Outdoorsy vs RVshare: as a Renter

If you fancy renting an RV, camper or trailer for a long weekend or have one that’s parked in your driveway just gathering dust, you may want to try out a peer-to-peer RV rental platform like Outdoorsy or RVshare.  Think of them as the Airbnb of RVs. But are these relatively new marketplaces any good? As a potential RV renter, where can I get the best bang for my buck? How easy is it to rent from either platform and (goodness forbid) what if something goes wrong?  How good is their insurance coverage and roadside assistance? How do their cancellation policies and customer service standards compare? We dig into the reviews from hundreds of previous renters to find out exactly what they thought so that you can make an informed decision.

Peer-to-Peer RV Rental Markets - How do they work?

  • Search the website by desired location and for your particular dates. 
  • Find something you like? Request a booking.
  • Wait for the owner to accept (instant booking is available on some)
  • Pay for part of the trip
  • Driver verification
  • Select level of insurance
  • Pay the rest
  • Enjoy your trip
  • Return vehicle and get your security deposit back

Both Outdoorsy and RVshare have easy to navigate websites displaying all the RVs, campers and trailers they have on offer though I’d say Outdoorsy’s website is just that little bit slicker.  You can search by location, type of RV, date, price, amenities, keyword etc. They both also offer insurance and roadside assistance.

Where do they operate?

While RVshare only operate in the United States, Outdoorsy have expanded and now also operate in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Table of Contents

Booking Process

We managed to find the exact same RV listed on both sites by the same owner with the same price per night.  Can you get a more perfect side by side comparison than that?

Outdoorsy RV ad example
The Outdoorsy Ad
RVshare RV ad example
The RVshare Ad

So confusingly, once you hit ‘request booking’, both sites change the cost per night – $189 for Outdoorsy and $157.57 for RVshare.  They seem to break down the costs very differently…so let’s take a closer look:

Outdoorsy Cost Breakdown
RVshare Cost Breakdown

Outdoorsy Booking Cost Breakdown

Looking down at the various costs for Outdoorsy, it seems $1744.33 is the final cost…but what about insurance?  Well it seems you won’t know how much insurance will cost until you actually complete the booking and input your card details!  

This has understandably resulted in some confused and unhappy Outdoorsy renters when they think their RV quote is x amount but after completing their booking find out it’s actually more expensive than they thought. 

Image of customer review complaining about Outdoorsy's hidden insurance costs
Outdoorsy Review

There must be a reason Outdoorsy does things this way but we didn’t think it was a particularly good customer experience.  There’s also the refundable deposit to consider on top of everything but that is individually set by each RV owner and is something you should get back.

RVshare Booking Cost Breakdown

The final cost for RVshare looks to be $1520.05, so provided you get your security deposit back, RVshare is coming out to be $224.28 cheaper on this particular reservation.  Like Outdoorsy, the refundable deposit is also set by each individual RV owner.

RVshare actually adds their standard insurance package onto your booking by default then you have the option to upgrade to a greater level of protection after your initial booking. 

Overall we found this to be a better customer experience than the post-booking insurance fee reveal by Outdoorsy.

Let’s Talk about Insurance

How much does it cost, what’s covered and more importantly – what’s not covered?

Outdoorsy Insurance

If you’re renting an RV in the US, Outdoorsy’s insurance partner is Liberty Mutual.  Please note that if you are renting an RV through Outdoorsy in a different country then their insurance partner will differ and what’s covered will also differ. Find out more here:  https://www.outdoorsy.com/insurance.

Once the booking is approved by both you and the RV owner, you can submit your driver verification information.  Your trip can only be approved for insurance after you pass your driver verification. This involves sending over a photo of your driving license and three selfies facing different directions.

Outdoorsy Insurance: What’s covered?

As a renter, you can select a level of insurance that feels right for you from Peace of Mind (most expensive), Essential (middle) to Risk Taker (least expensive).  The price of each insurance package will vary with every rental as many factors are taken into consideration such as vehicle type and value. See the comparison table below to see what’s covered and how it compares to RVshare.

Outdoorsy Insurance: What’s not covered?

According to Outdoorsy, any damage that is not the result of a collision is not covered by their insurance. So for example, interior damage due to a lack of maintenance are not covered (e.g. scuffs, broken cabinets, cleaning, etc). These are covered by the security/damage deposit. All renters agree to a security deposit set by the owner that accounts for any minor damage to the interior of the RV or overages.  

