Cars for sitters

I was recently lucky enough to meet up with @toml, a very experienced sitter, I explained we live in the countryside, with a bus only about once an hour, he suggested providing a car for sitters may make it easier for applicants who come from abroad or do not have a car of their own.
I have made enquiries of my insurance company and getting a sitter insured temporarily, age and experience taken into account, doesn’t appear on the surface, to be a problem. The sitter would have to provide answers to all the usual insurance questions for me to be able to do this. The other option would be a hire car.
Would sitters be kind enough to share their feelings and opinions about which they felt would be better and also whether they would be prepared to share some of the cost.
Also where in the advert should I add all this information.
(Apologies if this has been asked before)

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I personally wouldn’t hire a car while housesitting, only in between sits of there was a big enough gap, which is what I did in New Zealand when I was sitting there (I’m from the UK). Hire cars there didn’t allow animals to be transported in the car. I had 8 housesits there and 7 of them left me a car to use, adding me to their insurance. None of them asked me to pay towards the insurance. Depending on the cost I would be willing to split the cost of extra insurance if I needed a car. It all depends on the circumstances as I wouldn’t mind travelling by bus. If the sit was a long one though I might be glad of the car.
Hope that helps….!

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Pre-Covid, when we were traveling all over the world to Europe, UK, Asia, Australia and NZ, we were generally offered the use of a car if we were not in a big city with access to public transport. We always accepted and were never asked to contribute to the cost of being added to the HO’s insurance. We’ve been sitting exclusively in NZ for the past 2 years and have a long term arrangement for a car. HO’s here continue to offer the use of their car but it’s currently not necessary for us.

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Sally, glad you were able to find your insurance company will still do that. I guess it depends on company as I had 2 folks who have done it before turned down by their insurance. Just corresponded with a sit in April and she is checking with her company.
Take care.
Tom

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As full-time house sitters, we only apply for and accept sits where a car is included, if there’s no public transport available. We would not consider splitting costs.
It’s not so much for sight-seeing, but mainly for shopping and in case the pets need to go to the vet.
We are happy to pay to be added to the insurance if needed.

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Hi @Smiley, thank you for that. The bus journey could be about an hour to anywhere, we’re in a small village right out in the Kent (England) countryside. I’m happy to insure sitters to drive my car and I don’t think it would be that expensive, so we would foot the bill, I just won’t know until I try, so I’m trying to gauge opinion if my insurer won’t cover them. We’re more than happy to collect sitters from an airport or railway station, it’s just what they might need while they stay.

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Hi @Els. Uk car insurance appears to have restrictions if you are over a certain age, so hiring a car appears to be easier for the more mature sitter. My sit isn’t until mid June so I haven’t put it on yet. It’s knowing how soon to advertise to get the insurance sorted. Public transport is available but it’s only about every hour and it can end up taking an hour to get anywhere because it stops at other villages. I don’t want any sitter to feel it’s impossible to get anywhere.

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Hi Tom, I spoke to my company after we met, it seems that because you’re over a certain age, they won’t do it and that’s frustrating. It’s something to do with UK rules

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For US sits, we have our own car. For overseas, we also only apply for sits that have public transportation. We’ve discussed being added to a HO insurance, but their insurance company advised he wasn’t able to do that-don’t recall the reason. We are 62/65, so not sure if it was an age issue. Hope you are able to find a solution to your inquiry.

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For a three-month sit, the HOs added me to the car’s insurance, and I supplied my renters’/borrowers’ liability. I only used the car locally. I ran it through the car wash before their return. I did not contribute to the insurance, as there was no added expense for the HO.

In another case, I had use of a car and the HO did not add me to the insurance, but it was an old beater and stunk of dog, so my liability insurance w/b fine. In this case, the HOs required me to drive their large dogs to dog parks and trails. Had I been using a rental/hire car, I would have been allowed to use the rental car for dog transportation.

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Hi @Sally1959 I live in Canada, and my auto insurance covers me for any vehicle I drive in Canada or the US. If I do sits in either country, that’s helpful. If I allow someone to use my car, I do not need to put them on the policy, but they must be over 25. I have no idea whether that’s a standard rule in Canada.

