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HO Coverage for Camper Trailer

Author: Mike Edwards

Question“We’re a little confused on the liability coverage provided by a 2000 edition ISO Homeowners Policy for a camper trailer while it is parked at a camp site. In looking at the coverage form, it seems that the camp site is an ‘insured location,’ under definition 6.d.: ‘Any part of a premises :(1) Not owned by an "insured"; and (2) Where an "insured" is temporarily residing.

“Would that pick up liability coverage outside the camper, but not inside? Also, since the camper has a tag and is registered, would that bring it under the motor vehicle exclusion?”

Answer?You’ve raised several interesting issues. Let’s look at them one at a time. First, I agree with you that a camp site where the insured has parked a camper trailer could qualify as an “insured location” under definition 6.d,. as you noted. In addition, definition 6.h. would also clearly apply: “Any part of a premise occasionally rented to an "insured" for other than business use.”

As to the issue of coverage “outside” the camper vs. “inside,” I assume you’re distinguishing between an injury that occurs to someone in the camper, contrasted with an injury that happens to someone walking around outside the camper, but not involving contact with the camper itself.

In my view, liability could arise from: (1) "inside the trailer"; (2) "outside the trailer," (as in some defect in the steps, a metal screw sticking out of the siding, etc.); or (3) from the premises ("land") on which the trailer is sitting (premises could be owned, rented or borrowed) - and the accident not be related to the trailer.

Coverage for each of these 3 scenarios, as I see it:

Scenarios (1) and (2): Coverage is found in the HO – so long as the trailer is not hitched to an auto. See further discussion below, regarding the tag and registration issue you raised.

Scenario (3): Of the three scenarios above, this is the only one which is linked to the issue of "insured location." In my view, since liability could arise separately out of the trailer, or out of the “land” on which the trailer is parked, only the claim arising out of the “land” would need to be reviewed in the context of the definition of an “insured location.”

A claim arising solely out of the trailer is merely a trailer claim, and not one that is connected to the camp site itself. In other words, I think there is automatic coverage for the rented camp site premises (such as Lot 5), by virtue of the two parts of the definition of “insured location” discussed above (6.d. and h.).

Regarding the issue you raised about the trailer having a tag and registration, this would only matter in Homeowners Section II if the trailer was hitched to an auto. When a trailer is hitched to an auto, it is considered within the definition of “motor vehicle,” and thus within the “motor vehicle” exclusion.

Excerpt from the Homeowners Policy in question (HO-2000 edition):

SECTION II – EXCLUSIONS

A. "Motor Vehicle Liability"

      1. Coverages E and F do not apply to any "motor vehicle liability" if, at the time and place of an "occurrence", the
          involved "motor vehicle":

              a. Is registered for use on public roads or property;

DEFINITIONS

      7. "Motor vehicle" means:

            a. A self-propelled land or amphibious vehicle; or

            b. Any trailer or semitrailer which is being carried on, towed by or hitched for towing by a vehicle described in
            a. above.

Also, the Personal Auto Policy provides liability coverage for "
the ownership, maintenance or use of any auto or trailer." Note in PAP there is no requirement that the trailer be hitched to an auto, and it doesn't matter if the trailer is owned, rented or borrowed.

By the way, there is an article on the Virtual University titled "
Insuring Trailers - HO or PAP?" which might also be helpful, if you did not see it. Within the short article is a link to a longer article analyzing trailer coverage in both HO and PAP.


​Last Updated:
April 5, 2016​

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