Outdoory Insurance: Where am I covered?

All 50 states including Hawaii and Alaska – Canada is also covered but Mexico is not. 

If you are an international traveler, you will need to undergo an international background check and have an international driver’s license or permit for the specific class of vehicle you’re renting.  For example, if you hold a Class B international license, you can’t rent a Class A RV.

RVshare Insurance

Similar to Outdoorsy, RVshare also provides renters three levels of insurance protection to choose from:  Standard, Enhanced and Premier. RVshare calculates the cost of insurance based on the type, length and stated value of the RV being rented.  

Oddly, RVshare don’t seem to share who their insurance supplier is.  This can put some people on edge but perhaps what is most important is looking at the experiences of people who have had to actually make a claim on their insurance with these platforms after something went wrong.

Outdoorsy vs RVshare Insurance Comparison Table

Let’s compare an example of how much insurance would cost for two identical Class C RVs (updated April 2020):

Outdoorsy vs RVshare Insurance Comparison

Cheapest Middle Most Expensive
Platform Outdoorsy (Risk Taker) RVshare (Standard) Outdoorsy (Essential) RVshare (Enhanced) Outdoorsy (Peace of Mind) RVshare (Premier)
Cost per Day $ $29.95 $30 $44.95 $46 $54.95 $60
Liability Coverage State Minimum State Minimum State Minimum State Minimum Up to $1M Up to $300K
Comprehensive & Collision Protection Up to $1M Up to $200K (based on RV value) Up to $1M Up to $200K Up to $1M Up to $200K
Windshield Coverage No No No Yes Yes Yes
Accident Interruption No No No Yes Yes Yes
24/7 Customer Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Concierge Services No No No No Yes No
Class A Deductible $4,000 per loss $1,500 $3,500 per loss $1,000 $3,000 per loss $500
All Other Motorized Deductible $2,500 per loss $1,500 $2,000 per loss $1,000 $2,500 per loss $500
Trailer Deductible $2,000 per loss $1,500 $1,500 per loss $1,000 $1,000 per loss $500

Outdoorsy Insurance Reviews

It’s important to state that by and large, the vast majority of rentals on Outdoorsy seem to have gone without a hitch with neither party having to make a claim.  That said, let’s take a look at situations where something has gone wrong from a renter’s perspective.

When looking at reviews written in the last year, we found a few trends:

  1. Renters having either all or part of their security deposit taken without warning.  This was mostly due to damages claimed by the owner after returning the RV that the renter disputes like this one here:
Outdoorsy - fake damages from owner review

Of course, we can’t say who’s in the right/wrong here, all we can say is that it’s a good idea to take photos as proof of the condition of your rented trailer/RV before and after you rent it.  That way, in case something like this happens to you, you have photo evidence to back yourself up.  And of course keep hold of any correspondence between yourself, the RV owner and the platform as further evidence.

2.  Rental does not meet expectations based on photos and description e.g. the photos were taken a long time ago or amenities were missing etc.  Here’s an example:

Outdoorsy review - false advertising

3.  Renters having their booking cancelled by the RV owner at short notice due to e.g. it already being booked on the same dates on another site, the RV needing repairs etc.  This can of course cause a lot of panic as it doesn’t leave much time to find another RV and is extra troubling if you have flights or campsites booked or if it’s for a big trip like your honeymoon!  Outdoorsy do try to help and provide options for other similar rentals but it’ll then depend on whether the owners of those RVs are capable of arranging a rental so quickly so there’s an element of luck there.  Below is an example of a review we found with this issue:

RVshare renters may also find themselves in this unfortunate situation:

RVshare review - owner cancelled at short notice

RVshare Insurance Reviews

Similar to Outdoorsy, RVshare also provides renters three levels of insurance protection to choose from:  Standard, Enhanced and Premier.  RVshare calculates the cost of insurance based on the type, length and stated value of the RV being rented.  

Oddly, RVshare don’t seem to share who their insurance supplier is.  This can put some people on edge but perhaps what is most important is looking at the experiences of people who have had to actually make a claim on their insurance with these platforms after something went wrong.

