Question from an IIABNY member: I have a customer renting this truck to move his daughter to college. It looks to me like it would qualify for the Rental Car coverage endorsement. However, I wanted to double-check with you.
Answer: For the non-New Yorkers who read this blog, New York Insurance Law Sect. 3440 requires "every motor vehicle liability insurance policy which insures less than five private passenger motor vehicles (to) provide coverage for the obligation of the insured for actual damage to, or loss of, vehicles (including loss of use) rented by an insured in the United States, its territories or possessions and Canada under a rental agreement with a term of thirty continuous days or less..." The New York Insurance Department implemented this law through Regulation 35-A, which contains the prescribed text of the endorsement that accomplishes this -- ISO endorsement PP 03 46 06 03, Rental Vehicle Coverage Endorsement -- New York.
The endorsement defines "rental vehicle" as:
(A) motor vehicle of the private passenger or station wagon type or a motor vehicle with a pick-up body, a delivery sedan, panel truck or van if the vehicle is:
1. Not used for transporting persons or property for hire; and
2. Owned by a person engaged in the business of renting or leasing vehicles, rented or leased without a driver to persons other than the owner, and is registered in the name of such owner.
The Insurance Department issued an advisory legal opinion on December 12, 1994 that addressed the question of whether the endorsement applies to a U-Haul truck. Since the department has posted on its Web site only those opinions issued since 2000, this one is not online. Near the end of the opinion, the attorney wrote:
In your letter, you specifically cite the Insurance Department Bulletin for April, 1991, in which an article appeared offering "Some Questions and Answers" about (collision damage waiver) coverage. One question concerned whether an individual, who has (rental vehicle coverage) under his or her auto liability policy, would be covered for the rental of a U-Haul truck used to move belongings to a new apartment. You ask how a U-Haul truck is distinguished from a delivery sedan or panel truck. Simply stated, since the "standard" U-Haul moving truck is not a delivery sedan, panel truck or van, no RVC coverage would be available.
So, to my surprise, the department's opinion is that the endorsement does not cover U-Haul trucks. People renting them (which is almost everyone at one time or another) should purchase the collision damage waiver from the rental company in order to protect themselves against financial loss if the truck gets damaged while they have it.