If you use vehicles as part of your business operations, a commercial auto policy should be included in your insurance program. Commercial Auto insurance provides coverage for vehicles in the event they incur physical damage, cause physical damage or bodily injury to others.
If appropriate, you may also need non-owned auto coverage, which protects from claims for damages involving bodily injury or property damage caused by someone working on behalf of the business while using a vehicle not owned by the business.
In addition to insurance, you also need to have policies and guidelines in place to make sure that you choose carefully when determining who is allowed to drive on your organization’s behalf. Any approved drivers you select should also have guidelines to follow while operating vehicles. Most importantly, those policies need to match up with the actual practice.
Guidelines for your company’s drivers
Some things to consider when deciding who is allowed to drive one of your vehicles or their own personal vehicle for business:
- Have you researched this person’s driving record?
- Is there anything about this person’s background that would make them a risky choice as a permitted driver?
- Do they have a valid driver’s license and their own vehicle?
Your policies for vehicle operation should include:
- Standards for a driver’s motor vehicle records, particularly if there is a violation on the job.
- Prohibited activities while driving, such as using cell phones or texting.
- Accident and violation reporting requirements.
- Required driver training.
- Penalties for violating any of the policies.
Because your organization is liable for any accidents or incidents involving vehicles it owns and potentially even those you don’t, you need to make sure you are not being negligent when selecting approved drivers.
Commercial Auto Insurance and Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability Insurance will protect your business from legal fees and damages as a result of accidents that occur when members or employees are driving their own vehicles or rented vehicles for your business.
This could include running errands, delivery or business trips. It’s important to remember that you are running a business, with all the risks that entails. It may seem like no big deal to let an unapproved driver use the vehicle “just this once,” but that can expose you to more liability and expense than it’s worth.