for personal use.

These alternatives make it safer to transport families with small children for RV travel.”

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Sheena Hill is a psychotherapist with Parenting Works.
She is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

“As an industry executive and road warrior during my personal time, I have lived in and done extensive road tripping in RVs for the better part of a decade. I also very happily reside in a 72 square-foot camper. I have over 100,000 miles of RV travel under my belt, and I’d like to share some of my expertise with you on tips for RV rentals.”

What are some insider tips you can give for first-time RV renters?

“When it comes to driving and parking — and overall RV life — practice makes perfect. Start out by finding a parking spot you can pull into and won’t have to back out of. Keep it simple, and remember that everyone is a beginner at some point. Talk to other RVers and see what they’ve found helpful.

Don’t stress over breakdowns. There’s usually a mechanic that’s not far from wherever you are, but basic knowledge of RV maintenance would be helpful.”

What are the benefits of an RV versus a regular vehicle for a road trip?

“Traveling by RV saves you money and time and gives you the freedom to choose your own vacation path. At a time when everyone is prioritizing their personal health and safety, traveling by RV allows you to stay socially distant from others with your own bathroom, kitchen, and place to rest your head anywhere you go!”

Why do you love RVs or choose other modes of transportation if you don't?

“RV travel provides you with all the comforts of home while being away from home. You have your space, your itinerary, and your family (or friends). It’s a place to make memories and allows for ease when it comes to settling down at your location.

There’s no tent to fiddle with, no blowing up air mattresses, or hoping you found a flat space with no rocks; there’s no security to deal with or airport parking to navigate; RVing provides an easy life and is safe and comfortable for everyone.”

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Zander Buteux is a growth lead at VacationRenter.
VacationRenter uses AI to provide lists of RV and other travel rentals.

What should prospective customers look for in an RV rental company?

“There are so many variables to consider when renting an RV for your next camping trip. It can be complicated and overwhelming trying to figure out what you should look for in a rental company. Some things to consider when you're in the market for an RV rental company include location, reputation, service, agent knowledge, 24/7 availability, the size of the RV, and more.”

What are the best (or worst) types of RVs you can rent?

“RVs are great to use for a long-term rental or short-term stay. They are very flexible and can be used in a variety of places such as the beach, mountains, and more.”

Here are the top three types of RVs to rent:

  1. Class A Motorhomes: These have large interior spaces that can hold multiple people in comfort.

  2. Class C Motorhomes: These have even more interior space than Class A motorhomes, but they are not as expensive as they were ten years ago.

  3. Fifth Wheel: These come in all shapes and sizes with lots of options when it comes to purchasing them. They are also cheaper than some of the other RV options.”

What are the forms and liability issues RV renters have to deal with?

“A recent report by the American Counseling Association indicates that more than half of Americans will be renting a home in the near future. This means that RV renters need to be aware of their legal rights and responsibilities. A lot of RVers don't take the time to research their rights and responsibilities before they rent an RV.

It's important that renters know the different insurance forms they need to file, what liabilities might arise, and how much money they'll have to pay if they are found responsible for damages or injuries.

The most common form for renters is known as a ‘Notice of Renters Right,’ which gives them permission to use an existing rental agreement without adding any terms onto it. In addition, this form allows them to take legal action against landlords if necessary.

Also, second-hand RVs can come with hidden costs that may not be immediately visible, like rust, mold, and rodent infestation. RV renters should also beware of their rights as renters if the company or owner has not followed their responsibilities diligently.”

Before renting an RV, what should prospective customers consider?

“Before renting an RV, potential customers should consider the following:

  • The size of the RV. If you don't have a large enough vehicle to transport your possessions and gear, an RV is not a good choice for you.
  • What type of fuel it uses. Some RVs use diesel while others use gasoline. It's important to know which fuel type your RV uses if you want to know how much it costs to run it.
  • If the RV has optional features, like satellite TV and WiFi. All RVs come with these features but if they are not included with your rental, make sure you're aware of what that entails in terms of cost and set-up time.

Once these three things have been considered, you can move on to renting.”

What are some insider tips you can give for first-time RV renters?

“Here are some insider tips that will come in handy for first-time RV renters:

It's important to research what types of campgrounds are close to your destination. Campgrounds vary greatly by climate, size, and style. You should also consider how remote your trip is going to be, as well as if you'll need a generator or other power source on the road.

