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Before I began renting out my camper for profit, I would lend my trailer for friends to use. Have you ever been in a situation where someone asked if they could borrow your trailer? Is it even legal to lend a trailer? What could be the problem if you decide to let them borrow your trailer?
Can I let someone borrow my trailer?
In most states, you are generally allowed to let your friends and family borrow your trailer. However, since the trailer’s license is registered under your name, you may be responsible and liable in some situations or in case of damages and accidents.
Deciding whether or not to let someone borrow your trailer depends on several things that you should consider.
Or maybe you are the one who wants to borrow a trailer. You may be wondering – can I tow a friend’s trailer?
For other questions regarding towing a trailer, check out these blogs:
- Can I Tow a Car With a Rental RV? (& Your Alternative Option)
- 15 Essential Accessories for Towing a Travel Trailer
- Towing Capacity Guide (Without Trailer Brakes)
Is It Legal to Let Someone Borrow Your Trailer?
In most states, you are legally allowed to let someone borrow your trailer. As long as you are not renting it out without a commercial license and you are not receiving rent or any payment for letting them drive it, then it is legal.
Your trailer is considered private property so you can use it however you want; that includes lending it to friends or family.
Although your trailer is registered under your name and is meant for your personal use, you can still let someone use it. However, if anything happens that involves your trailer, it is still be your responsibility.
Will Insurance Cover a Borrowed Trailer in an Accident?
Before you let someone else use your trailer, you have to consider that something beyond your control could happen. This could include accidents, injuries, and damages – both to your trailer or someone else’s property. With that, you should know which kinds of situations your insurance will cover.
If you are hauling someone else’s trailer you also want to make sure you are covered.
Here are a few things that you should look into before letting someone borrow your trailer:
Property Insurance Vs. Liability Insurance
First, there’s a difference between property insurance and liability insurance. Property insurance covers loss or damage to the insured property which, in this case, is your trailer. Liability insurance, on the other hand, covers accidents that cause injury or damage to another person or someone’s property.
These two are distinct and may be separate so it’s best to check with your insurance agent beforehand if you have them in your current policy.
Personal Liability Insurance on the Tow Vehicle
In general, most insurance companies provide liability insurance that covers both the tow vehicle and the trailer. Therefore, the insurance for whoever is towing the vehicle should cover the cost of damages to other property in the event of an accident. The driver of the tow vehicle could be sued.
Before loaning out your trailer make sure that your friend’s liability insurance on the tow vehicle covers a trailer. Remember that this insurance applies while the trailer is being towed.
Commercial/ Personal Liability
If you are renting a trailer or borrowing a trailer that is part of a business, the company will have commercial liability on the trailer. If an accident were to occur, the commercial liability would cover the damages.
When renting a travel trailer, you can choose to add this on as an additional cost.
Supplemental Trailer Insurance
The contents inside the trailer and any use of the trailer when it is parked is not covered by liability insurance. Instead, the trailer and anything inside will need to be covered by supplemental trailer insurance. Expensive trailers and anything that is expensive inside such as 4 wheelers, snow mobiles, race cars, or horses should be covered by supplemental insurance.
The owner of the trailer will generally carry supplemental insurance. However, the policy may not transfer to another driver and tow vehicle. So if you are borrowing a trailer you will need to contact both the owner of the trailer’s insurance and yours.
Wondering how to get affordable insurance for your RV? Find out here:
RV Insurance for a Travel Trailer
An RV is a special case as it’s both a trailer and living quarters. In general, liability during towing will be with the vehicle pulling the trailer. However, the contents of the trailer and accidents related to living inside will not be covered. RV insurance (like homeowners insurance) is needed to cover items inside the RV or accidents that happen.
Say, for example, that you borrow a travel trailer and you break something inside or are injured in the trailer. RV insurance will be needed to cover this.
If you are borrowing a travel trailer, you will need to know the type of insurance coverage that the owner has and if it’s transferable while someone else is using the trailer. You should check with your insurance company about purchasing a binder on your car insurance for the duration of your trip.
This additional RV insurance will give you peace of mind in case an accident or damage happens while you are borrowing the trailer. RVs can be very expensive to fix.
If you choose to rent a trailer through Outdoorsy you will be covered by a $1M liability plan and can choose 3 levels of RV insurance for your trip. This additional insurance is a good reason to use Outdoorsy or RVezy.
Pro tip: If you are the owner of the trailer, you can take advantage of the insurance by signing up and renting your trailer to a friend. You set the price and they pay the insurance. If it works out, you can start making money renting out your travel trailer to others. Seriously, people make up to $50,000 a year renting their RVs.
See how much you can make on your travel trailer here on Outdoorsy.
If you think you want to out your RV, read How to Make Money Renting Out Your RV (The Smart Way) to find out how.
Every Trailer Insurance Policy is Different
It gets complicated because every insurance policy is different. Generally, your primary truck insurance extends to your trailer while you are towing it. Given, of course, that you own both of them.
But, when borrowing a trailer, this changes since the towing car’s insurance does not have the trailer listed in their policy. The towing car’s insurance may, in some policies, cover some of the liabilities. It is important that you are aware that you may share some of these responsibilities.
