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Pragmatic

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  1. natinsky Extended Service Contracts (ESCs) are a hard call. We used to NEVER buy them. However today's vehicles and RVs vehicles are extremely complex so ESCs should at least be considered especially if you're buying used. They have lots of complex options/features that can be costly to repair when they fail mechanically or electronically. Think about it RVs of the early 1990's and older had no slides, mechanically injected diesel engines without complex emission systems. They had manual patio shades. No networks to control lighting, cooling, and heating systems. Manually operated window blinds/shades... etc. Look at today's luxury diesel rigs - they have heavy full-side slides and multiple other slides. These slides have complex sensors and electro-hydraulic systems to operate them. Ours has no less than 18 motors to control shades and blinds - via a network no less, with no manual back operation. Passenger vehicles are no less complex, the average vehicle has over 120 microprocessors in them. Complex emission systems with sensors feeding the main computer called the engine control unit (ECU) run the engine/transmission via a Controller Area Network (CAN bus). These can be costly to repair when sub-systems fail. Simple getting physical access to failed components can be a challenge due to tightly packed components and equipment adding to repair costs (shop rates and time). So back to Extended Service Contracts (ESC) (they are technically not warranties). They are a form of insurance. You're betting something major WILL go wrong with your RV over the years of ownership, maybe several times, the Service Contract Company is betting it won't of the often restrictive terms of the contract will preclude them for having to pay for repairs. Depending upon the terms of the ESC, the ethics, and customer service level of the company you have your contract through, you will have to press your case on coverage items and it becomes a battle of will, time, and legal terminology. We generally own and operate our vehicles and RVs, for 20 years for best value. We did all of our maintenance and repairs on these simpler, older systems ourselves. Unfortunately with the passing of time and for economical reasons reluctantly retiring older vehicles, we now own operate several new, highly complex vehicles. We have reluctantly purchased ESCs for all of them due to their excessive complexity. Today you have to have extensive electronic test equipment beyond basic OBD II readers to diagnose, adjust, and work on these vehicle systems. You have to have TPMS computers to program and replace modules in passenger and light truck tires, or else have a tire shop do it. So the question is how new/complex is your RV or other vehicle, and what are your personal repair/maintenance skills/intentions? E.g. Do you want to pay for removal and replacement a failed 90-100 pound roof a/c unit, do it all yourself to save shop labor and disposal rates, or have an ESC cover it with potential hassles that entails? Presently we have a (no longer available after Dec 2018) "Lifetime Maximum Care" ESC on a Jeep Rubicon towed through Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), a 6 year/60K mile ESC through Zurich on a high-end 1-ton diesel dually, and a 6 year/60K StarRV, Diamond level ESC on a 2017 luxury diesel pusher. Fingers crossed ESC coverage pays out if needed on any of these complex, costly, vehicles. The RV coverage included two additional option coverage "luxury electronics" and "consequential damage" options, administered through Interstate National Dealer Services, Atlanta, Georgia. We'll see how well Interstate performs and report back to this forum on customer service. One common 'gotcha' is you do have maintenance responsibilities for equipment/systems and your specific ESC coverage can be denied if you have not maintained your systems in accordance with manufacturer guidelines. Bottom line is it's your call, we shared our ECD details albeit w/o info an performance/problems. Your chassis and engine have separate coverages with the possibility of extensions on original warranties as others have mentioned. These are expensive components to self fund if failure occurs. Finally don't buy an ESC under pressure at the RV dealership, first do your homework and research your ESC company carefully and read the detains of the coverage contract (ask for a copy). As others have said, above the cost of these contracts can range from $6K-$9K. A $10K savings repair account as others have mentioned is another option. For those buying new, plan to use the RV extensively during your manufacturer warranty coverage period, to shake our any problems while you are still covered under original RV, RV component system manufacturer, chassis and engine warranty. If you have a fully optioned $500K and up motor coach, you certainly have a lot of expensive systems sub-systems than can break/fail over the years. As they say, it's the worst of a house and heavy-duty vehicle all in one package. Good luck and happy RVing.😉
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