Ask the Expert: How should Scouters handle insurance for troop trailers?

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?Insurance: You don’t need it until you need it.

For units that own trailers, insurance, well, insures that both the trailer itself and its contents are covered in case they’re damaged or stolen.

Is this insurance part of a driver’s normal auto coverage, is it provided by the Boy Scouts of America or is it a separate expense?

That’s what Randall Cox, Troop 70 assistant Scoutmaster, asked me last week. He writes:


For years we’ve been told that our troop trailer is insured by the vehicle that tows it. My troop has discussed upgrading our trailer to a dual axle with brakes, and the discussion turned to getting separate insurance for the trailer and contents so the Scouter who stores the trailer won’t be hit with a claim should something happen. We can’t store the trailer at the chartered organization’s location.

Imagine my surprise when my insurance agent informs me that the trailer is not covered by the tow vehicle unless 1) the tow vehicle is insured by this company, and 2) the trailer title is in the tow drivers name.

Does BSA offer supplemental trailer insurance, which is good across a number of different tow vehicles? How do other troops deal with this situation?

Yours in Scouting,


Here’s the response from the expert, Phillip Moore, risk management administrator with the BSA:

The question does not specify what type of insurance they are asking about. In an attempt to answer the question I will address both auto liability coverage and property coverage.

Generally, in the event of a motor vehicle accident, the auto liability coverage is provided by the vehicle towing the trailer; however, this could vary by state laws. The BSA commercial general liability insurance policy provides excess coverage over the registered or nonregistered volunteer’s auto coverage. It is also recommended that whoever pulls the trailer maintains adequate physical damage limits for non-owned trailers.

The trailer itself and/or the contents should be insured by property insurance. Generally the property insurance should be taken out by the trailer/contents owner. Usually the Chartering Organization is the owner since the unit cannot “own” property.

The BSA does not provide property insurance for the owner or the Chartering Organization. Specific answers relating to individual states’ coverage should be discussed with an insurance professional with knowledge of the coverages in the unit’s jurisdiction.

Thanks to Phillip for answering the question and to Randall for asking. Learn more about BSA insurance coverage here, and remember to follow Phillip’s recommendation to check with an insurance professional in your area to learn of local regulations.

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About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.