Is a trailer considered a vehicle or equipment?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is a trailer considered a vehicle or equipment? We will explain what a trailer is, what regulations it is subjected to, and how to choose the best trailer according to your personal needs and intentions. 

Is a trailer considered a vehicle or equipment?

A trailer is a vehicle (generally without an engine) that is hitched to another vehicle, called a tractor, to move it. Since a trailer is considered a road vehicle and it is subject to specific regulations with which you must comply. Trailers are often referred to as either:

  1. A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) – thus a vehicle used to transport goods or passengers.
  2. A reactionary vehicle (RV) – such as a non-motorized vehicle towed by a motorized vehicle (travel trailers).  
  3. A vehicle that has broken down on the road and is being towed by another vehicle that has come to its rescue.
  4. A non-motorized vehicle, intended to be towed by a motorized vehicle, at the rear.
  5. A motorized trailer, the structure of which is that its front part rests on the semi-trailer.

Note: Before purchasing a trailer, you must check the GVWR which appears on your vehicle’s registration certificate so as not to be in violation. The authorized total weight of the vehicle defines the maximum authorized weight for the said vehicle, that is to say, the weight of the vehicle and what it carries. 

What license do I need to tow a trailer?

You can tow a trailer with license B if the sum of the GVWR of the trailer and the towing vehicle does not exceed 7700 lbs (3500 kg). The new “additional” B+E license, issued after four hours of theory and three hours of driving with the trailer, allows you to tow a trailer weighing more than 1650 lbs (750 kg) if the sum of the GVWR of the trailer and the vehicle is less than or equal to 9370 lbs (4250 kg).

When the sum of the GVWR of your trailer and the GVWR of your vehicle is greater than 9370 lbs (4,250 kg), you must be in possession of the BE license to drive. This license gives you the right to drive if the sum of the GVWR of your vehicle and your trailer does not exceed 154000 lbs (7000 kg).

Regulation of the various trailers

The trailer with a GVWR of fewer than 1100 lbs (500 kg) is not subject to any specific regulations but must simply bear the same license plate number as the towing vehicle.

A trailer with a GVWR of between 1100 lbs (500 kg) and 1650 lbs (750 kg) must be fitted with a license plate different from that of the towing vehicle. It must also have its own registration certificate.

If the GVWR of the trailer is greater than 1650 lbs (750 kg), it must be insured and must have a mechanical inertia braking system. If its GVW exceeds 7700 lbs (3500 kg), it must have electric, hydraulic or pneumatic braking system.

Should a trailer be insured?

Yes, trailer insurance is compulsory, whether it is a conventional trailer or a boat/car transporter trailer. The GVWR, the authorized total weight of the trailer, defines the nature of the warranty to be taken out. Thus, below 1650 lbs (750 kg), your car insurance generally protects your trailer. On the other hand, specific compulsory trailer insurance must be taken out if the GVWR is greater than 1650 lbs (750 kg).

To find the GVWR of your trailer, consult its information manual, or its vehicle registration document if it has one.

How much does trailer insurance cost?

The price of trailer insurance cannot be defined in a standard way. In fact, it will depend on the GVWR and the guarantees you plan to take out. For more information on the price of Macif trailer insurance, you can visit your nearest branch or contact one of our advisers by phone.

You will be able to more precisely determine your need to be perfectly protected and obtain a trailer insurance quote. If this quote suits you, the subscription with your advisor is quick so that you can use your trailer as soon as possible.

The different types of trailer to insure

Trailer insurance of 1650 lbs (750 kg) or more. The GVWR of your car’s trailer and your vehicle determines which trailer insurance to choose. For a trailer of 1650 lbs (750 kg) or more, specific insurance is necessary.

Thus, for a trailer of 2200 lbs (1000 kg), a trailer of 3300 lb (1500 kg) or more, you must take out trailer insurance. This applies to all trailers, whether it is a boat trailer over 1650 lb (750 kg), a car transporter trailer or a simple trailer for transporting goods, as long as its GVW is greater than 1650 lbs (750 kg).

