Roadside Recovery - Are you covered?

When you next renew your breakdown cover it might be worth checking the small print to make sure your trailer is covered too.
Thousands of boaters up and down the country rely on towing to get their boats to the water whether it’s towing a RIB to the local slip way or heading to a regatta with the dinghy in tow, but what happens if your car or trailer breaks down? Will you be covered for the recovery of both or will you end up having to leave your boat and trailer on the side of the road?

When you next renew your breakdown cover, it might be worth checking the small print to make sure your trailer and boat is also covered.

We suggest asking the following questions to any protentional roadside recovery providers before taking out a policy to ensure that you do not find yourself in a position where you have to leave the trailer, possibly with your boat, on the roadside.
  • If my car breaks down whilst towing a trailer with a boat, will the trailer and boat be recovered?
  • If the trailer breaks down but the car is fine, will my policy cover a call out to fix/recover the trailer and boat?
  • If I am covered, is this automatically a part of the policy or do I need to inform you in advance of the journey?

Don’t forget the insurance!

As well as checking what cover you have if you break down, you also need to make sure you have the right insurance in place if you are using a trailer.

First and foremost, it is important to stress that you must notify your insurer if your car has a tow bar fitted in order to make sure that damage caused by your trailer or your car to third parties is covered. The towing vehicle should be insured for the purpose of towing and the boat/trailer should be separately insured. 

Liability for damage caused by the boat / trailer combination when it is attached to the towing vehicle, or when it has become accidentally detached from it, should be covered under the third party liability section of the vehicle’s insurance policy.  Damage caused to the boat/trailer should be covered under the boat’s insurance policy.

The exact cover however is a matter of contract between insurer and policy holder.  If in doubt as to whether you have the required cover, or what your cover includes, always check with your insurer. 

We would always advise our members to enquire with their insurers and roadside recovery providers as to whether their policy covers not just the towing vehicle, but the trailer and boat as well.

The RYA also provides detailed guidance for its members on the rules and regulations for trailing and roof racking in the UK. For more information, contact the RYA Legal Team on 023 8060 4223 or


February 2022