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by Charles Sullivan
a personal story...
Your RV needs insurance like your home, car, life and health. We take insurance for granted and seldom bother to read the policy. We naturally think we're covered and protected. Think again. It's not easy to lose a motorhome, but it can be done with the signing of a Consignment Form.
Let me explain.
After a year of local travel, and almost two years of full-timing, we decided to settle down again. Approaching a new car dealer, who also dealt in RVs, I signed a consignment agreement for him to sell my coach. We agreed on a minimum price and commission rate for him, and went to spend the holidays with our children and their families.
During a call to the dealer a month later, I was told the coach had been moved to a better marketing location, still within the state. Results were no better there. I received a call they were transporting my coach to Canada to a buyer, and they offered me a price. I agreed. The nightmare began with the next call.
Canadian Customs called and said they had impounded my coach because they had reason to believe it had been stolen. I informed them of what I had been told about a prospective buyer, but they insisted the men transporting it claimed they were only on vacation. I told them my proof of ownership was with the coach and they confirmed that fact, but still would not release the coach since it was "evidence".
To make a long story short, two years later, Canadian Customs said I could have the coach back if I paid them $8000 for "storage fees". Since I had long given up any hope of reclaiming the unit, I declined, and resorted to my insurance carrier.
"Under the terms of your contract, you are not covered for loss if you consign the RV to anyone to sell it for you." After recovering somewhat from that kick in the stomach, the company refused to negotiate. Now, I felt violated twice. Once by unscrupulous dealers, and again, by my insurer. I talked to my lawyer who quickly confirmed the consignment statement in my contract, and said further action would only cost me more money, with no favorable results.
The only good I can see of this fiasco, is to spread the word among my fellow RVers to carefully read their insurance policies from front to back, understand what limits they place upon you, and adhere to those conditions to protect your investment.
I lost a lot of money, a lot of sleep, and my respect for a lot of agencies who failed to help when I needed it. But, in spite of the violations, my thoughts of RVing are of the great people we met, the wonderful places we visited and the lasting memories of those care-free days.