What States Require Trailer Insurance? #1

Posted by

It’s interesting to know that 73% of Americans own a trailer of some form, whether it is a boat hauler or a cargo carrier. However, 62% of them think all states require trailer insurance, leading to the popular question “What states require trailer insurance?”.

Understanding your trailer insurance coverage is crucial for responsible trailer ownership as it offers coverage for property damage, theft, and medical bills caused by your trailer in an accident.

This article will bring about clarity as it goes deep into the legal landscape thereby uncovering your questions and offering workable guidelines you need to know to stay safe on the road.

What States Require Trailer Insurance In The US?

Safely, most states except for New Hampshire and Virginia require liability coverage for all vehicles including trailers that are attached to your car. This doesn’t guarantee complete protection for your trailer itself.

This means you must have insurance that covers damage you cause to others with your trailer, including property damage and bodily injury. However, your existing car insurance policy may already cover your trailer to some extent. This coverage typically applies to trailers below a certain weight limit (often 2,500 pounds) and size.

Check this out: Auto Insurance Transport Requirements

Nevertheless, the types of trailer insurance offer various coverage options for your protection needs and they are.

9 States That Require Specific Trailer Insurance Requirements.

Here are a few states in the US that have specific requirements for trailer insurance, mainly based on weight or trailer type:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • New York

Here’s a breakdown of some of them:

  1. Delaware: Trailers over 3,000 lbs. Liability insurance with minimum limits of $25,000/$50,000/$25,000.
  2. Kansas: Trailers over 2,500 lbs. Liability insurance with minimum limits of $25,000/$50,000/$25,000.
  3. Kentucky:  Trailers over 3,000 lbs. Liability insurance with minimum limits of $25,000/$50,000/$25,000.
  4. Maryland: Trailers over 3,000 lbs. and certain commercial trailers. | Liability insurance with minimum limits of $25,000/$50,000/$25,000.
  5. Massachusetts: Recreational trailers and certain commercial trailers. | Varies depending on trailer type and weight. Check with the Massachusetts RMV for details.
  6. Montana: Recreational trailers over 6,000 lbs. Liability insurance with minimum limits of $25,000/$50,000/$25,000
  7. New York: Trailers over 3,000 lbs. and certain commercial trailers. Liability insurance with minimum limits of $25,000.

You may love to see this: Do Trailers Need Insurance In Texas?

General Requirements For Trailers:

Below is a comprehensive overview of the general requirements for trailers in the US:

Federal Regulations:

The Department of Transportation (DOT) sets overall safety standards for trailers through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These cover areas like:

  • Brakes: All trailers with brakes must have breakaway systems that automatically apply brakes if detached from the towing vehicle. Specific stopping distances and brake performance requirements are defined.
  • Lighting and reflectors: Reflectors and specific lighting configurations are mandated for different trailer types and sizes, ensuring visibility on the road.
  • Tires and wheels: Minimum tread depth and load capacity requirements are set for tires, along with wheel attachment and securement regulations.
  • Cargo securement: Cargo must be properly secured to prevent shifting and potential hazards during transport. Specific tie-down and blocking practices are outlined.
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): All trailers manufactured after 1981 must have a unique 17-character VIN for identification and registration.
  • Conspicuity: Reflective tape and markings are required on specific areas of trailers to enhance visibility, especially at night.

Additional Regulations:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): Establishes safety standards for trailers used for specific purposes, like recreational vehicles or hazardous materials transport.
  • Individual States: May have additional regulations beyond federal requirements, like trailer size and weight limits, which permit processes, and safety inspections.

However, this is a general overview, and specific requirements might differ depending on the trailer type, size, weight, and intended use. Always consult the relevant federal, state, and local regulations for accurate and up-to-date information.

Read this: Do You Need Insurance on a Dump Trailer?

Risks Of Not Having Trailer Insurance

 Below are some risks you face for not having trailer insurance coverage:

#1. Financial Risks:

  • Repair or replacement costs:

Without insurance, you will be entirely responsible for repairing or replacing your trailer if it’s damaged in an accident, suffers vandalism, or is stolen. Depending on the trailer’s size and value, these costs can be significant, ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.

  • Liability claims:

If your trailer causes damage or injury to others while on the road or parked, you will have to cover the damage costs. These can include medical bills, property damage, and lost wages, which have the potential to exceed your financial capabilities.

