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Last Post 08/22/2011 12:30 PM by  sb
Is buying an RV worth it???
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campbellduke
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05/07/2007 11:42 PM

    I am thinking about buying an RV.  I have been adjusting for 8 years now and have stayed in quite a few dumpy hotels.  Do you guys think it is worth it?  Do RV parks have wireless internet? (I have never even been in an RV so I dont know anything about them)

    I could not keep it at home when i am not on the road because my hoa wont allow it.  How much does it cost to store them somewhere?  Do RV parks have vacancys after a hurricane?   Are there a lot of hidden costs?  Do you take them everytime you go out of town??  Is it worth bringing if you are only going to be gone a month?? And any other input you have is appreciated.

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    C.J.
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    05/08/2007 11:59 AM
    I havent been adjusting as long as you said you have, but I previously worked for a fibor optic cable co. and took my travel trailor with me everywhere I was sent with the exception of Iowa. Along the Nebraska/ Iowa area the parks close down in the fall.(That might be different now as it was several years ago.) When I began adjusting, I found that a couple of times I had to leave immediately and have someone else bring it to me. Often when that happened the RV parks would fill up and it was difficult to find a place to park. So if I cant hook on and take it right then, I have found it best to just find other accomodations and leave it in storage for the next storm.If I knew it was going to be a short amount of time- as you say a month or so, then I wouldnt bother with it. I have a wireless card so I dont have to worry about internet.Last storm my monthly rent in an RV Park was approx.$425 a month- compared to adjusters in same area renting an apartment for $1900 a month. Ofcourse they dont have to pay for maintance, repairs, and traveling costs. That time taking the travel trailor saved me quite a bit I am worried about this next deployment, as the cost of fuel is much higher now. I too am debating whether to bring the fifth wheel or take my chances on a vacancy somewhere..
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    KLS
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    05/08/2007 9:10 PM
    I only use my motor home when I know I'm going to be some place for more than a month. It is not worth taking it out for hail/wind/sewer backup storms because anymore the vendors staff the storms so you are in and out in just a week or so usually. There isn't any savings after you factor in fuel costs to get there and there aren't always RV places to stay that are close to your claims (like in Chicago). The extended drivetime and fuel can kill the savings there also. Also there are plenty of hotels available for those types of storms. With a large event such as a Hurricane there are very few hotels operating and those that are, usually are either taken by the homeless Insureds or the power company linemen so it becomes a necessity to have an RV if you want to stay anywhere close to your claims. I take my own satelite internet system in the motorhome. You usually can't depend on the park system (if they have one) to be up after a large event and that goes for the cellphone internet cards also any where close to ground zero. I has lucky in NOLA to have come on a friend who had rented several mobile home lots at a new park and he split them up 2 RVs to a lot. I was within 15 miles of all my claims in a safe location.

    DO NOT make your first RV trip to a storm. You need to get fully familiar with driving it, backing it, using it, fixing things that go wrong. If you don't like the outdoors you don't need to buy an RV. I was in a park in MS filled with first time adjusters in their new RVs on Katrina. What a mess. Several couldn't even figure out how to use the bathroom (HINT: don't leave the sewer tank open to drain all the time -- if you leave it open it fills up with the solids, what a mess to try to fix !!)

    One note on Hurricanes if you don't have an RV. Make two hotel reservations. One to the left and one to the right of the forcast cone three to five days before landfall. Move your reservations as the cone moves. One of them will still be in business most likely after the thing hits. However, that's also making reservations before you are called out and before you have any claims. Kind or risky for a newby to do these days. You also have to make the reservations for as long of a term as they will allow or you will get booted out by a reservation coming in behind your last day (like a local wanting to move back close to home). This always worked for me.

    KLS
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    Tom Rongstad
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    05/10/2007 5:54 PM

    Deleted

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    Olivegreen
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    05/15/2007 7:04 PM
    I have been considering one myself. Lately it seems whenever I get a room I never get used to the matress or the neighbors burn incense all night. I am thinking about a small C-class as it could be plugged in anywhere. I have met many an agent who would let an adjuster use a little power. Obviously it would take a long time to pay off unless you factor in being more comfortable.
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    cahossle
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    05/18/2007 5:19 PM

    Hello!

    My husband and I RV'd to storms for 8 years, but switched 2 years ago.  I don't think there is a right answer to this question, but here's some of what we considered when we decided to change.

    Purchase price, including payments if neccessary or lack of investment income, if not

    Tow vehicle- either behind a motor home, or in front of a trailer/5th wheel.  We towed a large 5th wheel and had to have a big F350 to do it-

    Insurance on both of the above

    Increase in gas costs to travel to  and from the storm.  Can also increase gas cost at storm if your using large truck to pull trailer

    Loss of time at storm due to increase travel time while towing (average 1 day extra due to towing, and as much as 1 day extra getting "set up" in park)

    RV parks run from $350 a month to $900!

