Moving is a lot of work. One of the most important questions you need to ask during a move is this: is moving truck insurance worth it? Companies like U-Haul might convince you that you need it. But do you really need moving truck insurance?
What is Moving Truck Insurance?
Moving truck insurance is an optional add-on when you rent a moving truck from a company like U-Haul. The insurance functions just like ordinary car insurance: it covers any damages to the vehicle along with any property damage you may inflict on others.
Moving truck insurance is always a good idea. You wouldn’t drive your car without insurance. So why would you drive a moving truck – especially if you’re an inexperienced driver navigating tight city roads in a 16 foot box truck?
You Might Already Have Moving Truck Insurance
Moving truck insurance is a good idea – but that doesn’t mean you should always buy it from the moving truck company.
In some cases, your existing auto policy will cover rental trucks. However, this typically isn’t covered under the same area as rental cars. Your insurance policy might cover rental cars, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it covers rental trucks.
The same goes for credit cards: many consumers are accustomed to turning down rental car insurance when renting an ordinary car because they know their credit card covers it. That’s not always the case for moving trucks: your credit card might cover car rental insurance, but not moving truck insurance.
Read your policy and call your insurance company to make sure you understand exactly what’s being covered.
In general, however, it’s rare for your existing auto insurance policy or credit card to cover moving truck insurance.
Complete Coverage Versus A La Carte Coverage
Some insurance companies bundle all insurance policies into one package called “moving truck insurance”. Other companies, however, let you choose coverage “a la carte”. You can pick and choose the coverage you need.
Moving truck insurance consists of multiple features, including damage waivers, supplemental liability insurance, cargo protection insurance, and even medical coverage. We’ll talk about whether each of these policies is worth buying below.
Pay the Damage Waiver
When you rent a moving truck, the company will give you an option to pay a damage waiver.
A damage waiver is typically priced at around $12 per day. By paying that fee, you avoid liability for any damage to the truck during the rental period – whether that damage is deemed to be your fault or not.
Accept the damage waiver on your truck rental, and you get peace of mind throughout the move. Regardless of what happens to the vehicle, you won’t be covered. Remember that trucks are larger, more unique vehicles. Something minor – like a cracked windshield – can cost hundreds of dollars more to repair on a truck.
Considering Taking the Supplemental Liability Insurance as Well
Supplemental liability insurance supplements the minimum amount of personal liability insurance required by your state (i.e. the minimum insurance required for all vehicles to legally drive on the road). Basic liability coverage is automatically included in the cost of your rental. However, supplemental coverage increases that protection.
This is important when you injure someone in another vehicle while driving. Keep in mind that some states have unusually low liability coverage requirements. Also remember that you’re driving a larger truck, and that truck can cause a lot more damage than a smaller vehicle.
If you’re taking a long haul road trip, you may want to consider supplemental liability insurance.
Think About Cargo Protection Insurance
In general, moving truck rental companies will cover up to $25,000 worth of damage to any cargo that you’re carrying. However, high-value items like jewelry and TVs may be excluded from this rule.
In any case, the moving truck rental company will ask you about cargo protection insurance when you’re renting the vehicle. It may not be necessary for same-day moves. However, if you’re driving across the country and parking the truck overnight, then it can give you valuable peace of mind.
Nevertheless, the fact that high-value items are excluded from coverage can make cargo protection insurance a poor buy. It’s also important to check your homeowners policy: many of your items might be already covered during the move.
Should You Buy Medical Coverage?
Rental truck companies in the United States will often offer medical coverage. This coverage pays for any medical expenses you incur as a result of an accident.
If you already have health insurance, this policy is unnecessary. Your existing health insurance should cover any medical expenses incurred during the move.
You might have a perfectly safe driving record. Maybe you’ve never been in an accident. But when you rent a moving truck, you’re driving a totally different vehicle. That vehicle has a different turning radius, different sight lines, and different everything compared to an ordinary vehicle. If this is your first time driving a 20 foot rental truck for a move, then there are all sorts of things that could go wrong. You might clip someone’s car turning into a tight city road, for example. A rock might fly off the highway and chip your windshield. Someone might break into your vehicle while it’s parked at a hotel halfway to your destination.
In general, it’s a good idea to get moving truck insurance – if for nothing else than peace of mind. Before you buy moving truck insurance from your rental company, call your insurance company to check if rental trucks are covered under your existing plan. In some cases, rental trucks – just like a rental car – will not require supplementary insurance. You’re already paying for it on your existing plan or credit card. In most cases, however, existing auto insurance plans and credit cards do not cover moving truck rental insurance – even if they cover rental cars.