I own a small boat but don’t live on a lake. When I want to use my boat, I drive it to the public access. What happens if I get into an accident while I’m driving with my trailer? Will my car insurance cover it?
Your car insurance will usually provide liability coverage for your boat trailer or any other trailer you might use. That means that if you cause damage to another person, or vehicle, or to property, your car insurance will pay for that damage.
However, car insurance rarely covers any damage done to your trailer. That means that if it gets damaged or stolen, if you don’t have special boat insurance or trailer insurance, you’ll need to pay to repair or replace it yourself.
I just bought a boat and I’m planning to buy boat insurance. Do I need special insurance for the trailer?
Not necessarily! You may be able to add coverage for your trailer to your boat insurance policy for a small additional cost. Most insurance companies offer this option with their boat insurance.
Other options for insuring your boat trailer include:
It may seem weird that your homeowners or renters insurance would cover your boat trailer. But if you store your boat trailer at your home, it can be considered part of the property that’s insured under those policies.
Just to be sure, though, you should check with your independent insurance agent to verify that it’s covered. If it’s not, you can talk to them about buying a special trailer insurance policy just for your boat trailer. Trailer insurance is usually very cheap.
I’m not sure if insuring my boat trailer is worth it. What’s the risk of not having it? How much would I have to pay?
You could be stuck paying for the entire value of the trailer, or maybe even more if you get into a nasty accident. Your car insurance will probably pay for any liability due to your trailer if you hurt people or property in an accident—but that’s only true up to the limit of your liability insurance.
A limit is what it sounds like: it’s the limit of what your car insurance will pay out. For liability insurance, the limit is usually pretty high, from $10,000 on the low end up to $50,000 or $100,000. That’s so there’s enough to pay for medical bills and other expensive damage.
But if you get into a really nasty accident with your boat trailer, the cost could go much higher. Then you’d be stuck paying the money above and beyond your limit out of pocket.
And that’s just what you’d owe for liability. Car insurance does not cover the cost of repairing or replacing your boat trailer if it’s stolen or if there’s an accident. You need coverage from a boat insurance policy, trailer insurance policy, or from your homeowners or renters insurance for that.
I’m planning to buy a boat soon. How much should I be budgeting for insurance for the trailer?
The cost of insurance for your boat trailer will depend on the value of the trailer. It also will depend on whether you bundle the insurance with something else.
A small trailer used to haul a boat used in a calm lake will be cheapest to insure. Larger trailers for oceangoing boats will be more expensive. If your trailer is brand new or has any special features, that will also drive up the cost.
If you add coverage for your boat trailer to your boat insurance policy, the cost should be very low, less than a few hundred dollars per year. If you buy a separate trailer policy, it could be slightly more expensive. You can work with an independent insurance agent to find discounts.
Good luck! Enjoy your new boat. Hopefully you’ll never have to use your boat trailer insurance. But if you do, you’ll be glad you took the time to sort it out before something went wrong.