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Does Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage Apply to Unscheduled Trailer?

An insured vehicle is pulling an owned, non-insured trailer. An uninsured motorist ran a stop sign and broadsided the trailer pulled by the insured vehicle.
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does uninsured motorist property damage coverage apply to unscheduled trailer?

Q: An insured vehicle with liability, uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist and uninsured motorist property damage coverage is pulling an owned, non-insured trailer. An uninsured motorist ran a stop sign and broadsided the trailer pulled by the insured vehicle. Does the UMPD coverage pay for damage to the trailer?

Response 1: It would appear that coverage would be dependent on the definition of “auto" in the policy. “Auto" is not defined in every endorsement, so you need to go back to the policy definition. If it is the standard language, it would say:

“Auto" means:

  1. A land motor vehicle, “trailer" or semitrailer designed for travel on public roads;

So, it would seem that the trailer is an “auto" and would therefore be covered, in my opinion, under the UMPD form—assuming no other exclusions apply.

Response 2: I think you've answered your own question: If the damaged vehicle is not a covered auto under the policy, then there's no coverage. I'm afraid I'm missing something, though. Why isn't the trailer covered by the insured's policy?

Response 3: Some endorsements extend UMPD to a covered auto, which would include a trailer or other property owned by the named insured, then exclude coverage for loss to an auto that isn't a covered auto or property in that auto.

That leaves the question: Was the trailer a covered auto? What symbol applied for liability? If Symbol 1 or 2 applied for liability, the trailer would be a covered auto even if it wasn't scheduled. If the trailer weighs less than 2,000 or 3,000 gross vehicle weight, depending on the policy, it would also be provided liability coverage without being scheduled, arguably making it a covered auto as well. If the trailer is an owned auto that's not a covered auto, coverage would appear to be excluded.

Response 4: Coverage to the trailer attached to a scheduled ISO personal auto policy should be covered based on the fact that the uninsured driver is responsible and proven to be in such a situation. The insured driver should be able to collect up to the amount of damage shown by the policy form. The ISO PAP limits the damage to $7,500 in most situations. 

This becomes an opportune instance to encourage the owner of the trailer to schedule that unit on their PAP.

This question was originally submitted by an agent through the Big “I" Virtual University's (VU) Ask an Expert service, with responses curated from multiple VU faculty members. Answers to other coverage questions are available on the VU website. If you need help accessing the website, request login information.

This article is intended for general informational purposes only, and any opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s). The article is provided “as is" with no warranties or representations of any kind, and any liability is disclaimed that is in any way connected to reliance on or use of the information contained therein. The article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal or other professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for obtaining such advice. If specific expert advice is required or desired, the services of an appropriate, competent professional, such as an attorney or accountant, should be sought.

Friday, March 17, 2023
Virtual University