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Avoiding Problems in the Rear-View


Many years ago, when I was still very new to insurance, I heard an older agent ask the same question to all of his new personal automobile customers: “Do You Have A Trailer Hitch?”

After a few days, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked him to explain. As it turns out, his reasoning was simple, and his advice was so good that I’ll share it with you today:

“You can learn a lot about someone, and what advice they really need from you as a professional, just by asking what they’re towing.”

It’s important to ensure that you have the proper coverage for what you’re pulling, not just for physical damage to the item itself, but most importantly for your liability exposure. It only takes one small, unexpected accident to turn a fun time away from home into a lawsuit that could haunt you for years.

Only a handful of states require boat-owners to carry liability insurance, and even though it’s typically required by marinas in order to dock there. Your homeowner’s policy might cover a small boat, but have you reviewed it with your agent lately to see if yours makes the cut? Expect the unexpected; another boat could speed by, and spoil your gentle cruise by sending a large wake in your direction – one that injures a passenger. Alternatively, your boat could strike a rock if you’re sailing into an unfamiliar area. Without insurance to protect you, you could find yourself on the receiving end of some steep repair costs, and “without a paddle.” If you keep your boat at home, you will want to make sure your trailer is insured and liability for the tow is provided by your auto insurance.

Regulations are even less strict with regard to powersports. ATVs and snowmobiles can lead to some great times and even better stories, but every state is different when it comes to insurance requirements. Here in New York, the law currently maintains that you only need to carry liability insurance on your ATV if you plan to use it outside of your own property, or on State-Owned land, and your snowmobile if you plan to use it on any roads or shoulders, but it’s important to remember that accidents can and do also happen at home, and your homeowners liability insurance may not necessarily extend coverage! Also, if you’re planning to tow them a bit further for some fun, it’s definitely a good idea to check the laws in your destination state first, as nothing will ruin a road trip faster than being ticketed or possibly receiving a court date.

This logic doesn’t just apply to toys with a motor – if you’re towing a camper for a weekend in the woods and find yourself in an accident after a last-second lane change on the highway, you’ll definitely feel much better if you took your agent’s advice about insuring it for collision.

It’s also important to point out that the cost of insuring whatever you’re towing is, in many cases, far less than you might imagine. Even if it is on the pricier side with some of the options you’ve selected, it’s still going to cost less than paying for your own lawyer to defend yourself and your assets after the guests you’ve invited for the long weekend failed to make themselves internet-famous with that jump they attempted – and failed – with your ATV, breaking a few bones in the process.

Allan Block Insurance, Professional Service with the Personal Touch

We are located in Tarrytown, NY, in the heart of Westchester County, a key business district just north of New York City. We write auto, home, renters, condo, co-op, personal, business, life and group insurance for clients locally and in NYC, CT, NJ, PA, MA and many other states. For more information or answers to your insurance questions, please contact us.

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