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howie29

Insurance Liability question

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My insurance company can't tell me and I am desperate to know at what point does insurance not cover me if I am considered overwieght?  What is the legal definition of overweight...my SUV has a GVWR of 7300lbs and my (potential) trailer has a GVWR of 6869lbs which totals 14169lbs.  The GCVWR of my SUV is 14000lbs.  Is this legally overloaded?  

I don't ever intend to travel at those weights but if I get in an accident, are those the numbers insurance and police are going to refer to?  Its an issue because my wife REALLY wants this particular trailer and it is causing some issues between us!  If someone could chime in it would be greatly appreciated.  I have gotten excellent guidance in the past on this forum.

Thanks!

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I have never heard of any cases where liability insurance was invalidated due to overloading. I am not an attorney nor an insurance expert, but I have been active in the RV community for many years and while I have heard people say that it could happen, to my knowledge it never has. I highly doubt that there is any significant probability of this and particularly not a mere 169#! I can tell you from experience that if you tow at that weight you will find the handling to be poor and control will be a chore. You will also have very long stopping distance and you could find mechanical failures more common. Designed maximum weights are not intended to be the point at which you operate all or most of the time. 

I highly doubt that you will ever have that sort of insurance issue. 

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If you are 8n an accident do you really think the insurance company is going to pick up everything and weigh it? The only place I have heard of vehicles being weighed to check weight are scales and rodeos. Scales due to being commercial vehicles and rodeos due to the fact that they are supposed to be commercial vehicles, allegedly. 

You have people on this and other forums that think they are the weight police and spout off all the time about how insurance won’t pay if you are over or that the police will write you a ticket if you are over. They have never been able to provide any facts where someone has had this happen other than the two incidents I have already told you about. Quit listening to them and quit talking to your insurance agent. He has no idea of the practices in the field. He just writes the policy.

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As a LEO who supervises a traffic team, I can tell you that at the weights you list you would be over weight if everything was running at max GVW.  You might also be over weight on axle ratings.  These conditions could TECHNICALLY result in you being cited.  However, unless you do something really egregious in front of an officer who has access to scales and knows the laws related to weights nothing is going to happen related to being overweight by that small of a number on your GCWR.  The vast majority of officers aren't even going to know anything about enforcing weight violations.

Even in a worst case scenario, only being 169 lbs over weight is very unlikely to result in a citation or liability.  As a non-commercial rig, weight will not be an issue a regular officer will typically do anything about.  The exception to this is if you are involved in a fatal or major injury collision and are determined to be at fault because you were overloaded AND unsafe as a result of being overloaded.  Just being overloaded is not necessarily going to result in liability.  However, if you are overloaded and it can be shown that being so overloaded made you unsafe then you would be liable. 

At the limited numbers you are quoting, I wouldn't worry much about liability.  I would worry more about the stress you are going to be placing on your rig running at maximum capacities on a regular basis and the resulting wear and tear you will place on your vehicles.  This will be way more likely to cause you aggravation than any possibility of a citation or potential liability.

As Kirk said above, it will not be a pleasant towing experience running at max weights like that.

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Its not your insurance company that you need to worry about. Its the lawyer representing anyone you injured in the accident. If you're at fault your insurance company will pay up to the policy limit, which for most folks is way too low. Any good accident lawyer will thank your insurance company and then go after you personally for as much as he thinks your assets are worth.  That's where showing that you intentional drove while significantly overloaded comes in to play, in proving your negligence. But a couple hundred pounds over the weight rating would not make it to court if that's all they had. This personal liability also varies by state. Some states have no-fault laws that limit personal liability suits. Each state has slight variations on whether they can go after your house, your savings, your retirement account, your personal possessions, etc

If you have assets that you don't want to risk losing in a liability lawsuit, which can easily be millions in a personal injury case, then you should get a Liability Umbrella Policy" for xxx million.

The vehicle manufacturer or the tire manufacturer may deny warranty coverage if they can prove you routinely drove overloaded. But no insurance company is going to try denying coverage unless you violate something specifically prohibited in the policy and I've never seen or heard of GVWR GAWR or GCWR being mentioned in a private non-commercial vehicle policy. Things that are in most standard policies that can get coverage denied are: drunk driving, fleeing police, using the vehicle in the commission of a crime, allowing an unlicensed person drive the vehicle, intentionally causing an accident for fraudulent purposes, etc

Edited by JRP

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Legalities have been addressed, what IMO is the next topic is driver stress of towing at/over the maximum weight limit for the tow vehicle. It will not be comfortable for the driver on 300+ mile drives, nor will it be easy on the bank account, things wear out and break faster.

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8 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

Legalities have been addressed, wha t IMO is the next topic is driver stress of towing at/over the maximum weight limit for the tow vehicle. It will not be comfortable for the driver on 300+ mile drives, nor will it be easy on the bank account, things wear out and break faster.

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On ‎9‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 5:46 PM, howie29 said:

My insurance company can't tell me and I am desperate to know at what point does insurance not cover me if I am considered overwieght?  What is the legal definition of overweight...my SUV has a GVWR of 7300lbs and my (potential) trailer has a GVWR of 6869lbs which totals 14169lbs.  The GCVWR of my SUV is 14000lbs.  Is this legally overloaded?  

Another view is that you get weighed at a CAT scale when traveling and keep the receipt handy, it's dated. Done periodically won't break the bank at $11 so update when necessary. The scenario that you have presented was using the ratings and your actual traveling weights could be well below the ratings that you listed above. Perhaps your potential trailer has a dry weight in the specs as well that can be used in conjunction with the GVWR. Getting your truck weighed with either you alone or with your other half as well, and with typical truck stuff on board, can tell you what you have to work with. Everyone has their own version of what's tolerable or desired, and this also has much to do with traveling style & destinations, but a maximum of 50% of the truck's capability (gasser) is my target knowing that I'll stray a little either side of that.

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