Do I Need Trailer Insurance in Michigan? What You Need to Know
July 15, 2019
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you know Michigan is the ideal place for summer adventures. You may have a favorite campground or inland lake, or maybe you prefer discovering new locales. Either way, before heading out with your camper or boat in tow, you may be wondering: Do I need trailer insurance in Michigan? Here is what state law says about insuring your trailer.
Do I need trailer insurance in Michigan?
This depends on what kind of trailer you have. According to the Michigan Insurance Code (MCL 500.3101), all motor vehicles must be covered by a no-fault policy. Therefore, you have to know whether your trailer is considered a motor vehicle under Michigan no-fault law.
Here’s the legal definition:
A vehicle, including a trailer, that is operated or designed for operation on a public highway by power other than muscular power and has more than 2 wheels.
The following vehicles are not considered motor vehicles under no-fault law:
- Trailers with 2 wheels or less
- Farm tractors or other farming vehicles not subject to the registration requirements of the Michigan Vehicle Code
- ORVs (off-road vehicles such as motor-driven RVs)
- Golf carts
- Power-driven mobility devices
- Commercial quadricycles
- Electric bicycles
Accordingly, if you are towing a 2-wheel trailer, you are not legally required to insure it. You must have a Michigan no-fault policy for trailers with 3 or more wheels, including travel trailers and tractor-trailers.
Should I insure my 2-wheel trailer even if it’s not required by law?
Unfortunately, accidents happen, especially during the summer months when more travelers are on the road. Therefore, it’s a good idea to insure your trailer even when it’s not legally required.
At the least, you should consider basic liability coverage. This covers you if someone is injured or their property is damaged by your trailer.
In addition, you may want comprehensive coverage, including replacement coverage, in case your trailer is damaged. This insurance usually covers storms, theft and vandalism, in addition to accident-related damage.
Trailer insurance costs are based on several considerations. Factors include the trailer’s value and size, driver’s age and history, and how often the trailer is used.
What if my trailer is damaged in an accident?
If your trailer is considered a motor vehicle (3 wheels or more), then it should be covered under the no-fault policy required by Michigan law. In that case, you can recover some of the repair costs by filing a “mini tort” claim against the at-fault driver. These claims are currently capped at $1,000 per incident. However, after July 1, 2020, the limit for mini tort claims will be increased to $3,000.
If you were at fault, or your trailer is not insured, you will be responsible for any repair costs unless you have purchased optional collision coverage (see above).
Does the no-fault policy on my trailer cover the contents?
No. However, you may have other insurance policies covering the contents of your trailer or the items you were hauling. For example, suppose the boat or motorcycle you were hauling is damaged in an accident. Then, you would file a claim with the insurance companies covering those items. Other contents may be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
Michigan auto law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.