RVshare review - false advertising

As this customer mentioned in their review, if you show up to pick up a trailer or RV and it’s not in a good state then best not to agree to carry on with the rental as chances are something will go wrong and you’ll most likely be on the hook for paying to fix it!  Just take plenty of photos/videos and speak to customer services to get yourself a refund.  Unfortunately it is one of the risks of using online peer-to-peer rental marketplaces.

Insurance: The Verdict

On average when we read reviews from renters for both Outdoorsy and RVshare where they’ve had the insurance company decide a judgement after an incident, it looks like they tend to side with the owner.  Therefore we think on this occasion RVshare wins in the battle for insurance because they have a lower deductible on all their rentals – sometimes as much as $2,500 less!  That means if unfortunately something does happen during your rental, you’ll probably lose less money with RVshare than if you went with Outdoorsy.

Roadside Assistance

Outdoorsy Roadside Assistance - how does it work?

Once a booking is confirmed, you can then opt in or opt out of getting roadside assistance for the additional cost of $15 per day USD or $18 per day CAD for Canadian customers. Though, if you go for an Outdoorsy insurance package, Roadside Assistance will automatically be included as a courtesy.  

Outdoorsy will send you a membership ID for your Roadside Assistance within 24 hours.  If you need help on your trip, the number to call is 1-877-250-6731 (US) and a customer service rep will verify your membership then send someone out to you.

Make sure you have these ready when you call: 

  • Membership ID
  • Vehicle information
  • Current location e.g. highway number, city, street, nearest intersection or landmark

RVshare Roadside Assistance - how does it work?

RVshare include roadside assistance in their service fee which is a % of the total booking amount so it’s tough to say exactly how much it costs, especially when this % can also vary from time to time.  Their Roadside Assistance partner is Nation Safe Drivers who are available 24/7. Your membership ID with them will be the same as your RVshare reservation ID.

Here’s an example of a breakdown of RVshare fees for a 7 night rental of a Class C RV:

RVshare fee breakdown

Outdoorsy vs RVshare Roadside Assistance Comparison Table

Outdoorsy vs RVshare Roadside Assistance

Cost $ $15/day USD or $18/day CAD Included in service fee
Towing
Jump starts
Mobile tire assistance
Locksmith & lockout service
Delivery of fuel and emergency fluids
Mobile mechanic
24/7 Technical Support Hotline
Website

Customer Service

Outdoorsy Customer Service

Overall when we found reviews referring to Outdoorsy’s customer service they were very favourable with many praising how quick, helpful and knowledgeable the reps were.  They’re also available over phone, chat or email. Older reviews back in 2017/18 definitely weren’t as rosy in this department but Outdoorsy seem to have really improved their customer service over the years – a very good sign of a company striving to improve for their customers.

RVshare Customer Service

RVshare similarly seems to have improved their customer service over time to be more responsive but we’d say the reviews are still more mixed for RVshare on balance:

Customer Service: Verdict

So in the battle for customer service, it looks like Outdoorsy has cinched it this time.  We also found them to have a more thorough FAQ/help center.

Cancellation Policy

Both Outdoorsy and RVshare allow their RV owners to choose from 3 cancellation policies:  Flexible, Moderate/Standard and Strict. Let’s see how they compare…

Outdoorsy vs RVshare Cancellation Policy

Flexible
  • If renter cancels more than 5 days before reservation start date: full refund minus fees.

    Reservation deposit (25% of trip cost) also refunded.

  • If renter cancels less than 5 days before reservation start date: 75% refund minus fees.

    Reservation deposit (25% of trip cost) not refunded.

  • If renter cancels more than 30 days before reservation start date: full refund minus RVshare service fee.
  • If renter cancels less than 30 days before reservation start date: 50% refund minus RVshare service fee.
Moderate/Standard
  • If renter cancels more than 7 days before reservation start date: 75% refund minus fees.

    Reservation deposit (25% of trip cost) not refunded.

  • If renter cancels less than 7 days before reservation start date: 50% refund minus fees.

    Reservation deposit (25% of trip cost) not refunded.

  • If renter cancels more than 30 days before reservation date: full refund minus RVshare service fee.
  • If renter cancels between 14 and 30 days before reservation date: 50% refund minus RVshare service fee.
  • If renter cancels less than 14 days before reservation date: no refund.
Strict
  • If renter cancels more than 14 days before reservation start date: 50% refund minus fees.

