Your trailer is a big investment so although it's not actually a legal requirement to do so, it makes good sense to insure it. Trailers are a popular target for thieves even if stored right outside your house. And no matter how well built or robust it may seem a trailer is no match for half a tonne of unpredictable horse as I discovered when my 17hh hunter panicked and reversed out of my trailer at a rate of knots, taking the ramp with him!
Insurance of any variety is all about peace of mind. We hope for the best but plan for the worst. Trailer insurance is no exception.
Check the insurance policy for your towing vehicle. This will probably provide a minimum of legal third party cover although theft or damage to the trailer will not be included. It may be possible to extend the cover on your towing vehicle policy to accommodate this. Failing that, you will need to take out a separate comprehensive horse trailer insurance policy.
Most horse insurance policies provide an option to include a trailer insurance component and they do tend to be fairly comprehensive in the cover they provide. Again, it's sensible to check your policy schedule to establish exactly what is covered and what is not. Never be tempted to wait until you have to make a claim only to discover that your expensive investment is not included under the policy terms and conditions.
If you do opt for separate insurance for your trailer, always shop around. This is relatively easy to do these days by using one of the many comparison sites on the internet. Specialist trailer insurance companies very often offer specialist breakdown recovery cover as an optional extra. This is well worth investing in particularly if you regularly travel your horse long distances to competitions. Do bear in mind that it may not be a problem with your towing vehicle that leaves you stranded and anyway roadside vehicle recovery policies generally do not include your horse and trailer.
Before you start obtaining quotes, make sure you have the following information to hand:
- The trailer details: make, model, year of manufacture, serial number or Vehicle Identification Number;
- How many horses the trailer is designed to carry, its length and the purchase price;
- State whether you are intending to use the trailer solely for personal use or for business purposes.
- Some insurance companies will offer a discount if you invest in some form of theft prevention device or have your trailer fitted with some sort of tracking facility so have details of this available.
Once you've chosen a policy that suits your requirements make a note of the insurance company's name, your policy number, the telephone number you will need to call in case of emergencies, and the breakdown recovery company contact number. Keep this information with you whenever you use your trailer. Hopefully, you will never need it but it's always best to be prepared.
Some makes of trailer are automatically registered on both the manufacturer's database and (in the UK) with The National Plant & Equipment Register. You can register your trailer with this database yourself. In the event of theft and subsequent recovery your trailer's serial number can then be traced back to you.
There are companies, (Trailermark being one), which allow you to place your own individual code in large self-adhesive letters on the roof of your trailer. This not only makes a highly visible deterrent but entry onto the company database also helps with tracking should a theft occur.
You may also opt to have your trailer fitted with a data tag. This is virtually impossible for a thief to detect but will enable the police to identify and trace the rightful owner. A growing number of UK manufacturers now offer in-built data tagging technology as standard on all new horse trailers.
Many police forces, especially those with large rural areas within their force boundaries, will mark your trailer free of charge using a forensic substance called 'Smartwater'. Again, this is invisible to the naked eye and the mark can only be revealed by the police using specialist equipment.
There are a whole host of security accessories available from alarms and wheel clamps to hitch locks, all of which provide a deterrent to thieves and are well worth investing in.