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 > Accident with tow vehicle right before big camping trip?

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deltabravo

Spokane, WA

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Posted: 10/15/20 07:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ktmrfs wrote:

my insurance company in case of accident provides a "like kind" vehicle if that's what I want. So, if it was my 3/4 diesel crew cab, that's what they would provide.

But, the Insurance company isn't the one "providing" the rental, the rental company is.


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BurbMan

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Posted: 10/16/20 07:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Enterprise is the only one I'm aware of the rents for business use which may allow you to tow a trailer. UHaul only allows you to tow one of their own rental trailers. AFAIK all other rental companies forbid towing in their contracts.

Not sure that this is what Home Depot means their trucks to be used for, but they didn't say I couldn't...

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Grit dog

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Posted: 10/16/20 08:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bucky wrote:

So there I was driving my truck in 14 inches of snow to pick up a TT from a hunting camp?


???


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

Grit dog

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Posted: 10/16/20 08:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

Enterprise is the only one I'm aware of the rents for business use which may allow you to tow a trailer. UHaul only allows you to tow one of their own rental trailers. AFAIK all other rental companies forbid towing in their contracts.

Not sure that this is what Home Depot means their trucks to be used for, but they didn't say I couldn't...

[image]


Aside from the few other places I mentioned only a few posts ago and others, I’m sure Enterprise is the only one....lol

dedmiston

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Posted: 10/17/20 09:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just to clear up some insurance concepts...

There are two main types of claims that could wipe out your tow vehicle:

A third party claim is where someone else is responsible for damaging your vehicle and you file a claim under the responsible party's liability coverage.

A first party claim is where you seek relief under your own auto policy. This could be because you wrecked your vehicle and there isn't another party who is at fault, so you file a claim under your collision coverage. Or your vehicle could have been stolen or burned in a fire (or lots of other things), so you would file a claim under your comprehensive coverage.

That's an oversimplification, but basically correct.

Most personal auto policies provide no rental coverage, so you're completely out of luck. Period.

Most policies also offer additional coverage for rentals, but you have to opt for that coverage and pay for it. It's kind of like the way your medical policy doesn't cover vision, so you have to buy additional coverage for eyeglasses.

Rental coverage is pretty bad though. When I handled claims back in the 90s, most policies reimbursed $23/day for rentals. All these years later, I think the standard is still only $26/day for rental reimbursement (it might be up to $30 by now). Good luck renting a tow vehicle for $30/day.

There's one other angle for first party claims, and that's your optional uninsured vehicle coverage. If somebody hits you and it's their fault (and if you opted to purchase uninsured coverage), then your insurance company fills in the role of the other party's insurance as if they were insured. The elements required here are that you can establish that (1) they were at fault, (2) you can positively identify the other party, and (3) the other party either has no coverage or is "underinsured" and your damages exceed their liability coverage. If you meet all those elements, then your uninsured coverage kicks in. These elements are designed to exclude hit and run claims, because it's too easy for people to crash into a wall and blame it on a phantom hit and run driver. Uninsured bodily injury coverage is different.

So for first party claims, you won't get more than your policy limits for rental reimbursement.

The bottom line for first party claims is that you have a contract with your insurance carrier and they will only pay out based on the terms of the policy. (It really helps to read it before you need it.)

The third party claims are more interesting though, because you're making a claim against someone else's policy even though you don't have a contract with the other party's carrier. Your claim is based on the common law notion of a "tort'.

I'm not a legal expert and I've heard many versions of this, but the elements of a tort are basically:

* The other party has a duty: In this case, their duty is to not hit you. Their duty is more specific based on the accident, but it could be that they had a duty to not run a red light or not to speed, etc.

* The other party breached their duty: They ran the light or whatever.

* Damages result: You've heard the phrase "no harm, no foul". This is based on the common law notion of a tort, and if you don't actually have damages, then there is no tort, or no civil liability.

* The other party's breach was the proximate cause of your damages: In other words, if they ran a red light and you coincidentally dropped your ice cream cone and hit a light pole, then the other party's breach wasn't the cause of your damages.

