RVs Can’t be Leased, but Consider a Long-Term Rental

Last updated Tuesday, November 7th, 2023

RVs Can’t be Leased, but Consider a Long-Term Rental

Everything You Need to Know About Renting the Right RV For Your Trip

An RV is a portable home on wheels that serves us an affordable choice of transport for travelers with an adventurous spirit. You don’t have to worry about sky-high airfares and hotel bookings. RVs allow you to enjoy a smooth long road trip and a comfortable place to rest when you want to take a break.

Does this excite you enough to visit an RV dealership to lease an RV? Hold on. Leasing RVs is not part of their policy. They are one of the fastest depreciating vehicles in value, which makes dealerships reluctant to offer a leasing service.

However, they do allow long-term RV rentals for travelers which can be a win-win deal for both parties.

In this article, we’ll help you understand everything you need to about RV rentals before you hit the road for your next adventure.

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The RV Depreciation Challenge

Vehicles are depreciating assets. But some vehicles like RVs depreciate a lot faster than others. A dealership that leases cars may be able to recover their investment before their value depreciates significantly.

This is not the case with RVs. You end up losing 20 percent of your RV’s value the moment you drive it off the lot after purchasing it.  It depreciates to 28 percent after three years and nearly 40 percent after five years.

Here are some of the different classes of RVs:

  • Class A – They are the most well-equipped and luxurious motorhomes. They can cost anywhere between $100,000 to $300,000. However, they are the fastest to depreciate out of all the RV classes. It’ll drop by 30 percent in value within three years and lose over half its value after 10 years.
  • Class B – They are like campervans that are easy to maneuver for first-time RV drivers. They are ideally suited for solo travelers or couples.
  • Class C – They are more compact and affordable than Class A RVs, but they can still comfortably accommodate a family of four people. Their long-term depreciation rate is slower than class A RVs. They can depreciate by 38 percent after five years.
  • Fifth wheels – These towable apartment-sized RVs are a preferred choice for family trips. However, they can depreciate by over 45 percent within five years and up to 71 percent after ten years.
  • Travel Trailer – Travel trailers are one of the biggest RVs on the road. It’s literally like a home away from home for those who want ultimate convenience and comfort on the road. They depreciate by nearly 40 percent after five years of purchasing them.

We’re not even factoring in the regular maintenance investment dealerships will have to put in if they lease their RVs.

The numbers just don’t add up for it to be a profitable business. But there is a viable alternative for RV enthusiasts – long-term rentals.

Exploring Long-Term RV Rentals

Want to enjoy the RV life for a summer break with your family? You should look into long-term motorhome and travel trailer rentals. Now you can go on a dream vacation by cutting travel and accommodation costs. You don’t even have to worry about any maintenance hassles.

A class A, travel trailer, or a fifth-wheel RV is ideally suited for those who want to enjoy a comfortable family vacation. Some of the more premium options can cost you $2,000-$2,400 per week.

A class C or class B RV is better suited for couples and small groups. You may have to compromise on some space and amenities, but you can save on rental and gas expenses. They can cost you around $850 per week.

Ways to Rent an RV

Here are the most popular methods to rent an RV:

  • RV dealerships – Going straight to the source is a solid option when you’re seeking credibility and variety to make your decision. Renting it from an individual starves you of options. You won’t be able to find a last-minute replacement if something happens to your chosen option before your trip. Individuals often lack the proper permits and documentation to legally rent their RVs. It could compromise your insurance coverage for the trip. An RV dealership offers plenty of rental options along with all the necessary legal documentation. You may have to pay higher rates, but they offer a quality assurance you won’t find easily elsewhere.
  • Rental agencies – RV rental companies like Enterprise and Avis operate exactly like car rental agencies. You get a lot of flexibility to customize your travel routes and pay only for the time you actually need an RV. For instance, you can easily plan a one-way trip to a national park and drop the vehicle at the closest rental office location. These companies regularly invest in the upkeep of their vehicles and keep them as good as new ones.
  • Peer-to-peer platforms – If you’re looking for an AirBnB for RVs, then peer-to-peer platforms like RVezy, Cruise America, RVshare, and Outdoorsy are perfect for you. You can find the widest range of travel options and amenities in their listings. You may not have the ability to test drive them, but you can review their services, customer testimonials, and pictures before booking an RV. Many owners will even deliver the RV directly to your desired location.

