Does Living in an RV Full-Time Void the Warranty?

Your RV warranty covers the cost of mechanical breakdowns and failures. It is different from an insurance policy and its benefits may not be available to you if your vehicle is utilized under particular conditions. This article will discuss the ways in which full time RV use can affect your warranty. and even cause your RV warranty to become void

How your RV Warranty Benefits You

Your RV warranty provides peace of mind while you are taking vacations around the country. If your vehicle breaks down when you are miles from home, it can throw a wrench in your plans, since repairs can be expensive. RV warranty plans protect RVers like you from all the unexpected costs that go with repairs.

While all RV warranty plans are not exactly the same, most cover a wide range of mechanical components, including engines and air conditioners. They may even cover your fresh water system and slide out mechanisms in your vehicle. Common accessories and essentials such as your water heater can also be replaced or repaired with ease via your warranty.

No matter what type of RV you have, you can usually find a plan to cover it. Most providers have plans for travel trailers and diesel engine class As. Brand new motorhomes and used trailers can be enjoyed to the fullest when you have a service contract in place.

Is it legal to live in your RV all the time?

A warranty covers the use of your RV in legal situations. It is not legal to live in your RV full time. For example, suppose you park your RV on land that is owned by members of your extended family and you live in it full time. That is not regarded as legal use of your RV.

Under the law, an RV is not classified as a permanent dwelling. In most states, law enforcement doesn’t really follow that up and you’ll find a lot of people living in their RVs on their own land. They use it as a permanent dwelling and they own their land, so no one really gives them a hassle, unless your in a bit of a more intrusive county.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has stated that an RV is meant for camping, travel, or recreational purposes (read more here). Even though they regard manufactured housing as fit, your RV s not regarded as fit for permanent housing. Federal law does not prohibit you from keeping your RV parked in your backyard and you can use the RV as a temporary accommodation if friends or relatives are staying over for a week or so. However, as we all know, MANY people do live in their RV full-time regardless of these supposed guidelines.

Read the Owner’s Manual Thoroughly

Most owners will have a general look at their owner’s manual and examine certain sections in detail as needed. It is important to read your owner’s manual from cover to cover, asking questions about any areas which seem to have legal implications. Sometimes, information on what will void your RV warranty will only be found in your owner’s manual.

Since it has been put in writing somewhere, you will be able to gain the information that you need. It is in your bests interests to ensure that you know as much as possible about proper, legal RV use. Review the warranty section several times, since this is where you are most likely to find statements that you may skip over without realizing their significance.

You can usually find the owner’s manual for any vehicle that you plan to buy online. Download the manual and read it thoroughly before you buy the RV that you’re interested in. This section will give them the right to terminate the warranty if you are full timing in the vehicle.

For example, you may see a statement that the warranty does not cover any RV that is not used for recreational travel. You may also see a statement that the warranty will not cover vehicles that are not used for camping. Recreational travel is regarded as travel for a visit or a holiday. While full timers travel to visit new locations, this is their permanent lifestyle, not a weekend event.

In this context, travel is thought of as an escape from regular life. Another factor that is considered is that of a periodic escape. Full timers do not engage in periodic escapes, rather, they are permanently moving from one location to another. Lawyers will take the position that the RVer is using their vehicle as a home, instead of as a temporary form of recreation.

Your owner’s manual may explicitly discharge the company from obligations under the warranty if the RV has been used in any way as a permanent home. In other sections of the warranty, you may see this type of use referred to as extended or full-time usage.

Warranties will often specifically state that your RV has been built for use in a recreational manner. The manufacturers have not built it with the intention of it being used as full-time living quarters, so they will not bear any responsibility for covering the cost of damage under those conditions.

Your warranty may state that continuous living in your RV could cause accelerated wear. Damage to the various components, which occurs while you are living in the vehicle on a continuous basis, will not be covered. This type of use will void the limited warranty that is applied to your vehicle.

Warranty also Voided for Semi Permanent Use

Some warranties may go a little further than others. These warranties are not only voided if the RVer is using the vehicle as a permanent home. You may find yourself with no coverage if you are using your RV as a semi-permanent home. Such warranties will explicitly state that the company is not under any obligation if the RV is used as a semi-permanent home.

Limited Structural Warranty and Contingencies

In the owner’s manual for some vehicles, you will find details on their Limited Structural Warranty. In this section, you may find information on what is covered. This type of warranty often covers defects in materials and workmanship. The manual may sometimes state that cover is only given during normal use and not if the vehicle is utilized outside of its intended purpose of traveling and camping.

Even in cases where a RVer only uses the vehicle on the weekends, some manufacturers still make it difficult to get assistance with repairs. For example, they may explicitly state n the manual that their financial help is contingent upon you following the recommended maintenance schedule. The maintenance schedule that is incorporated in the owner’s manual is used as the standard and is what they will require before any of your RV’s components will be readily replaced.

Marketing Materials vs your Manual

There have been cases where a company produces marketing materials that say full-time use will be covered. However, the owner’s manual may say something that is completely different. If in doubt, check the manual. Do not go by what is said in a marketing brochure which may not have been reviewed by the company’s legal team.

Marketing materials cannot be regarded as a guide on what the company will pay for. Always review the actual warranty before you make a choice about the brand of RV that you will purchase for full-time use. Make several calls to confirm whatever you see in a brochure or on a television ad.

