If someone is injured in an accident involving your customer’s travel trailer while it is parked at a campground, should the accident be reported to the customer’s auto insurance carrier or the homeowners carrier? How about an accident outside the trailer on the grounds surrounding the trailer at a campsite, parking spot or other land leased or rented to the insured? The answer is BOTH.
The TDI and ISO personal auto policies clearly cover liability arising out of any trailer owned, maintained or used by the named insured or a family member. However, the liability insuring agreement restricts coverage to an “auto accident,” an undefined term that is left to legal interpretation. For further discussion on this subject, see technical report Accident - What Is It?
The TDI homeowners policy excludes liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation, use, loading or unloading of a trailer. However, an exception is made for trailers while not being towed by or carried on a motor vehicle. Therefore, coverage would apply to an accident involving a travel trailer while parked at a campground.
The ISO homeowners policy excludes liability arising out the ownership, maintenance, operation, use, loading or unloading of a trailer while it is being towed or hitched for towing. Coverage therefore depends on whether the towing vehicle was disconnected from the trailer at the time of the accident.
Accident at the Campsite, Parking Spot or Other Land Leased or Rented to the Insured
If someone is injured in an accident outside the trailer on the grounds surrounding the trailer at a campsite, parking spot or other land leased or rented to the insured, the personal auto policy likely won't respond. Coverage may or may not be available on the liability section of the homeowners policy.
Consider first the typical short-term rental of a camping site or parking spot in a campground such as KOA or similar establishments. The definition of "insured location" in the TDI and ISO homeowners policies includes "any part of a premises occasionally rented to an insured for other than business use." This definition could easily encompass the campground site rented to the insured for a short period of time. The key is the undefined meaning of the word "occasionally."
Consider next the situation where an insured rents space for the camper trailer on a year-round basis, or seasonally for some period of time longer than a weekend or short vacation. In this case, the camper owner may only occasionally or seasonally visit the location and use the camper trailer. One solution for coverage in this situation is to specify the location in the Declarations as an additional residence, but disclose full details to the underwriter first to be sure he or she agrees.
A better solution in any case is to purchase a special policy on the travel or camper trailer from a specialty insurance company that includes special liability coverage for parking locations.