It’s that time of year again. Late spring and the U-Haul truck rental locations are booking trucks fast. My son is buying his first house and moving at the end of this month, so on his long to-do list was reserving a 24-foot truck for the task.
He called me when he was making the online reservation and asked, “Do I need to buy the insurance from U-Haul?” Now, I had advised him in the past that because he carries full coverage on his vehicle, his personal auto policy extends liability and physical damage coverage to a car rental, so it was fair for him to assume that he would be covered and didn’t need to purchase the insurance. But then he asked, “What about a 26,000 pound commercial truck? Would that be covered or do I need to purchase the insurance?” And my answer? NO it’s not covered, and YES purchase the insurance!
Even if you carry full coverage on your personal auto policy, physical damage coverage will not extend to a rental truck because personal auto insurance only extends to private passenger vehicles and trucks less than 10,000 pounds. Rental trucks are big and if you are not used to driving a big vehicle, it’s easy to misjudge how much room you have to maneuver. Moving truck rental companies make it clear that whoever signs the contract is fully responsible for the equipment and any and all damages. If you hit something and you don’t have the insurance, you would owe for damages out of your own pocket. And you’ll be charged not only for the repair costs, but also loss of income while the truck is out of service.
Though they have not made it mandatory (very surprising), you really need to purchase the damage waiver insurance offered by rental truck companies such as Budget, Penske, and U-Haul. The details vary, but they all offer the same basic types of coverages, which usually will include:
- Damage Waiver – covers accidental damage to the rental equipment.
- Cargo Coverage – covers the goods you’re transporting for damages resulting from situations such as collision, fire, windstorm, and overturning of the rental truck.
- Personal Accident Insurance – provides medical coverage for injuries from an accident.
- Supplemental Liability Coverage – protects you against claims made by a third-party for property damage or liability damage sustained as a result of an accident with your rental truck. Limits vary (maximum usually $1,000,000).
The cost of the coverage varies from around $14 to $25 a day, depending upon the coverage and limit levels you choose. It is much less expensive to purchase the insurance, even if it’s only for your own peace of mind and you never have to use it.
Yet another insurance lesson learned for my son!