    Costs to have local phone connected, internet, etc.

    Some RV parks do not have septic and you must pay the Honey Wagon to get your waste water- $25/wk? 

    Licensing, taxes, storage, maintenance, chemicals, breakdowns, etc

    With all that, we LOVED our RV- it was home away from home!  But when we factored in all of the above, and realized that we were incurring costs year round and not just while working, it made sense for us to go to a hotel. 

    Corina

     

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    Olivegreen
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    05/21/2007 8:25 PM
    Those big fivers are nice & roomy, plush too. They do run the costs up, though. That's why I'm thinking a small C-class & keep my little car to run claims.

    What do you guys think, eight months out of the year justify the cost? (I'm working a hailstorm that's 13 months on)
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    wtxj
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    05/23/2007 11:33 PM

    Well I haul my 5th wheel. Have for a while. Good tax deductions on trailer, can cook if I want, I know who has slept in the bed.

    Got this trailer after paying $600 a week for a motel room.

     

     

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    rickhans
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    05/25/2007 3:08 AM

    I bought an older ('72') Airstream travel trailer to have ready for this summer's use.  It was mostly restored and I get good mileage towing it at 70 mph, unlike my other trailers.  I don't like goose necks and 5th wheel towing.  This tows great without an equalizer hitch as well.  It is quite economical buying an older one so long as you check it out and know how to fix some things, and providing you get an Airstream. I found it is much easier to renovate an Airstream than a house.   It is much more solid than the more typical travel trailer I had before.  I am getting satelite Internet because of the problems getting a good cell signal in the country, and quite often the towers are down after a major storm.   I had a problem finding good, if any, motels in Missouri last year after the tornadoes and ended up having to drive as much as 30 miles at the end of a day to find one.  I decided then that I would have a trailer for this year. 

    If you have a lot of farm claims like I did, it will probably require towing the trailer to the claims, although in most cases I could have unhitched at a central location, scope a couple or 3 claims, then go back and hitch up and find a Walmart for the night and cranked up my generator to run my computers, lights, and a/c.

     

    Rick Hansen

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    SAMTEAM
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    05/25/2007 2:41 PM

    Having your own roof over your head is heaven sent.  $70 a night for a hotel or $600 for a month at an RV Park.  You can get a great 5th wheel or TT for $8000-$1,3000 or all the way up to $75,000.  It is well worth the expense.  It does lengthen your travel time but if you are packed & walk out the door the minute you get the call, you can make it on time. 

    Having said all that, it is pure personal preference and comfort in pulling 30 ft behind you!   We pull a 5th wheel to storm sites and would do it without it!  My clean sheets, my dishes, my electrical or generator, my washer/dryer all under my roof!

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    SteveZ
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    08/07/2007 3:50 PM

    It only takes one "major storm" deployment where you end up near 'ground zero' and absolutely NO hotels, NO restaurants, No services of any kind for weeks to learn to REALLY APPRECIATE an RV.  In 2004, there were adjusters who had to drive over 100 miles each way, every day from their hotel to their claims.  My fifth wheel and I spent a couple of days in the Wally-World parking lot, but found a campground/rv park within two miles of the cat office.  While all of the other adjusters were out trying to find hotels, I was set up and running claims.  While the other adjusters were wondering where they would get to take a shower, I was dressed and ready to roll.  While the other adjusters were looking for a place to sit down and work their claim files... restaurant, library, parking lot, I was in the office section of my fifth wheel travel trailer processing my claims.  Ever walk around in a motel room in your white socks??? They don't stay white for long.  Those "hairs" in the tub.. sink...  bed???  

    What I'm getting at, is "there's no place like home" when the "home" is your own RV.  I get a tax write off as both a second home, and as an office.  I know WHO has slept in that bed... ME.  I know who sat on that toilet... ME.  I know who's leftovers were in that refrigerator... ME.  I know who used that shower... ME. 

    My first "adjuster rv" was an 18.5 foot pull-behind travel trailer by Pioneer.  (model 18t6).  Had a full-sized bed, shower, toilet, vanity sink, stove, refrigerator/freezer and double sink, sofa/sleeper and a dinette set.  Simple.  Perfect for one adjuster working alone (under 6' tall).