In a first party claim, you have policy limits that govern what your carrier will pay out. Specifically, they'll only pay your rental reimbursement if you bought that coverage, and then their payments will be governed by the policy limits and the amount of time your truck is not drivable.

In a third party claim, the ceiling is whatever a judge/jury would award you, up to their policy liability limits. Their policy doesn't limit your right to sue them though, but most people can't/won't pay beyond their policy limits. So if the other party had low limits (like $5,000 property damage), then you could force their insurance to pay for your expensive tow vehicle, but then there wouldn't be much left to pay to fix your truck. You can force the issue though and they'll be required to pay for your rental truck, because that's part of your damages. Don't expect the other party's insurance company to work very hard to find you that rental truck though, because even though they're liable to write you a check, they don't have a contract with you and they don't really care about you. It's way easier for the other party's claim rep to write you a check and jack up their policyholder's rates than it is for them to spend a couple days looking for your expensive rental (and then still writing a check and still jacking up the rates).

There's lots more to this and it can get even more complicated, but the bottom line is that your own policy isn't going to pay you much for a rental, and they won't pay you anything at all if you didn't specifically purchase the coverage. The other party's carrier will pay for the rental, but only if you push the issue and find the truck yourself.

If you think that the other party's liability limits won't be high enough to pay for your rental AND pay to repair your truck, then talk to your insurance company first and coordinate your claims with them.

I hope this helps.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 10/18/20 10:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^Great explanation.

Question since you’re knowledgeable.

RE uninsured or under insured for property.
Let’s say you have full coverage on vehicle.
Accident that is other party’s fault and they don’t have insurance. Or under insured.
Will your collision policy not cover your vehicle in that event?
I don’t believe collision coverage is predicated on fault. Is it ?

Or another way...what good is uninsured coverage if you already have collision?
TIA

Walaby

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Posted: 10/18/20 11:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you're obsessed with the possibility, just don't drive the tow vehicle for a week or two prior to the trip.

You can't control what you can't control.

Mike


Im Mike Willoughby, and I approve this message.
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dedmiston

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Posted: 10/18/20 03:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

^Great explanation.

Question since you’re knowledgeable.

RE uninsured or under insured for property.
Let’s say you have full coverage on vehicle.
Accident that is other party’s fault and they don’t have insurance. Or under insured.
Will your collision policy not cover your vehicle in that event?
I don’t believe collision coverage is predicated on fault. Is it ?

Or another way...what good is uninsured coverage if you already have collision?
TIA


Starting with a disclaimer, free advice from a total stranger on the internet is worth less than you paid for it. Trust me when I tell you, don't trust me.

So for your first question about coverage under your collision policy, yes, your collision covers your loss regardless of fault. You're literally paying for a policy to cover negligence, and it doesn't matter who was negligent. People typically try to go through the other party's carrier just to avoid paying their deductible and to avoid raising their own rates. Honestly though, there's a lot of voodoo involved with underwriting and I don't know what does or doesn't cause your rates to increase. It's my understanding that your rates won't go up if it isn't your fault, but I have a hunch that there's a point where you'll be cancelled for being plain ol' unlucky.

I didn't want to get into it, but there's another esoteric insurance term called "subrogation", and that's where your carrier pays you out and then goes after somebody else to collect (or subrogate) from the other party and/or their carrier. So if someone wrecks into you, you have every right to just take the easy route and go through your own policy for your damages, pay your own deductible, and let your carrier subrogate to collect. As a courtesy, they will typically go after the full amount and then refund your deductible after they collected, but that takes time.

For your policy limits question, that's really a matter of preference and cost. Higher limits cost more. Also, some carriers have underwriting rules that cap your limits. The rule of thumb though is that you typically buy uninsured property limits and uninsured bodily injury limits that match your own liability limits. So if you buy a liability policy that matches the value of your largest assets (usually the value of your house), then you'd also buy uninsured limits that match those liability limits. They probably won't let you be lopsided though, so you can't buy the legal minimum for your own liability and then buy high limits for your uninsured coverage. Just like they won't let you buy a $1M umbrella policy (cheap) without also having high limits on your liability (not so cheap), especially since the umbrella would be secondary to your auto liability limits.