#2. Legal Risks:

  • Driving without insurance:

In many areas, it’s illegal to operate a trailer without minimum liability insurance. It can result in fines, license suspension, or even impoundment of your trailer when discovered.

  • Lawsuits:

If you’re involved in an accident and are deemed at fault, the injured party can sue you directly for their damages. This could lead to financial hardship and even bankruptcy.

Types of Trailer Insurance You Can Consider In Your State

Here are the types of trailer insurance you can consider:

  • Liability coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Cargo coverage
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
  • Liability coverage

This type of coverage is essential for your trailer as it covers expenses arising from property damage or bodily injury caused by you to others while towing your utility trailer.

1. Collision coverage:

If your trailer is damaged in the case of a fender bender this policy pays for repairs on your trailer regardless of who is at fault.

2. Comprehensive coverage:

This is the largest level of coverage a trailer owner can have in the United States. It protects your trailer against theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and other non-collision events regardless of who is at fault.

3. Cargo coverage:

This is also known as contents insurance provides insurance for the belongings you’re transporting in your trailer, thereby offering financial compensation if they’re damaged, stolen, or lost.

4. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage:

This protects you if an accident occurs due to a driver without insurance or with insufficient coverage to pay for all the damages. It ensures you’re not left financially responsible for repairs or injuries caused by the other party.

Optional coverages that can further enhance your protection:

  • Roadside assistance: This insurance provides support for flat tires, lockouts, and other roadside emergencies.
  • Medical payments: These cover medical expenses for you and your passengers if injured in an accident while using your trailer.

Read Also: Do You Need Insurance on a Utility Trailer?

10 Types of Trailers Covered by Trailer Insurance

Common types of trailers covered by trailer insurance include:

  • Utility Trailers
  • Cargo Trailers
  • Flatbed Trailers
  • Travel Trailers
  • Semi-Trailers
  • Auto Hauler Trailers
  • Concession Trailers
  • Refrigerated Trailers
  • Tank Trailers
  • Livestock Trailers

#1. Utility Trailers:

Utility trailers are typically open-air trailers that allow you to transport other vehicles, such as boats, ATVs, or snowmobiles. They are also known as general-purpose trailers ## What States Require Trailer Insurance in the US?

#2. Cargo Trailers:

Cargo trailers may be similar to utility trailers in size but are hard-walled and fully enclosed. They typically have a set of doors on the back that allow you to access the interior and load the cargo. U-haul trailers are an example of cargo trailers.

#3. Flatbed Trailers:

Flatbed trailers are typically used to move other vehicles or heavy cargo. They have a flat deck that is used to transport large, heavy, oversized cargo such as construction equipment, vehicles, and machinery.

These trailers often have no side or back rails, making loading and unloading cargo easy. Common use cases include machinery, vehicles, construction equipment, or goods stored on pallets or skids.

#4. Travel Trailers:

Travel trailers, also called recreational vehicles, include amenities such as sleeping quarters, kitchens, and bathrooms. Several popular types of travel trailers are covered under trailer insurance, including conventional trailers, pop-up trailers, and fifth wheels.

#5. Semi-Trailers:

These are large trailers that are attached to a tractor-trailer truck. They are used to transport a wide variety of cargo, including goods, materials, and vehicles.

#6. Auto Hauler Trailers:

These are trailers that are specifically designed to transport vehicles. They typically have a deck that is lower than the bed of a pickup truck, which allows vehicles to be loaded and unloaded more easily.

#7. Concession Trailers:

These are trailers that are used to sell food and drinks at events, such as fairs, festivals, and sporting events. They come in a variety of sizes and styles and can be equipped with kitchens, refrigerators, and other features.

#8. Refrigerated Trailers:

These are trailers that are equipped with refrigeration units to keep cargo cold. They are used to transport perishable goods, such as food, medicine, and flowers.

What States Require Trailer Insurance? - Refrigerate
Most states except for New Hampshire and Virginia require liability coverage for all vehicles including trailers that are attached to your car.

#9. Tank Trailers:

These are trailers that are used to transport liquids, such as gasoline, oil, and chemicals. They are typically made of steel or aluminum and are equipped with safety features to prevent leaks and spills.

#10. Livestock Trailers:

These are trailers that are used to transport animals, such as cows, horses, and pigs. They are typically equipped with ramps, stalls, and other features to keep the animals safe and comfortable during transport.

