The Good Sam Extended Service Plan Reviewed
The Good Sam ESP (short for “extended service plan”) is the oldest and largest nationwide provider of RV warranty coverage. Since 1966, the warranty company has offered savings to RVers across America, starting with the Good Sam Club and adding services throughout the years.
Based in Englewood, Colorado, Good Sam Enterprises currently operates the Good Sam Club, offering RV-related discounts to members; Good Sam Roadside Assistance; a Good Sam insurance agency; Good Sam Travelassist; and Camping World, an RV dealership and outdoor goods retail store; and the Good Sam Extended Service Plan, also known as Good Sam ESP.
While Good Sam (GS) refers to their service plan as mechanical breakdown insurance, it functions just like an extended warranty. Both terms describe the same type of service contract that assists with the costs of covered repairs when a recreational vehicle breaks down, and most consider the product to be a warranty just like other warranty in the industry.
The Extended Service Plan (ESP) is available for motorhomes and towables such as travel trailers and fifth wheels. Coverage is available to any new RV and to used RVs under 15 years old. Motorhomes must have fewer than 100,000 miles on the odometer to be eligible. Campers are not eligible for warranty coverage.
For those living the trailer life, insurance is for the tow vehicle and other cars, trucks and, SUVs is available through the Good Sam Insurance Agency. The optional tire and wheel protection plan extends coverage to the tow vehicle as well.
For those familiar with RV warranties, the coverage provided by the Good Sam Extended Service Plan will seem standard. Their plans cover mechanical breakdowns on covered items, meaning that they do not cover items that fail due to physical damage or that the owner simply wants to update or replace. It also means that they don’t cover cosmetic or structural RV repairs.
Components are covered on the following items:
- Drive Axle
- Dash Air Conditioning
- Braking Assembly
- Fuel Delivery
- Mechanical Seals and Gaskets
- Water Heater/Boiler
- Waste System
- Fresh Water System
- Roof or Basement Air Conditioning
- Range and Oven
- L.P. Gas System
- Coach Heating System
- Auxiliary Powerplant/Generator
- Electrical System
- Deluxe Appliance Coverage
- Leveling Jack System
- Slide-Out Room Unit(s)
- PowerStep System
- Entertainment Package
- Mechanical Seals and Gaskets
Note that, as with other RV warranties, GS does not cover each item in its entirety, but covers certain components of the item. For instance, the coverage on the brakes includes the master cylinder, calipers, and more, but excludes the brake pads and rotors.
The reason for not covering these components of the brakes is likely that they are either meant to be worn down and replaced or that they aren’t mechanical and fail only due to damage.
The Extended Service Plan also gives RVers the choice of optional add-ons like tire protection (for replacing or repairing flat tires and blowouts) and extended mechanical seal and gasket coverage. As stated above, Good Sam also maintains an insurance company as well as a roadside assistance program. Those who want their rig covered for physical damage or an emergency tow on the side of the road can get that coverage through GS.
Warranties aren’t simply a blank check to cover all RV repairs. Every contract contains numerous exclusions, and these non-covered issues can leave uninformed customers feeling frustrated during the claims process.
First, remember that all coverage centers on mechanical breakdown. GS even named their warranty “mechanical breakdown insurance.” Damage, upgrades, cosmetic issues, etc., are not covered.
That means structural and non-mechanical parts of covered items are not covered. Damage caused by overheating is typically non-covered as well.
Second, the vehicle must be properly maintained. The claims department will ask about maintenance—oil changes and tuneups, for instance—so keep those receipts and be prepared to share them if a representative contacts you.
While it’s not necessarily an exclusion, it’s important to note that when items are repaired or replaced, the company reserves the right to install used or refurbished parts and appliances. Customers who prefer new RV parts will be charged for the upgrade.
The best way to know the coverage is to view the sample contracts that each company displays on their website.
As with other warranty companies, it’s impossible to state an average price for a plan. This is because the price depends on a number of factors, including the make, model, and mileage of the RV as well as plan length, deductible, level of coverage and payment structure.
Costs range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The best way to find out how much a warranty will cost you is to get a quote.
Luckily, getting a free online quote for coverage is quick and easy. Just follow the link below for a free quote.