Do I have to insure a trailer? Yes, whatever its nature. Boat trailer insurance or even car transporter insurance, you must protect yourself and third parties that you could injure with this trailer. Insuring a trailer allows you to obtain compensation, according to the conditions and limits of your contract, if it is damaged, but also to cover you, for example, if it hits another vehicle.

There are no boat trailer regulations, it is still the PTAC that is used to determine the nature of the insurance to take out. Thus, for a trailer weighing more than 750 kg, you must also take out specific insurance.

Can you tow a trailer without a driver’s license?

It is not possible to tow a trailer without a license. The legislation is clear, it is necessary to have one of the following permits to tow a trailer: B (GVW less than 1650 lbs/750 kg) or BE (for trailers and caravans over 9300 lbs/4,250 kg).

If it is possible to tow a trailer with a car without a license, you must still hold a B, BE driving license, and meet several conditions:

  • the GVWR of the cart must be entered on the registration document (if no GVWR is included, it is forbidden to tow a trailer with the car without a license);
  • the total loaded weight of the equipment must not exceed 50% of the weight of the vehicle towing it.
  • However, reasonably, a cart will not be able to tow a heavy trailer with regard to its technical capacities and its size.

How to choose your trailer?

The purchase of a trailer is often made to meet a specific need. Transport of furniture, work, or simply to enlarge your trunk before going on vacation. Here are the questions to ask yourself to make the right choice.

How will you use your trailer?

Identify the main tasks that you plan to reserve for your trailer. Trip? Transport of materials? Transportation of sports vehicles? This will allow you to orient yourself more easily among all the ranges of trailers available on the market.

What dimensions and capacities?

Define the main objects or materials you want to transport. Their identification will allow you to define the dimensions and the Total Authorized Loaded Weight (GVWR) of your future trailer. A trailer’s GVWR is an important piece of information that will tell 

you whether or not you can drive your trailer with the license you have.

What type of trailer?

There are many features to meet different user needs. Again, you will need to define how you want your trailer to be used. For example, you will need to use a trailer equipped with a braking device (mandatory if its GVW exceeds 750 kg) if you want to transport heavy loads. You will also have the option of using a trailer equipped with a dump body which will simplify the task when unloading rubble.

The growth potential of a trailer is too often underestimated. You have to look into the future to imagine how the utility of your trailer can evolve. With this in mind, do not hesitate to buy a trailer with a GVWR greater than your current needs. Today’s trailers are designed in such a way that after changing equipment you can go on vacation with the same trailer you used to transport plants to the recycling centre!

FAQ on Is a trailer considered a vehicle or equipment?

Is a trailer a vehicle?

A trailer is a vehicle (generally without an engine) that is hitched to another vehicle, called a tractor, to move it.

What is the difference between a trailer and a semi-trailer?

The trailer can be fixed or tilting, depending on its use. The semi-trailer, on the other hand, has wheels only at the rear of its structure. It is kept level thanks to two crutches which rest on the ground.

How does the braking of a trailer work?

Trailer braking is ensured by this principle: Thanks to a compensating unit integral with the parking brake control brake lever, and mounted on the rod, it suffices, to immobilize the trailer, to pull the parking brake lever towards the back to the last tooth of the rack

How to install brakes on a trailer?

  1. First step: check your bearings. The first step in the job is to raise the trailer off the ground so that the wheels do not land on it.
  2. Removing the wheels from the trailer.
  3. Dismantling of the old brake shoes.
  4. Refitting the brake linings.

What are the different types of trailers?

  • The travel trailer. It is the lightest trailer, it is ideal for carrying luggage and living in it when you go on vacation.
  • The trailer van. 
  • The motorcycle trailer. 
  • The versatile trailer.

What is a semi-trailer?

A semi-trailer is a road trailer intended for the transport of goods, the particularity of which is that it rests on one or more axles at the rear and on the towing vehicle at the front via a platform called a fifth wheel so that the tractor supports a significant part of the weight.

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