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Before getting into renting out my camper, 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 are wondering – can I tow a friend’s trailer?

travel on car with caravan trailer by highway
welcomia via

In most states, you are legally allowed if you 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 isn’t illegal.

It is still private property so you can use it however you want. Including lending it to friends or family.

Even though your trailer is registered under your name and is meant for your personal use, you can still let someone use it. The only thing that you have to be aware of is if anything happens that involves your trailer, it would still be your responsibility.

Will Your Insurance Still Cover a Trailer In Case of an Accident?

Before you let someone else use your trailer, you have to consider that something that is beyond your control could happen. Like accidents, injuries, and damages to your trailer or someone else’s property. With that, you should know which kind of situation you are going to be able to use your insurance.

When 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 you let 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 trailers insurance and yours.

RV Insurance for a Travel Trailer

An RV is special case because it is 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 the trailer. Or are injured in the trailer. RV insurance will be needed to cover this.

If you are borrowing the travel trailer, you will need to know the type of insurance coverage that the owner has and if it 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 tip.

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 $1M liability plan and can choose 3 levels of RV insurance for your trip. The 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 your 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.

Every Trailer Insurance Policy is Different

The reason it gets complicated is that 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 this is a different case 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?

A travel trailer set up in a dessert like campground

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, its 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 a acquaintance if there is a problem (thats where using a rental platform like Outdoorsy or RVezy comes in).

Towing Experience is a Must

Of course, they have to have the license and have towing experience. This is even required to rent my travel trailer. I ask many questions about someones towing experience before turning over my trailer to them.

Know Where Your Trailer will Be

Additionally, I’d 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 how lend or rent their trailer out regularly will install a GPS unit on the rig.

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, still I’d remind them to, 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 are 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 lend or let your friends/family 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. Surely, your concern now is not only your trailer’s safety but also your friends’. To help you out so you don’t 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. It includes checking the tires and making sure that the brakes and tail lights are all working.

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 properly be working. Basically, I check everything like how I would normally do before my trip.

Ensure that trailer insurance is up-to-date

You know how important insurance on trailers and RVs is. It 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 agents and know what you are covered for.

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’s clean and working 

Although I always keep my trailer clean and tidy, I double-check everything when I know someone’s using it. I drain and refill the water system and I 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 if we share our own personal tips in operating the trailer. Every trailer is different. If there’s anything they need to know you should tell them. If something’s not working as it should or is not in tip-top shape, you should let them know. Don’t forget to leave them 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, just make everything available and ready to use for them. Try to get them familiarized and get them 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.

Final Thoughts

Knowing all these, I would highly discourage lending someone your camper. It’s not being selfish but most of the time, problems can cause more damage to your relationship or friendship than the actual damage left in the trailer. If I was traveling with them then it’s easy. No problem. Let’s take it.

If I am not traveling with them, however, 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 so they’re both safe and I don’t worry too much. I’ll make sure that they have fun with it too.

In addition, I’d like to offer you my wide array of planners and journals. Head over to my Etsy Store and see if anything catches your fancy.

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    Shauna Kocman founder Family Travel Fever
    Shauna Kocman founder of Family Travel Fever

    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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