Each year, as many as one in 20 vehicles used for business purposes is involved in an auto accident. While no one wants to get in an accident, improperly insured business drivers face risks beyond filing a claim.
For improperly insured drivers, claims of property damage or bodily injury can be denied by an insurer and your business could face a lawsuit. A personal policy may not be enough to protect your small business.
To minimize risk to yourself, your employees and your small business, it’s important to educate yourself about the difference between personal and commercial auto insurance. Read on to learn why you shouldn’t use your personal car for business purposes without the proper commercial auto coverage.
Driving for Business Is Riskier
Many personal car insurance policies do not cover the use of a personal vehicle for business because it can be riskier to drive for business than it is for personal use.
- You and your employees may spend significantly more time behind the wheel for business purposes than typical drivers.
- Your employees may drive unfamiliar roads in unfamiliar areas more frequently to make deliveries, meet clients or visit job sites.
- Plus, with business top of mind, driving may not have your or your employees’ full attention.
Know the Terms of Your Policy
When insurance companies insure a car for personal use, the policy and coverage reflect this type of usage and not the additional risks of driving for business.
While insurance coverage will account for drivers getting from home to the office, it may violate the terms of your personal policy to make deliveries, or travel between frequent client meetings and job sites. If you had an accident under these circumstances, your claim could be denied and your coverage could also be cancelled.
Learn What Counts as a Business Purpose
It’s important to become educated about what counts as business use of a vehicle. Some business uses are more obvious than others, but the following uses of a personal car may exceed your personal auto policy coverage:
- Delivering pizza, restaurant meals and catering.
- Rideshare services through Uber, Lyft or other apps.
- Picking up or delivering samples, inventory or equipment.
- Being used to provide a service for a fee.
- Specialty trade contractor usage such as by plumbers, electricians or roofers.
- Moving people or industrial equipment at a construction site.
- Meeting with home sellers or showing homes to buyers as a real estate agent.
- Traveling frequently to meet clients, customers or sales prospects.
- Employee-owned cars used frequently for business errands.
Implement Proper Coverage
To reduce the risk of costly accidents, claim denials and legal issues, ensure that you and your employees have the proper coverage. Examine how personal vehicles are used during work and review your policy details. If the use of a personal car will exceed existing coverage, explore options for additional Commercial Auto Insurance.
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 can also add 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.
These policies are the best way to ensure that you protect your small business while on the road.