Be prepared for anything weather-related with weatherproof blankets and gear. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, buying a GPS can help you.

Don't trust the size of an RV before you go on your vacation. Go for a smaller unit if you are short on space in your home. Don't be afraid about picking up an older model of an RV. Most of them have been refurbished with new parts and updated systems, so it's worth a try!

Be clear about what type of camping experience you want before renting an RV. Some people want to stay in one spot while others like to explore different locations.”

What are the benefits of an RV versus a regular vehicle for a road trip?

“The main benefits of an RV versus a regular vehicle for a road trip are that it offers more space to carry all of your belongings. RVs also offer more comfort in terms of sleeping and eating options. The motor home also has the luxury of having many amenities such as televisions, air conditioning, and bathrooms that you can enjoy during your journey.

RVs not only offer more comfort and can be used as a home on the road. They also provide better safety, security, and protection from weather conditions while on the road.”

What has been the best (or worst) experience you've had with an RV rental company?

“My experience with renting an RV was a positive one. I had a great time with my family and friends. I decided to rent an RV for our vacation trip because it seemed like the right decision for our needs. I researched a few different companies online and decided to go with California RV Rentals.

I was mostly concerned about safety, so I looked at their reviews on Yelp to see if any customers had complaints. They only had one negative review, which was about how they were supposed to pay by credit card but received their payment in cash instead because the owner felt bad the customer ended up having a hard time paying with his card.

Their customer service explained what happened and that they meant no harm; it was just an internal error that the owner made while going through their business receipts.”

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Max Benz is the founder of Remote-Job.net.
He loves to travel around the world while working remotely.

“When renting an RV, you need to consider a few important factors to avoid any issues. When it comes to insurance, your normal vehicle insurance may provide sufficient cover, and your credit cards may as well, but you must check first. Also, if you take out insurance from the rental company, make sure it is sufficient as the basic cover normally offered is not actually enough.

The better, more expensive cover options do have other benefits, though, such as lowering your deductible and including more coverage options. The type of RV that you need will depend on what your vacation plans are. KOA’s RV Services Directory is a great resource that can help you decide what type of RV you need and which rental company to choose.

Personally, I just love our RV. We can go anywhere we want without thinking about where we are going to eat or where we are going to sleep. It offers us more flexibility, more freedom, and we meet new people every day. Of course, the biggest bonus of traveling in an RV is the RV community.

You need to consider how long your vacation will be, how many people are going, and where you are going before you go ahead and rent an RV for your vacation.

You need to research RV parks and campsites, the costs involved, and above all, you need to understand that driving an RV is very different from driving a car. RVs are big, really move around in windy conditions, and can be difficult to park.”

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Jill Miller is a travel expert with Your RV Lifestyle.
She travels around the U.S. in her home, a 40-foot RV.

---What should prospective customers look for in an RV rental company?

“Renters should look for variety and simpleness when it comes to booking an RV. Suppliers will have vehicles with different levels of amenities, so it's important to review details like price, features, mileage limits, and policies before deciding to book with a certain rental company.”

What are the best (or worst) types of RVs you can rent?


Class A RVs will be in the higher pricing range, but they typically come with all of the amenities you'd need. These include things like a fridge, stove, air conditioning system, and much more. This is the ideal type of RV that most people picture when they think about renting one.


Class C RVs are the worst types of RV you can rent due to their lack of amenities. They don't offer all of the luxuries, and they also don't come with a lot of space. They do come for cheaper than Class A's, though.”

What are the forms and liability issues RV renters have to deal with?

“RV renters are liable for any damages that occur when using the vehicle. Some insurance is provided with some types of RVs, but renters may need to have a credit card to cover any other potential costs. If an RV is stolen, the renter can be liable for any damages.”

Before renting an RV, what should prospective customers consider?

“It's important for prospective renters to decide upfront what type of RV they're looking for and which features would be useful on their adventure. The more they know before beginning a search, the easier it will be to determine if something is within their budget or which companies will satisfy their more detailed needs.”

What are some insider tips you can give for first-time RV renters?

“Look for a rental company with experience handling the type of RV you need. Ask yourself what is most important: size, features, fuel efficiency, or at-home comfort.