It’s also not always easy to compare a quote from Good Sam to a quote for another RV warranty. That’s because Good Sam structures their plans differently. They offer coverage in annual installments. RVers can choose to renew this coverage every year from when they sign up until the RV years 18 years old or 150,000 miles on the odometer.
This is where it gets tricky: For the first X amount of years, the annual rate for the plan is guaranteed. For used RVs, the guarantee typically lasts for up to three years, and for new RVs, the guaranteed rate may last longer. At the end of that period, the rate for coverage can increase each year. One sales representative told our secret shopper that the rate generally increased ten to fifteen percent the year after the rate guarantee ended.
Other warranty companies typically offer coverage for a given period of time for a stated price. A Good Sam extended warranty has the advantage of less commitment and more flexibility—GS also allows payments to be made annually, quarterly, or monthly. On the other hand, with other warranty providers, customers know exactly how much they are paying for the entire term of the plan.
One useful feature of the ESP is the flexible deductible. This program allows customers to raise or lower the deductible on their plan periodically, so RVers can take advantage of a cheaper premium during the months when the RV is in storage or isn’t being used regularly.
Customers can raise or lower their deductible no more frequently than every three months. Keep in mind that each time customers choose to do this, new paperwork must be sent out, which may affect other factors, such as the end date of coverage and the existence of any rate guarantees upon renewal.
Available deductibles for motorhomes are $100, $250, and $500, while 5th wheel trailers and travel trailers are eligible for $100, $200, and $300. This amount is charged per occurrence (per service center visit), not per item.
Good Sam’s plans allow RV repairs at any licensed repair facility in the US or Canada. In cases of an inoperable RV, Good Sam allows RV repairs by mobile mechanics, and covers a certain amount of the mechanic’s service call fee.
Good Sam also maintains a Preferred Provider Network of over 1,000 service centers in North America. These providers offer customers 10% off the cost of parts and labor on repairs (the ones that aren’t covered by the plan). These providers also guarantee repairs for 90 days. This network includes all Camping World locations with repair facilities.
The coverage can be cancelled without a fee and is fully transferable, either to another RV or to the new owner of the covered RV. Good Sam members who have paid ahead into their plan will receive a pro-rated refund (minus any amounts already paid out).
Good Sam distinguishes themselves from their competitors by claiming that their product is actually insurance and that their company is a one-stop shop. On a call with our secret shopper, one representative mentioned that other companies are not backed by insurance policies. For some warranty providers, this is true, but all the companies that Today’s Best Company reviews are backed by insurance.
Good Sam is certainly a one-stop shop: Rvers can get insurance policies, roadside services, Rv extended warranty products, and discounts for their RVs and tows.
Unlike some warranty policies, none of Good Sam’s ESP policies come with roadside assistance. However, as mentioned above Good Sam offers roadside assistance alongside services like insurance policies and discounts on RV-related goods. The coverage also allows customers to receive discounts on non-covered repairs at Camping World.
There are a few travel benefits that come with a policy. The following benefits apply to the Gold Plan. If the vehicle is disabled and requires a mobile mechanic, the policy reimburses up to $50 to the service call fee. There is also a trip interruption benefit that provides reimbursement for some of the costs of lodging and transportation while the RV is in the shop.
The policy is fully transferable and can be cancelled at any time for a pro-rated refund minus a $50 cancellation fee.
Is It Worth It?
Being the most popular and longest-running company in the industry, there are thousands of reviews out there. Google, Yelp, and the BBB (Better Business Bureau) host hundreds, and the Good Sam extended warranty is the most talked about RV warranty company on RV forums.
Their website hosts testimonials from satisfied customers, and reviews seem to be mixed all over the internet. This is normal in the warranty and insurance industries, since many people do not understand the coverage before they purchase and expect every failure to be fully covered.
However, some companies have better communication and diligence in the customer service department, while others may be seen as more ruthless in their denial of seemingly straightforward issues. To date, there is no objective way to measure this factor in the business, but reading through reviews will give RV owners an idea of what the company is like.
Good Sam may be more expensive in the long run than other companies, but the flexibility in term length, payment structure, and deductible are strong perks for many. Others find peace of mind in the established name of the Good Sam Club, and enjoy the convenience of fulfilling all their RV needs through one company.