Using Your Personal Vehicle for Business Use? Here is What You Need to Know.

By Brant Duncan

February 19, 2020

      Are you using your personal vehicle to run errands for your business or side hustle? In the Wooster area, hauling Amish to job sites or even to the grocery store is a common side job. Working for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, is another case in which you are using your own vehicle for business use. Delivering food, such as pizza delivery or one of the new food delivery services such as Grubhub is another example. These jobs are a great way to earn some extra cash, but they also pose a risk to leaving you high and dry, and paying for a claim on your own if you are involved in an accident and without proper coverage.

   What most people don’t realize is that almost all personal auto policies have an some type of exclusion for using personal vehicles for business use. What this means is if you are involved in an accident in which you are found liable, your current insurance company could deny a claims payment if they discovered you were conducting business at the time of the accident. Even if the company or individual that you were driving for has insurance, it is likely that their insurance would only cover the liability portion of your at-fault accident. In other words, the property damage or bodily injury that you cause to someone else, due to your negligence. You could be left paying for the damage to your vehicle if your insurance has a business use exclusion and the company you are driving for does not have physical damage coverage for hired and non-owned vehicles.

   So how do you remedy this issue? First thing to do is find out how the exclusion reads on your personal auto policy and what coverage is provided for you under the company or individual you are working for. Ask for a copy of their commercial auto policy declarations page and see if they have adequate coverage for your situation. An important coverage to look for is hired and non-owned liability to ensure that you are covered for property damage and bodily injury you may cause to another driver. Also, look to see if they have hired and non-owned physical damage coverage, this would provide coverage for the actual damage to your vehicle in the event you damage your vehicle during an at-fault accident.

   Regarding rideshare, some insurance companies have adapted their personal auto policies to the exposure presented by rideshare and are offering rideshare endorsements. These endorsements cover liability and physical damage gaps that may occur between when you are working and your rideshare app is on, to when you are picking up customers. Rideshare and how insurance addresses the unique exposure is its own blog topic. In short, do not assume that either your personal auto policy or your company’s policy has you covered when using your vehicle for business use.

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