I am only familiar with the asset protection strategies (as discussed with my lawyer) for PA. I am also NOT a lawyer; nor do I play one on the internet.
Originally Posted by Bryan2503S
In your opinion, What might I be liable for if I am sure my truck and/or camper insurance covers the people using it? Please explain if you don't mind? I am no expert and would rather hear some opinions then discuss anything with a lawyer.
So, with that caveat, if you are sued in PA as a result of an "at fault" accident and the suit is more than the maximum of your insurance (per person or per accident maximum) AND
the person or persons who were injured decline to accept your insurance's maximum payout per person as settlement in full (happens most when you are under-insured); your insurance company will cut YOU a check for that amount. You then are on the hook for everything; lawyer fees; court costs; and the final liability judgement.
If the injured parties can link their suit to others, they can get the maximum from them too. As the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident, you could be shown to have "enabled" the accident sequence, perhaps by allowing an "unqualified" operator access to your vehicle, or whatever the plaintiff's lawyer can cook up. If the vehicle is titled in both you and your DW's name, (in PA)
, ALL your jointly held assets are "on the table" as well.
This is known as "deep pockets" and if the injuries are severe enough and the need for medical expenses obvious, they may even go after the vehicle's manufacturer, too.
I was told that a single closed head injury award in PA could easily be 500,000 dollars. Not many young folks carry more than the minimum car insurance, so you can BET they will be coming after yours.
State-by-State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
The PA minimum for PER PERSON is 15,000 and the per accident maximum is 30,000. Have you ever asked the person you lent your truck/camper to what their insurance limits were?
For example (again in PA) - my truck and camper is in my name only and I am the only driver. That way only my individual assets (and wage income - not retirement income) are subject to judgement and joint assets are excluded. IF my DW was driving and "I allowed it," Then ALL our assets Hers, Mine, and Ours are subject to the judgement. In PA there is no Homestead Exclusion so your jointly held home can be force sold in the judgement. Other states do have a Homestead Exclusion and some have limits (like $250,000) which could force a sale if the house is worth more than that.
This is why we are very careful that the "registered driver" is the only driver of their vehicle. I 99% of the time drive my truck and the DW 99% of the time drives her car. When I drive her car I know that I am placing our home at risk. NO ONE else drives our vehicles; ever.
Understanding the risks in YOUR state is important when making decisions like this.