Does Van Insurance Cover Trailers?
Caeva O'Callaghan | May 17th, 2023
Using a trailer is often a part of van ownership. But will your van insurance cover what you tow?
Yes, but only when they are attached to your van or any other insured vehicle.
Your trailer is automatically covered when hitched onto another insured vehicle. However, if you’d like to insure your trailer separately, you can add it onto your vehicle policy.
In this article, we’ll go over the following questions:
- Is my trailer insured under my van insurance policy?
- Do I need car insurance for my trailer?
- How do I stay safe while towing a trailer?
When you tow a trailer you change the level of risk associated with driving your vehicle, so read on to make sure you’re fully covered in case something happens.
Is my trailer insured under my van insurance policy?
As long as it’s attached to your vehicle, then yes. Normally when you buy van or commercial vehicle insurance, your provider will include attachments as standard. This is because they expect you to tow trailers and other attachments as part of the activities you need a van for.
This kind of cover is called Unspecified Third Party Trailer cover, and it is automatically included on the policy once you have noted your commercial vehicle or vehicles to be insured.
But while it’s useful to know your trailer is covered in this way without you having to lift a finger, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you choose this method you will only get TPO cover, or third party only. This means your trailer will not be covered in the event of accidental damage. You will be covered, however, if your trailer damages someone else’s property or their person.
Horseboxes count as trailers with most insurance providers: of course, it’s best to check with your insurance provider to be sure.
Please note that this type of automatic trailer cover only applies when your trailer or horsebox is attached to the vehicle. For example, if you do not store your trailer properly while it is not in use and it rolls down your driveway and hits another car, you won’t be insured.
Do I need car insurance for my trailer?
No, not if you’re happy with third party only (TPO) insurance. It’s perfectly legal to tow a trailer on the road, provided that the vehicle you are driving has third party only coverage or higher. However, if you’d prefer to insure your trailer separately, this can come with many more benefits.
If you add attachment coverage to your policy, you can get accidental damage, fire and theft cover for your trailer under your van insurance. You can add a trailer to your van insurance policy at any time – it doesn’t have to be added at the buying or renewal stage. All you need to do is phone up your insurance provider and let them know.
When you insure your trailer separately, that will mean it’s covered whilst attached and detached from your van. Of course, the policyholder must have the correct licence to tow the trailer in question, and usually only standard trailers will be considered.
Standard types usually include small “A frame” trailers designed to tow additional luggage, small cars or small boats – but if you plan on towing anything larger, it’s best to consult your insurance provider to get a more accurate estimate.
Finally, your trailer must be owned by the policyholder and you must store it in a safe place with a suitable locking device in order for any claims to be valid.
How do I stay safe while towing a trailer?
Towing a trailer comes with many more risks than associated with just driving a van. When you attach anything to your vehicle that doesn’t have its own power or steering, there’s more chance things could go wrong.
Before you start towing, the first thing you should do is make sure the trailer is attached properly. Follow the manufacturer’s advice to ensure it is correctly coupled to the towball or pin. You should also make sure the coupling height is correct.
Cables should never be worn or damaged, and there should be enough slack in the cable so that it does not accidentally apply the brakes but not so much that the cable drags on the ground when you’re driving.
Check the tyres on the trailer like you would your vehicle: take a note of the tread depth, check for cuts or bulges, and ensure they’re inflated properly before you get on the road.
Finally, while you load up, make sure all the weight is distributed evenly and is secured properly to avoid accidents on the road and damage to whatever you’re hauling.