When Sam was about to leave for a weekend horse show, he discovered his horse trailer had a broken tail light. Realizing that the problem could not be fixed in time, he asked his neighbor, Jo, to borrow his trailer. She has accepted. Within minutes, Sam hitched his truck to Jo’s trailer, unaware that his trailer tongue ball joint and his truck’s hitch ball were not compatible – Jo’s trailer required a ball hitch. wider. Later, while Bill was driving on the freeway, the trailer became detached from his truck, injuring his horses, smashing a fence, injuring motorists and destroying Ann’s trailer.
Lending your trailer may seem like a simple and user-friendly accommodation, but accidents can happen and the risk of civil liability is always present. Insurance issues add to the complexity. Never assume that everyone’s insurance policies protect them against the worst case scenario.
Insurance for towing
Insurance coverage for transport may include:
- Liability coverage. This coverage is important because it protects the driver (subject to the terms of the policy) against claims from injured people who demand payment of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses.
- Collision coverage. This coverage is intended to provide protection against damage that the truck or trailer may suffer as a result of a collision or other type of accident.
- Full coverage. This covers damage to the vehicle, or possibly the trailer, due to anything other than a collision, such as fire, windstorm, hailstorm, vandalism, or theft.
Other auto-related coverages can include coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists, coverage for medical payments, and even coverage for roadside assistance for damaged trailers and towing to a service center. Covers exist to protect owners from damage or loss of personal property, such as horse equipment, in the trailer. Please keep in mind that all policies have requirements, exclusions, conditions, and limitations, and coverage may differ from company to company. Professional carriers need additional coverage.
Damage or loss to the borrowed trailer
Jo and Sam are likely covered by personal auto insurance policies and home liability insurance policies. However, when lending or borrowing a horse trailer from someone else, these blankets may not be enough. Auto insurance policies often have exclusions that to prevent coverage for accidents involving someone else’s trailer. One of the exclusions of an automobile insurance policy states: âThis coverage does not apply to: … or be transported by an insured. In the event of an accident, this exclusion could deny Sam coverage for damage to Jo’s trailer and its contents. Sam’s policy may also contain an exclusion for “property damage rented to, or at the expense of, an insured person. Policies may exclude loss or damage to a “trailer” that is not specifically listed as a planned property item on a policy.
Damage to a horse in the trailer
What if the planks on Jo’s trailer floor rotted and shattered as Sam pulled, injuring his horses? If Sam wants Jo to pay for her horse’s injuries and vet bills, will Jo’s insurance cover her claim? Maybe not. Policy exclusions similar to those discussed above could prevent Jo’s insurer from covering claims involving property damage resulting from a trailer that Jo loaned to someone else.
Damage caused by towing a borrowed trailer
If Jo’s trailer separated from Sam’s truck and hit cars on the road, Sam might expect his own auto insurance policy to protect him from the claims of other motorists. This may not be the case. Some policies exclude certain benefits for bodily injury or property damage “resulting from the ownership, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of motor vehicles or any other means of motorized land transport, including trailers, owned or operated by or leased or loaned to an insured. “
Whether you are lending or borrowing a horse trailer, don’t make any assumptions about your insurance, especially since towing can generate huge losses and liabilities. Plan ahead and stay safe.