Car/Vehicle use when public transport is available?

Afternoon all,

Advice requested as we’re getting the lay of the THS land. We have a 5wk sit w/ multiple applicants that we have spoken w/. Our favored candidate has requested use of our vehicle (we listed no vehicle in the posting) primarily because they are interested in activities further afield (in the mountains) from our home.

However, our house is a ten minute walk to public transit and we live within a mile of tons of shops, grocers, general stores etc. Car use is not required for any activities associated w/ our pet.

I personally don’t feel comfortable leaving a car and my insurance agent advised against it - primarily as he said whatever damage to the car would go to our auto insurance first. Our car is not super important to us but I really would be miffed if our rates went up b/c of something that happened under someone else’s watch.

I realize I am expecting the worst, but living in the US means being a part of “law suit happy culture” and w/ how rates skyrocket at any claim, I’m nervous.

Given our access to public transit/walkable stores and the car use would be more personal want, not need, how would y’all proceed?

Thanks in advance!

Hi @Soni and welcome to the forum. It’s really important that you asked this question, so thank you for that.

There have been discussions in various posts about use/availability of cars. I am wondering if you put ‘Sitters need a car’ in your listing, thinking that you mean you are not making your vehicle available. If you did, then I would suggest you remove that tag. If you did not, then I would clearly state that you are not making your car available. It is totally for you to decide.

Please make sure that your listing clearly shows the details you’ve shown here - closeness to public transit and amenities. Please don’t feel pressured into making anything available that is outside of your comfort level. In a similar way, sitters need to make sure they don’t commit to anything (not just cars) that is not workable for them. Communication and a good fit are so important to the success of any sit.

Francine,
Voluntary Forum Moderator

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Welcome @Soni. You don’t feel comfortable leaving them your car, a car is not required to live in your area, and you have multiple applicants, so I would say that you should move on to some of the other candidates who are not making this request. Your favoured candidate is making a demand you’re not comfortable with, so perhaps that means they’re not really the favoured after all…?

The recent discussions on this forum about car use have mostly revolved around homeowners in transit/walking-unfriendly areas who were struggling to find sitters as a way to try to entice applicants without cars. This doesn’t seem to be the case for you as a car is not required and you’ve had multiple applicants.

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I’ll just add that, if you do decide to allow some use of your vehicle, the driver can, and should, carry liability/3rd-party insurance. I’m in the US and maintained renters’/borrowers’ insurance even when I did not have a car. I’ve borrowed HO’s cars a few times and provide my license and insurance for their records.

What YOUR insurance covers in case of an accident is your car itself. Of course, that doesn’t remove the possibility of someone hitting the car or other calamities. You could draw up an agreement in that case to say that you’d prefer not to make a claim against your insurance and the sitter would have to pay out of pocket for any damage.

Obviously, it’s risky, for everyone. As a sitter, I would also be nervous about a typical mechanical issue occurring and my having to deal with it and possibly pay for it.

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Thanks you both @Snowbird & @meow - basically folks want a car b/c that’s the only way to access hiking & mt biking trails. But I feel anything extracurricular, while if it’s an accomodation that I’m comfortable w/ NBD, if not, I don’t think it’s my responsibility.

One of my goals in posting was to see if I was out of line w/ the standards of the community (since we’re new here).

I had marked no to both “Do sitters need a car to get to your home” and “Do you plan to provide a car for your sitters” but when I review that in the app vs desktop on my listing, I don’t see that. So maybe they didn’t either?!

I marked both

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@Soni I am a sitter so don’t see your options, but your assumption sounds logical. By the way, when I replied I hadn’t noticed that you said you have multiple applicants. I only realized that after I read meow’s response. I guess my message still applies though - there has to be a comfort level and good fit for everyone. I hope all goes well for you.

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The HO makes the decision about a car but something to think about is if a car is needed to get the animal to the vet or if the HO wants the dog going to a dog park, almost all rental car agreements now prohibit animals in the car. So even if the sitter has a rental s/he isn’t going to be able to take the pet along. In some US cities Uber has a pet option, in DC it adds about 20% to the cost of the ride.

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We as sitters are a bit surprised by what other sitters are requesting. If it was important for us to have a car included (especially for our own convenience) we would apply to such sits. We usually don’t make requests that could strain the hospitality of our hosts. If you don’t feel comfortable about leaving your car and it’s not really necessary, then it might be better to confirm a different sitter.

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A quick note related to above replies; @toml completely understand if the sitter needed to use the car for a vet visit, however, our intention is, should an emergency occur, our neighbors will handle this for us. As well, we had laid out clearly that our dog should only be kept in the area near the home that is walkable aka no dog parks.

Wanted to post a quick update on this and say thank you for everyone who replied. We ended up offering the sit to the applicant that wanted the vehicle under the condition that no car would be provided (I really liked and felt I could trust them). They declined the sit; which I had prepared for and is of course, perfectly fine.

After speaking with my insurance agent, they did advise against “loaning” the car and/or adding the person to my insurance. While they had their own travelers insurance, my agent said that claims will go to my primary insurance first and it’s generally hard to get supplemental insurance (like liability, travelers, etc.) to cover claims on a car that has standard/primary auto insurance.

If a claim goes onto my insurance, even if they pay the deductible, we would still be responsible to any raises in rates that are bound to occur. He also noted that he has seen policies canceled by the insurer after a single incident in the past couple of years even for those with good driving records. Or increased rates that are so prohibitive that the insured would seek a new policy.

Thought this may be helpful to share for those who have this inquiry in the future.

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