Question: I’m renting a U-Haul truck to move and an auto transport trailer for a car. If I am involved in an accident, will my standard auto insurance policy cover any damage caused by the truck or the trailer or damage to the vehicle on the trailer?
Answer: Your instincts are good. The time to save money is not when you are behind the wheel of a borrowed, 35-foot-long truck in an unfamiliar city.
Generally your own car insurance policy will not extend to a U-Haul, Ryder, Penske or other type of truck you rent to move your belongings or to a rented trailer. However, if you have collision and comprehensive on the vehicle on the trailer, it should cover the car if it’s damaged during transport.
A personal auto insurance policy gives coverage to passenger vehicles, such as your own vehicle, and many times to a rental car, but not to commercial vehicles or rented trucks. The weight and height of rented trucks just don’t conform to coverage the average personal auto insurance policy gives (e.g. no coverage for a truck weighing 9,000 lbs. or more).
U-Haul specifically notes on its site that auto insurance through your own car insurance policy, or even any supplement insurance your credit card may normally give you for rental cars, does not normally extend to its rental equipment.
There are some auto policies that will extend your liability coverages to a trailer you are towing (with your own vehicle), but not all will. If you are towing the trailer with a vehicle that you don’t own, then car insurance coverage usually won’t extend to that non-owned trailer.
Policies do vary. So, review your policy and then speak to your insurance agent if you need clarification on if there is any coverage extended in your specific situation.
Likely you’ll find that you are without liability or collision coverage for the rented truck, which means that you’d be personally responsible for damages that you caused to others and any damage done to the truck or trailer.
If you damage a moving truck, you ordinarily will be charged for any damage you caused, plus any lost rental revenue while the vehicle is being repaired. U-Haul notes that it wants to be reimbursed for damages immediately upon the return of the rented item. For this reason, it is wise to obtain some insurance coverage from the rental truck company offerings.
The two most common insurance coverages purchased on rental moving truck are supplemental liability insurance (SLI) and limited damage waiver (LDW).
SLI (may also be known as additional liability insurance or ALI) protects you against claims made by a third party for bodily injury and/or property damage as a result of you operating the rental truck. U-Haul offers $1,000,000 of this coverage, and without a deductible being due.
LDW coverage usually frees you from financial responsibility for any accidental loss or damage to the truck or towing equipment.
Keep in mind that there are exclusions to this coverage, and it can be voided if you use the rental property in a manner that violates the terms of your rental agreement. For example, if you let an unauthorized individual drive the vehicle and that person crashes the truck, then it’s possible you won’t be covered.