If home is where you tow it, be sure to insure your investment.
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Because a travel trailer does not inhabit a fixed location and does not have a motor, it doesn’t fall into a specific insurance category such as homeowners, auto, or even RV insurance. Insurance companies typically sell policies specifically targeted to sets of risks associated with the product. Anytime there is a unique aspect to the property insured, a company will create a distinct product class for it.
Let’s explore the finer points of travel trailer insurance, including ways to save.
Your auto policy will typically extend to your trailer when you are pulling it — but only for liability and provides no coverage to your actual trailer. Meaning, an auto policy alone will only cover damage your trailer causes to other people and their property.
Depending on the kind of travel trailer insurance you choose, it can extend past basic liability to cover the gaps left by your home and auto policies. Your home or renters policies provide coverage for your personal belongings that are kept outside of your home (such as a travel trailer), but at a fraction of your coverage limit (usually 5 to 10% less). This amount of coverage is simply insufficient if you have any valuable belongings stored in your trailer.
Moreover, travel trailer insurance offers physical coverage much like an auto insurance policy. Without this coverage, you would be forced to pay for the damages yourself in the event of an accident.
Now that we discussed why it’s important to have travel trailer insurance, let’s break down what is covered.
As previously mentioned, your auto policy's liability coverage is extended to your travel trailer when you are towing it. However, if you live full-time in your travel trailer or use it quite a bit, you should consider some additional liability coverage that is above your original auto coverage.
Comprehensive coverage — usually not covered by a typical policy — covers damages to your travel trailer that occur as a result of:
Again, like your auto coverage, collision covers your travel trailer in the event it is damaged by in traffic accident.
Although travel trailer insurance is in some ways similar to homeowners or auto insurance, some items that are commonly excluded from these coverages are covered by travel trailer policies. Damages resulting from flood — usually excluded by a homeowners policy — is covered by comprehensive coverage. Personal belongings, which are excluded from auto insurance coverage, can be covered by your travel insurance.
Some things may not be covered by a typical travel trailer insurance policy:
If you spend a significant amount of your time in your travel trailer or own one that is particularly valuable, you should consider some additional coverage.
If you have expensive equipment or in general valuable items in your travel trailer, you should consider additional insurance to cover your contents. Usually, you'll be able to set the amount of personal property coverage you would like.
If you live in your travel trailer full time, you should consider if you need something closer to a homeowners policy, with increased liability or medical payments to others.
The name pretty much sums up this coverage, which is useful if you have an expensive travel trailer. While it varies by company, this coverage will replace your totaled travel trailer with a model that is within five years' age of yours.
If a travel trailer is damaged to the point of being unlivable, this coverage will pay for your additional living expenses if you are more than a certain amount away from your home.
The distance for which you will be covered depends on your company and your policy.
The cost of travel insurance is highly variable — depending on the type of trailer you have as well as what coverage options you choose. Still, there are some general guidelines we can outline.
If you get your travel trailer insurance from the same company as your auto policy, you can expect a multi-policy discount.
If you’re worried about the increased cost of coverage for your camper, consider the relationship between your deductible and your premium. If you raise your deductible, i.e., what you pay in your claim payout, you lower your premium.
If you can afford to do so, paying your premium upfront can save you money. Typically, your insurance company will refer to this discount as a "paid in full" discount.
Below are major companies that sell comprehensive travel trailer insurance policies. Speak with an insurance agent or contact one of these companies to get insurance quotes for your trailer.