Summer is officially here, which brings the beginning of moving season. More people throughout the city are moving to new apartments and homes, which means you might see an uptick in the number of U-Hauls and moving trucks throughout the area. These DIY moving machines make the process more convenient for movers but pose a danger to other pedestrians and drivers on the road. Inexperienced drivers driving commercial-sized vehicles can be a recipe for disaster. What happens when you get in an accident with a U-Haul or other moving truck?
The Dangers of Moving Trucks
Driving a U-Haul or moving truck is a vastly different experience from a regular passenger vehicle. Moving trucks are exponentially larger than cars and can do a lot more damage in an accident. Moreover, moving trucks have much longer stopping distances and more blind spots than the average vehicle. Combine this with the fact that many U-Haul drivers are inexperienced motorists and it should come as no surprise that truck accidents can occur.
Even a skilled and experienced driver can feel out of place in a moving truck, but many San Diego residents do not spend much time driving in the first place. Thanks to a rich biking culture and walkable urban landscape, many San Diego residents don’t use their vehicle much, if at all. Putting someone behind the wheel who does not spend much time driving, much less in a large vehicle, can create a dangerous situation.
What Happens After an Accident With a U-Haul?
U-Haul and other DIY moving companies require proof of insurance to rent a vehicle. However, many insurance policies do not cover damages incurred by rented trucks. Instead, U-Haul offers supplemental liability insurance that movers purchase to insure the truck itself, as well as the contents inside. The insurance, called Safemove, covers the damage to any U-Haul vehicle as well as any bodily injury someone might incur in an accident. The next level, Safemove Plus, covers liability owed to other vehicles, up to $1 million.
The company, however, does not require Safemove Plus. If you incur injury in an accident with a U-Haul driver with little to no coverage for your vehicle, you have a couple of options.
Use Your UI/UM Policy
California insurance carriers offer a policy called Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Protection (UI/UM). If you sustain an injury or incur property damage with a U-Haul with inadequate coverage, you’ll file a claim with your own UI or UM policy.
California requires certain minimum amounts of coverage for any motorist who drives in the state. Under state law, a motorist must have $15,000 per person for uninsured motorist coverage, up to $30,000 per accident. However, most insurers recommend more than this. You may have access to additional coverage, depending on the terms of your policy.
What If UI Does Not Cover the Extent of My Damages?
Your UI/UM insurance will only cover damages up to your policy limits. In other words, if you incur more than $15,000 in bodily injury and you carry the minimum amount of coverage, you will have to contend with the balance. In some instances, you may be able to file a civil claim to receive compensation for your additional damages. The claim would be against the person’s personal assets if they did not purchase Safemove, so keep in mind that might affect your claim.
In general, it’s best to keep a safe distance from moving trucks on the road since they often have inexperienced drivers behind the wheel. If you do get into an unavoidable accident with a U-Haul, an accident attorney can help you understand your legal options. Contact the experienced San Diego truck accident attorneys at Estey & Bomberger, LLP about your case today! (619) 295-0035