If asked to name jobs in which workers are paid to drive, you might first think of bus drivers, delivery people, taxi driver, and other positions that require long hours behind the wheel of a company owned vehicle. But what about nannies transporting children to and from activities, caregiver who transport clients to complete life tasks, and regional managers who spend much of their day driving between locations? Even if driving doesn’t define what you do, there is a chance you are using your personal vehicle in the course of your duties—something that could impact your coverage in case of an accident on the job.
Personal vs. work related uses
Personal auto insurance policies view your morning commute as personal use, and provide coverage in case of an accident on the way to or from your place of business. Things get a little more complicated though, if you use your personal vehicle during your workday. If your job requires you to drive your own car while on the clock, you might need to take a look at the fine print in your auto policy.
Generally speaking, personal auto insurance policies cover your commute to and from work, personal errands, and leisure travel; while tasks that occur during your workday--especially ones that involve transporting people or goods for an employer-- are likely to fall under business use. Plans written for personal use only will not cover business use and may leave you high and dry in the case of an accident.
Driving in the gig economy
Insurance carriers calculate costs by using probabilities, and the probability of being involved in an accident rises sharply when you’re spending hours behind the wheel, ferrying fairs for companies like Lyft or Uber. As a result, many insurance companies have added language to their personal use policies that specifically exclude trips undertaken with a rideshareing app open from coverage—even if there is no fare in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
What this means for employees
If you find yourself behind the wheel as a regular part of your workday, you should make sure that you are covered in the case of an accident. Especially if you work for a larger company, it is possible that your employer already holds a policy that covers you while you make work-related trips, if not, a review of your own should reveal whether you have a business exception. If you find that you are not covered while driving for work, you can add that coverage—which usually comes with an increase in your premium. When in doubt, speak with an independent insurance agent to gain some clarity on your coverage, and see if any changes need to be made.
If you drive for Lyft, or a similar ridesharing service, you should likewise review your policy to root out any exceptions, and call your insurance agent to arrange proper coverage.
What this means for employers
Risk associated with work-related driving cut both ways. While your employees may incur the extra cost of adding business coverage to their policies, you acquire liability a as a result of having a representative of your business on the road. Employers can protect themselves from these risks by carrying Non-Owned Vehicle or Hired insurance policies that cover the cost of damages if your employee becomes responsible for an accident while on the clock. Again, check in with your insurance agent to review your current policy and discuss any changes that need to be made.