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U-Haul Trailers and Auto Accidents

Posted on June 29, 2016Posted By Russell & Hill, PLLCPosted In Car Accident

U-Haul requires nothing more than a driver’s license and that the operator of the truck be 18 years of age or older. A standard U-Haul 26 foot truck weighs 12,600 lbs empty and the inside dimensions are 26’5” x 7’8” x 3’1”.

No CDL is required to drive a U-Haul truck in the United States. The risks are therefore obvious.

Inexperienced operators of large vehicles on freeways, small side-streets, and driveways represent an increased risk to all other vehicle occupants and pedestrians. There are many relevant questions for U-Haul accidents, and among them is what happens if a U-Haul truck hits my vehicle?

What Happens if a U-Haul Truck Hits my Vehicle?

U-Haul states on its website that it is insured for liability, but only to the state minimums. (Click here to read more on their damage coverage.) Regarding whether an operator’s personal auto policy would provide liability coverage, U-Haul has put some clauses for Arizona personal insurance policies from three large insurance companies on its website.

GEICO’s Arizona policy, as on the U-Haul website, says the following:

“Private Passenger Auto means a four-wheeled private passenger, station wagon or jeep-type auto. Temporary Substitute Auto means an automobile or trailer, not owned by you, temporarily used with the permission of the owner. This vehicle must be used as a substitute for the owned auto or trailer when withdrawn from normal use because of breakdown use its repair, servicing loss or destruction. Utility Auto means a vehicle, other than a farm auto, with a load capacity of 2,000 lbs. or less, of the pick-up body, van or panel truck type not used for commercial purposes. Geico: Arizona Family Automobile Insurance Policy, A-30AZ (10/98).”

What GEICO hopes to have accomplished is to eliminate liability coverage through a personal auto insurance policy for a U-Haul accident. GEICO tried to equip itself with two different ways to deny coverage for its customers: (1) by saying that the substitute auto must be used as a substitute for the owned auto; and (2) that it can’t have a load capacity in excess of 2,000 lbs. Even U-Haul’s 10-foot truck has a load capacity in excess of 2,000 lbs.

What About Insurance?

As you may expect, U-Haul will sell you insurance when you rent a truck. It has three kinds of coverage:

  • Safe move coverage is for moving trucks only. It is three components; damage waiver, cargo coverage and medical-life coverage. It does not have liability coverage.
  • Safe move Plus coverage is for moving trucks only. It is four components; damage waiver, cargo coverage, medical-life coverage and one million dollars in liability coverage.
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is for pickup and van rentals and only covers accidental damage to the equipment. There is no coverage for cargo, medical, or liability.

If you get hit by a U-Haul truck there are going to be hard issues regarding insurance coverage. There is no question that both U-Haul and the at-fault driver’s insurance company will have their fingers crossed that they can deny coverage and leave you with nothing. This is yet another reason why every person should have under/uninsured motorist coverage. If you get hit by such a truck, hire an auto accident lawyer so you don’t get ripped off.

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