When the warm weather hits, you’re ready to hit the open road with your trailer in tow. Whether you’re taking the boat out to the lake to go fishing, headed for the campground with your popup camper, or planning to show your horse at the local fairgrounds, your trailer is the only piece of equipment that can make this happen. Unfortunately, owning a trailer is not without risks: it can be damaged in an accident, vandalized, or even stolen. In order to prevent such a loss, it is important to invest in trailer insurance.
Currently, every state requires that your trailer be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Unlike your car, however, you are not legally obligated to have insurance in most states. This is a decision you need to make on your own. So, is it worth leaving your trailer vulnerable to potential damages? Depending upon your automotive insurance, your trailer may be covered under the liability policy. You would need to speak with your independent insurance agent to see if the coverage lists trailers within the policy. If it doesn’t, you have two options: 1) Add coverage to your existing auto insurance. 2) Purchase a separate, comprehensive trailer insurance policy designed to cater to the specific needs of your equipment. In general, coverage for your trailer under an auto policy will not include protection for vandalism, theft, and other damage. The rest of this article discusses the various comprehensive trailer insurance options available on the market today.
Trailer insurance is surprisingly affordable. It is very easy to find a plan that fits your needs for $75 or less. Of course, everything depends upon the type of trailer you own, its value, how you plan to use it, your driving record, and other factors.
One of the biggest factors that impacts the cost of your trailer insurance are the loss-coverage choices. These are: market value, agreed value, and total replacement cost. The market value is the current market value of the trailer at the time of the loss. So, issues like depreciation will be taken into account when determining your reimbursement. The agreed value option will repay you the amount you paid for the trailer, as long as you purchased it within the last two years. If it has been more than two years, an appraisal will help you come to an agreed upon value with the insurance agent. The total replacement cost option will replace your damaged trailer with a brand new one, as long at the initial trailer was five years old or less. If the trailer was more than five years old, the insurance company will reimburse you in the amount that you paid at the time of purchase. Of course, this option is the most expensive, as it provides the most comprehensive benefits.
Types of Commercial and Personal Trailer Insurance
The great thing about owning a trailer is that it can be used for such a wide variety of different purposes. From commercial to personal, the trailer can add great enjoyment to your life. To protect your investment, there are a variety of trailer insurance options available. Below is a list of many of the different coverage choices.
Boat and Personal Watercraft Trailer
A boat trailer is a specialized piece of equipment designed to haul your boat from your home to a body of water. Whether it be the lake, river, or ocean, you need to make sure that your boat or personal watercraft gets to its destination safely. The greatest risk to your trailer is theft. While you are enjoying your boat, your trailer is probably parked with your car in a nearby parking lot. You are not going to be within eye-shot of your trailer at every moment during the day and it is easy for a thief to unhitch the trailer from your car and attach it to theirs. Some may suggest that you insure your boat trailer through your car or home insurance policies. However, both of these options come with restrictions. Your trailer may only be covered during an accident on the road while attached to your car, or may only be protected while remaining stationary at your home. There are a lot of other circumstances that involve risk.
Enclosed Cargo Trailer
An enclosed cargo trailer can be used to haul all sorts of items, from bicycles to cars and everything in between. They are useful for private and commercial purposes and involve a unique set of risks. Most likely, you’ll not only want to protect your trailer, but the items within the enclosed structure. Therefore, adding a line to your auto insurance may not be enough. Enclosed cargo trailer insurance will provide liability coverage as well as protect your against theft, damage to the contents, weather, and collisions.
Owning a flatbed trailer has many advantages. For both personal and commercial uses, it can haul large machinery, vehicles, and other heavy equipment that just won’t fit within an enclosed cargo trailer. Unfortunately, this also means that the objects are more exposed to potential risks. When hauling items on a flat bed, you run the risk of theft of the cargo and trailer itself, improperly securing the items, accidents when loading and unloading, and damages to equipment while driving. Depending upon your purposes for owning the flatbed trailer, you will be required to own specialized insurance. For business owners, you are obligated by law to have insurance. If you own the flatbed for personal use, you may not have to buy insurance, but it is highly recommended.
Car Hauler Insurance
Businesses like auto repair shops, towing companies, and car dealerships employ car hauler vehicles within their fleet. This is a specialized type of commercial trailer vehicle designed to haul cars anywhere from across town to across the country. When an empty car is being hauled, it is highly vulnerable to theft and damage. Additionally, you may have accidentally loaded the vehicle onto the hauler incorrectly or experience an accident while towing. Of course, hiring licensed and experienced professionals to haul cars is the first hurdle to overcome. Yet, insurance is also a great investment.
Horse and Livestock Trailer
When you haul your prized horse or livestock, you are hauling precious cargo. Several million Americans own horses, and you will want to make sure that you have the best coverage available. Many individuals assume that adding a rider or endorsement to their automotive insurance is enough protection. However, this will probably only be liability coverage and will not protect your cargo. Whether it be the animals or other equipment that you are hauling, you will want to insure your investment against the risks of theft, vandalism, and damages.
When you prefer the luxury of sleeping off the ground, but don’t want to spend thousands, a camper is a good option. Whether it be a fifth-wheel trailer, conventional trailer, or pop-up tent trailer, these portable units provide additional advantages for camping and recreational activities. Much like a horse trailer, your camper trailer probably holds many of your personal valuables. In both instances, automotive insurance is not sufficient enough to protect you against accidents on the road and other risks, like theft and vandalism. Therefore, it may be wise to invest in a separate policy which can cover these unique risks.
A utility trailer can be great for hauling smaller objects, like building and landscaping tools, outdoor recreational and sports equipment, and smaller vehicles like ATVs. Similar to a boat trailer, many use utility trailers to transport objects from one location to the other. The equipment is then unloaded and used for a specific period of time before being reloaded. If the trailer is left alone on site for an extended period of time, it runs the risk of theft, vandalism, and other damages. However automotive insurance will only protect you when the trailer is attached to your car. Whether you use the utility trailer for commercial or personal uses, it may be a good idea to purchase a separate policy.
Some of us like to take our business on the road. Food trucks have become very popular within the last five years, with some cities like Atlanta having a Food Truck Park and Event Center, and other cities like Minneapolis hosting an annual Food Truck Festival. The difference between a food truck and a food trailer is that you need a separate vehicle to tow the trailer, which houses the mobile kitchen and workspace. Many people think that automotive insurance or a general liability and mobile property policy will be enough to insure your assets. However, as a business venture, you will also need to protect the contents of the trailer.
Trailer Liability Coverage
Liability coverage is a general policy that can be obtained for any of the specialized trailer uses listed above. It will help to protect your trailer against injuries and damages to people and property caused while driving, cover the legal fees if an injured party sues, and the medical bills for the injuries of another person.
Speak to an Agent Today
Set up an appointment to speak with your local, independent insurance agent. They will have the knowledge and experience necessary to provide you with the best trailer insurance for you. When you speak to them, make sure you provide them with all of the information they will need. This will include: the length and width of the trailer, the serial number, the purchase price, whether the trailer will be used for private use or for a business, and what you plan to tow with the trailer.