In this article, we will explain: Will a towbar affect my insurance? We will discuss what risks you pose if you keep a towbar installed and how to uninstall it.
Will a towbar affect my insurance?
Generally, having a towbar installed should not affect or increase your insurance. This, however, will highly depend on the company’s policy and whether your vehicle’s warranty allows it.
Not all cars are designed or have the power to tow a trailer. Before considering equipping a vehicle with a hitch, it is, therefore, advisable to refer to the manufacturer’s manual. This information also appears on the vehicle’s registration document. If this section is empty, the vehicle is not approved to tow a trailer.
There are three elements that make up a coupling device:
- the fitting, a steel bar which is fixed to the vehicle frame;
- the ball joint or the coupling ball, which is fixed to the fitting and on which the trailer is hooked;
- the electrical harness, a kind of socket through which the trailer is supplied with electricity by the vehicle.
Are there different types of towbars?
There are three main types of towbars:
- couplings that cannot be dismantled without tools. The latter can be fitted with a square ball joint (often mounted on utility vehicles) or a swan neck ball joint, which is more discreet;
- couplings fitted with a swan neck ball joint that can be removed without tools. A few steps are enough to remove the ball joint and store it in the trunk;
- couplings fitted with a retractable swan neck ball joint. Using a handle, a few seconds will be enough to remove the ball joint under the vehicle’s bumper.
As for the electrical harness, it can include 7 pins in order to supply the trailer lights (turn signals, stop lights, position lights, fog lights, etc.) or 13 pins to, in addition, allow the equipment to be taken care of. a caravan, for example (refrigerator, light, television, etc.).
Do you have to remove the towbar after use?
No regulations impose it. A decree of December 19, 1958, relating to the fitting out of motor vehicles specifies that “pointed and sharp ornaments are prohibited on the side and rear faces of vehicles”, but nothing indicates that the coupling balls are affected by this prohibition.
However, insofar as it is a protruding element that can cause damage during a manoeuvre or a collision, it is advisable, when possible, to dismantle it or cover it with a suitable cover.
Do you have to declare the installation of a towbar to your insurer?
Some insurers consider a hitch to be part of the definition of the insured vehicle. As a result, it is covered under the warranty taken out for the vehicle without the need to declare it even if it is installed after purchase.
On the other hand, other insurers consider it to be incidental which, in order to be covered, must be declared. If in doubt, when installing a hitch, it is advisable to call your insurer or refer to your contract.
What happens in the event of an accident in which the towbar will play a role?
In the event of an opposing vehicle colliding with the regularly parked vehicle of an insured, no fault can be blamed on it in connection with the coupling. This would not, therefore, limit his right to compensation.
In the event that it is the insured person who strikes a third party’s vehicle, even if the adverse damage was aggravated by the presence of a coupling ball, this would have no effect on their level of grip. charge by the insurer.
What is the position of insurers regarding towbars?
A final question arises, what is the position of insurers in the event of an automobile accident? It is difficult to answer this question.
Indeed, it will depend on your insurance contract and your insurance company. Thus, in the event of a responsible claim, your car insurer may consider that your towing hook represents an aggravating factor not covered by your contract.
In this case, you risk not being compensated. The least risky solution is to notify your insurer of the presence of this towing hook. Thus, you will be able to know his position on the subject. If your contract does not cover this risk, your insurer may offer you a new one. If the latter refuses to cover you, you can also change auto insurance and insurance companies.
Finally, if the opposite happens, if you are the victim of an accident and someone hits you from behind, you will not be at fault. So even if you have a hitch ball, you cannot be held responsible. You will, of course, be compensated.
You will understand, nothing prevents you from keeping your hitch or hitch ball when you are not using it. If you think this device may be dangerous, it’s up to you to make the right decision and take it apart!
Do I need to mention that I have a towbar installed in the event of an accident?
Given the position of some insurers on the towbars, it may be tempting not to indicate that your vehicle has a towbar in the amicable report. However, while the presence of the towbar is relevant to understanding the damage caused by the accident, it is strongly advised not to try to hide its existence.
If you give it a try, it will still be easy for your confidence to know the truth. The experts she works with on each case are trained for this. An attempt of this kind would prove unsuccessful and could also cost you much more than the repairs initially planned.
How do I remove a towbar?
Leaving an unused towing hook on your vehicle is therefore not illegal, but it is safer to remove it. The problem is, installing and removing a tow ball is not always as easy as you might think.
Moreover, the Road Rules of the U.S impose approved towing hook models, but it also provides for approval on the installation of the towing ball. An individual therefore cannot really improvise as a mechanic.
This is why we told you earlier that it is better to turn to a towbar model that is easy to disassemble. More and more tow balls provide a mechanism that allows them to be removed and reassembled easily and safely. However, you will have to make sure that the mechanism in question is correctly installed and approved.
Finally, if you decide to remove the towbar, you have the option to take your car to an association garage to learn how to assemble and disassemble any tow bar yourself in complete safety. This type of garage makes it possible to take advantage of very low prices by relying on customers to carry out the necessary operations themselves, always under the supervision of a trained mechanic of course.
FAQ on Will a towbar affect my insurance?
How to secure a trailer?
Trailers of less than 750 kg or light trailers do not need to have their own insurance but can be covered by car insurance, whose civil liability coverage may be sufficient to cover damages to third parties.
What trailers have to be insured?
Trailers or semi-trailers that have a maximum authorized mass must be provided with mandatory civil liability insurance. According to current law, trailers and semi-trailers that exceed 750 maximum authorized mass of weight must be insured.
How do I know how much I can tow?
If you can’t find a scale, calculate the weight of the vehicle by adding the total of the empty car, the weight of the passengers, and the cargo. Subtract the loaded weight of your vehicle from the total gross weight. The resulting figure is your towing capacity