I avoid using a homeowner’s vehicle whenever possible, but that’s just my dislike of borrowing someone’s car. Life happens, and I would feel awful if there was an incident of any kind. I also don’t like driving in high-volume traffic. I look for walkable neighbourhoods, if I don’t have my car.

I have had use of a car in Australia, St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and Guernsey, but in traffic areas where I was comfortable. For the Guernsey sit they just needed a copy of my licence in advance and turned down my offer to cover any additional cost. In Australia and St. Thomas, there was no need for proof of licence and we were not asked for a contribution.

I do understand why offering a vehicle makes a sit more attractive for many, but I would be uncomfortable leaving my car for someone else to use. Again, life happens and it can cause complications.

As for rental cars, many companies will not allow pets to be in the vehicles. That’s something that needs to be checked.

As for your listing, be clear on your position concerning vehicles, whatever that might be. Communication is key. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi Snowbird, thank you for your reply. In a lot of countries it seems the car is insured for any driver as long as they hold an appropriate license. In the UK, it’s the person that’s insured, unless you insure the vehicle for any driver and that can be expensive. If you don’t have any driver as an add on you have to add each driver as a temporary and stipulate for how long. Loads of questions too, about history, accidents or offences and even criminal convictions

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That is standard in Canada, well at least in Ontario. The vehicle is insured, not the person, so anyone who is over 25 and has a valid license can drive it. Makes a lot more sense in my opinion than the UK system where the driver is insured, not the vehicle.

I ended up buying a cheap beater last time I sat in the UK because it was such a hassle to get me added to the homeowners insurance with a Canadian drivers license. Obviously that wouldn’t work for everyone but I was there for a few months and had a family members address for registration so it made sense for me.

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We sit all over the world and often have the use of a car. Unless we’re in the middle of a city, access to a car does make a sit more desirable. Insurance is handled in various ways depending on the country and insurance provider. Sometimes we’re asked to answer questions and send driving credentials, which we’re happy to do. We would never expect an HO to hire a car, only make one available if it is convenient.

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Glad it was useful but, tbh, not many owners in the UK offer the sitter a car. Nice that you are considering it

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Hi Sally
Could it be the case if the person ( sitter) is UK based. and have their own car insurance they might be covered by that.
I am insured to drive any car with owners permission. it is only 3rd party cover though

I have to say, personally I have always found the " sitters need a car" a bit confusing does it mean no car included or the area is so remote a car is essential.
I usually do research on public transport before contemplating an application especially if the sit is hundreds of miles away.
cheers

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There’s been a discussion somewhere else on the forum that owners sometimes put ‘sitters need a car’ when they don’t necessarily. It doesn’t mean the owners provide a car, if the owners provide a car they will say that.

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A very timely question since we are struggling with this issue as a new THS homeowner. We live in an area (in northern Michigan, USA) that while not super-remote, a car is need to get groceries, get to restaurants, etc. Our insurance agent does not recommend letting a sitter use our car, mainly because of the third-party liability issue, i.e. he says that if someone who doesn’t live at our house drives our car and injures someone else, we could be sued and our insurance would not cover us. Has anyone else been told this? He thinks that if the sitter has a valid driver’s license and their own car insurance, our insurance would cover damage to the car while the driver’s insurance should cover medical expenses if the drive gets hurt, but all states’ insurance rules are different so he’s not 100% sure.

Hello @pearsods and welcome to the community! This is the problem many owners face, depending on which country, state and even company, they are dealing with. This is why we always suggest that when considering offering a car, that owners, and sitters (where applicable) chat with their insurance company or agent. There is unfortunately no one answer on this topic, sometimes even within the same country.

Thank you for joining in the conversation, sharing your experience and the feedback of your agent.

We lived in MI for 22 years and I remember car insurance being an oddity there, compared to other places we’ve lived. I just don’t remember why and we left 8 years ago. At the time we were there I remember it being a no fault state?