Make sure to ask about pick-up and drop-off terms before finalizing any paperwork so they are clear from the beginning. Some companies charge additional fees if renters return their vehicle after hours or leave it outside a certain radius (and some RVs have 'no mileage' limitations). Make sure any questions are answered completely before agreeing to anything.

Finally, give yourself plenty of time! For long rentals, make reservations now and commit well in advance; don't try to leave it until the last minute. RVs can be tricky for first-timers, so make sure you're as prepared as possible before you head out on your trip.”

What are the benefits of an RV versus a regular vehicle for a road trip?

“Simply put, RVs offer more flexibility than a normal car. Many models have multiple sleeping spaces, so families can often travel together and not need to take turns driving. Kids get their own bed, and parents can sleep, which is sometimes difficult in a car alone.

Many RV models also give travelers plenty of space for camping gear storage if that's what they're looking for in an RV.

On top of that, there are additional luxuries like large kitchens that allow people to eat hot meals on the go if desired, showers for good hygiene after being outside all day hiking, and bathrooms.”

What has been the best experience you've had with an RV rental company?

“I've had a lot of great experiences, and it's tough to pick just one. But I guess if I had to choose, my last experience was really great. The RV was perfect for my group, it ran well the entire trip, and we got an excellent price compared to other similar RVs. We went on a road trip from Texas to Colorado, and everything went off without a hitch.”

Why do you love RVs?

“I love RVs because they offer an easy solution for going on a vacation when packing with limited space.

A rental RV lets you get off the beaten path and visit places that might be too difficult to reach by car or through public transit. They're fun for summer trips, winter trips, family vacations, or solo adventures. And I can even drag my dogs around with me!”

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Jordan Bishop is the founder and CEO of Yore Oyster.
His site offers credit card top picks, product reviews, and financial advice.

Before renting an RV, what should prospective customers consider?

“Consider your budget. Beyond the daily rental price, there are a lot of other expenses you need to be aware of. So before you book a rig and gear up to explore the great outdoors, first get an idea of what you’re in for. Here’s what you can expect to spend when you rent an RV.

Nightly Rate — RV rental prices have changed considerably since the onset of the pandemic. According to a recent 2021 study, it now costs an average of $285 per night to rent a Class A motorhome, $222 per night to rent a campervan, and $212 a night for a Class C.

Gas — Most first-time RV renters are surprised by how often they have to fill up. Expect to spend around $300 for gas every 1000 miles.

Cost per Mile — Apart from the nightly rate, most RV rental companies include 100-150 free miles per day, then charge a certain amount per mile. Expect to pay around 35-75 cents per mile once you surpass the base mileage.

Campground Fees — RV camping isn't cheap, especially if you prefer to stay in a park that has full hookups and fun amenities. You’ll spend between $25 and $80 a night on RV camping sites.

Cleaning Fees — If you return the RV caked in dirt, soot, or food stains, the owner may charge cleaning fees that are usually around $50-$100.

Security Deposit — There’s usually a refundable safety deposit that needs to be given upon pick up of the rig. It ranges anywhere between $500-$1,500.

Delivery Fee — If you request the owner to deliver the RV at your doorstep or campground, it will cost you between $50-$200 for the first 50 to 100 miles.

Other Expenses — Depending on the company you rent from, be prepared to pay rental insurance and a fee for additional equipment like a generator and kitchen items. And don’t forget to set aside money for food and activities.”

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David Kosofsky is the founder of Go RV Rentals.
His company provides RV rental services.

“Prospective customers should look for great customer service when looking to rent an RV.

  • Do they give a thorough walkthrough and teach renters specifically how to use the equipment?
  • Do they require special insurance? Can they offer this as part of the rental agreement?
  • What items do they provide with the rental? Do they have hoses, adapters, or tools?
  • Does the rental come with linens, cookware, etc.?
  • Does the rental company deliver and pick up the RV?
  • What are the mileage restrictions?
  • Do they offer trip planning, GPS, and roadside assistance?
  • What are the overall costs? Are there any hidden or ‘extra’ fees?

A good rental company should be able to discuss which recreational vehicle is appropriate for your planned trip. How many can it sleep, do you need a tow vehicle, and is it manageable for a new RV driver?

There is no best or worst type of RV that can be rented. This is a very personal decision based on where you plan to camp (dry camping or full hook-up), how large it is and what condition or shape the actual vehicle is in.

