Would you let your car to a sitter?

On another forum I noticed some sitters wanted cars, complained if the owners did not suggest to let them a car, if the home was remote, there was not easy public transportation
On this forum, I see that some sitters would appreciate to see if owners’ cars can be used. It would help them to select the sits.
Problem is laws are VERY different among countries. In Europe it exists a convention between all insurance companies but it’s not true between northern america and Europe. Cars insurances are not related to house insurances at all here.
Which means you really must check with your insurance company if the foreign sitter is authorized to drive your car, what kind of licence (s)he must have. How can you know if (s)he has had accidents in the past ? How good driver (s)he is ?
It seems very important to check with the sitter what would happen if (s)he does harm to the car, or worse to a person ?
Who would pay for the car damage ? For the injured person hospitalization ? And if the car is totally ruined ? The insurance cost would increase immediatly and for a few years, so who would pay the “'malus” ?
In France, where I live, you may loose your driving licence after a few offenses (you loose points and your licence is lost after 12 points loss); it goes pretty quick, if you’re flashed while driving too fast, overpass a yellow line or a stop, speaking on a cell phone.
Problem is it is the car plate which is flashed, therefore it’s very difficult later, when the sitter is gone, to proove that very day or night, you were not the driver !
Even if you trust the sitter because (s)he has good feedbacks, you never know how (s)he will react in case of accident : will (s)he assume, or hide if somebody is injured ? (read Wolfe’s “bunch of vanities”

I may sound anxious for sure, but NO I will never let my car to a stranger. I don’t do it either with people with whom I exchange homes.

When I am a pet sitter myself, I don’t expect a free car, I rent it. It’s part of the cost of pet sitting, as transportation to go abroad. I don’t complain because the owner’s car stays in the garage and I have to walk to catch a bus.

Once in Guernesey the owner let me her very new Fiat during the 4 days of my sit, I was scared : driving on the “bad” side of the road was difficult enough. I would never accept again this generosity in the future, hopefully on Guernesey, the speed limit was 35 miles. Risk I could provoke an accident was low…

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I housesat and travelled in the North Island of New Zealand from last July to January this year. I completed 8 housesits and all but one of the owners left me a car to use. It appears to be common in NZ and was very welcome and necessary at times. I went from there to Oz where this didn’t appear to be the common practice.

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Interesting. You are so right about insurance rules being so different in various countries and it’s imperative to check the laws and rules wherever you go. We’ve been left the owners car on several occssions and always made great use of and been really grateful. Hiring cars would make our travelling life financially impossible.

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Kiwis are a different breed aren’t they? So generous and unbelievably helpful. Wonderful people.

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This is an interesting one.

Providing the sitter is legally qualified to drive the vehicle, making one available could be the difference between getting a sitter and not, especially in very rural areas, where there is no public transport. (we always advise contacting insurance providers as policies and conditions vary greatly across products and countries)

Rental Car insurance is extremely expensive, paying any additional costs on an owner’s vehicle is much less so. In Canada anyone over the age of 21 and not permanently resident of the home can drive any vehicle owned by the home owner. My sitters always had full use of my SUV

Some owners I’ve spoken to often don’t give a sitter’s transport needs a thought until its mentioned and many major car rental companies, particularly in the USA do not allow pets in cars.

Transport is essential should the animal require veterinary attention or simply love going in a car to their favourite walks - I look after Barclay the Labradoodle in San Diego who goes for a drive at 4.00 - 5.00 pm every afternoon in his own BarclayMobile …

If an owner is struggling to get a sitter, which does happen and they are very rural (sometimes the reason they are struggling as many sitters don’t have a car) and they do have a suitable vehicle I pose this thought, “You are inviting and trusting sitters to care for two of your most precious possessions, pets and home … why not a car, if available?”

When presented in this way owners will often decide to offer the use to qualified drivers always with the understanding that this is subject to having full and comprehensive insurance cover.

As with all house sitting arrangements this is subject to both parties being in complete agreement.

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The car issue is often a make-or-break for us as we don’t own one and won’t hire. Often the owners state ‘sitters must have own car’ but we always let them know we’re self-reliant and able to survive on foot and using public transport. They always agree. As long as we have a local taxi number or neighbours available for get emergencies then it’s no problem.

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Angela, it has little to do with generosity. i trust people in my home but I don’t trust insurances which always manage to find you are not “covered”
Everything is fine as long as you don’t have any accident, but in case of accident, it can be dramatic, financially but also medically
For the owner (when the pet sitter is the driver, and when the “driver”, badly hurt, is less covered than the “passenger” because it was the owner’s choice of insurance… )
The value of a home is important, but it’s quite rare a pet sitter would provoke a fire, an accident with a car is more frequent. See statistics.
i faced an accident, during an exchange of homes, in Canada, it cost me a fortune as I’ve been obliged to pay for the repair of the owner’s car, for the repair of the car I had damaged. I was responsible for sure, but if I had rented, the insurance would have covered me.
Last august, for our sit in Kent, we rented a car during 10 days, it cost us 600 £ because I took all insurances. The price of quietness.
For a long sit (I think of professional sitters) in USA it’s easy to buy a car and then to sell it.
I would like to see testimonies of owners or sitters who faced accidents, what happened ?

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The key is always making absolutely certain of full Insurance cover in any aspect of travel …

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Of course, but you can’t give a positive answer to a potential sitter who wants to know if (s) he will have a free car.

They really are. I had such a brilliant experience and can’t wait to go back. I feel that I made lots of genuine friends, not just housesitting owners but also some Airbnb hosts. I’m in contact with many of them by Facebook and occasionally have FaceTime calls. All thanks to Trusted Housesitters tbh!

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@Jon-JWalking We do the same as well! When we house sat in Europe we were generally in bigger cities and rarely needed to drive, even if a car was left for us. However, in the US and Canada, unless you’re city center it can be a challenge to get around by foot or public transportation. Since we sold our car in 2016, we haven’t looked back, but we do maintain a ‘non-owner’ vehicle insurance policy, which while not needed in most states (the insurance follows the car not the driver - caution though because this varies state by state) it does put owners at ease.

In the end though, if an owner isn’t able or chooses not to extend an offer of using their car, that’s completely okay. We make it work if we can, or we respectfully remove our application.

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I don’t think a car is absolutely necessary in most parts of Europe, makes life easier obviously but isn’t essential. A bit of prior planning and effort gets us through. Different story in the USA though, cars are everything aren’t they?

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In France, if you don’t own a car, you cannot have a “non owner” insurance for a car… My “bonus” (50% off because i did not face any accidents for years) was valid only 3 years after I had get rid of my car, even if i still use my husband’s
after 3 years I will have to pay a full insurance. if I pet sit in Europe, I can only be insured by the owners (if they are allowed to let their car to other drivers. ) You pay less here if there is only 1 or 2 drivers (husband and wife for example), you pay more when your driving license is new or you are young (people drive alone only at 18 in Europe)
I’ve been told by the pet owner last summer that it was hard to rent a car in England after 70. Rules are really different. I ignored that you can’t take animals in rental cars. What about a special taxi ? i guess the owners have faced questions by sitters in the past… Better to ask for sure than facing responsability problems too late.

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Yesterday i read my car insurance contract. If an accident happend when it’s not the usual l driver who is involve, the cost is 1500€) if s/he is responsible. Plus the extra cost on the insurance fee (“malus” )
This is why i can’t let anybody else than my husband behind the wheel.

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