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Old 09-07-2012, 01:03 AM   #1
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Exclamation ALERT to California members

A word of warning to all RV'ers from California:

About 6 months ago a friend of mine who, like me, has a 5er, was involved in an accident. The other driver was uninsured but my friend wasnít concerned because he had uninsured motorist insurance as part of his policy.
His insurance company denied his claim because he was "not licensed to tow" his 5er. Indeed, he hadnít gotten the proper endorsement on his California DL for towing a 5th wheel (see here:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl648/dl648pt5.htm)

He was unaware of the law requiring this endorsement and had been towing his 5er all over the U.S. for years without it. I didnít even think to ask him if he had this endorsement on his license... I had one on mine since I got my 5er.
As a result, he lost his 5er (it was totaled, and he wasn't reimbursed) and had to pay for all of the repairs to his TV (Ford F-350).
I checked this with DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and found the following:
In order to tow a trailer or fifth wheel up to 15,000 GVWR you need an endorsement on your license.
If you are towing a trailer or fifth wheel with a GVWR greater than 15,000 you need to get a non-commercial class A license.
If you are properly licensed in California to tow a 5th wheel, all other state have what is called "reciprocal agreements" regarding licensing and will honor Californiaís coverage.
So it seems that if you donít have the proper license in California to tow your 5er, you are SOL if you get in an accident, whether it was your fault or not. Makes sense to get the endorsement or proper license.
Hereís a link to the handbook for the license test:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl648/dl648.pdf

Hope this helps those of you that didnít have this info.
 
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:15 AM   #2
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Some states do have a requirement for an endorsement on your license for heavier rigs. Fortunately WA isn't one of them!
This is the first report I've seen of an insurance company denying coverage though. I've seen lots of people warning that it could happen though.
Good info for those in CA!
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:04 AM   #3
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Yes thankfully WA doesn't require a specially endorsement. Yet anyway
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firecapt View Post
If you are properly licensed in California to tow a 5th wheel, all other state have what is called "reciprocal agreements" regarding licensing and will honor Californiaís coverage. 
...and this doesn't work the other way as well? I am thinking that if "your state" doesn't require any special endorsement, shouldn't CA accept and respect this?

This is not a comment as to who does what and why - this is a genuine question.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:32 AM   #5
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Yes, drivers licenses are reciprocal, vehicle regulations/requirements are not.

However, this was a California resident without the endorsement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Danes Are Coming View Post
...and this doesn't work the other way as well? I am thinking that if "your state" doesn't require any special endorsement, shouldn't CA accept and respect this?

This is not a comment as to who does what and why - this is a genuine question.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by The Danes Are Coming View Post
...and this doesn't work the other way as well? I am thinking that if "your state" doesn't require any special endorsement, shouldn't CA accept and respect this?
This would fall under the "reciprocal agreement" mentioned in the original post. All states must respect and accept the license and endorsements as required and issued by your home state (country).
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:15 AM   #7
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What was the insurance company?
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:30 AM   #8
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California, being California , has all kinds of laws that are particular to that state.
I don't know how they do it ...
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:36 AM   #9
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So.. exactly what must you do to get the endorsement(s)? Simply pay more money?
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:44 AM   #10
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So.. exactly what must you do to get the endorsement(s)? Simply pay more money?
Just a test..read the link.

"There is no fee unless your license expires within six months"
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:33 AM   #11
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I think I would challenge the insurer in court. They would still have paid had he violated some other law, e.g. was speeding or DWI. And they would have paid if somebody else was driving, even a totally unlicensed driver or somebody with an expired license. Besides, the collision coverage on the trailer applies even if it is parked, so what does his driver license status have to do with it?

Your friend should get an attorney to advise him on the fine print in the policy, but few have any clause that lets the insurer off the hook unless the vehicle is used in the commission of a crime.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:30 AM   #12
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JMHO. But this Alert should be labeled to all members. You as the owner/driver HAVE TO KNOW every state/provincial law that applies to you and what your doing. " Ignorance of the Law is no Excuse; for it is something that anyone can plead. " Be it trailer weights or air brakes, overall length or toad brakes, you have to know, what laws apply to you.
I'd be willing to bet that 95% of insurance company employees are lawyers, so starting a legal battle there may not be very productive.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:59 AM   #13
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I am a drivers license examiner in NC and will add my two cents. In this state, if your TV GVWR and TT/5er GVWR are more than 26,000 combined you are eligible for a classified (Not commercial) A license. If the GVWR of the TT/5er is 10,000 or less you can drive on your regular class c license.

Another thing I have noticed is people driving coaches. I have seen many people driving motor coaches (including my neighbor!) without the proper license. If your motor coach's GVWR is more than 26,000 you need to have a classified (not commercial) b license. You are allowed to tow a trailer or car on the classified b license as long as the GVWR of what you are towing is 10,000 or less.

Clear as mud right? Feel free to let me know if you need further clarification!
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:13 AM   #14
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The insurance angle is the major reason I just finished the testing for my Non-commercial Class B license in PA. Required for motorized vehicles over 26,000 pounds. Our toad is less than 10,000 pounds so we were clear there.
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