Cars used for business often need commercial auto insurance. However, what happens to that coverage when you stop work and drive the car home? Will your commercial auto policy still cover personal driving? The answer is yes, but…
Commercial auto insurance can cover certain commercial cars that a driver uses for personal business. However, conditions are attached to many policies where they won’t cover all vehicles used privately. This is particularly true when someone uses their personal car not only to do business but also during their free time. Here’s how it works.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Also called business auto insurance, this coverage insures vehicles owned or used by a business, the driver who operates on their behalf, and the business itself. The coverage usually offers significantly higher coverage limits and tailored protection to these vehicles, because should a wreck occur, then a business stands to lose a lot of money from the accident.
Coverage can apply to:
- Vehicles owned and used by a business, such as delivery vans
- Cars given by the business to employees to use both at work and in private
- Someone’s personally-owned car that they use significantly for business
The reason coverage can apply when someone uses a car privately is because, first, everyone has to have car insurance, per the laws of most states. Second, standard car insurance won’t apply to commercially-driven or commercially-owned vehicles.
However, depending on how a vehicle driven personally falls into this chain of command, a driver’s commercial auto insurance coverage might or might not apply.
When a business owns a vehicle, then they are the party that must buy commercial auto insurance. Both the business and the business owner will be covered under this policy. Additionally, the policy will likely cover permissive users. These are people like employee drivers who have the business owner’s consent to operate the vehicle. Therefore, when the employee drives this vehicle in their off-hours, then the business’s commercial auto insurance will continue to apply.
Just because the employee is driving off the clock, they are still driving a vehicle that represents the business. Any wreck might lead to damaging costs Plus, the business’s commercial auto coverage is likely the only policy that applies to this vehicle, regardless of when you use it. Therefore, using this car during your off-hours will guarantee that you have all the coverage necessary to protect the vehicle.
Perhaps the business provides an employee with a car, with the express permission that this is both the driver’s personal and business car. Therefore, the commercial auto policy will usually insure them in the vehicle, wherever they go. However, drivers might need to obtain permission from the employer before they travel on certain business, or certain places.
However, when an employee drives their car, that they own alone, both for business and pleasure, they may not have coverage for this car during their private time under the employer’s policy. Your personal vehicle is your car. Therefore, if you have a wreck on the weekend when you aren’t working, your employer probably has nothing to do with your wreck. Therefore, to insure you during these times, you will need to maintain a private car insurance policy.
Keep in mind, if you use your personal car heavily for business, you can still buy an individual commercial auto policy. For example, if you work from home, are a sole proprietor, or drive your personal car for business the majority of the time, then you will likely benefit from having this coverage.
Whenever you plan to use your personal for business, talk to your boss and your insurer. They can tell you the best way to receive coverage, and the necessary steps to take to get it.
Also Read: What Happens if Uber Drivers Wreck?
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