The weather worsens one stormy night, and a surprise hail storm ravages your property. The next day, you go outside to find your trailer has been damaged. Will your homeowners insurance cover it? It is likely to be covered to some degree, but the complete answer is quite complicated and depends on a variety of factors. Different companies will cover trailers differently, and in addition to that, the extent of coverage might depend on the trailer itself and where the trailer is at the time of damage, which makes the answer to this question a true wildcard. Generally, your trailer will fall under one of two insurance categories, personal property coverage, or other structures coverage.
Your Insurance May Categorize Your Trailer as the Other Structure
Your insurance separates different aspects of your properties into different areas of coverage, typically for the purpose of making sure different parts of your property are guaranteed to get covered. While most causes of damage will be covered the same, sometimes the extent of coverage can change. Other structures is a category that includes structures on your property that aren’t your house and can include things like sheds, fencing, or an unattached garage.
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There is rarely a difference between the coverage of other structures and your house, which is to say that any event that damages your house and is covered by your homeowners insurance, also likely extends to other structures. The difference lies in the extent of coverage, which can change from policy to policy (so your insurance may cover a certain amount of damage for your house, a different, separate amount for your other structure, and so on). It makes sense to put a parked trailer in this category because it is a structure other than your house. Right?
Your Trailer May Instead Be Considered Personal Property
Personal property is another category, similar to other structures. It involves things such as jewelry, electronic appliances, or tools that you may have inside the structures on your property. Unlike with other structures, however, personal property generally has a different set of coverage than the other parts of your insurance, depending on the type of policy that you have.
The difference in how your trailer is categorized can make a big impact on what ends up actually covered. Personal property coverage is generally broken down into subcategories of types of items that have a set amount of coverage. For example, your policy may only cover a specific amount of money for jewelry, as well as a specific amount of money for electronics, and a specific amount of money for tools, etc. Personal property that is motorized, such as tractors or riding lawnmowers, will only be covered if they can go less than 35mph. If your trailer is one that can be driven, then this can play a factor in the coverage.
The Two Most Common Policy Types Cover Personal Property Differently
Adding to the complication, how much compensation you’ll receive, if any at all, can depend on which type of policy you have. Insurances generally offer a variety of different policies with different coverage needs, and the two most common for homeowners are HO-3 and HO-5. The major difference between them lies in the perils covered, and the extent of coverage for damage done.
A peril is any event that can cause damage to your property. Insurance companies define policies in terms of perils that are covered and those that are uncovered, with claims only being accepted if the peril is considered covered. With an HO-3, your property will generally be covered against all perils, except for a list of specifically named perils. This is true for everything except your personal property, which has its own explicit list of covered perils. An HO-5, on the other hand, will cover your personal property in the same way it does for your house, covering all perils except for a specified list. It will also cover a larger amount of money for your personal property, making it more attractive if you own particularly expensive items.
The problem with trailers is that they occupy multiple different areas that typically have separate insurance policies: automobiles and your property. As a result, the coverage offered can be lackluster, and not protective against likely threats to your trailer. You should review your policy to figure out whether or not a trailer is covered, and how it is covered, and if necessary purchase additional insurance to cover your specific needs.