Back to the collision question... I always laugh on this forum when I see the weight police post that your insurance won't cover you if you're towing overweight. Read your policy if you want, but I've never ever seen a policy that excludes that. The policies are literally there to cover stupidity. That's what insurance is for. Now you can get EXTRA stupid to the point where you make them mad enough to cancel your policy, but they still have to pay out the claims first. I can't even imagine how many things would have to happen though before you'd get cancelled for towing overweight. First, somehow that fact would have to come out. I have no idea how that would be unearthed in the context of a claim, but let's just say your wreck was enough of a doozie that you needed a full blown accident investigation and somehow the LEOs did the math and figured out that you were overweight. So if that fact made its way into the police report, then its in writing and now there's a possibility it will be known. When the claim rep gets the policy report, the first thing they'll do is flip to the conclusion where the LEO assigns fault. If the fault is clear, they file away the report and pay the other guy's claim. If by some fluke the claim rep was bored enough to read the entire report, then they might see the part about the weight being a contributing factor (this isn't like your BAL where you're automatically negligent if there's liquor in your blood). So the claim rep reads that and says "huh, I wonder what that means" and still files it away. Or if the rep knows a little more about towing, then rep says "huh, I already knew that our guy was at fault, but now he's REALLY at fault". Maybe it becomes an issue if you're fighting a comparative negligence claim where you both blew a stop sign and you both share a percentage of fault. But if you were already at fault, you can't really be 101% at fault.

I guess it's too late to say "long story short", but somehow the claim rep would have to get the info that you were overweight, prove it (only a police report would prove it, unless the rep sends someone out to read your stickers and understands how to do the math), and then specifically flag your account to Underwriting so that they can consider what to do.

They have to pay the claim though. They can raise your rates or cancel you after they pay the claim, but they still have to pay it. Stupidity is absolutely a covered peril.

dedmiston

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Posted: 10/18/20 03:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I goofed on the second part of your question. I thought you were asking about limits.

What good is it?

The property damage portion of it really only protects your deductible, since your collision coverage is going to pay to fix your vehicle. I guess in the context of this thread though, it would also pay for an expensive rental, even if you don't have the rental reimbursement rider. There's more to it though, because your collision policy only covers "your covered auto". I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing you've done a ton of mods to your vehicles and never reported the mods to your agent. Why report the mods, right? They'll just jack up your rates. Well, they can definitely try to get out of paying for those mods when you file a claim, because you never reported those upgrades and only paid a premium for a stock vehicle. If your vehicle is totaled, you'll have to fight every one of those mods when you're asserting a higher value for your vehicle, and they'll probably deny them because you didn't report them.

Also, you could have a bunch of other stuff in your vehicle that isn't covered by your collision policy. Say someone totaled your truck and the bed was full or tools. Maybe your truck burst into flames and burned up your laptop and your irreplaceable collection of vintage 8-tracks. None of that is covered by your collision policy, but you could make a strong case to cover it under your uninsured motorist property damage policy.

The uninsured bodily injury is way more valuable though. You could really be sunk without it.

Years ago my family was driving through town looking at Christmas lights and another car had just done a drive-by shooting at a nearby party and they t-boned us as they fled the scene. My wife's head went through the window and she needed a zillion or so stitches in her forehead. There's no way to put a price tag on that, but the price would have been zero if we didn't have the uninsured coverage.

Ask your agent about your uninsured coverage and see what he/she has to say about it. A good agent will talk you out of buying unnecessary coverage. Also think about asking your agent about any hypothetical mods on your vehicles (lifts, special tires, sound equipment, fifth wheel hitch, etc.).

azdryheat

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Posted: 10/18/20 06:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We routinely rent F-350 trucks at work so they're out there.


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