How good is that coverage? Is it better to get insurance specifically for a travel trailer? All of your questions answered.
It makes sense that a travel trailer will need some sort of insurance coverage. After all, it is traveling down the road and is susceptible to accidents.
So, if you are towing your trailer is it automatically covered by your auto insurance?
The answer is not always. Sometimes you can include your trailer on your auto policy, with restrictions, and other times you must find separate insurance. Choosing a policy specifically for a travel trailer does have some benefits. Let’s discuss it!
With the right coverage, you and your belongings will be protected. You can rest assured that while you travel a great policy is looking out for you and your home away from home. Regardless if you choose auto or separate coverage, some level of insurance is usually required.
Do I Need Travel Trailer Insurance?
Many states require RV insurance, but the requirements for travel trailers are a little unclear. It is generally a good idea to get insurance on your trailer whether it is required or not. Trailers can be expensive.
If you treat your trailer as your primary residence it is likely that you will put a great deal of money and effort into it. It makes sense then to cover your investment with an insurance policy.
But Isn’t It Covered By My Auto Policy?
The answer is yes and no. In many cases, your auto policy will extend to cover anything that you are towing, like a trailer. But, and this is important but, it is only the liability portion of your coverage. So the trailer itself isn’t covered but its actions are covered in the case of an accident.
This means that any damage caused by your trailer, to people or property, is included in your auto insurance policies liability clause. For example, if you are driving down the road and your fishtails, swiping the car next to you, the cost of the damage to the other person’s property is covered.
But if your trailer accidentally comes unhitched from your towing vehicle while driving and subsequently hits other drivers and is totaled, it’s a different scenario. The damage costs are taken care of but you’re out of luck with your trailer.
Additionally, if someone else causes damage to your trailer their level of coverage can cause problems for you. If they don’t have sufficient coverage or no coverage, then it will be on you to pay for the expenses.
Occasionally, home policies can cover a travel trailer too. They typically say something about protecting belongings that aren’t within your home, like a boat or trailer. But the coverage limit is much, much less. Leaving gaps in your protection.
Because many states don’t require specific policies for travel trailers, coupled with the fact that the policy on the tow vehicle will extend to the trailer, many people don’t pursue travel trailer insurance. That should worry you a little.
An Overview of Travel Trailer Insurance
If you want to really protect your investments and your belongings, then consider travel trailer insurance. Many insurance companies design specific policies for items that are not covered by their umbrella policies, for example, boats or ATVs.
Travel trailers are one such belonging. But there are different types, or levels, of coverage.
Liability coverage: this is a given. It is an extension of the auto policy on the towing vehicle. But it won’t cover damages to your trailer. This is especially concerning if you spend a lot of time in your trailer or invested quite a bit of money in it.
Collision coverage: just as the name implies, this coverage is for when your trailer is an accident and there is damage.
Comprehensive coverage: covers most types of damage that are not caused by a collision or traffic accident and therefore are usually not covered by an auto policy. This can be damage caused by weather, theft, animals, fire, and other random events. This is a great option for travel trailers that are definitely susceptible to all these types of accidents. Typically, this insurance is beneficial for when renting a travel trailer too.
Contents or Personal Property coverage: this is another important one for travel trailer owners. You will likely be carrying many of your belongings around with you in your trailer. This may include valuables like jewelry or tech gear. Contents coverage covers the “contents” or what is inside your trailer.
Campsite and Vacation: this is a form of liability insurance. After all, it’s foolish to think all accidents will take place when you’re driving down the road. This covers injury to others when your trailer is parked. This means that if someone gets hurt inside your trailer or around your trailer while at the campsite then you won’t be left covering the costs of medical or damages.
Underinsured or Uninsured coverage: this type of policy fills in the gaps left by your other policies, it is supplemental coverage. This coverage protects you from others and their lack of insurance. If your trailer is damaged in an accident and you’re not at fault you will likely turn to the other person to cover the cost of damages. But, if they don’t have insurance or sufficient insurance your underinsured/uninsured policy will help.
Emergency Expense coverage: if you find yourself a long way away from home and your appliances start on fire or a leak occurs and your trailer becomes unlivable, this coverage will cover living expenses. The insurance provider will dictate the distance away from home you must be for coverage to apply.
Full-time coverage: just as it sounds this is for those who live in the trailer exclusively or nearly full-time. It will more closely resemble a homeowner’s policy with beefed-up liability and medical coverage.
Total Loss coverage: it can be very pricey but worth it for those who have an expensive trailer. If your trailer is no more the company will replace it with a similar model within a five year age variance.
Towing and Roadside Assistance: helpful for when you are on the road. Just like emergency expenses, the distance covered by the provider is determined on their end.
As you can see, there are quite a few options available when it comes to travel trailer insurance. These forms of coverage cover a wide range of accidents and incidents that could befall you on the road. But some things are generally not covered by travel trailer policies. These include:
- Normal wear and tear that occurs from general use over time
- Damage as a result of the trailer being used improperly or illegally
- Intentional damage
Still, it is likely more beneficial to pursue special travel trailer insurance instead of relying on your auto insurance. This is especially true if you have a lot of money invested in your travel trailer or if you spend a great deal of time in your travel trailer.
Benefits of Travel Trailer Insurance
The costs of deductibles and premiums can seem expensive, especially if you are not accident-prone. However, when you actually look into replacement parts, like an awning, an axle, or a generator the insurance costs seem worth your while.
Additionally, knowing you are covered in case of an accident and damages can make your vacation much less stressful. You can relax instead of worrying about all the possible scenarios that could ruin your trip.
Even if something does get damaged during your vacation like a tree falls and rips through your siding or high winds rip off your awning, you have the knowledge that you are covered and you can enjoy the rest of your trip.