    Reservation deposit (50% of trip cost) not refunded.

  • If renter cancels less than 14 days before reservation start date: no refund.

    Reservation deposit (50% of trip cost) not refunded.

  • If renter cancels more than 30 days before reservation date: full refund minus RVshare service fee.
  • If renter cancels less than 30 days before reservation date: no refund.
Website

Grace Periods

Outdoorsy has a 48-hour grace period after a booking is made provided the trip start date is more than 14 days later.  This means a renter could cancel within that 48 hours and receive a full refund including all fees.  

RVshare has a 24-hour grace period provided the trip start date is more than 7 days in advance.

What if the Owner Cancels?

If the owner cancels, both Outdoorsy and RVshare will give you a full refund including all fees.

Trip Insurance

For an additional cost, Outdoorsy also offers trip insurance which covers certain reasons you may have to cancel such as sickness, injury, the death of you, a family member or traveling companion; school year extensions; interruption of road service etc.  Find out more here: https://www.outdoorsy.com/help/specific-questions-trip-insurance-can-learn

Obviously we’d recommend trying to find rentals that have flexible cancellation policies and not strict ones as that can lead you to losing a lot of money in exchange for nothing!

COVID-19 Response

In these troubling times, we think it’s important to see how both platforms deal with the inevitable onslaught of people needing to cancel their bookings, let’s see how they did.

Outdoorsy:

Outdoorsy positive review for covid-19 response
Outdoorsy negative review for covid-19 response

RVshare:

RVshare positive review for covid-19 response
RVshare negative review for covid-19 response

It seems whether you get a full refund of your booking for a cancelled trip will depend largely on the whims of the particular private RV owner.  Both platforms have a policy of refunding their bit of the transaction but can’t force an RV owner to change their cancellation policy and give up their cancellation fee.  Perhaps then it’s best to check the cancellation policy and reviews of individual RV owners on whichever platform you use before you go ahead with a booking.  The nicer and more understanding the RV owner, the better your experience will be.

Which is Better for Renters - Outdoorsy vs RVshare

There’s no doubt that renting a trailer, camper or RV is a great way to explore the great outdoors in a way that’s both convenient and comfortable.  Who doesn’t love that feeling of waking up with a breathtaking view outside, making a coffee and enjoying some home-cooked breakfast in the sun?  But what have we learnt about these two fiercely competitive peer-to-peer RV rental markets?  Well…  

If you’re a renter that wants to save a bit of money, we think you’re better off going with RVshare. They came out to be a bit cheaper overall in a direct comparison of the same RV from the same owner.  Not only do they charge a lower service fee, they also tend to require a lower insurance deductible – i.e. how much you’d need to pay if you had a crash and the RV was damaged.

If you’re a renter that doesn’t mind spending a bit more and want to have the best customer service, we think you should go with Outdoorsy.  We’re really impressed by the way they make regular tweaks and improvements to their website and service which show they’re really listening to customer feedback and most importantly acting on it.

Essentials Tips for Renting from Outdoorsy or RVshare

  • Read owner reviews

Even more important than which platform to use, we think the most important takeaway about using these platforms is the understanding that both platforms are exactly just that – platforms.  The individual RV owner is the actual person you’re renting from and ultimately has some power in this transaction.  So be sure to read reviews from past renters for each RV owner and pay special attention to ones where something has gone wrong.  You don’t want to be stuck with an unreasonable owner as there’s little Outdoorsy or RVshare can do in some situations.  Both platforms also allow owners some flexibility in how much risk they want to take on so be aware of the owner’s cancellation policy and amount of security deposit required.

  • Take photos of the RV both before and after you rent it

Document with plenty of photos the condition of the RV at the start and end of your rental in case something comes up later.  If the RV arrives and it’s not in good condition, then don’t carry on with the rental.  Something is likely to break during your trip and you may get hit with a maintenance bill from the owner after and lose your deposit.

  • Read the small print

Another key takeaway is to read the small print – get clear on exactly what your insurance and roadside assistance covers (we thought Outdoorsy did a better job on this in their FAQs/help centre) and if you’re not clear on anything, ask customer services.

  • Check out both platforms for a good deal

Finally, it’s worth having a look at both platforms – not all RV owners will advertise on both so you might find a hidden gem at a good price.

 

Happy holidaying!

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