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Troop Trailer & it's Liability

Can anyone clarify how they handle the liability of a troop trailer? Does the towers motor vehicle primary insurance cover it first then the BSA’s General Liability Insurance cover any excess that the towers insurance doesn’t? How do you not put the towing vehicles owner and CO at liability risk? Since the CO owns and titles the trailer and various leaders may tow the trailer at any given time, does anyone have an insurance policy to cover that? Please share the insurer or brokers info. Thanks in advance !!

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The troop carries a policy on trailers and contents


Our Boy troop carries trailer Insurance thru State Farm.


Covering the contents and the trailer itself is not an issue. It’s the liability of different drivers (that don’t own the trailer) towing it for a scout activity. Something catastrophic, such as it came unhitched and severally injured someone or caused death to no fault of the driver or towing vehicle, a true accident. If the BSA’s general liability insurance doesn’t cover the driver & CO then if anyone knows of an insurance company or broker that can provide that type of liability insurance, please let me know.

Michael, is that for liability or just loss and contents?

If I remember correctly it is secondary on liability.
If I remember the Texas driving laws correctly driver (if at fault) has primary liability.
Probably need to check with your local insurance agent.


yeah if trailer becomes detached it is hard to say it is NOT drivers fault - either not connecting correctly or not having trailer in adequate condition

That’s not really the point. I’m not trying to prove fault. I’m trying to protect the Chartered Organization (owner of the trailer) and driver in a lawsuit. Does the BSA’s cover such a situation (as secondary) or not ?

And what about the driver transporting scouts to an activity and an accident happens and it results in claims above the drivers insurance limit?

That is the question, is the BSA’s general liabilities insurance secondary? or no coverage at all from the BSA? Here in Delaware we’re a no fault state. Also trailers are titled and inspected regularly. And agreed drivers towing the trailer need to make sure they have coverage as primary.

Based on the latest revision of the national by-laws, it isn’t cut and dry that the Chartered Org owns the trailer. Does the trailer have a title? Who is listed?

For sure the BSA covers the driver above their own insurance. That is one of the main reasons for BSA insurance. Insurance | Boy Scouts of America (scouting.org)


Here is a page from Nationwide Insurance that talks about a towed vehicle (vs. a motor vehicle). “On a towable RV, such as a 5th wheel, camper or travel trailer, the liability extends from the tow vehicle.”

Is RV Insurance Required – Nationwide

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Thanks Matt, The trailer is titled, tagged & inspected in Delaware. And it is in the CO’s name. And yes I do understand that the drivers insurance is primary, I’m not so sure about the BSA being secondary based on the latest revisions and from what I’ve heard from our council. The other issue is is the drivers insurance covering or not covering a trailer he/she doesn’t own.

Hard question. This is really going to come down to the person’s liability policy and not some other central source.

I have American Family. On their website, they actually cover this topic, but I assume other policies are could be different.

“Is the trailer covered if it is registered in someone else’s name? The trailer is covered if it is attached to a vehicle you own that is insured by American Family Insurance.”

Does Car Insurance Cover Trailers? | American Family Insurance (amfam.com)

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Very good info Matt, that website was helpful. But I’m still concerned about what happens when the liability incurred is greater then the drivers insurance. Does the BSA’s General Liability Insurance cover the excess? And of course does it protect the Charter Organization? I wouldn’t want to put any of our drivers or the CO in jeopardy of a massive lawsuit from a genuine accident.

@RalphBoone - this may not be the best venue for your question. This really should be answered by the risk management/insurance professionals. I have not an active insurance producers license in many years so I would decline to provide advice.


I’m also an insurance professional, but not in the area of claims or underwriting. I appreciate that you are looking out for your CO and your volunteers. Many people don’t even realize what they aren’t covered for.

I suspect most of the carriers, especially the big names, have similar policy provisions. You may run into some differences with the nonstandard auto carriers (generally for people with tickets, violations, and/or insurance lapses). But each person that could be driving should definitely check with their carrier, and you should also check with the carrier for the trailer. For the BSA insurance, reach out to your DE or council risk management committee to see if they can get an answer, also. In the end it’s how all three play together than you care about.


The only reliable source for information about what is and is not covered under a particular policy is contacting a) the policy issuer and b) your council’s legal counsel.

In questions regarding legal liability, up to and including possible personal liability, I wouldn’t rely on the information I found in a Scoutbook forum.


I agree with you 100% !! I’d like to get a copy of National’s policy as we are the one’s that are paying for it with our charter fees. I believe we think we are covered (secondary) but may not be. Many BSA docs imply that we are, such as the Guide to Safe Scouting (links below). I’ve been told by my local council we are not covered, I am waiting to here from National as this is a National’s Comprehensive General Liability Insurance Policy. I would hope it doesn’t differ from council to council.

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I now have an answer from nationals Risk Management Team - “I received a message from the BSA insurance broker and I advised I would respond to you. The BSA general liability insurance policy coverage the BSA national council and all local councils and Learning for Life.
As noted in the earlier email, trailers once connected to vehicle become part for the vehicle.”

So we are covered ! Excellent News !


It’s actually a touchy subject with insurance companies. We had a friend have a deer jump in front of them and they went off the road. They had full coverage on the tow vehicle and the insurance company replaced that, but they would not cover the trailer. They were told if the trailer had become disconnected and hit someone else it would have been covered. They were always told the vehicle towing the trailer covers the trailer. Needless to say it was a race trailer and the insurance company would not cover any of that stuff. We have coverage on our race trailer, but it still doesn’t cover it’s contents. We have been told that sometimes your homeowners will cover the contents, but then have been told by my insurance agent that he would look into finding if someone would cover the contents.