RV Storage, Registration, and Insurance
If you’re anything like us, and you’re buying something fabulous, you get caught up in the moment. You don’t think about all the little details that can add up to way more work than you bargained for. Well that’s exactly what happened to us when we bought the Winnebago Scorpion and it’s companion, the Ram Bighorn. We bought them in Montana, and because we owned property there, we were able to have them registered there as well. That was a great stroke of luck as it’s one of the few states that doesn’t collect sales tax. Once we got back home to Hawaii, I started working on insurance and storage, and did that ever turn into a can of worms. I know that our situation is a bit different than the norm, and that most of you reading this will never have to deal with it, but I’m hoping there will be something in here that will save someone a headache or two.
Because we’re taking a number of animals with us on the summer RV Celebration Tour, it’s important that we have a non stop flight from Hawaii. That of course means we need to store the vehicle in a city that fits that requirement, and unfortunately, that leaves Montana off the list. We knew we’d be flying Alaska Air ( it’s by far the best choice if you’re traveling with pets ), so the first step was determining which cities were possibilities. Well after I got that together, I started working on insurance. I first checked with our regular agent, who quickly informed me that they could only write Hawaii insurance and that I would need to contact a company that had a mainland presence. Progressive immediately popped in my head as I remembered their commercials on having RV insurance, so that seemed as good a place as any to get started. After 4 very long phone calls that involved numerous agents, I was finally informed they wouldn’t insure us. The fact that we lived in Hawaii, had the vehicles registered in Montana, and would be storing them somewhere else blew out their hard drive. Fortunately, what was impossible for Progressive, wasn’t a problem for Geico, and at a better rate. The big issue was where the vehicles would be stored, and I’m not talking just about the state or city, I’m talking about the zip code. Rates are based on zip code and you can have very different prices in the same city. It’s all about what city, and where in that city. So before I could get the vehicles insured, I had to tell them where they would be stored. OK, easy enough, or so I thought.
Large RV storage seems to be considerably different than household storage, and because we were looking for covered storage, we put ourselves into the needle in a haystack range. Very few facilities have the ability to store 45′ long vehicles, fewer still have an area that accommodates them under cover, and the ones that do are usually full. They’ll put you on a waiting list, but there’s no telling when, if ever, a space becomes available, and as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, prices differ greatly from one area to another. It then became a game of find the facility, check the price, get the zip code to check the insurance price, total it up, and then go to the next. I finally found a nice RV storage facility at a reasonable price, that had a ” good ” zip code for insurance, and was close to Seattle, so it also fit the non stop flight requirement, and called Geico to get everything locked down. During the application process the agent said ” Uh oh, I need to check something “, and just before I passed out from holding my breath with all my fingers and toes crossed, they came back on the line to say ” Sorry, that’s not going to work “. Apparently Washington will not allow a vehicle to be insured in their state without it being registered in their state, and the only way to register it, is to be a resident. Since we had no plans to move to Washington, I was back to zero.
A few days later, and more calls and Emails than I possible could count, I found that magic combo in Oregon. The only downside was that the Winnebago trailer would be stored in Prineville, and the truck in Portland. We were thrilled with the RV storage facility in Prineville, it just opened this year, so everything is brand new and in perfect condition. It has wonderful security and a great on site manager. We couldn’t have asked for more. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the facility in Portland. Their website had obviously not been updated in a very long time, probably about the same length of time that most of the old rusty vehicles that occupied the lot had been there. Needless to say, as soon as we got home from the ” move ” trip, I started looking for another facility for the truck and found a gem just across the river in Vancouver, Washington. I know you’re thinking, what, Washington ? But out of desperation, I called the insurance company to see if there was any possible loophole, and sure enough there was. Because we were already insured, the place was now a non issue, so we could store it anywhere we wanted to, hallelujah. The truck is now at it’s new home and is being well cared for by the wonderful couple that owns the facility. They picked it up for us, for a ridiculously low fee, will be picking us up at the airport when we come in the end of June, and will have had our truck serviced and ready to go for our arrival. Wow, talk about a night and day difference, and hopefully, all’s well that ends well.
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