RV Warranty Case Example – Funtown RV vs Kara Stephan

Kara Stephan, an RVer from Midland TX, learned the hard way that living in your RV full time can cause you to lose some of the benefits of your contract. A lawsuit filed in May, 2018 claimed that the retailer sold Ms. Stephan a pile of junk. The lawsuit also alleges that the one-year RV warranty that Ms. Stephan was sold by a salesperson was unknowingly voided by her because she used her 5th wheel as a permanent residence.

Even though Ms. Stephan had told the salesperson that she intended to use the RV as a permanent home, the salesperson allegedly failed to tell her that doing so could void the warranty. Lawyers for the retailer replied that the salesperson was only engaged in “puffery” which is not considered a liability under the law in Texas.

You’re Taking A Risk

In most US states, people who choose to live in their RV full time are not prosecuted in any way. For this reason, many RVers are not even aware that it is not legal to do so. However, you must always take precautions to ensure that you can benefit fully from your RV warranty and any other type of plan that you have in place.

You’ll always be taking a legal risk if you choose to live in your RV full time. If anything happens, you will have to bear the cost of damages by yourself, even if you have paid for some type of coverage. Always read the fine print of any plan that you are considering because you could pay and then find that there’s nothing aivlabale for you, because of a mistake that you made.

f you are thinking of living in your RV full time, read the warranty thoroughly. Take it to your lawyers to learn whether living in the temporary home full time will void your warranty. If the warranty is worded in a way that presents you with any type of risk if you live in your vehicle full time, do not use it as a permanent dwelling. Want to know more about Power Options off-Grid? Check our article here.

Repairs are Inevitable

If you have ever talked to another RV owner, you’ll know that you’re almost guaranteed to have to do repairs at some point. RVs are notorious for being fun but they also need repairs from time to time, no matter how well you care for them. It is unlikely that you will be able to avoid complications with your warranty by having a repair-free experience with your RV.

Calculate the likely cost of repairs for your RV over time, by talking to other RV owners. This will help you to decide whether the financial benefits of living in your RV full time are worth it. When you compare that to the cost of handling all the repairs to your vehicle on your own, you may find that there are alternatives which are more financially rewarding for you.

What defines full time?

Motorhome families often use a term such as “full-timing” to describe RVers who use their motorhomes all the time. These adventurous people live in their RV 365 days a year and travel from place to place constantly experiencing new settings. They fully embrace a nomadic lifestyle, making new friends along the way.

Fulltiming allows them to simplify their lives, live economically and linger in breathtaking settings. They can enjoy the moment but this does come at a cost since they will no longer have some of the protection that is available to people who use their RV in ways that are covered by some legal contracts.

Fulltiming is not the same thing as a permanent vacation or second honeymoon. It is not an escape from responsibility and since the vehicle is in use full time, it is subjected to more wear than an RV that is only used on weekends or vacation would be. Full-timers tend to use large rigs and although you may be considering giving up a traditional lifestyle to hit the road, consider all the ways in which it can affect your cover before you do.

Typically, a snowbird is not regarded as a full-timer. A snowbird only lives in their RV during the winter. This means that they may only live in their RV for a couple of months. They may migrate from the colder areas to warmer southern locales during winter and go back to their permanent dwelling when the weather improves.

Does Vandwelling (Vanlife) void your Van Warranty?

A person who chooses to live in their van is described as a van dweller. This is similar to a full-timer, with the only significant difference being that the individual is choosing to live in a van instead of an RV. Van dwelling offers the same benefits of full-time RV living, along with the same legal drawbacks.

A van dweller may have made several modifications to their vehicles, such as adding a toilet, some form of storage space, solar panels, and house batteries for electricity and other basic amenities. Vandwelling can void your warranty, so it is important to read your contract in detail before you make the decision to live in your van permanently.

Vanlife is a way of taking control of your life. However, you must ensure that you have all the information that is required to make good choices. Some van manufacturers just like RV manufacturers, have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. If you do not explicitly ask about how your warranty relates to vanlife, they won’t tell you. If you ask, you may also sometimes be verbally given information that is a little different from what’s found in your manual, so check your documents before you make decisions. Considering #vanlife? Check our guide here to the latest craze, pop-up camper vans.

Plan your Full Time Use

Most warranties only cover a specific period of time. For example, your RV warranty may cover two years. if you plan to switch to full-time RV life at some point but are not ready to make that move yet, you can take the length of the warranty into consideration. Do it in such a way that you maximize the benefits of the warranty over the time that it is in existence.

Some Warranties Cover Full Time Use

While some RV warranties will become void if you live in the vehicle full time, others will still provide you with cover. This varies from one manufacturer to another. If you are purchasing an RV with the intention of traveling around the country in it for most of the year, look carefully at your options before you make a purchase.

Ensure that the vehicle you purchase has a warranty that covers full-time use. The warranty should state that specifically in the owner’s manual or in another document. You will find that the warranty includes a statement to that effect, such as “full time warranty coverage”.

This is why some full-timers don’t have any issues with getting warranty work done. They have a warranty with a manufacturer that specifically states that they cover full-time use. There are RVs that are ideal for full-timing and make your dreams possible. Look for them and you won’t have any problems with getting repairs completed.


Living in your RV full time can void the warranty. but this may not be absolutely true in all situations, it just might be so with the RV or van that you choose to buy. If you ask the RV salesperson about things that could void the warranty and they don’t remember to point it out to you, don’t make any assumptions. Check the documents related to your RV yourself to ensure that you won’t be left with a contract that does not offer you any benefits.

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