We’ve all probably been in this situation: a friend, family member, stranger (or worse; a coworker) is moving something and asks to borrow your truck. You’ll feel bad for not helping them out, but is it worth it? And what’s the best way to get out of handing the keys to the freeloader? We asked truck owners in the building and customers how they go about it.
For starters, most auto insurance policy applies to all drivers in your house: spouse, partner, roommates and relatives; people who might regularly borrow your truck. Say your buddy takes your truck and gets in an accident. Your liability insurance would pay to repair the other vehicle and any medical bills, up to your policy limits. The incident goes down as a liability claim against you and will, in most cases, cause your rate to go up. If your friend doesn’t have auto insurance then you might have to sue them for what your policy won’t cover, and the person your friend hit could come after you as well. Now you have a crashed truck and need to decide how you’ll pay to repair or replace it. Parking tickets and red light cameras will go to the owner of the vehicle and you’d have to ask them to pay for it.
If you trust the person, there’s a small checklist you can do to protect yourself before handing the keys over. Check your policy for the terms, conditions, and if they would be covered. Make sure your friend has a valid driver’s license and ask if they have car insurance. Check to make sure your registration and insurance information are in your glove box before they take off with it.
Saying no when someone asks to borrow your truck does not make you a bad person. You’re protecting yourself essentially. An eye opening experience is Ryan Holle. He was sentenced for life behind bars without a chance of parole because he lent his car to his friends. Then his friends drove down the road, robbed and killed someone. At the time of the murder, Ryan was home, sleeping. Luckily the Governor dropped his sentence to only 25 years back in 2015.
Here’s a list of ways to get out of lending your truck out:
- “My truck’s too old, I don’t think it’s up for hauling anything right now”
- “I already promised it to someone else, but here’s another guy who might have an available truck”
- “You can rent a much larger, enclosed box truck for about $40. Home Depot has some $20 options”
- “Last time I was carrying a lot it was making some strange noises, I need to get it looked at first”
- “It’s my only transportation, I can’t lend it out, sorry”
- “Sure if I can use your car Saturday night”
- “I’ll help haul but I don’t loan it out”
- “My insurance doesn’t cover others driving it”
And for those of you reading this that might need to ask to borrow someone’s truck, remember these few key things: always wash the truck (gently, by hand to not cause damage), hose the bed out, top off the gas tank and clean out the interior to the way you got it. If the owner of the truck will let you use it but wants to drive it or tag along, you are responsible for his meals on the trip, gas and maybe a few bucks for his time, more than a few bucks if he’s lifting or moving stuff. Ask what to do in case of a flat, break down or accident beforehand. If you’re borrowing a trailer than cash is still welcome, the owner’s bearings and tires are being used, and they paid for the tags.
And if you leave a scratch, ding or it’s making a new noise, let the owner know.