Hey all wanted to share an insurance victory in Pennsylvania. Our state tends to be stricter on insuring bus conversions.
Cutting to the chase:
** Note: We were as transparent as possible with all firms and agents because having an insurance company back out of covering you because they weren't 100% clear they're insuring a bus isn't great. We shared pictures, construction details and specs with all insurance companies willing to insure our bus.
Also, all insurance companies require converted buses to be titled and registered in your state as a motorhome before they will consider covering your bus with an RV policy.
As many have said, the key is working through a local agent and to be patient and nice because you have an unusual request. We found a local agent with StateFarm who was eager to insure our 26ft converted bus as a Class A motorhome. He worked with Statefarm to get our bus insured as a regular RV with Full Coverage for $300/yr! To completely insure the bus as a motorhome, Statefarm required the following:
The Rundown on Who will/won't insure a bus conversion in PA
- Cooking facilities (gas or electric. must be permanently installed)
- Kitchen area for food prep
- A refrigerator
- A sink
- A toilet(not a bucket with a seat)
- Onboard freshwater storage
- Heating and cooling that doesn't use the engine
- A separate electrical system isolated from the drivetrain (aka can not use the engine alternator or engine battery)
- For us with a part-time RV policy, it must be added to an existing StateFarm Home or Auto policy. RVs can't stand by themselves on their own policy. There's apparently a work around if you want the RV to stand alone on its own policy but I don't like shortcuts.
- (Yes) - Statefarm: Will cover a bus conversion through a local agency. See above list for requirements. Policy is $300/yr with full coverage.
- (Yes) - National General: Will cover bus conversions but will only provide Liability coverage in Pennsylvania. We were previous NatGen customers but wanted full coverage. NatGen provides Liability Only 6month policies directly through them for $400/6mo. We went through the AIS insurance agency and had an annual NatGen policy for $400/yr but it was still Liability Only.
- (Yes) - Metlife GA(Specialty insurance division of Metlife)- They recommended going with StateAuto Insurance and were able to get the bus approved for full RV coverage for $600/yr. StateAuto however required a second vehicle or home policy to attach the bus' RV policy to. Their rates for our other vehicles were 3x higher than what we're currently paying despite having no accidents, no tickets, no claims. Needless to say, we walked away from StateAuto's offer.
- (Yes, kinda) - Progressive: They will cover bus conversions. Progressive prefers professional bus conversions but will still do personal conversions with greater scrutiny. Bus must have beds, cooking, heating/cooling, water storage, toilet, electricity; none of which can run off of the engine to be considered an RV. The caveats are: Bus can not be manufactured by Thomas, Bluebird or one other(I forgot, I'm sorry. very helpful I know). More caveats: Bus could not be a transit or shuttle bus pre-conversion. We have a BlueBird Transit bus so that's a nope for us.
- (No) - Metlife: They're no longer insuring RVs regardless if it's a bus or a standard RV because they are pulling out of Insuring RVs altogether this year. Existing RV policies are grandfathered in but new Metlife RV coverage is directed to a division called "MetLife GA"(see above) who acts as Insurance Agents that will shop around for other insurance providers who meet your needs.
- (No) - Erie Insurance: Bus conversions not welcome. Also won't offer "Commercial for personal use" policies to individuals. They only provide commercial policies to businesses regardless how it's use/ it's application.
- (No) - NJM Insurance: Bus conversions not welcome. Also won't offer "Commercial for personal use" policies to individuals. They only provide commercial policies to businesses regardless how it's use/ it's application.
- (No) - Foremost: (Recommended by Metlife GA) The answer was no. They didn't provide much on why the answer was no but they just won't do bus conversions.
- (No) - The General: Called them out of desperation while waiting for StateFarm to complete their review on covering the bus. The General only provides high-risk auto insurance. They do not cover RVs. But hey, at least a Shaq recording greets you on their automated phone system for free.
I hope this was informative for people in or near PA! You may get different results with different agents or in different states but thought I'd share my findings!