    After Katrina forced my family to evacuate out of New Orleans, I traded in the little rv for the "perfect adjuster rig".  The floor plan of my new fifth-wheel is PERFECT for adjusting.  It is a big unit, and fuel TO and FROM the cat site is a bit expensive, but once there... it IS home.  My "fiver" is a 36 foot Colorado fifth wheel, model 32QB-M5-BS.  It features three slide-out rooms. The front section features a queen size bed, full closet and dresser, vanity, under-bed storage with safe and a 19" TV with DVD.  The bathroom area features a separate full-size shower, enclosed toilet room with second vanity and dressing area.  The middle section features the living room with full size sofa-sleeper, 27" TV with DVD & surround sound, Dinette Set, Full Kitchen with Refrigerator/Freezer, Microwave, Stove and Oven, double sink with sprayer, plenty of counter, drawer and cabinet space.  The REAR section is a full office, with full-size desk, sofa/sleeper and two bunks that fold down from the ceiling (for those extra guests).  This allows me to truly separate Work from Home while deployed.  Satellite, wireless internet, on-board generator and other accessories make this the perfect rig for our line of work.

    Best of all, I am pulling it with a 2006 Chevy 1500HD, with a 6.0 liter gasoline engine, and get about 9-11 mpg while pulling the rig.  That's actually better mileage than a class C motorhome.

    You can check out the rig at www.thorindustries.com/rv and look on the DUTCHMAN section for the 32QB-M5-BS floor plan.

    regards,

     

    sz

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    mhowardconsult
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    08/07/2007 6:11 PM
    I would not recommend running out and buying an RV just for adjusting. While I have an RV it is after a few seasons adjusting I opted to get one.

    Then we went 0 storms last season. It was a sizable outlay but I use it for other "business" purposes too.

    Don't throw all your resources into adjusting equipment unless you have other uses for the equipment. This year is starting slow and could be a bust again for the independents (I hope not).

    Best of luck in the RV decision. I am glad I have mine but it did make $$$ sense all around.
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    irvingsewell
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    08/07/2007 9:30 PM
    RIGHT ON STEVE! THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS BEING AHEAD OF THE REST!
    THIS ISSUE WILL SORT OUT THE LEAN TIMES.
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    ranger
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    08/08/2007 1:45 PM
    When I was working Ivan in Alabama there were plenty of RV sights to be had, and in the beginning the closest motel to Montgomery that I could find was in Selma, Alabama. When I was working Katrina out of the Luling, LA cat office the closest RV sights that were open were in Houma, LA and I was able to find a motel less than two miles away from the cat office. When working Wilma out of the Ft. Pierce, Florida office I was able to stay in the PGA Village, Port St. Lucie for the same amount it was costing those with RVs to rent a space. After Ivan I really wanted an RV. After Katrina and Wilma I do not want an RV.
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    30gwsayejr
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    08/08/2007 2:44 PM

     

     

    In 2004 I was sent from Frances and a nice motel to Ivan and spent eight days searching for a room while tiring to handle claims. Five of those days were spent in my rental car. When I did get a room it had no power,cold water and broken glass in the carpet. How much I lost in productivity is hard to say but I never wanted to go through that again. When I got a decent room it was still without power for another two weeks. When I got home I took my time and found a very nice one owner truck and one owner travel trailer. The trailer is 26ft with an 8ft slide and is very comfortable  the truck gets 6-8 mpg while pulling the trailer 12-14mpg in town and 16-18 mpg hwy. The most I paid for a month rent was $650.00.While they were both 1994's the trailer still had the plastic covering on the seats and carpet and looked like new. I put a 15k max for both and paid just over 12k for the package The trailer even came with a 5000watt generator. Take you time and do some research there are some good deals out there. In 2005 I took the trailer to Pensacola in june and found an rv storage lot that charges $20.00 per vehicle left it there and flew home. Dennis hit in July had an rv spot right off I10 in Milton. Katrina Hit went to Hattisburg and found an rv park in Collins. I handled claims in about a fifty mile radius of the park. Then Wilma hit found an rv park in Margate right in the middle of my claims. I used the generator for power five or six times. I have satilite tv, a wireless aircard and even if a park isn't available right away there is always wall marts parking lot and rest areas for a few nights. Since I live on the west coast I leave the rigs stored in Gulfport in the off season  now but also fly down there and use it for fun several weeks a year. I agree it is not cost effective to use on all storms and in all areas but for me it is my home away from home and rv folks are usually very nice and do great parties for thanksgiving and xmass.