Can I Lend My RV to a Friend?
In general, you can legally lend your RV to a friend. However, RVs are very expensive to buy and fix. You will need to verify insurance coverage for both the lender and the borrower.
Who you want to allow to borrow your RV is a matter of personal choice. I let close friends borrow my travel trailer. Based on that experience, I started renting it out. You can read more about my experience renting my RV here.
Who Should You Allow To Borrow Your Trailer?
Of course it’s totally normal to be wary of who you can entrust your trailer with. Just like a home, it’s personal – so declining someone’s request to borrow your trailer should totally be understandable to the other party with no hard feelings. As much as that is true, it’s not always the case (especially with some pushy friends).
I am also open to letting another person use my camper when I am not using it; but this is limited to a handful of people.
Lend a Trailer to a Trusted Friend or Family
When letting someone borrow my trailer, it has to be either a trusted friend or family. I don’t want to be dealing with an acquaintance if there is a problem (that’s where using a rental platform like Outdoorsy or RVezy comes in handy).
Towing Experience is a Must
Of course, they have to have a valid license and have towing experience. This is even required to rent my travel trailer. I ask many questions about someone’s towing experience before turning over my trailer to them.
Know Where Your Trailer Will Be
Additionally, I also like to know where they’re traveling and that I am confident they know how to operate it in that terrain. I am just more at peace when I know this. So, I think you should ask them beforehand as well.
Some people who lend or rent their trailer out regularly will install a GPS unit on the rig in order to be able to track it, if necessary.
Lend Only to Responsible People
This seems to go without saying, but you want to know that the person borrowing your trailer is responsible. Although I can’t expect them to take care of my stuff as I do, I’d still ask that they at least treat it like it’s their own. I should fully trust that the person is responsible enough to do this.
Lastly, the person has to acknowledge that he will take full responsibility for my trailer or at least assure me that in case anything happens, we share the burden.
In short, you should accept the risk that there could be problems while your RV is with them and you must be fully OK with that, even to the extent of taking on some of the liabilities yourself.
What To Do Before Letting Someone Borrow Your Trailer?
When you decide to let someone borrow your trailer, it becomes your duty to not only give them an enjoyable experience but also to make sure that they will be safe during their entire trip. Your concern now is not only your trailer’s safety but also that of your family and friends. To help you not worry too much, here are some tips to keep everything in check before they hit the road.
Perform a Full Safety Check of the Trailer
First things first, perform a full safety check of the trailer. This should include checking the tires and making sure that the brakes and tail lights are all working properly.
I have lent my trailer and just a hundred miles down the road a friend had to replace the tires.
Batteries should be fully charged and the water system should be working properly. Basically, I check everything as I normally do before heading out on a trip of my own.
Ensure That Trailer Insurance is Up-To-Date
We’ve discussed how important it is to have proper insurance for trailers and RVs. This is especially true in situations like this, so it’s best to ensure that your insurance policy is up-to-date as well as the towing car’s insurance. I would highly suggest that you speak to your insurance agent and know what your specific policy covers.
The person borrowing the travel trailer may need to get a binder on their insurance for additional RV coverage while they have the trailer.
Make Sure Everything is Clean and Working
Although I always keep my trailer clean and tidy, I double-check everything when I know someone else will be using it. I drain and refill the water system and check for any leaks. I also make sure that all appliances are working so I can let them know if there’s anything they should bring before their trip.
Share Everything They Need to Know About Your Trailer
It’s best to share your personal tips for operating your trailer. Every trailer is different. If there’s anything you think they should know, no matter how menial, tell them. If something’s not working as it should or is not in tip-top shape, they should know. Don’t forget to leave them necessary tools in case there’s any problem. The information you share with them is not only for the safety of your trailer but for their safety as well.
Make sure they have a good time
Lastly, make sure that everything is available and ready for them to use. Try to get them familiarized and comfortable in the camper ahead of time. Once done with all the precautionary steps and reminders, it’s best you make them feel at home. They should, at least, feel that you trust them and that you don’t worry too much.
For tips and suggestions on routine maintenance to keep your RV in top shape for you and your guests, browse some of our other posts:
- Should You Balance and Rotate Your RV Tires?
- RV AC Fan Troubleshooting Guide
- How Long Do RV Rubber Roofs Last? (+ 7 Maintenance Tips)
Now, with all of that said, I actually highly discourage lending someone your camper. This is not for selfish reasons. Instead, most of the time, any problems that arise during their use of your rig can cause more damage to your relationship or friendship than the actual damage to the trailer. If I was traveling with them, though, then it’s easy. No problem – let’s take it.
However, if I am not traveling with them, it depends. In most cases, it’s a no-go for me. I would try to respectfully turn down their request and hope there are no bad feelings. I think that’s far better than causing strain in your relationship.
But on rare occasions, I might let them borrow my trailer. I would limit it to very few trusted friends and family, though. When I do, I have my own checklist to follow to ensure their safety and my own peace of mind. I’ll make sure that they have fun with it, too.
Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever. We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug! I take the kids by myself because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.
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