The Different Costs of RV Ownership

Getting in an RV seems like a perfect idea to travel. The convenience and freedom to go around the country probably make you want to purchase one. But though traveling and living in an RV has several perks, the costs of owning one are among the significant concerns you would have to think about. 

Before you decide on anything, it’s essential to understand that the real cost of RV ownership is way more than what you pay during the purchase. Remember that traveling in an RV is meant to be fun and exciting. Thus, you have to ensure that your budget can comfortably afford the costs of owning one. Else, it will only become stressful and unpleasant. 

To help you make a more informed decision, we’ll break down the different costs of RV ownership. 

Costs of RV Ownership In A Nutshell

Since each person’s situation and preference are different, RV ownership costs may vary from one person to another. It means that there is no way you’ll know the exact amount of owning a motorhome, trailer, or camper. However, you could get an idea by examining carefully the different categories that comprise the costs of RV ownership

Generally, there are upfront, recurring and variable costs. Note that each cost may differ depending on the type of RV you want to own and how frequently you’re going to travel in an RV. 

 

Upfront Costs

There are expenses that you can figure out even before you purchase an RV. By making inquiries or doing research, you’d be able to determine them. The following are the costs of owning an RV that you’ll have to pay upfront. 

 

Purchase Price

The purchase price is the most obvious cost of the RV. Unfortunately, it is often and only the cost on the top of the buyer’s mind. But the price of the RV is just one component of the purchasing cost. 

Nevertheless, the price of a new RV may range from $20,000 to $300,000, depending on the type and size. The usual down payment of an RV is 15% of the purchase price, but it may differ on several factors, such as income, assets, and credit history. If you want something a little more affordable, you can consider buying an old or used vehicle. 

 

Taxes and Registration Fees

Besides the purchase price, you would also have to pay for taxes and registration fees. For the registration, it is typically based on the weight of your RV. But its one-time cost may range from $12 to $225, 

Depending on where you live, you may pay additional hundreds to thousands of dollars for your RV sales tax. The same applies to your property taxes. However, some states don’t charge anything for sales tax.

 

Insurance

RV insurance is almost like a combined home and car insurance. As a vehicle, it needs insurance for accidents and insurance for property damages as a home. Generally, the cost of RV insurance depends on the type of RV and coverage. But you might pay as low as $125 every month for the liability coverage. 

 

Recurring Costs

Some costs in owning an RV may occur regularly, meaning they have a fixed due date that you need to be mindful of. And regardless of how often you use your RV, you would have to pay for them. Below are the recurring costs of RV ownership. 

 

Renewal Fees

You may also have to pay renewal fees on your registration, license plate, and property taxes annually. But check on your state’s tax law to make sure. The same applies to your RV insurance. You would need to pay it on a regular basis, either monthly or annually. 

 

Loan Monthly Repayment

Most people need financing to purchase an RV. If you are one of them, it’s another recurring cost that you need to think about until you pay off the principal and interest of the loan. Compared to auto loans, the interest rate of an RV loan is usually higher.

But currently, the approximate interest rates on RV loans may start around 4.29%. But depending on the condition of your credit and other factors, it can be considerably higher than that. 

 

Variable Costs

Aside from the upfront and recurring costs, some RV ownership costs may vary from time to time, depending on the way and number of times you use it. Highlighted below are the variable costs of owning an RV. 

 

Fuel Costs

Compared to cars, RV’s fuel costs are most likely more expensive since it is much bigger. But besides the RV type and size, the fuel cost also depends on how far and fast you’re traveling. 

Assuming that you’re traveling in a motorhome that gets 10 miles per gallon at a distance of 2,000 miles, you would use 200 gallons of fuel. If the gas costs $3.00 per gallon, your gas or fuel expense will be approximately $600. 

Maintenance Costs

Similar to a house or car, you’ll also have to perform regular maintenance on your RV. Basically, your RV might need some cleaning, oil changes, plumbing fixes, and the like. Depending on your location, your RV might need some winterizing or de-winterizing every fall and spring. 

The price of RV maintenance is hard to determine as it may vary monthly and annually. But if you want to save a lot of money, consider doing monthly maintenance on your RV to minimize the higher cost of massive repairs. On average, the maintenance cost of a motorhome might be $120 a month. But it may depend on how often you use your RV. 

 

Campground Fees

If you stay at campgrounds, you might have to pay a nightly fee. The campground fee is around $10-$120 a night, depending on the location and amenities. But if you don’t want to pay for that, you may consider looking for free RV parks or big box stores, where you can stay at night. 

 

Storage Costs

You will have to pay for storage costs when your RV is not in use. Prices for RV storage largely depend also on location and amenities. For outdoor storage, you can pay as low as $30 to $50, but it could also range as high as $60 to $100. 

Moreover, you can expect to pay a bit more for indoor storage. The rates can start anywhere from $50 to $125 for the unheated indoor storage. If it’s heated, the costs start around $100 to $450 a month. Note that the size of your RV also matters in the storage pricing. 

 

Takeaway

As you can see, the costs of owning an RV doesn’t end on the purchase. Thus, it is essential to consider not only the benefits of traveling in a motorhome, camper, or trailer but also the financial obligation of owning them. Make sure your resources are enough to cover all the possible costs of RV ownership if you don’t want to experience financial problems later on. 

Lauren Cordell is a writer by profession who specializes in business and finance. She writes about helping new business owners find their way to success. Lauren also dedicates herself to spreading the right knowledge when it comes to business management and financial literacy.

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