We have all seen that vehicle on the road, towing a trailer with no plates, broken lights and cargo that appears ready to fly off as soon as it encounters a big gust of wind. From afar you can tell that it is an accident waiting to happen.
You are not that person. But you want to make sure that you have adequate insurance policies in place to protect yourself from that person.
With the arrival of vacation, cottage and horse show season in Southwestern Ontario, this may be a good time for you to review your insurance policies with your broker. This guide will provide you with a primer on what you need to consider when purchasing an insurance policy for items that you tow; whether boat trailers, live in trailers, recreational vehicles, horse trailers or your standard utility trailer. Keep yourself safe on the road. Make sure you have the required insurance – with adequate policy limits – to protect yourself and your family in case of serious and permanent personal injury.
Most car insurance policies will provide protection for any harm or damage you may cause to other people or property. If you injure someone else or their property while your trailer is in transit, your insurance company will step in to pay for their losses. This does not mean that they will cover you for damage to your trailer or the contents of your trailer. If you typically tow low value goods and can afford to replace your trailer if damaged this basic policy may be sufficient. Before towing check with your broker to make sure that your auto insurance policy provides coverage for trailers attached to your vehicle.
While your basic liability policy will probably provide protection for damage that could occur to other vehicles or people involved in a collision, it will typically not cover property damage to the trailer you are towing or its contents. You may want to consider purchasing additional insurance in case your trailer and its contents are damaged. Trailer insurance is often an “add on” to either your auto insurance policy or your home insurance policy. Speak with your broker to ensure you understand your coverage.
Recreational Vehicles and Live In Trailers
If you require coverage for items inside your RV or ‘live-in’ trailer, you should purchase additional insurance as part of your property insurance. This would extend your home insurance coverage to include the contents of your ‘live in’ trailer. You would be protected if anything inside your trailer was damaged or even stolen.
A more comprehensive option for recreational vehicles is to purchase a separate RV and trailer insurance policy. This type of policy protects the contents within your RV and can be customized to cover the replacement value of your unit.
Boat insurance policies often include trailer coverage as part of the policy. If that is available to you and is sufficient to cover the value of your boat and trailer, additional coverage for your trailer may not be required.
Horses and Horse Trailers
For horse trailers, trailer insurance can often be added through your horse insurance policy. General group insurance policies, such as that offered by the Ontario Equestrian Federation, can provide liability coverage for the care, custody and control of non-owned horses. This will protect you if you are transporting horses owned by someone else and a car accident occurs. This coverage does not protect the value of your horse trailer and will not provide coverage in commercial situations (i.e. you are being paid to transport a horse) or for your own horses.
To protect your own horses, you should consider purchasing an additional insurance policy in the form of horse mortality (or horse life) insurance. Horse mortality insurance can be bundled with medical and/or surgical coverage that would then pay for medical expenses you could incur if a trailer accident occurs. Specialty horse insurance brokers can customize a plan suitable to your needs.
Ensure that you have considered additional coverage for the replacement value of your horse trailer if it is damaged.
Consider the worst case scenario
Reviewing your insurance coverage ensures you are prepared should a collision or mishap occur. Accidents can and do happen, statistically often very close to home. The tragic trailer accident recently suffered by Michael Pollard has brought the issue of insurance to the minds of many in the horse community.
Be prepared with a first aid kit and the basic mechanical tools needed to make minor repairs. Make sure you understand your insurance coverage for all your towing situations. Make sure your loved ones are covered with sufficient accident benefits coverage ($100,000 for medical rehabilitation benefits, not the post-September 2010 $50,000 limits). You owe it to yourself and your family to have a frank discussion with your insurance broker to make sure you are all protected in case of a car accident causing personal injury.
If you are involved in a car accident or have suffered serious personal injury because of another person’s negligence, discuss your situation with a lawyer. I can make sure that your legal rights are protected and answer your questions regarding catastrophic injuries, property damage, lost wages or other pressing issues you may have.
Contact Anna Szczurko at (519) 660 – 7784 or send an email to [email protected] to discuss your situation free of charge.