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Business Protection Bulletin

Personal Pick-up Use in Business

By June 3, 2014No Comments

The personal automobile policy does not anticipate primary business use of a pick-up truck. Does it allow infrequent use of pick-ups to haul business supplies or furnishings? Arguably yes for every form of personal automobile. Does it anticipate a pick-up truck wrapped in corporate logos and phone numbers? No.

As a business owner, you are better off using a commercial insurance form to cover your personal trucks if you use them in business regularly.

But what about your employees using theirs?

Typically, and this is a point of debate among insurance professionals, personal pick-up trucks have a business use exclusion built into the policy. The test is whether the truck is used primarily or incidentally for business use. So if the employee’s insurance doesn’t cover a claim, who gets sued next?

The company should buy non-owned automobile coverage for this purpose. Non-owned coverage protects the business from lawsuits brought by injured parties involved in accidents with employee, rental, or borrowed vehicles used in the course of business.

What happens if the business owner borrows and drives an employee’s pick-up for business purposes?

If neither personal policy covers business use of trucks, where is the coverage for the business owner himself?

Non-owned auto coverage is a commercial automobile policy extension for the business, not the business owner personally. The business owner should endorse the commercial policy with a “Drive other cars” endorsement. This endorsement extends the commercial policy to include personal coverage for designated drivers listed while driving other vehicles on behalf of the business.

Companies make a distinction between commuting to work or school or just pleasure. This distinction is not because they believe all you do is commute back and forth; it’s because that limited use is higher risk. Companies may list a pick-up truck for business use on a personal policy, but they anticipate limited use. The debate among risk managers is where this line is drawn.

Rather than accept that risk, place all business use trucks on a commercial policy. Add to that policy a non-owned and drive other cars endorsement to be personally protected and to properly protect your business.