Common Causes of Motorhome and RV Fires and What to do in Case of an Accident

Common Causes of Motorhome and RV Fires and What to do in Case of an Accident

In the coming months, more and more people in Alberta will be getting their RVs ready for the summer travel season. RVs are great for family fun and adventure, however they do require a high level of care and demand a more attentive type of driving.

Protecting yourself and your RV from claims made is one of the ways you can keep your insurance premiums reasonable. As a self-contained mobile living unit your RV is susceptible to a number of risks, including fire, break-ins, theft, vandalism, collisions and roadside breakdowns. Here are a few steps you can take to help ensure your RVing is as safe as can be.

Just like your home, a major fire event can lead to a total loss of property. However, there are measures you can take to both prevent and mitigate the damages from fire:

  • Make sure you never block the exits of the trailer or motor home, preventing timely escape from a fire. 
  • Have fire extinguishers at hand in the living quarters and the kitchen and regularly check their charge levels.
  • Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors placed in all sleeping areas.
  • Every season check and then double check all of the propane fittings in your RV. Propane is heavier than air and any leaks will accumulate low within the structure, creating an explosion or flash over fire risk.
  • Make sure the electrical system is in good working order and isolated from water lines. An electrical short circuit will readily cause a wire to ignite and start a fire.
  • If your RV is a motorhome, ensure that any fuel lines that wholly or partially traverse the living space to feed the engine remain undamaged to prevent diesel or fuel fires.
  • If your RV is a trailer or a bigger “fifth wheel,” check the lubrication of the axle hubs every season to prevent wheel lock up friction fires.

Know How Your RV Handles

You need to pay much closer attention to the maximum height of the vehicle, it maximum weight restrictions, and the balance load requirements outlined in your owner’s manual. The high winds we can experience here in Alberta can also be more dangerous than usual due to the higher side profile of a motorhome or RV.

If in an Accident …

An accident in an RV can be far more stressful than one in your regular vehicle because of the increased difficulty in handling, braking, and reduced stability. If you find yourself in a collision:

  • Make every attempt to maintain control of the RV. If it can be moved  to the side of the road, remove it to the shoulder, but be mindful of your increased roll over risk on Alberta’s mountain roads.
  • Immediately switch on your hazard lights and call 911 if anyone is injured.
  • Survey the accident scene to ensure everyone is out of the way of oncoming vehicles and then deploy flares or hazard reflectors if it is dark out.
  • Exchange information with other drivers involved in the accident including names, addresses and phone numbers, all driver’s license information, insurance companies and policy numbers.
  • Gather contact information from all witnesses to the accident.
  • Take photos of the accident to record damages and document injuries.
  • Record the approximate time of the accident, the weather, the road conditions and nearest town or marker if in the countryside.
  • Call your insurance company as soon as the accident is cleared so as to initiate a claim.

Contact Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary

At Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary, we represent several nationally renowned insurers who offer coverage for all classes of recreational vehicle. Whether you tow your RV or drive it, Bow Valley Insurance will get you into the right policy for the right price. Contact us for a free quote on recreational vehicle coverage.