USAA denied coverage after phone confirmed I was covered with UHaul truck rental

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Oct 13, 2015
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I rented a truck from UHaul after calling to confirm with USAA that my insurance would cover the truck and anything else should I have an accident. I did have an accident, no injuries, but damage to the truck and two parked cars. No citations from police. USAA refused coverage. Both owners of the parked cars were paid by their own insurance companies via their uninsured motorist coverage. Now I am on a payment schedule for undocumented damage to the UHaul truck and, worse, a lawyer for one of the insurance companies is suing me for the amount his company paid his customer which is legal in California. This is not right since I did call USAA to confirm that I was covered. USAA says my policy covers all truck rentals but not the truck I rented. I think USAA should have covered me since I did verify ahead of time that they would cover me. Otherwise I would have bought the $18.00 coverage from UHaul. Any advice?
 

Neil Maley

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weihlac

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I rented a truck from UHaul after calling to confirm with USAA that my insurance would cover the truck and anything else should I have an accident. I did have an accident, no injuries, but damage to the truck and two parked cars. No citations from police. USAA refused coverage. Both owners of the parked cars were paid by their own insurance companies via their uninsured motorist coverage. Now I am on a payment schedule for undocumented damage to the UHaul truck and, worse, a lawyer for one of the insurance companies is suing me for the amount his company paid his customer which is legal in California. This is not right since I did call USAA to confirm that I was covered. USAA says my policy covers all truck rentals but not the truck I rented. I think USAA should have covered me since I did verify ahead of time that they would cover me. Otherwise I would have bought the $18.00 coverage from UHaul. Any advice?
What are the terms of your actual auto insurance contract? That determines what your coverage is for rentals, not what you were told on the phone. Your contract will spell out your rental coverage. Why were you told that "USAA says my policy covers all truck rentals but not the truck I rented"?

Stop calling USAA (calling them in the first place is what caused this problem). Use email: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/usaa/
 
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VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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Looking at their Coverage for Rented Vehicles, the a few exceptions link shows:
Although physical damage coverage — for example, comprehensive and collision — on your policy extends to non-owned vehicles, in most locations, there is no coverage for fees the rental company may charge for:​
Loss of use of the vehicle, if damaged.​
Decrease in the value of the vehicle due to any damage sustained.​
Administrative costs.​
The right to repair or salvage the damaged vehicle.​

I says nothing about a "certain truck" not being covered. Perhaps the charges for which you are paying are listed above. You need to obtain an invoice of the damages. As to the initial conversation you had with USAA, unless the agent stated unequivocally that you would be covered for damages and the above items, saying "you're covered" is insufficient in my opinion. And you would need a recording of the call . . .
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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This is what I found on the USAA site:

“Liability coverage on your policy extends to your use of non-owned cars, pickups as well as moving vans for personal use. Although physical damage coverage — for example, comprehensive and collision — on your policy extends to non-owned vehicles, in most locations, there is no coverage for fees the rental company may charge for”

What is challenging is that a truck can be a small pickup or an 18 wheeler. Many personal car insurances do not cover larger trucks rentals.

Did you give an example of the size of vehicle? Was this on the phone?
 
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Feb 3, 2019
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We can't know the precise details of your conversation with USAA, the precise details of your specific policy, the circumstances of your rental (e.g., purpose), or the facts of the accident.

USAA is no doubt considering all the details you provided against the terms and conditions of your policy.
USAA says my policy covers all truck rentals but not the truck I rented.
What exactly did they state as the reason for their determination that you were not in fact covered for this incident?
 

Neil Maley

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Do you have comprehensive coverage on your own car policy? If not, it seems you are only covered for liability, not damage to the truck. Is that what you are bring charged for?

We need more details to help but our advice is going to be to contact USAA using our company contacts regardless.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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At this point there is too much information missing.

There could be a miscommunication about the term truck -- yes we cover pick up trucks -- and cargo vans, no we do not cover 26' truck

Here what U Haul refers to as trucks:
Screenshot_2019-09-02 U-Haul Moving Truck Sizes U-Haul.png
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Our OP appears to be involved in three claims. One is the damage to the truck OP was driving. That would appear to be covered, if at all, by collision insurance OP carried on OP's own insurance, subject to a deductible and whatever other exclusions are in the policy.

Claims two and three are the damage to other people's vehicles. That should be covered as a non-owned vehicle claim under property damage liability, subject again to exclusions in OP's policy. (There is likely no deductible.)

It is possible that OP has coverage for 0, 1 or 3 of the claims.

All of this is governed by the express terms of the policy, a copy of which should be on USAA's web site if OP does not have the original.
 

BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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At this point there is too much information missing.

