I just gave up on finding a sitter for the 2023 holidays and hired someone through Rover. I live in Utah (great skiing!) and thought this would be my easiest time finding a sitter. After more than a month, zero interest.
A friend of mine who has been a sitter for nearly a decade told me I should offer the sitter my car. This seemed like a crazy suggestion to me.
How many American home and car owners allow sitters to drive your car? And how do you handle insurance?
Even if my current insurance would cover them (I am not sure) I wouldn’t want to be liable if they have an accident. Not only does that seem overly complicated and risky, it would make my insurance rates go up–which they’ve already done anyways since 2020.
Curious what people’s thoughts are about this.
Hi @utahredrock - there have been many conversations around this topic.
If you use the spyglass at the top of the page you will be able to read them.
Sorry to hear you didn’t get a sitter through the site. Xmas is a great time for sitters to pick up their first sit as there are always more listings than sitters. This year the level of unfilled sits appear to be the highest I have ever seen.
It is certainly a risk. I have a nice car and would never take the chance. If I had an older vehicle with just collision insurance to offer I might consider it. In the US the car is insured so you can let any licensed driver use it but there is still the issue of liability, getting them to pay the deductible. I am not sure it would raise your rates if you are not the driver having the accident.
No idea about insurance, but here’s some stats.
In the USA there are currently around 3996 sits on THS, and 419 of them offer their car. So that’s about 10.5% that offer their car.
Also, 12.5% offer their car in Utah.
I did search before posting and didn’t see any specifically on the U.S., though maybe I am just dense and didn’t see what is there.
From a sitter’s perspective, offering the use of a car would definitely have increased interest in your listing. The cost of renting a vehicle, regardless of the length of the sit, would cancel out the primary benefit of free accommodation so most people who don’t have their own car would not apply, unless it was some particularly unique or desirable experience in some way.
But your reluctance to make your car available for sitters is totally reasonable, and you shouldn’t do anything that would make you feel uncomfortable about the arrangement overall and diminish enjoyment of your trip. It was probably a smarter move to just take on the expense of paid pet care than stress about something like that.
I’ve had four sitters so far. All of them had their own cars. One drove from Denver to SLC to do the sit! That blew my mind. One was local. The other two were making their way west and it worked for their itineraries. Clearly this holiday season there were just way more sits available than sitters looking.
Yes I do think that there are generally more sits available than sitters to fill them at any given moment, But demand definitely skyrockets at certain times of the year, like summer and over the holidays and then there really aren’t enough people to go around. A lot of HOs worry there is something wrong with their listing or something undesirable about their sit when in reality it is nothing more than demand outstripping supply.
We do not offer this and as a sitter I would never take that on, I would rather rent a vehicle than be responsible for that.
I’d be a little worried about using someone’s car - just one more thing to worry about! Similar to how I like to avoid using glasses, plates etc that look like they might be special or valuable. If they had an older car that they wanted me to use to take the dog out I’d go for that.
But then I don’t go for sits that aren’t accessible by public transport at the moment - which is limiting in terms of the sits I can apply for.
I recently returned from a 7-week stint of four sits. I had use of the owner’s cars at all four of them and was also commended on my care of their vehicles in their reviews.
In sit #1, I drove the owner’s very nice primary vehicle, in #2 I drove the owner’s brand new electric car, in #3 I drove an older car but one the owner depended on and in #4 I drove the owner’s very nice electric car and had permission to drive their other vehicle, an SUV, for transporting trash and recycle bins. I would not have taken three of the four sits had they not been able to provide use of a car.
In the US, as long as the sitter has the owner’s permission to drive their car – and I request this in writing and keep it in the glove box, they are covered by the owner’s insurance. I always make it known that I will pay their deductible in the event of an accident. This would count as an accident on your record and could affect the cost of your premium. I have had only good experiences driving owner’s cars. Do you have a second vehicle, perhaps an older one, that you might feel comfortable lending?
I don’t have a second car. One is expensive enough! Thanks everyone for your answers, these have all been helpful. It’s clear that in my case it won’t work to let someone use my car. It’s not a risk that works for me.
We are not comfortable letting a sitter have use of our car.
Definitely look at the other threads on the Forum about this topic. You’ll notice that the vast majority of sits do not provide a car, and for very sound financial and liability reasons.
We are sitters and homeowners, so I offer these thoughts as we continue to experience both sides of this exchange. Free pet/home care in exchange for free lodging with better amenities than many AirBnBs.
We have a sitter coming for a long (3 month) stay, it’s going to be our first experience with THS. She has her own newer vehicle, but I am adding her on to my car insurance for the time period we are away. We don’t live near any kind of public transportation and if she suddenly lost the use of her vehicle (accident/breakdown, etc) I would want her to be able to be mobile. It’s a leap of faith, but my insurance company runs a full license/driving check on her license before they add her on. But then joining THS and posting our first sit and accepting our first sitter was a leap of faith too! We have a very good relationship already built with this sitter and are in regular discussions with her, so we are confident it will all work out.
@utahredrock As others have said, the use of your car is completely your decision. Only do so if you are comfortable with it. We’re sitting full time and have had a mixed bag on automobile use. Since we are traveling the world, we don’t have a car and renting a car is cost prohibitive. The one time I did rent a car was on Mallorca and only kept it the whole time because it was so inexpensive. It cost less for 24 days than I spent renting a car for 3 days visiting my mother in Missouri.
The way the UK laws are, almost none of the sits offer the use of a car. Therefore, we can only take sits that are within walking distance of grocery stores and restaurants or have good public transportation. The only location we had a car in the UK was on Jersey. No car in Italy, or Spain. We have had the use of a car in Ireland, Greece, all 4 sits in New Zealand. Cars ranged from old beaters to new electric cars and SUVs.
Even with the use of the cars, we primarily use them to get groceries and take dogs to places to walk as suggested by the HO.
We will be back in the US after the first of the year and will have a car of our own for the first time in our sitting career. That will be different for us.
Dan and Nan
Whilst we’re on cars and insurance, have just come back from the UK and renting a car for 11 days was only £170!! That’s cheap in my books as even adding me onto the insurance of a friend or family member would be £70 and I have no claims or points. @Lokstar got me onto kayak.co.uk or easycar and they have been great. Worth considering if you love a remote sit and don’t have a vehicle as I’d wrongly assumed it would be crazy money. On the adding sitters to your own insurance and car, totally up to you but we’ve done it in Switzerland, Holland, Italy and Thailand and it helped a lot!
@Cuttlefish I can add that we also have an Excess Policy with iCarhireinsurance.com which is absolutely fab and gives full peace of mind! No need to pay the rental companys extortionate daily excess rate! For about £49 a year you’re covered for a full years multiple rentals up to 60 days per rental. (In Europe. Worldwide costs a bit more)
We’ve also used many search engines for UK rentals and doyouspain.com is one of our Go To rental sites. Through them we discovered Drivalia which offers great direct prices. Just recently we flew into Heathrow from India and rented a car from Drivalia for 24 hours to get to our overnight place to collect our own car (kindly stored at one of our previous hosts homes) and dropped it back the next morning on the way through to our next UK sit in Oxford. It cost £24!!
Oh yes! We have one of those too wise one - your advice again and totally worth it (claimed last time and they paid every penny even the admin fee) thanks @Lokstar