Forms and Liability issues: The RV rental company will have you do an inspection of the RV and sign off on its condition. Any damage will be the responsibility of the renter (or insurance company).

A renter will have to sign a rental agreement, show a driver's license, and sign any required insurance documents. This is all very similar to a car rental. However, an RV is a much bigger liability given the amount of equipment that is generally inside.

Before renting an RV, a customer needs to consider where they plan to visit. Most RV parks and campgrounds require advance reservations. This is especially true since the onset of COVID. Some parks have reservations booked out for several months. It is best to prepare ahead of time.

The driver will need to consider the length of the vehicle and its height. This will impact what roads they are permitted to drive on. Think about weight on bridges and height on overpasses.

What is the pet policy? Is there an additional charge? What is the deposit?

There are many different things to consider prior to signing a contract on an RV rental.

Tips for first-time RV renters include carrying a setup and departure checklist to ensure that nothing is forgotten, taking a first aid kit, and watching videos about how to properly dump tanks and handle the water system in an RV. I would also suggest watching some videos and reading driving tips from experienced RVers.

The benefits of renting an RV for a road trip vs. taking one in a regular car include the ability to bring pets and family members along, having a kitchen to prepare food, and the flexibility to adjust your travels to suit your needs. Stay longer in one place, leave early, and make as many stops as you would like. It is a great way to experience new places.

The best company that I have dealt with personally is Outdoorsy. They have many different RVs to choose from, and the staff is knowledgeable and very helpful.

I love living and traveling by RV. Being close to nature instead of spending time in a concrete box is wonderful. I love having my belongings with me when I travel. I love ending the day in my own bed. It is freedom on wheels.”

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Cortney Edwards is the owner of TinCanLiving.blog.
She has been a full-time RVer for two years.

“Travelers hoping to approach RV rental companies should not be afraid to ask the hard questions; future losses may depend on the agreement made initially. Taking control of the renting process is vital in ensuring your needs are met. Make sure the vehicle company can provide proof of servicing of its vehicles and an insurance cover that goes beyond the basics.

Some of the liability issues that renters have to deal with include accidents, vehicle breakdown, and natural disasters. RVs are often used to travel to remote areas where the risk of disaster is higher.

Prospective customers should consider the renting agreement and return policy for their vehicles in order to ensure they avoid fines or late fees.

Customers should ensure that personal amenities such as the kitchen, bathroom, ventilation, and security system installed are up to standard and of high quality. Unexpected expenses can be a bummer and dampen a holiday mood; avoid them by checking all the appropriate boxes beforehand.

First-time renters should choose companies with good reputations and a culture of providing personalized recommendations for different customers. Having access to experts can ensure a safe trip with minimal costs and troubles.

RVs are a wonderful and safe choice of travel due to the ability to choose where to go, what to do, and who to travel with. The ongoing pandemic has especially made RVs treasures that offer the chance to enjoy traditional road trips at a fraction of the risk and cost of other means of travel.”

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Brad Cummins is the owner of Insurance Geek.
He has over 15 years of experience as an insurance agent.

“A good RV rental company appeals to families and individuals alike. The open road is for everyone, and there is no room for exclusivity in the outdoors. Look for a company that prides itself on working with all groups of people, as this ensures they will suit your needs, too.

The best RV to rent, in my opinion, would be the Class C Winnebago. It comes with a fully equipped kitchen, shower, toilet, and TV and sleeps up to six people!

All of the Winnebago models have proven reliable in my experience. As with any rental company, there are forms and liability waivers presented upon receiving the service. These forms cover everything from insurance, to background checks, to cleaning contracts. Take your time when reviewing these forms.

Before renting, consider how much the rental company is willing to cover in insurance, and map out your trip down to the last mile, so you know how to budget for your trip! For first-time renters, read online forums or discuss amongst your friends their experiences renting RVs. It is an increasingly popular method of vacation, so you will not have to look far for good resources.

Some of my favorite memories take place either inside of an RV or directly outside of it. RVs offer a lifestyle that a regular vehicle cannot provide: room to cook and stretch and space for privacy.

The best RV rental experiences provide transparency and excitement, making you feel safe and comfortable to explore on your own terms.”

