Camper shells cover the top of a pickup truck’s bed, providing a sheltered area for storage or camping. Although not as popular as they once were, camper shells are still installed by many people who want the added protection of an enclosed storage area without sacrificing the flexibility of a pickup bed. If you ever need to use the pickup to haul more items than will fit beneath the cover, you can simply remove the camper shell and haul items as normal.

Although a camper shell can be a useful modification to add to your vehicle, you should take the time to research how it will affect your auto insurance coverage. This will keep you prepared for any possible damage that your vehicle and its camper may sustain.

If My Camper is Damaged, Will Insurance Cover It?

As a rule, insurance policies only cover damages caused to items that are factory-installed or come with the vehicle. Modifications that are added to an automobile after a person purchases it are not covered under a regular insurance policy and must be protected independently.

There are many reasons that insurance companies choose to do this. The primary purpose of limiting coverage for modifications is for fairness to policyholders. Insurance companies calculate the cost of premiums based on the repair or replacement cost of a vehicle, and people who own similar vehicles will pay similar rates. If a vehicle has modifications that will increase its repair costs, it should cost more to insure; otherwise the rates will not be fair for all owners.

If a camper or other aftermarket modification is damaged, the insurance company will only be able to cover it if the modification is listed on the policy. If it is included on the policy, the damage will be paid under the appropriate coverage as long as it was damaged by a covered peril; otherwise, the vehicle’s owner is personally responsible for paying for those repairs.

Purchasing Coverage for a Camper

Depending on the type of camper you have, your insurance requirements will vary. Most simple camper shells can be covered with an insurance rider rather than a separate policy. The rider is an addition made to a vehicle’s coverages that includes something specific, such as a modification, and it usually adds cost to the overall policy.

An item listed on a rider will usually have all of the same coverages as the vehicle it’s attached to. In most cases, the object covered by the rider will have a separate deductible from the rest of the vehicle. This means that you may end up paying two separate deductibles for a loss. The damages may also only be covered up to a specific amount over the deductible; anything beyond that amount would not be paid by the insurance company.

Other types of campers will require their own policies, not just insurance riders. These includes pop-up campers and camper trailers that are designed for long-term camping. They may have beds, toilets, kitchenettes or other features. Because of their complexity and cost, these types of campers must be covered by a separate policy with its own coverages and deductibles. These policies will usually cost more than a simple policy rider, but they do offer more flexibility and protection.

Other Considerations

When you purchase a camper, you will need to provide detailed information about the model and its cost and features to your insurance company. This will help your agent decide how to add the camper to the policy and determine how much the insurance will cost. It’s best to submit a receipt of your purchase or have an independent appraisal completed to get a clear idea of the modification’s replacement cost.

Because campers will often have separate deductibles, you should be sure to plan for that and have enough money saved to cover both deductibles in the event of an accident. Not all insurance companies will handle these claims the same way, so it’s important to ask in advance how deductibles and coverages will be handled so that you’ll have enough money on hand to deal with emergency claim situations.

Before purchasing a camper cover or any other modifications for your truck or car, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to see what additional coverages you must by and how it might impact your policy costs. By preparing in advance for the changes to your policy, you can make the best choice about how to customize your vehicle without sacrificing insurance protection or damaging your budget.