Does auto insurance cover towing a trailer?

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Things to remember...
  • When towing an eligible trailer, the liability coverage carried on the lead car will extend
  • Eligible trailers and vehicles are defined as utility trailers, travel trailers and horse trailers that you own and are registered in your name
  • Your auto insurance won’t provide liability coverage for a rented or non-owned trailer

Towing a trailer comes with its risks. No matter how experienced you are, accidents can happen and the risks are higher when a heavy trailer is hitched on to the back of your private passenger car or truck.

Before you take off for your next camping trip or pack the trailer to go cross-country, it’s important that you assess your insurance coverage and identify where the gaps in protection.

Your Personal Auto Policy may provide coverage that’ll extend to a trailer, but not in all circumstances. Read this guide to towing trailer insurance and learn everything you need to know about building a robust insurance portfolio.

If you are in the market for new coverage, start comparing auto insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

What is a covered auto under your Personal Auto Policy (PAP)?

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A Personal Auto Policy provides coverage for more than just the covered auto. By definition, there are vehicles other than those listed on the declaration’s page that will receive some or all of the coverage that’s listed on the listed car(s).

However, while a policy may cover other cars, it doesn’t mean that absolutely every motor vehicle that’s operated by the insured will receive the broadest coverage on the policy.

Instead, the policy defines covered auto and scenarios where a vehicle that’s not on the policy might receive coverage after a loss.

The following are listed as covered autos on the standard policy form:

  • Newly acquired autos
  • Temporary substitute vehicles
  • Replacement vehicles
  • Trailers in tow

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How is a trailer covered under a Personal Auto Policy?

The broadest coverage on any vehicle listed on the policy will extend to newly acquired autos and also to temporary substitutes, but that’s not the case with trailers in tow.

The main reason insurers justify extending the liability coverage is because it’s believed that damages caused by a trailer are still the result of the actions of the driver in the lead car.

Under the PAP, trailers that are in the process of being towed will only receive third-party liability coverage from the lead car.

How does liability coverage protect you when towing a trailer out-of-state?

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The limits of liability that you carry for Bodily Injury and Property Damage will pay if the trailer rolls over or jackknives and causes injury or damage to someone else’s property.

If you’re crossing state lines and you have low limits, these out-of-state liability limits will bump up to the state requirements where you’re located. The same applies when you’re not towing a trailer, but you are crossing state lines with minimum liability limits.

What trailers are eligible for coverage in tow?

Not all trailers will receive the liability coverage extension. For a trailer to be covered, you must own it, and it must be registered in the name of the named insured on the lead car’s insurance.

Coverage is only automatically afforded while the eligible trailer is attached to the auto. Rented trailers aren’t covered and you’ll need to buy special coverage through the rental company for protection.

It’s also important that you know that any vehicle with its motor won’t fit the definition as a trailer in tow.

How can you cover your owned trailer for physical damage?

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There may be times where it’s appropriate to carry physical damage coverage for your trailer. If you feel it’s necessary, you can buy a specialty trailer insurance policy from a provider that covers recreational vehicles.

This type of policy will provide comprehensive coverage when the trailer is parked and collision coverage when it’s in tow. Like a personal auto policy, you’ll have deductibles that you must pay before the insurer will pay for a damage claim.

Losses covered include:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flooding
  • Hail storm
  • Falling objects
  • Vandalism
  • Collision
  • Glass breakage

What else is covered under a trailer insurance policy?

In addition to comprehensive and collision coverage, specialty RV policies can provide added layers of protection for unique scenarios that would only present themselves when you own a trailer.

It’s common for policies to include coverage for roadside assistance, for lodging after a loss, and for the contents inside of the trailer if it’s furnished or you’re carrying expensive belongings.

How are contents valued in a trailer?

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How your contents are covered and valued depends on the type of claim you’re filing.

If you don’t have a trailer insurance policy and your valuables are stolen out of your trailer, you can make a claim against your home insurance policy.

The belongings will typically be valued with replacement cost valuation methods that don’t factor in depreciation. If you have specialty coverage, you’ll need to review your policy for limits and valuation methods.

Is there coverage if you live in your trailer?

Trailer coverage will cover you in several situations. Some providers have their own unique rules when you’re living in the covered trailer. You may need a special endorsement written into your policy if you’re living in the trailer.

Be sure to ask your agent when coverage applies before assuming that your standalone insurance will cover a live-in trailer.

If you’re ready to shop around for standalone coverage on your trailer, it’s time to compare pricing. Many specialty providers offer affordable coverage with special add-ons that can save you financially.

Use an online rate comparison tool to enter your trailer information, value, and the coverage limits you’d like to carry so that you can see just how much you’ll pay.

Once you’ve reviewed the price estimates, you’ll be one step closer to building a sizable insurance portfolio.

Start comparing auto insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!

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