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Ravi Parikh is the CEO of RoverPass.
His company provides RV campground reservations.

“When renters refer to RVs, they’re usually talking about either a motor vehicle or a trailer, both of which are usually equipped with home amenities like a living space, a bedroom, and a kitchen.

What commonly comes to mind is a motorhome, which is large and compartmentalized — essentially meant to be, well, a home with a motor. A motorhome is meant to provide comfort and, perhaps, a touch of luxury while traveling the great outdoors.

Class A Diesel or Gas Motorhome

These are your crème de la crème motorhomes — they are the largest and most luxurious form of RV. Class As typically have full-sized furniture and kitchens, entertainment systems, and sometimes a washer and dryer unit. In some models, they can sleep up to 12 people.

The only difference between a Class A Diesel Motorhome and a Class A Gas Motorhome is that the former are much more fuel-efficient. Keep in mind that, regardless, they are both the most expensive options to rent, have low gas mileage, and take more skill to drive because of their size.

Class B Motorhome

If you’re an adventurous and smaller group, a Class B Motorhome RV is an excellent choice. It looks a lot like a regular van from the outside but is still equipped with home amenities inside.

The Class B Motorhome is tall enough to stand inside and has a kitchenette with a water tank, a double bed for two, and a small space for a combined shower and toilet.

They drive more like cars (which means easier parking and maneuverability, and they get better gas mileage than your Class A Motorhomes.

Class C Motorhome

A Class C Motorhome is a good middle ground between a Class A and a Class B. They are typically between 20 and 30 feet long with a cab. Class C Motorhomes can accommodate up to five people.

They boast comfortable amenities like queen-sized beds, larger living areas, and separate bathrooms. Like Class B Motorhomes, they also drive easier than Class As and get better gas mileage.”

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Jeremy Foster is the founder of TravelFreak.com.
His blog provides advice on travel and working abroad.

“When looking for an RV rental company, you should look for a reputable company that is incorporated and renting RVs/travel trailers as a business because there are many new marketplaces that allow personal RVs to be shared.

More rental options are good, but you may also be renting someone's personal possession that they treat as their baby. This could be good and bad. Good because it is taken care of and bad because there could be some natural anxiety over the rental and the condition of the RV.

There can be many forms in the RV rental process, and it is likely they limit the rental company's liability.

However, be aware that just like renting a car, you are ultimately responsible for the vehicle while it is in your possession. Either purchase additional insurance to limit your exposure or ensure that you have a binder from your car insurance to cover any unforeseen damages. Again, it is best to contact an insurance specialist.

Should you rent an RV or a travel trailer? RVs are fantastic, but you need to drive your whole house with you if you need to leave camp. A travel trailer is towed to your camp, set up, and lets you go to do things without taking your whole house with you.

First-time RVers, I recommend you rent an RV/travel trailer that includes delivery and setup. Let the rental company take the work out of camping so you can just show up and have fun. This way, you can experience the RV/Travel trailer without the hassle and anxiety of towing, backing up, and maneuvering."

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Brian Barde is the owner of Kindlewood Camping.
His company, based in the Berkshires, offers RV rentals.

“When renting an RV, you should look for glowing customer reviews regarding customer service to be sure you’ll be in good hands in case of any faults with the vehicle during your rental period. I’ve heard many horror stories of adventurers renting RVs with faulty A/C and the rental company refusing to assist.

The best kind of RV to rent depends on the type of adventure you're planning.

If you’re looking for glamping, then a Class A vehicle is a luxury apartment on wheels. If you’re looking for a more down-to-earth experience where you tow your RV, then a travel trailer is great as long as it’s compatible with your vehicle.

Typically the average traveler isn't comfortable driving a vehicle towing an RV as it can be up to 65 feet long, so a Class C option is a mid-range campervan (20-30ft) that doesn't require towing.

Most RV insurance doesn’t cover damage caused while the RV is being rented, so there are usually many forms required to attain quality RV insurance that will cover all your bases.

You should consider your destination and the kind of RV vacation you’re seeking before choosing your RV, as well as your confidence with regard to driving such a large vehicle.

My best tip is to plan your route and destinations in advance to book sites before renting an RV to ensure your reservations are guaranteed before paying for the rental.

An RV upgrades the road trip experience by adding an additional comfort element, turning driving across states from a chore into a vacation.