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    sbeau4014
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    08/08/2007 3:37 PM
    We have been doing cats the RV method since early 2001 and wouldn't do it any other way. We are a little different then a lot of others as we sold the homestead shortly after starting out at this and have 'fulltimed" in our RV since. We usually get into parks on a monthly basis and have paid a low of $195 a month (included our electric) to close to $1500 a month in DC for Isabel. we could have stayed in the same park in DC for about $1100 a month but chose to go the higher cost route there. It can be difficult at times getting a good site (we have a 40' motorhome with slides and need a larger site then some parks offer), but we usually call ahead before going to the storm and set up a few spots in the vicinity of where the damages are. So far we have been lucky and never had to spend the night outside of a park, except on the drive to the site, but a couple times we ended up in a mobile home park for the duration of the storm. I'd say on average our monthly cost has been between $400-$500 per month which includes electricity, and I don't think I'd care to stay in any motels that i pay that rate. And as mentioned previously, there is a hell of a lot to be said in sleeping in your own bed and being in your own environment when you get to a storm site. We travel with 2 labrador retrievers all the time and that alone would bar us from a lions share of motels. RV travel is not for everyone though. I have friends that do the motel route, and spend 300-350 nights a year in a motel and probably couldn't handle the RV life. Just different strokes for different folks. Since we fulltime in ours, when we aren't working we travel around the country in it and when we do work a storm, it usually doesn't cost us much more out of our budget for our lodging and food then if not working. We are now set up to where we can travel to any storm with all the clothes, food, suppleies and other gear that we would need for a long term stay, with our motorcycle and jeep behind us, and we get about 8-9 miles a gallon in the motorhome while we travel. I would recommend that anyone thinking about doing the RV method, look at renting one for a period of time 1st and make sure you can and want to do it. It can be a sizable investment to take on, so it would be wise to have a nice safety cushion financially to fall back on in the lean times.
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    SteveZ
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    08/09/2007 4:48 PM

    floorplan

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    sbeau4014
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    08/09/2007 6:49 PM

    Steve, Isn't your truck a bit light to tow your rig? I would guess the tongue weight and the towing weight dry and unloaded would exceed the specs on a 1500. I'd guess the tongue unloaded would be 1600-1800 lbs and that size has to weigh at least 10,000 lbs-12,000 lbs minimum empty, and probably another 2000 lbs at least loaded and carrying some water. I don't know of any 1500's or F-150's that get that kind of rating to them. Engine may pull it ok, but suspension and brakes would concern me. Wait til you take that hummer on something like the grapevine and your life could get real exciting.

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    jnhawk
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    08/10/2007 10:51 AM

    Although I wouldn't recommend it for most storms, I bought a Winnebago View for Katrina because I expected a housing shortage.  It was my only vehicle.  It cost more, but I ate in my own kitchen every meal, I had a bathroom all the time (I could shower and change clothes in the middle of the day), I even took naps when I could.    Plus I had all my equipment, papers etc with me at all times.  Once in a traffic jamb on I-10 after 2 hours of almost no movement, I couldn't help smiling when I went to my frig and made a meal.

    I got 15-17 MPG, which matched my Ford Explorer.  Plus I often stayed near my claims for several days before returning to a RV park, so I saved driving time and lots of gas.

    One insurance agent with a large office also let me plug into his building and use his water whenever I was in his area.  He also let me use his high speed internet - a real god send in Louisiana.

    The View is 23.5 ft. long, but it was as easy to handle as a van.  I could park in regular parking lots as long as I backed into the parking space and stuck the tail over the grass.

    I could easily stick a folding ladder inside the View through a large side compartment door (the 23J and 23B models can do this).  Plus I was able to reach tall roofs from the top of the RV as long as I could pull up to the house.

    I even used it for Wilma down in the Homestead, Florida area with no problem.  However, if I had been given claims in downtown Maimi, I probably would have gotten tired of using it.

    I sold the RV within 2 months after I returned from the CATS.  It cost me $9000 including my sales tax and the price drop.

    The time I saved not driving back to a set point everyday, or working in the RV while everyone else was fighting rush hour, helped me complete 218 claims in those 3.5 months.

    Not sure I would do it again, but for Katrina, it was worth it for me. I really injoyed the whole time I was in the RV.

     

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    rorunner_77
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    08/11/2007 12:39 AM
    I have loved RV travel for claims. I think the biggest plus is the mobile office is always ready. No carting stuff up stairs, packing and unpacking. Takes just a few minutes to set my 5th wheel up and I am off and running. MS,LA,FL,AL, PA,NY,NJ,TN and all parts. VA has a lot of patrolmen! I have a 4x4 chevy silverado 2500hd with an allison transmission which pulls the 27ft Glacier and does not know it's back there. As with any cat assignment, go prepared for every possible problem and a few that you think are impossible and you will do just fine. I do agree that taking any kind of rv out for the first or even 5th time to a cat is insane. In my humble opinion, that would be like learning an adjusting program for the first time on a cat.

    For two people, my rig works great. The super slide is a vast improvement than the old hunting "clampet mobile" I hauled in 2004. I suggest starting used and working up. I am too scottish to stick myself with a large payment so all of my rigs have been bought outright.
    We never know what a season may bring!

    anyway that's my 2 cents. Whatever you decide, STAY SAFE
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