Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • Under a Personal Auto Policy, the contract provides coverage to protect you when you’re driving or towing other vehicles
  • If you review the Covered Autos and Liability sections of the contract, you’ll see that liability coverage that you carry on the policy will extend while the trailer is hitched to the vehicle and while it’s in tow
  • Liability coverage will pay when you’re in an at-fault accident and other parties suffer injuries or property damage
  • While property damage coverage does pay to repair someone else’s property, the damage sustained to your trailer won’t be covered under your car insurance
  • If you want extra coverage for damage to your trailer, it’s important to purchase a separate trailer insurance policy

Accidents happen when you least expect them, especially when you’re towing a trailer. Trailers offer you a place to sleep when you’re exploring the country or a place to relax when you’re becoming one with Mother Nature. Unfortunately, the probability of having an accident is higher when you have your recreational vehicle in tow.

No matter how committed you are to towing safety, it’s important to recognize the towing risks that can present yourself as you gear up for your next trip.

Backing up, braking, tight turns, and maneuvering can all be more difficult when you’re towing.

This is why it’s important to take the proper precautions as you shop for auto insurance protection. Enter your zip code in our FREE comparison tool above to compare car insurance rates now!

Here’s what you need to know to ensure you have coverage in all scenarios:

How a Trailer is Defined as a Covered Auto

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Not many consumers sit down and read the Personal Auto Policy contract that they receive when their auto insurance takes effect. Even though the booklet is full of a lot of legalese that you might not fully comprehend, it’s a useful document to have when you have questions about your coverage.

The contract is very specific and lays out the terms of coverage along with the conditions you must meet to receive a claims payment.

Under the Covered Autos section of the contract, you will find that more than just your listed autos are covered. Here’s how a trailer is defined:

  • Trailer is defined as a vehicle designed to be pulled by a car, a pickup truck or a van
  • Coverage is extended (with limits) to a trailer that you own
  • Coverage will extend to a trailer your don’t own if it’s used as a temporary substitute for your trailer while it’s being repaired or serviced

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How does auto insurance liability coverage extend to a trailer?

Trailers aren’t covered for just every type of loss. Since all insurance policies include at least a minimum amount of liability coverage, it’s important that you know that your third-party coverage will extend to damage caused by your trailer while it’s hitched to your car and in transport.

Here’s what each coverage pays for:

  • Bodily Injury Liability (BI) – will pay for someone else’s medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering and related costs when you’re liable for the accident. The same limits that you carry for your BI coverage will extend to the trailer if it jackknifes or if it detaches from your car while it’s being towed.
  • Property Damage Liability (PD) – will pay for someone else’s vehicle repairs and property replacement when you damage or total something that you don’t own in an accident. Your Property Damage limit on your declaration’s page is per occurrence and not per vehicle involved.

Will the physical damage on your policy pay for trailer damage?

Physical damage coverage is optional on auto insurance policies for your personal vehicles. If you’ve decided to carry comprehensive and collision coverage to cover your vehicle, that protection does not extend to your trailer.

If your trailer is damaged in a loss, you’ll need to have a separate policy to pay for the repairs or you’ll pay yourself.

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How does medical payments coverage extend?

If you’re injured in an accident, your medical payments coverage is a no-fault form that will help you pay for immediate hospital and physician bills so that you can seek treatment.

If you carry it, it will still pay for you and your passengers’ bills if you’re in an accident towing a trailer or with a trailer.

If you’re pricing the cost of medical payments coverage, make sure you consider whether or not you need it. It’s a great coverage for people with no medical insurance or people with high-deductible plans.

If you drive around students or friends regularly, having this is recommended.

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Will your uninsured motorist protection kick in if you’re hit?

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In some states with high rates of uninsured drivers, vehicle owners are required by law to carry Uninsured Motorist Protection.

If you carry UM by choice or because it’s mandatory, that coverage will protect you even while you’re towing your trailer. Your medical bills may be paid under UM when you’re in a hit-and-run or when there’s no BI coverage.

How do you protect your trailer so that you don’t have to pay for repairs?

Your private passenger auto insurance doesn’t pay to repair your trailer, but you can buy a separate plan that will help get comprehensive protection.

A trailer insurance policy is a specialty plan for recreational vehicles that are pulled behind a car. Boat, car, horse, and camping trailers all qualify.

What type of coverage is provided under a trailer policy?

Auto insurance policies have exclusions based on how a trailer is used. For example, you won’t have third-party liability coverage for your trailer under your car insurance if you live in the trailer permanently or during certain seasons.

A trailer insurance policy fills in the gaps and covers a unique risk when you’re residing in a trailer. Here’s a list of the coverage that you can elect to carry when you build a specialty plan for your property:

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Is trailer insurance required?

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Most states only require you to show proof of liability insurance when you’re registering a trailer. You can do this by showing the insurance policy that you have on the vehicle that you have registered in the state.

If your trailer is financed, however, the lender will require proof of damage protection as a term of the loan.

Many larger car insurance carriers sell specialty trailer insurance policies. Check with your carrier to see if this is an option for convenience and possible discounts. If you can’t buy a plan through your insurer, it’s time to shop around for a new auto policy and a trailer addition.

The most effective way to search the marketplace for competitive vehicle insurance rates is to use an online comparison application.

In the comparison application, you’re able to enter your personal information in the tool for instant quotes so that you can get the best rates in the shortest amount of time.

Compare car insurance rates now by using our FREE quote below!