Benefits of Long-Term RV Rentals

Here are the biggest advantages of choosing a long-term RV rental for your travel plans:

  • Lower per-night rates – Some luxury RVs can cost up to $2,400 per week. A long-term rental allows you to negotiate a more favorable rate. You’ll be able to save a lot more on travel and accommodation costs.
  • Reduced upfront deposits – RVs are extremely costly and demand huge upfront deposits when you try to purchase them. It’s not a worthwhile investment if you only plan to use your RV occasionally. So opting for a long-term rental with a low upfront deposit is the best option.
  • Extended usage for longer trips – RVs allow you great flexibility to customize your travel routes. You can explore remote areas without worrying about arranging travel and accommodation. Many RVs offer a range of amenities like kitchen supplies to help you enjoy a cozy experience on the road.
  • Limited responsibility – You won’t have to worry about investing time and money to maintain the RV when you rent it. It’s taken care of by the agency you’re renting it from. You can simply kick back and enjoy your vacation.
  • Better variety –. You can choose from a wide selection of RVs when you’re planning to rent one. Based on your budget, group size, and trip plans, you can choose an RV that fits all your needs. For instance, you can rent a campervan to attend a week-long festival with your buddy. Or you could rent a travel trailer to spend the whole summer exploring the national parks across America.

Cost Considerations

A nice, new RV parked in a parking lotThe rental cost of an RV primarily depends on the following factors:

  • Vehicle age
  • Vehicle size
  • Vehicle class
  • Gas expenses
  • Parking fees
  • Toll roads
  • Excess mileage fees

Beware of attractive advertised prices! They often fail to account for insurance, preparation fees, taxes, and platform service fees.

Class A RVs can cost anywhere between $150 to $450 per night. You may have to pay $100 to $350 per night for Class B and Class C RVs. The larger your RV, the more gas expenses you’ll have to pay. RV campground fees can cost between $30 to $112 per night. Your RV rental might also include excess mileage fees. Many rental companies also set a maximum mileage limit as a part of your rental agreement. For instance, the limit may be 1,500 miles for a two-week rental.

Insurance and Requirements

Your auto insurance coverage can be extended to any vehicle that is less than 12,000 lbs. However, if your rented RV exceeds that limit, you may need to buy some temporary insurance coverage from the rental company. Your homeowners’ insurance coverage can also be extended to cover any theft or vandalism while your RV is parked.

RV insurance coverage mainly depends on the RV size, model, and coverage limit you want. They may vary based on your state and rental agency.

Most agencies bundle an insurance policy as part of your rental agreement. But it’s important to discuss it with them to understand what it covers and how to qualify for it before signing the agreement.

Freedom Without Ownership

Although leasing RVs like cars isn’t possible, long-term RV rentals are the perfect alternative. They hit the sweet spot between comfort and affordability for travelers.

You can enjoy the freedom to explore without the need to purchase an RV. The maintenance and upkeep are taken care of by the rental agencies. All you have to do is plan your route and enjoy your trip without any hassles.

Peer-to-Peer Platforms

Currently, the top-ranked peer-to-peer RV rental platforms include Outdoorsy, RVshare, RVEzy, Cruise America, Camper Travel, and El Monte.

These platforms allow you to negotiate directly with experienced RV owners. They know the ins and outs of their vehicles and will give you a lot of tips to plan your vacation on the road. These platforms help you filter out the best options based on your personal needs. You can also take advantage of a host of exclusive amenities and seasonal discounts offered by them


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