There could be a miscommunication about the term truck -- yes we cover pick up trucks -- and cargo vans, no we do not cover 26' truck

Here what U Haul refers to as trucks:
View attachment 2869
Indeed too much information is missing. Insurance policies vary according to your state of residence. Since the OP mentioned that one of the involved parties's insurance company has initiated or is threatening legal action to collect damages, I am inclined to recommend that s/he seeks legal counsel. This is quite a complex case.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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I am so sorry that you find yourself in such a pickle. 5 years on this forum have proven to me that a consumer cannot call a company and be confident of a straight answer any more. It wasn't that long ago that a query from a customer was looked up, verified, and answered. Now we hear continuous stories about telephone agents saying anything to get the customer off the phone. As I read over my colleagues' responses and advice, I think that you need to do your own research. You need to know, in writing, what kind of insurance coverage you had, the truck's size, model and whatever other information is listed in your insurance policy. Be sure that the reason for the truck's use is covered as well. Verify any insurance coverage through the credit card you used.
 

BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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I think this is beyond self help/consumer advocacy; OP stated one of the injured parties' insurance company is suing her/him for the damages it payed out to their client. I recommend OP contacting your local bar association and ask if they offer a Lawyer Referral Service (LRS). An LRS can connect you with a member attorney who can provide you with a 30 minute consultation either in person or via telephone for a nominal fee, usually about $35-40.
 

BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
356
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I am so sorry that you find yourself in such a pickle. 5 years on this forum have proven to me that a consumer cannot call a company and be confident of a straight answer any more. It wasn't that long ago that a query from a customer was looked up, verified, and answered. Now we hear continuous stories about telephone agents saying anything to get the customer off the phone. As I read over my colleagues' responses and advice, I think that you need to do your own research. You need to know, in writing, what kind of insurance coverage you had, the truck's size, model and whatever other information is listed in your insurance policy. Be sure that the reason for the truck's use is covered as well. Verify any insurance coverage through the credit card you used.
Indeed, sadly, call centers are no longer a reliable source of information.

I think this is a good example that one should never assume and take risks when it comes to personal liability just to save money. Insurance policies are written by attorneys and are based on the laws in the insured's state of residence. Call center employees have very little, if any, legal training and therefore not the most qualified person to advise you on matters involving third parties. Furthermore, it appears that car rental companies are making things difficult when it comes to damages of their vehicles by consumers who did not purchase the insurance or CDW that they offered. OP stated that the rental company's insurance was just $18. Not long ago there was a story on this blog about a fellow who's rental car ended up literally underwater. It took months of effort to get his credit card to reimburse the rental company for the loss. He commented that it would have been far easier to just purchase the CDW sold by the rental company.
 
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Jun 12, 2019
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Indeed, sadly, call centers are no longer a reliable source of information.

I think this is a good example that one should never assume and take risks when it comes to personal liability just to save money. Insurance policies are written by attorneys and are based on the laws in the insured's state of residence. Call center employees have very little, if any, legal training and therefore not the most qualified person to advise you on matters involving third parties. Furthermore, it appears that car rental companies are making things difficult when it comes to damages of their vehicles by consumers who did not purchase the insurance or CDW that they offered. OP stated that the rental company's insurance was just $18. Not long ago there was a story on this blog about a fellow who's rental car ended up literally underwater. It took months of effort to get his credit card to reimburse the rental company for the loss. He commented that it would have been far easier to just purchase the CDW sold by the rental company.
If USAA is denying coverage, they have to send you a denial letter with the exact language of your policy that explicit denies that coverage. If the language is ambiguous, such as not exactly defining what a "truck" is, you benefit from the best possible interpretation of that ambiguity because the insurance policy is a contract by adhesion (meaning that you had not power to negotiate the terms aka take it or leave it). More than likely, your policy will define what is not covered by weight , usually 2000 lbs or less. I have denied coverage when I worked for Progressive for vehicles that were over the weight limit.

If working your way up the contacts is going nowhere, you can appeal to your state's department of insurance of find a lawyer who specializes in bad faith claims.
 
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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
If USAA is denying coverage, they have to send you a denial letter with the exact language of your policy that explicit denies that coverage. If the language is ambiguous, such as not exactly defining what a "truck" is, you benefit from the best possible interpretation of that ambiguity because the insurance policy is a contract by adhesion (meaning that you had not power to negotiate the terms aka take it or leave it). More than likely, your policy will define what is not covered by weight , usually 2000 lbs or less. I have denied coverage when I worked for Progressive for vehicles that were over the weight limit.

If working your way up the contacts is going nowhere, you can appeal to your state's department of insurance of find a lawyer who specializes in bad faith claims.
A weight limit of 2000 lbs would not allow rental of a Smart car. What weight limit were you referring to?
 
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Oct 13, 2015
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Indeed too much information is missing. Insurance policies vary according to your state of residence. Since the OP mentioned that one of the involved parties's insurance company has initiated or is threatening legal action to collect damages, I am inclined to recommend that s/he seeks legal counsel. This is quite a complex case.
I think you have zeroed in on the immediate problem. Thank you for your response and advice.
 

BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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I reiterate: the OP is being personally sued by the insurance company of one of the parties involved in the accident, in addition to paying for the rented vehicle s/he damaged. Since s/he is involved in a legal matter, any further speculation on the provisions of his/her insurance policy is counterproductive. **OP needs to seek the advice of an attorney.** As a Paralegal I obviously cannot provide any legal advice, neither on this forum or anywhere else on the planet, but I am concerned that any further public comment by the OP or even contact with USAA could exasperate an already serious predicament.