What You Need to Know About Moving Truck Insurance Before You Rent

Clark Allen opted to buy the insurance when he rented a medium-sized moving truck to help his girlfriend move from Cambridge to a Boston suburb, and is sure glad he did.

“I needed to turn right around a corner that was fairly tight, and there was a car parked near the corner after the turn,” Allen said.

“I turned part way, backed up a little bit, and assumed by using the mirror that I’d cleared the parked car. But I really had not. I started to go and rubbed the rear, street side of the car near the corner. The truck was certainly drivable, just maybe some scrapes. The car got the worst of it.”

He left a note on the car and filed a claim with the moving company.

“They did not give me any problems at all because I had the insurance,” Allen said, “I basically just had to tell them details about where and when it happened. Very simple.”

He needs to rent a moving truck again soon and says he will definitely purchase liability insurance.

Penske rental truck street scene

Consider the Total Cost

Don Mikes, senior vice president for Penske Truck Leasing, says his number one recommendation when someone rents a truck for a household move or a DIY home improvement project is to consider all of the costs and policies together and find answers to the following questions:

  • What is the total cost?
  • Are there hidden fees?
  • Will my truck be guaranteed after I make the reservation?

As for Penske, the company offers unlimited free mileage for long distance moves.

“The total costs of a truck rental generally include the truck itself, per mile costs, accessories and insurance,” Mikes said.

Confused young guy reading a document

Types of Insurance and Waiver Options

Before renting, call your insurance agent and ask whether your home or auto policies cover a rental moving truck, and the items inside.

If so, make sure you know what size trucks the policy covers, because this is sometimes limited. Know that even if they cover damage to rental cars, credit cards and personal insurance do not generally cover damage to rented moving trucks and trailers.

There are four types of insurance and waiver options you can choose when renting a moving truck. Make sure you read your contract, ask questions and understand all the details.

Insurance options may vary from carrier to carrier, so be sure to check your specific contract carefully. Here is an overview of what you can generally expect:

  1. Personal Damage Waiver (PDW) and Limited Damage Waiver(LDW). These protect you from certain financial responsibilities regarding an accident, loss and theft as well as damage to the truck rental or towing trailer. The PDW has no deductible. In some cases the LDW has up to a $500 deductible.
  1. Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI). This protects you and your items if you’re responsible for damage to another person’s property or vehicle, and typically covers up to $1 million in damages. Read the terms and conditions carefully, as this policy excludes some items.
  1. Personal Accident and Cargo Protection. “If someone does not have personal or family health insurance,” said Mikes, “our personal accident coverage plan is a good option. Renters also add on our cargo insurance option to insure their items. That typically protects them in the event of accidents or inclement weather.” This plan covers injuries or accidental death while in the rented vehicle, and sometimes extends to certain others riding in the truck. It does not cover theft, damage from shifting cargo or burglary.
  1. Auto Tow Protection. This policy provides for towing a moving trailer or car, covers damage during transport and has a deductible.

Inspect Your Truck Before You Go

Just like when you rent a car, you should inspect a moving truck before starting out. Mikes says at Penske, both the customer and the associate walk around the truck in the parking lot as part of a visual inspection.

“Make note of any scratches or dents, and have that recorded in the rental agreement paperwork,” Mikes said. “In many cases, the associate renting the truck to the customer is aware of previous minor damage to the vehicle; our company does not rent out trucks that are unsafe. A customer can also take their own photographs if they are so inclined.”

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