The thought of replacing your RV’s roof might be at the top of your potential RVing nightmares. The whole process can be confusing, costly, and time consuming. However, if you go in knowing what to expect, it will be less stressful, and you’ll end up with a shiny new roof providing peace of mind out on the road.
When I got the news that my travel trailer roof had deep gouges, requiring repair or replacement, I immediately worried that there was also interior damage. I stressed about the potential cost, and I wondered who to trust with such an important job.
Luckily, my RV roof replacement went easier than I anticipated. If I had known what to expect beforehand, I might have spent less time worrying.
Finding RV Roof Damage
How do you know if your roof needs to be replaced? Of course, you might have had a crash or storm-related event where it seems probable your roof has been damaged. Other times, your roof might need to be replaced due to age, general wear and tear, or other factors.
Interior damage is a possible sign. Check along your ceilings and walls for soft spots that might indicate moisture or water leaks. Look for bubbles in the wall coverings. Ceiling stains or patches of mildew or mold can also indicate water intrusion. If you find any interior damage, the next step is to identify the source of the leak.
If you can climb on your roof and walk around, regular visual inspections are recommended, minimally once or twice a year. Look for signs of obvious damage, like cracking, warping, or gouges. Also, look for these items on the sides of your RV, as water leaking from the roof can damage the exterior walls.
Not all RV roofs are designed to withstand a person’s weight. Be sure to check your manufacturer’s manual beforehand.
If you’re like me and don’t feel comfortable climbing on your roof, ask an experienced technician to perform an inspection. We took ours to a shop with a small list of maintenance and repair items, including checking the seals on our roof. This is when the damage was found.
If you have damage to your RV roof, a professional should determine whether you’re better off repairing or replacing the roof. Repairs are less expensive upfront but may affect the resale value of your rig. Roof replacements are costly but provide both value and peace of mind. Since our travel trailer was only 4 years old, we decided to get a full replacement to protect the long-term value.
Paying for an RV Roof Replacement
If your roof damage is extensive enough to require replacement, there are three possible ways to pay for the costs:
- If your RV is under a manufacturer’s or extended warranty, the warranty provider may cover the roof if the damage is caused by a manufacturing problem. Be prepared to show that you have properly maintained the roof since purchase.
- If you have insurance coverage, the insurance provider may cover the roof if the damage is caused by a collision or by a natural event, like limbs falling in a storm. If someone else has crashed into your RV, their insurance could potentially cover the replacement.
- If your warranty or insurance doesn’t cover your roof replacement, you will need to pay for it out of pocket.
If a warranty or insurance covers the cost, you’ll only have to pay the amount of your deductible. If the costs aren’t covered, you may find yourself paying several thousand dollars. Replacement costs vary widely, depending on your roof’s materials, size, and your location.
Types of Insurance Coverage for RV Roof Replacement
If your insurance covers the roof replacement, you’ll need to find out if it will fall under your comprehensive or collision coverage.
- Collision coverage: If your roof damage occurred while you were towing or driving, the damage will likely fall under collision coverage. If the damage is viewed to be your fault, it could affect your future rates.
- Comprehensive coverage: This applies to other scenarios where damage occurs, generally while the RV isn’t in operation, such as storm damage. Your future insurance rates may not go up if you’re found not to be at fault.
The RV Roof Repair Process
Unless you’re exceptionally handy, you’ll likely need to find a professional to replace your RV roof. In my situation, the shop that found the roof damage didn’t perform roof replacements, so we needed to find a different option. I opted to browse Google and Facebook reviews for local repair companies. I also asked my insurance provider for recommendations.
If you’re looking at a service center attached to a dealership, make sure to read the reviews instead of just looking at the overall rating. Some dealership sales departments earn high marks, while the service center doesn’t (and vice versa).
After finding a repair shop, we dropped off our travel trailer for an initial inspection. The technician provided a quote to our insurance company. In this case, the insurance didn’t send an adjuster out for an in-person inspection, but some companies require you to have an adjuster look at your RV roof to verify the damage. We then waited to hear if the replacement was approved, and, fortunately, it was.
From there, the roof technician only offered one type of roof, so we didn’t have any decisions to make. In some situations, you might have various roofing options to consider, with each offering distinct pros and cons. Once the insurance was approved, the technician got to work.
Ask the repair shop if the new roof includes a warranty.
It may take several weeks or months to get your RV’s roof replaced. We opted to have ours done during the winter months when we weren’t traveling. The time involved will depend on your shop’s schedule, whether the shop has to wait for approval from a warranty or insurance company, supply availability, and other factors.
Once the shop removes your roof, hidden interior damage may be found. In our case, the roof hadn’t leaked. If further damage is found, you may be contacted to approve additional repairs. Your insurance company will also have to approve additional costs.
The Final Outcome
After a few short weeks, our roof replacement was complete. Our insurance company paid the shop directly for everything other than our deductible. It was honestly a much easier process than I imagined. I was thankful to have a good local agent and a national company as a provider.
A full RV roof replacement typically costs several thousand dollars. The cost depends on the type of roof and material, as well as the size of the roof. For a rough estimate, you might expect to pay around $300 to $350 per linear foot.
A quality RV roof should last between 10 and 20 years, as long as it’s regularly checked and maintained.
RV insurance likely covers a replacement if your damage was caused by a collision or natural event (like a storm). It’s unlikely to cover a replacement if the damage is from age, wear and tear, or lack of maintenance.
Roofs may be covered under your general manufacturer warranty or under extended warranties. Most manufacturers offer warranties between 1 to 3 years. Extended warranties can add years to your warranty’s lifespan for an additional cost.