Americans are on the move. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11.5% of the population moved between 2013 and 2014. Many of those not hiring professional movers likely rented some type of moving van or truck to get their personal belongings from one place to another.
So if you’re moving and not using your own vehicle to transport your household contents, do you need additional insurance? Does your current auto policy cover a rental truck?
This is important to consider because, even if it’s a short move, you should prepare for the unexpected.
Driving a 26-foot truck is different from driving a four-door sedan or even an SUV. The mirrors might show different perspectives than you’re used to. Try parking, turning or backing up a large truck. It’s much different from your own vehicle. Even the brakes are unique, with a different stopping time and pedal pressure needed.
The most common damage to trucks stem from drivers hitting overhead objects on the right-hand side. That’s because they aren’t used to a truck’s height and crash into awnings, carports, or even drive-thru windows at fast food restaurants.
Here’s what you need to know about insuring moving truck rentals.
Personal auto policy
Call your insurance agent to see if your personal auto policy covers a moving truck rental. Even if your policy covers some car or truck rentals, there may be exclusions based on the truck size or weight. If you’re renting a moving van, which is similar in size to a passenger van, there’s a better chance that a personal auto policy would cover it, but don’t assume so. Many auto insurance policies don’t cover large truck rentals.
Whether or not your policy has truck rental coverage, you should consider getting supplemental insurance. The truck rental agencies sell specific policies.
Typically, there are several types of insurance you can get:
- Supplemental liability insurance: This covers other people’s liability or damage claims if you are in an accident while driving the truck
- Damage waiver: A personal or limited damage waiver protects you for damage to the rental truck
- Personal accident and cargo protection: This covers injuries to you, your passengers and your belongings during transit
- Auto-tow protection: If you’re towing your car behind the moving truck during your move, this policy covers that auto damage while towed
Find out how moving truck companies handle accidents
Even if you have some coverage from your auto insurance policy, you should understand how the moving truck rental company handles accidents. Some rental companies require reimbursement for damage when the truck is returned, regardless of coverage or fault. They may also charge for lost rental revenue while it’s being repaired.
Questions to ask your auto carrier
If your insurance company tells you it covers moving truck rentals, here are some things to consider:
- What size truck does the policy cover? Trucks vary in size and weight; find out where the policy draws the line.
- What is covered under the policy? Does it cover only property damage and bodily injury to others? Does it cover damage to the rental truck? What is the maximum that the policy will pay out if there’s an accident? Also, ask what the policy doesn’t cover.
- Is there a deductible? Your auto policy probably has a deductible, and it’s important to know how much you will have to pay before the insurance company pays the rest of the claim.
- How will a claim affect your auto premium? If a claim will have an impact on your auto premium, decide whether you want to use your personal auto insurance to cover the truck rental.
If you’re renting a moving truck, it’s important to know what your insurance policy covers or doesn’t cover. Understanding your responsibilities and coverages makes a big difference if you get in an accident.