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Prevent An RV Insurance Claim- Winterize Your RV Now

Posted Oct 14th, 2022 in Did You Know?, General, Home Insurance, HOMEINSURANCE, In the News, Insurance Tips, Media

With the colder months upon us and winter on the way, many RV owners are beginning the process of winterizing their RV and getting it ready for storage. Making sure that your RV is properly winterized can help to prevent any damage that could be costly to fix, and help prevent any unnecessary RV insurance claims. Below, we answer some frequently asked questions from RV owners about how to prepare your RV for winter storage and how to lower your RV insurance costs during the winter months.  



What Happens if an RV is not Winterized?

No matter which kind of RV you own, it is essential to winterize and store it properly. If you don’t winterize your RV, the waterlines, pipes, and water tanks can freeze from the cold weather which can cause them to expand, and then they may burst. Leaving water in your RV toilet and the pipes that connect to and from it can cause the toilet to crack. Not winterizing your RV properly can also make it vulnerable to mould, and cause your tires to deteriorate. Remember, winterizing your RV is inexpensive, but repairing it once the damage has been done is not!

Is it Ok to Store My RV Outside in the Winter?  

Storing your RV outside during the winter is an acceptable option, but there are extra precautions you should take if you decide to do so, to keep it protected from the winter elements. Large tarps made from breathable material are a great option for protecting it from dirt and other outdoor elements. To ensure the water hoses, pipes and tanks don’t freeze you should drain them and run antifreeze through them. If you are storing your RV outside on grass, it is a good idea to put cement blocks under the tires, or to jack up the RV, so that the tires are not absorbing the moisture from the ground. Tire covers can also help protect and extend your tires' life.

How Cold is Too Cold for an RV?

Although there are ways to protect your RV during the winter months, there is a certain point when it may become too cold for an RV to handle. Extreme temperatures around -28 Celsius to -31 Celsius can cause damage to your RV. This could result in freezing pipes even when precautions are taken or can cause your RV engine to be unable to turn over or start.

What Should I Remove From My RV for Winter Storage?

To prepare your RV for winterization, you should remove any items which may freeze. This includes containers with liquids such as soap, pop, water, or other cleaning supplies. You should also remove any items that would attract animals. Any food, cleaning rags, toilet paper, blankets, and towels should be removed.

How Do I Winterize an RV With Antifreeze?

An important precautionary measure to take when winterizing your RV is to drain the water from the pipes, toilet, and system drain valves and then run antifreeze through the pipes. If you are storing your RV outside, this step is integral to keep your RV’s pipes from freezing and bursting but it is highly recommended even if you plan to store your RV inside. Make sure you are using RV antifreeze. Check your RV instruction manual or local RV manufacturer for guidance on the process.

What is the Difference Between RV and Auto Antifreeze?

RV antifreeze is non-toxic and is specifically made to use in RV plumbing systems. The antifreeze you would normally use for your car is most likely toxic and is only made for engine cooling purposes in your car. RV antifreeze is often pink in colour whereas automotive antifreeze is usually green.

How Do You Dispose of RV Antifreeze?

Do not dump any of the RV antifreeze on the ground even though it is non-toxic. It still needs to be disposed of properly at a facility that disposes of it. You can call your local RV manufacturer and ask if they dispose of antifreeze. Another option is to call your local waste management facility and they can give you information on how to best dispose of it.

Will RV Antifreeze Hurt the Hot Water Heater?

RV antifreeze won’t hurt your RV’s hot water system but be sure you flush it out when you de-winterize your RV in the springtime.

Do I Need to Insure my RV Year Round?

RV owners who are looking to save money during the winter months may be tempted to cancel their RV insurance. This is not recommended, as there are still some significant risks your RV may face during the winter months.

You should consider keeping your comprehensive insurance coverage, as your RV can still be vulnerable to fire, flooding, theft, vandalism, and damage from rodents and squirrels during the off-season. If your RV is stored outside, it is also vulnerable to damage from falling tree branches, as well as damage from hail and lightning storms.

RV owners may also want to consider keeping their collision coverage. Whether your RV is stored inside or outside during the winter months, it is still at risk of being hit by other cars that are being moved around your RV, especially at storage facilities that also store other RVs, boats, trailers, and cars.

Another factor to remember is that cancelling your insurance is not looked upon favourably by insurance companies. Doing so may result in you being labelled a ‘high risk’ to insurance companies, and you may have a harder time getting insurance, or have to pay more for insurance in the future. It is also important to remember that if you took a loan from a financial institution to purchase the RV, they may require you to have insurance on the RV for the life of the loan. Some storage facilities will also have insurance requirements that you should inquire about. Make sure to speak with your Ontario insurance broker, as they will be able to advise you on what coverages you should keep, and what additional, optional coverages you may be able to remove for the winter months.

How do I Prepare My RV for Winter Storage?

Remove RV Batteries

Most RV batteries are lead-acid batteries, and they must be removed during the cold winter months. The first step in removing the batteries is to turn off the RVs disconnect and breaker switches. It is also important to remove the negative cable first. Once removed, store these batteries in a warm and dry place.

Unhook Propane Tanks

Your RVs propane tanks should also be removed. This goes for those who are storing their RV inside or outside during the winter.

Protect the Exterior of Your RV

Before putting your RV away, you should inspect it for any cracks. If any are found, fix them with an RV sealant and let them fully dry. This will help protect from moisture getting in, as well as any animals that may make a nest or chew the wires.

It is also a good idea to thoroughly clean the exterior of your RV, including the awning and any canvas or fabric siding. Making sure the awning and any other fabric or canvas is clean and dry can help to prevent moulding. Once the exterior of the RV is clean, apply a coat of wax or protectant. This will help to protect it from the elements during the harsh winter months.

Lubricate Locks and Hinges

Since your RV may be untouched for several months, lubricating any locks and hinges can help to make a big difference. You don’t want these to get too sticky or stop working altogether, so keeping them lubricated through the winter is very important!

Clean the Interior
Cleaning the interior of your RV will make your life much easier when you are ready to de-winterize it in the springtime. You don’t want to find any strange smells, mould, or even pests inside your RV in a few months, so take the time now to ensure everything is clean and dry on the inside of your RV.
 
Following the steps listed above to winterize your RV can help to ensure your RV stays in top shape until the weather begins to warm up. Your RV was a big investment, so be sure you take care of it even when it is off the road, and make sure it is properly insured. Contact your local Ontario insurance broker for our expert advice on all your RV insurance needs.

For more information on RV insurance, read our blog Everything You Need to Know About Ontario RV Insurance. 


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