After my first RV experience, I was sold, and I love them for that exact reason. Setting up the RV at the site is a much more enjoyable process than unpacking a tent, and as stress is lower, it's a relaxing and bonding experience! Plus, you have additional protection against the elements.”

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Philip Westfall is the Director of Marketing at RVezy.
RVezy is a leading RV rental marketplace.

Full List of RV Rental Companies & Marketplaces

The following table shows all the RV rental companies we researched, plus their insurance options.

Name RV Insurance Coverage Offered
Adventure Touring USA Public Liability, Supplemental Liability Insurance
Allstar Coaches Liability, Physical Damage Protection
Camper Travel Bookings Not Offered Directly
Cruise America Supplemental Liability Insurance
El Monte RV Not Offered Directly
Escape Campervans Collision, Third Party Liability
Motorhome Republic Not Offered Directly

The next one shows all the RV marketplaces we researched and their insurance options.

Name RV Insurance Coverage Offered
Outdoorsy Liability, Physical Damage Protection
RVezy Comprehensive, Collision, Third Party Liability, Physical Damage Protection
RVnGO Liability
RVshare Liability, Comprehensive, Collision

It’s helpful to note that all RVs must be insured when driving one, just like a car. Driving an RV without insurance can lead to serious consequences legally so make sure to ask your RV rental company or RV marketplace about RV rental insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions: The RV Rental Industry

Want to know more about the RV industry? We have all your answers here.

#1 – What is the cheapest way to rent an RV?

The cheapest way to rent an RV is to find one that suits your budget, then work to lower transaction and maintenance fees. Look out for high charges for generator use or caps on miles driven per day. Both RV rental companies and marketplaces have charges (sometimes hidden) so seek to lower those and find the best deal. You can also take advantage of incentives or discounts.

#2 – Is the RV rental business lucrative?

Profits for renting your personal RV can range from $5,000 to $30,000 annually according to some estimates. Some have supplemented their primary income by renting their RVs while others have replaced their primary income completely.

#3 – What is the largest RV rental company?

The largest RV rental company is Cruise America, which has been around since 1972 and offers 122 pick-up locations and numerous discounts.

#4 – How big is the RV rental market?

In 2020, the RV rental market was valued at $516 million with projections up to $810 million by 2028. The projected growth rate of the market is 5.3%.

#5 – How much does it cost to rent an RV for two weeks?

A great deal depends on the type of RV and the size. A Class A RV that is relatively new can run up to $500 per night. A Class B that is 10 years or older might run as little as $100 a night.

#6 – Do I need a special license to drive an RV?

Generally, no. Your regular driver’s license qualifies you to drive a vehicle that weighs up to 26,000 pounds. But if the vehicle is heavier than this, you might need a special license to drive the RV. And there are certain states that have different regulations so always check your road trip map and the states you are driving through to see if you need special licenses before your trip.

#7 – Are RV rentals worth it?

From a consumer perspective, if your dream is to hit the open road for a vacation, stay away from any trouble COVID spots, and enjoy nature, then maybe so! But always stick within that budget and do your research before jumping in. And make sure to get RV rental insurance.

#8 – Can you make money with RVshare?

Yes, you can make thousands of dollars per year using RVshare and other platforms to rent out your RV when it’s not being used. Some people can make as high as $30,000 a year or more depending on the type of RV, its condition, the demand in the area, and other economic factors. If you have multiple RVs, you can turn this into a full-time business.

Methodology: Sourcing Our RV Rental Guide

To create this guide, our researchers looked into every RV rental company and marketplace that they could find. From there, they pulled information about the number of pick-up locations offered or what states they were available in. In addition, they found the types of RV models offered and the insurances offered through the rental companies or marketplaces themselves.

Some of the RV rental companies don’t offer insurance directly, which was noted in the guide. Always stay insured when driving a vehicle, even if you’re just renting an RV for a few nights. The legal penalties for driving without insurance are severe.


  1. https://www.campertravelbookings.com/
  2. https://www.cruiseamerica.com/
  3. https://www.elmonterv.com/
  4. https://www.motorhomerepublic.com/
  5. https://www.outdoorsy.com/
  6. https://www.rvezy.com/
  7. https://www.rvngo.com/
  8. https://rvshare.com/

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