Does Sterling RV Services LLC Process Warranty Claims?

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This is such an important question it deserves its own FAQ and response!

  • Yes, we process warranty claims for most aftermarket RV “warranty” providers or extended service plans (ESPs).
  • Yes, we process a limited selection of OEM or RV Manufacturer Factory warranties. It’s somewhat discretionary.

If you’re new to the RV warranty landscape, this decision can sound a little confusing. That’s because RV warranties aren’t like, say, your house or your car. Here’s a little background:

What’s the Difference Between RV Warranties and RV Insurance?

Simply put, RV warranties generally cover defects and electrical/mechanical failures – and sometimes wear n’ tear. RV insurance generally covers damage from collisions and physical accidents.

RV insurance is similar, though not the same, as automotive insurance. Policies may cover liability, comprehensive, collision, personal belongings damaged, etc. Usually, insurance covers physical damage from accidents, collisions, weather, fire, hail, vandalism, or other specific events. In most states, towable campers are covered by the tow vehicle’s basic liability policy, but additional coverages require their own policy. Motorhomes require their own policy.

At Sterling RV Services, we are eligible to work with your insurance provider – but since we don’t do RV bodywork or interior rebuilds, we will often direct your inquiries to an RV collision repair center.

A Quick Introduction to Types of RV Warranties

RV Factory Warranties

Almost all news RVs sold by a dealership will come with a Factory warranty from the RV Manufacturer. The standard Factory warranty is 1- or 2-years (although recently some companies have launched hybrid warranties of 1-Year Limited/3-Year Structural). This is commonly called your “bumper-to-bumper warranty,” although that phrase is a bit misleading. It doesn’t cover nearly as much as you think, and the warranty may require that you return your RV to the dealership from where you purchased it!

That’s some important fine print: Many RV manufacturers will only honor their Factory warranties if you take your RV to their authorized dealership network, or sometimes only to the dealership you purchased from (if you’re within a certain distance).

3rd Party & OEM Warranties

The Factory warranty doesn’t cover everything in your RV. The coach has many OEM warranties that cover common third-party appliances, such as refrigerators, ranges, furnaces, air conditioners, shower heads, exhaust fans, windows, axles, etc. These OEM warranties are usually 1- or 2-years in length, too. The truth is that a lot of what breaks down in an RV is covered by its own OEM warranty, not the factory warranty you heard about at the sales dealership.

It’s important to realize that liability is based on the root cause of the problem! There is usually some “finger-pointing” until one party accepts liability. Here’s an example:

  • If your Norcold refrigerator fails because the circuit board dies within the first year, it’s Norcold’s problem.
  • If your refrigerator fails because it wasn’t installed properly, it’s the RV manufacturer’s problem.
  • If your refrigerator fails because you didn’t follow (or can’t prove that you followed) the owner instructions in the Owner’s Manual, it’s your problem.

There is, of course, fine print. Some OEMs won’t consider an RV repair facility “authorized” regardless of technical qualifications unless they A) are an RV dealer that retails their brands or B) stock thousands of dollars’ worth of the OEM’s parts. Unfortunately, this by definition excludes most mobile technicians.

Aftermarket & Extended “Warranties”

After the Factory warranty expires, many RV owners choose to purchase an aftermarket “warranty” or extended service plan (ESP) or extended service contract (ESC). These ESPs are available in multiple types, such as Exclusionary, Comprehensive, Powertrain Only, etc. These aftermarket RV warranties usually provide protection after the Factory and/or OEM warranties expire. Sometimes, your dealer may even offer you an ESP even when your RV is brand new, arguing that your premiums will be lower than if you wait until the factory warranty expires.

How Sterling RV Services Handles Warranty Claims

We process warranty claims for many aftermarket warranty or extended service plan (ESP) providers, but we only process claims for a limited selection of OEMs and RV manufacturers.

We pride ourselves on working quickly and efficiently, and unfortunately, the red tape required to process some RV Factory warranties just doesn’t allow for that. A simple afternoon fix can easily turn into a 12-week marathon to assign liability, request claims approval, wait for mandated parts, etc. That’s just not how we do business. You can read a 5-part series on RVTravel.com by another RV repair shop owner about why he simply couldn’t afford to honor factory warranties – even though he wanted to!

We accept OEM or factory warranty work at our discretion. There are many companies we simply can’t afford to do business with, especially if they don’t fairly compensate technicians for their time. And there are manufacturers who don’t consider us authorized because we only repair RVs; we don’t sell them. But we’ll do our best to help you if we can!

For warranty work, we charge differently. Rates are higher to cover the additional administrative work, and there may be additional required fees. Rates may be calculated based on actual time-on-task or the Spader Flat Rate Guide. Please see more information at our Payment Policies page.

Most warranty claims will require at least two Service Calls: one for diagnosis, one for repair (after claim approval). Most warranty providers require that we submit an estimate for authorization for executing repairs.

Please note that not all services or fees are necessarily covered by your warranty terms and conditions, and that any charges not covered are your financial responsibility!

What to Ask Your Warranty Provider About Mobile RV Repair Work

At Sterling RV Services, we think mobile RV repair is the best thing since sliced bread! A lot of warranty providers happen to agree, but different providers have different rules.

Most aftermarket warranty providers are happy to work with us. We are considered an independent mobile RV technician service. We are a registered Limited Liability Company with a federal EIN tax number and are fully insured for general and professional liability.

Workaround: Submitting Expenses for Reimbursement!

When possible, we will work directly with your warranty provider to process your warranty claim …

… But when that’s not possible, we often recommend an alternative path: You pay for our service upfront, and then you submit the invoice receipt[s] to your warranty provider for full or partial reimbursement.

Because we charge a higher hourly rate when we directly process warranty claims, sometimes, this can actually save you money if not all charges would be covered under your policy and you would have to pay the difference!

You need to talk with your warranty provider before you make a decision. Some will ask you to submit an estimate for authorization (which Sterling RV Services will prepare) after diagnostics and before final repair. In that case, we will need to schedule two visits, and you’ll pay for the first visit (diagnostics) and submit it for reimbursement.

It’s confusing, we know. And it looks even worse on paper. If you’re stuck in analysis paralysis, give us a call, and we’ll help!

>>> Download this “Sterling RV Services – Warranty Cheat Sheet PDF” for a full list of questions to ask your warranty provider about RV mobile repair coverage!