Updated December 2, 2020: Tom Ingrassia almost didn’t buy rental truck insurance when he booked a U-Haul to relocate from Ohio to Massachusetts for work.
It was only after he let his friend drive the truck that Ingrassia was grateful he got the coverage.
“Before we were even out of Ohio, my friend miscalculated while driving under a low bridge,” he recalls. “He shifted just a couple of inches too far to the right, and a portion of the truck's roof was peeled back as it scraped along the bridge wall.”
Ingrassia, who isn’t usually an insurance/warranty buyer, says shelling out a few bucks for insurance was the best decision he ever made. (If you ever total your car in an accident, here's what you should do.)
“Without insurance, I would have been on the hook for thousands of dollars in repairs,” he says.
If you’re thinking of renting a U-Haul truck, should you do the same and purchase their damage protection or pass? Here’s what to know.
What U-Haul insurance covers
U-Haul’s rental truck insurance is called Safemove. Its base option offers three protections:
A zero-deductible damage waiver that pays for all accidental damages to the rental truck
Cargo coverage that pays for damages to your belongings inside the rental truck. A $100 deductible insures up to $25,000 (for one-way rentals) or $15,000 (for local rentals) against fires, windstorms and overturned trucks
Up to $1,000 in medical bill coverage in the event of an accident, and in the event of a fatality, $15,000 in life coverage for passenger loss of life, $25,000 for lessee loss of life
There’s also a SafeMove Plus option with an additional $1 million in supplemental liability insurance (SLI) that covers property damage, bodily injury or legal action created by any third parties not involved with your rental truck. U-Haul charges no deductible for SLI. The amount of insurance you buy depends on how much coverage you want or need.
Here's a primer on understanding when you should get moving truck rental car insurance.
What U-Haul insurance doesn’t cover
U-Haul insurance won’t cover damages to your car if you’re towing it behind your rental truck. If it’s not inside the truck, it’s not included.
While things like fire or extreme inclement weather is covered under the Safemove plan, you’re not covered if the truck suffers mechanical damage (i.e. transmission/drive train problems) from pushing or rocking the truck back and forth if it’s stuck in ice or mud. And there are other exclusions that can vary by state, so be sure to read the fine print before hitting the road.
Does my car insurance cover a U-Haul?
Most car insurance policies won’t double for U-Haul rental truck coverage. Or, if your coverage does extend to rental trucks, there are generally size restrictions — which a U-Haul is very likely to surpass. (If you need car insurance, we can help you compare and buy auto insurance here.)
In other words, if you don’t buy in-house U-Haul insurance, you’re generally responsible for any and all damages to your rented truck (that’s not including your rental fees). And supplemental rental car insurance provided by a credit card won’t apply to rental trucks either.
Confused about all this insurance jargon? We’ve got an explainer on how car insurance works here.
Bottomline: If you’re planning to rent a truck, check with your insurance broker or agent about what your car insurance would cover — and what it wouldn’t.
Picking a rental truck policy
Not all rental truck insurance is bundled, however. And, even if you’re opting for a U-Haul, you’ll want to determine which plan you’ll need. Here are some ways to make sure you don’t wind up paying too much for rental truck insurance.
First, decide which size vehicle is the right size for your move. Anything too large and you could end up overpaying for more truck than you need.
Determine if your car insurance’s liability coverage will apply, should you get into an accident with the truck — and whether your coverage limits are likely to suffice. If not, it’s worth springing for extra liability coverage.
Examine your other insurance policies. Again, your auto policy may offer some protection, but what about your health insurance? It may offer you enough coverage to forego buying medical bill coverage (assuming you can, of course).
Check your budget. If you’re moving, you’ll need to consider moving expenses, gas, food, lodging, and other costs. Don’t risk going into debt over repairs you can’t afford on the road if you pass on rental truck insurance. Your trip may simply be from point A to point B, but an insurance policy goes the distance far further than that.
Renting a regular car? Getting rental car insurance will cover you if you get into an accident. Learn more about rental car insurance here.
Image: Robert Daly