States with No Trailer Insurance Requirement:

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) US, trailer insurance is not mandatory for non-commercial use. However, a certain amount of liability coverage is attached to your trailer when towed legally. That is to say, if there is an unexpected accident while towing, your liability insurance handles your coverage.

However, most states in the US do not require separate insurance for trailers, with some key exceptions. In these states, your existing auto insurance policy usually extends liability coverage to your trailer when attached and towed by your insured vehicle.

Here are a few points you must note regarding the states that don’t require trailer insurance:

  • Weight limits: Insurance coverage often applies to trailers under a specific weight, typically ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 pounds. Exceeding this limit might necessitate separate insurance.
  • Trailer types: Certain trailers, like commercial trailers, recreational vehicles, or those carrying hazardous materials, might require independent insurance regardless of weight.
  • Limited coverage: Liability coverage typically covers damage caused to others if you’re at fault in an accident, but it might not cover damage to your own trailer or its contents.

Additional Considerations for Trailer Owners in The United States

1. Trailer weight and size:

  • Impact on requirements: Heavier and larger trailers often fall under different regulations and might require specific insurance coverage beyond your car policy. Check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for weight limits and corresponding insurance mandates.
  • Impact on costs: Larger and heavier trailers have a higher risk, thereby translating to potentially higher insurance premiums.

2. Commercial vs. personal use:.

  • Commercial use: If you use your trailer for business purposes (transporting goods, rendering services, etc.), separate commercial trailer insurance is mandatory. Personal auto insurance excludes commercial activities.
  • Personal use: Even for personal use, consider additional coverage beyond your vehicle’s policy, especially for valuable trailers or cargo. Standalone trailer insurance offers broader protection.

Some Penalties For Non-compliance To Trailer Requirements

Penalties vary greatly depending on several factors, which include:

  • Specific regulation violated: There are numerous federal and state regulations governing trailers, covering aspects like brakes, lighting, weight limits, cargo securement, and safety equipment. Each regulation carries its own potential penalties.
  • The severity of the violation: Minor infractions might result in warnings or fines, while major violations with safety risks could lead to vehicle impoundment, driver citations, or even criminal charges.
  • Jurisdiction: Each state has its own set of trailer regulations and associated penalties, which can differ from federal regulations.
  • Prior violations: Drivers with a history of non-compliance might face harsher penalties for subsequent offenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h3″ question-0=”What States Require Trailer Insurance In the US?” answer-0=”No state mandates separate trailer insurance for personal use, most require liability coverage for trailers attached to vehicles. However, your existing auto insurance policy often extends liability coverage to your trailer up to certain limits in weight and size. It is paramount to check your policy details and state regulations to understand your specific requirements.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h3″ question-1=”Do I Need Additional Trailer Insurance Beyond My Car Insurance?” answer-1=”Even if your car insurance covers basic trailer liability, consider additional coverage for several reasons such as; the trailer value, physical damage, contents and the specific state weight/size limits.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h3″ question-2=”What Type of Trailer Insurance Should I Consider?” answer-2=”The best insurance to consider depends on your trailer type, usage, and value. This includes; Endorsement on your car insurance which extends existing liability coverage, stand-alone trailer insuranthat ce offers comprehensive coverage for the trailer itself and RV insurance covers both trailer and towing vehicle, it is ideal for frequent use.” image-2=”” headline-3=”h3″ question-3=”How Much Does Trailer Insurance Cost?” answer-3=”Costs vary depending on factors like trailer type, value, coverage options, and your driving record. Generally, expect to pay from $100-$300 annually for basic coverage.” image-3=”” headline-4=”h3″ question-4=”Where Can I Find Trailer Insurance Quotes? ” answer-4=”Many insurance companies offer trailer coverage. Compare quotes from your auto insurer, specialized trailer insurance providers, and online comparison platforms.” image-4=”” count=”5″ html=”true” css_class=””]

Important Recommendations


Trailer Insurance is needed in most states but it is not a mandatory requirement. However, having comprehensive coverage can help in the reduction of your out-of-pocket costs if your trailer gets involved in an accident or breaks down without notice on the road.

To ensure that insurance covers you and your trailer against unforeseen damages, it is expected that you pay a coverage amount of $50- 100 dollars monthly.

Nevertheless, check for your state’s for the sake of specificity as coverage amount and requirements vary independently.

Hope you got value.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *