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Old 12-21-2016, 06:11 PM   #21
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daveb -

I've read your posts!! It does sound like it was beyond frustrating. The toilet seems to be the sticking point in most cases. If it's not a fixed-in-place toilet connected to a black water tank, many insurance companies don't seem to want to officially classify a SMB as an RV. Even if the registration on file with the DMV indicates it as a Motorhome ("MH" designation here in California).

I'm guessing, in fairness, that their refusal to do so stems from the reality that a lot of people would try to claim their conversion vans (and perhaps even SUV's and station wagons) were "RV's" by placing a port-a-potty in the trunk.

My SMB is insured with AAA of SoCal and they have been super cool. It's on file with them as an RV (which they then classify as a "specialty vehicle" and are happy to write an agreed value (stated value?) policy for.) I'm told that in the event of a loss, they will look at Sportsmobile comps and pay me *up to* the stated value I have on file with them. (In my case it's set at $25k.)

To get it approved by their underwriters as an RV meant giving them a scanned copy of the registration which showed "MH" Motorhome designation, and also spending a half an hour with an AAA rep at one of their local offices. He came outside and photo-documented the entire rig (penthouse top popped up for full impressive specialty-vehicle awesomeness)

As it turned out, the AAA rep I met with actually owns an '87 VW Westy....camps in it all the time with his family....and he was pretty stoked on the SMB. He "got it" right away that it was clearly a unique and valuable contraption, and I think that helped a lot with getting underwriting's approval.

Persistence seems to be the key here in CA.
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:35 PM   #22
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The main thing I've seen is the RVIA sticker... if it's got one of those, it's an RV, and you can get RV insurance.

Also, never seen the MH CA registration you mention... all the Sportsmobiles I've had were registered simply as vans, no mention of anything RV or Sportsmobile on the title or registration at all.
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Old 12-21-2016, 09:50 PM   #23
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My rig is licensed as a cargo van--it was purchased by the original owner as a cargo van, then SMB North did the conversion. The licensing was never changed--it is still licensed as a cargo van. It has a porta-potty, but no fixed toilet or black tank.

The van does carry the RVIA sticker. I have the original build sheet from SMB. And, at my request, Nancy wrote a letter on SMB letterhead stating that the vehicle represented by this VIN was converted to a Class B motorhome by SMB on 12/1/2005. And--NADA has my VIN in its database as an SMB.

I provided my insurance company with:
1. A copy of Nancy's letter, establishing my rig as a Class B motorhome.
2. A copy of the SMB build sheet, showing that it really is a motorhome.
3. A copy of the NADA valuation assigned to this VIN as an RV.

With that, the insurance company did not question anything, despite the fact that the rig is not licensed as an MH. They accepted it as an MH, and insured it accordingly--with the agreed value and value upgrades that I discussed in an earlier post.

My general policy is to come in with so much evidence supporting my desired goal that the other party never considers questioning it. There is a long-established truth in the study of conflicts and their resolutions that notes that the party who speaks first, defines the parameters of the discussion. My big stack of paperwork is my way of speaking first--which has the effect of organizing the entire conversation around my goal. More often than not, it works.

Of course--and I say this with deep seriousness, from my heart--with power comes responsibility. I only use this approach when I am seeking to achieve a goal that I believe to be morally and ethically clean. This kind of thing can be used to manipulate people into doing things that are not good. I will not go there, and I will never condone anyone else using an approach like this as a means of achieving questionable ends.
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