The Cost of Travel Trailer Insurance
Travel trailer insurance is very similar to auto insurance. Therefore, you can choose from different levels of coverage. The price of coverage will vary depending on a few factors, again just like insurance for your car.
The make and model, year, and condition all play a role. As does your level of desire coverage, the amount of time you spend traveling each year, and your driving history.
The amount you pay annually, or biannually can be anywhere from a couple of hundred of dollars to close to the thousands. It all depends on how heavily you want to ensure your travel trailer and protect your investment.
Just as with your auto policy, it can be wise not to pinch pennies and opt for the lowest level of coverage. If you get into an accident or damages occur you will regret that you did. Thankfully, there are many providers out there so you can look around and hunt down the best deal.
Occasionally, you can find discounts. If you bundle policy’s with one provider you may receive a multi-policy discount. Paying your premium upfront or even paying a higher deductible can save you money too.
Providers of Travel Trailer Insurance
- Geico. One of the most well-known insurance providers for auto coverage, they also insure travel trailers. Geico’s RV insurance includes travel trailers. The coverage options can expand to total loss, contents coverage, vacation liability, emergency expenses, windshield coverage, and recreational medical.
- Progressive. Progressive has great rates and even better low deductibles. They specialize in personalized insurance that can save you money the fewer accidents you have. Their coverage options are extensive and include comprehensive and collision, liability, uninsured/ underinsured motorist, medical payments, roadside assistance, total loss replacement, contents, vacation liability, full timer’s liability, loss assessment, emergency expense coverage, pet injury, and even a special option for those traveling to and in Mexico.
- State Farm. Yet another well known national insurer, State Farm does have travel trailer / RV insurance. They protect against a variety of damages and losses, but the information available on their website is limited. They suggest calling one of their friendly and helpful agents (maybe Jake?) to get a quote.
- USAA. This brand is limited to former or current military members and their families. But if that is you, they are an excellent insurer. The types of trailers they cover may not be extensive as other companies though. If your type is not listed on their website they may source you out.
- Nationwide. Nationwide Mutual Insurance has received high ratings and is well-liked by consumers. They cover bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision, comprehensive, uninsured or underinsured motorist, medical payments, roadside assistance, towing and labor, vacation liability, safety glass replacement and replacement cost, and scheduled personal effects. Additionally, they can offer great discounts if you bundle.
- Farmers. Farmers Insurance, like others, lumps travel trailers with their RV insurance. They provide coverage in many of the forms previously discussed. One unique feature is that they have a great app that makes it easy to submit a claim.
- National Genera A longstanding insurance company, they can provide you with great coverage. Some of their policies can be lumped together with no additional charge. They cover personal belongings, full replacement cost, permanent attachment coverage, complete general liability, and storage savings.
- The Hartford. The Hartford has partnered with AARP, making them the ideal provider for older folks who love to spend their retirement traveling. They offer medical coverage, collision damage, bodily injury, property damage, and more. They suggest calling to talk to a specialist in order to get a quote.
It is clear that travel trailer insurance can be quite specialized. For these reasons securing a policy that goes beyond what is covered by your auto insurance can be extremely helpful in the case of an accident. But owners aren’t the only ones who need to know about insurance.
Renting and Insurance
If you plan to rent you will typically have to put down a deposit, like a down payment, and pay a security deposit. But what you may not realize is that you will also need to cover insurance. Insurance is not optional and is often provided through the listing website on which you found your rental. However, it is also possible to purchase insurance through your automotive insurance coverage.
The coverage options are of course liability, in the case that someone gets injured or their property is damaged. And, limited liability, comprehensive, and collision. These cover accidents and damage incidents that could occur on vacation. Usually, the rental company will cover liability and you must secure the other coverage options yourself.
There are a few different ways in which you can receive insurance for your rental travel trailer. Through your auto policy is one way. This is called an insurance binder and not all companies have these provisions. You can also see if the rental company provides and policies for purchase. Finally, you may need to seek out a third party from which to purchase insurance through.
Purchasing through the rental company might be the easiest option. Sometimes, the owners will allow you to go on their insurance if it is a person to person rental. This will cost a small fee. However, just be sure you are not skimping on insurance coverage. Know your deductible and limits.
If you choose to get a binder, also known as a rider, through your current insurance provider you may save a couple of bucks. Bundling policies often come with a discount. However, as mentioned above this will be a sort of extension of your auto policy. This means damage to the trailer from weather or other random events will not be covered. Neither will the contents. This may be a risky way to go.
Finally, a third party can offer you the most complete level of coverage. It may come at a cost, but when you are towing someone else’s trailer it a great policy can provide you excellent peace of mind.
Choosing the Right Coverage and Provider
Between the insurance providers, the levels of coverage, and any supplemental policies, the variables with choosing the right travel trailer insurance policy are plenty. So what should you think about when you are shopping around?
- Decide if you would rather spend the money and play it safe in the case that you do get in an accident, or save your pennies and hope that no harm comes to you or your trailer.
- Think about supplemental policies or add-ons. Will you be taking a lot of pricey belongings with you? Are you going to a high-risk area, such as where severe weather is common?
- Get lots of quotes. Definitely, shop around and get quotes from many different insurance agencies.
- Compare prices. Once you have all of your quotes take a look at which one will provide the perfect amount of coverage for just the right price.
The bottom line is insurance coverage is all about how much risk you want to take with your travel trailer. You can certainly just operate it under an extension of your auto insurance policy, but if you get in an accident or the trailer sustains any damage, you may be out of luck. That is why it is advisable to secure a separate travel trailer insurance policy to protect your investment.