Whether you have a long commute to the office or you drive around on the job, you should know what kind of business use is covered by your personal auto insurance policy — and at what point you need to update your coverage or purchase a commercial policy. Let us break it down for you.
What kind of business driving can you do with your personal vehicle?
The general rule of thumb is pretty straightforward: you can use your vehicle to get yourself to and from work or a meeting, but you can’t use your vehicle to do your work. If any aspect of your job requires you to drive (and couldn’t be done by someone who takes the bus to work, for example), then you’re probably using your vehicle to do your job — and that wouldn’t typically be covered by a personal car insurance policy.
What does my insurance company need to know?
Even if you’re just using your vehicle to commute to and from work or meetings, you’ll need to disclose that to your insurance company when you buy your policy. When you apply for car insurance, you will have to disclose how many kilometres you drive per year, the distance of your commute work, whether your vehicle is used for business or personal purposes, and how much you use your vehicle for business (if at all). Be sure to let your group’s broker know if anything about your situation changes, including the length of your daily commute.
What types of business use aren’t included in personal auto insurance coverage?
If you use your vehicle for any of the following types of services, you may need a commercial car insurance policy:
- Carrying passengers for hire (including ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft)
- Making deliveries that are part of a business (e.g., delivering goods like pizza, flowers, or alcohol; delivering rental equipment or merchandise; or delivering any materials as part of services provided by a business)
- Emergency transportation (e.g., using your personal vehicle as a tow truck)
- Renting out your vehicle to others
Your insurance company may also exclude other types of business use from personal car insurance policies. Reach out to your group’s broker or carefully read through your own policy documents to learn more.
What happens if you get into a collision while using your personal vehicle for business?
If you’re using your personal vehicle for business purposes which you haven’t previously disclosed to your insurer, and which aren’t covered by your policy, you might be on the hook to cover the damage if you get into a collision. In addition to a denied claim, your policy could also be cancelled for failure to disclose a material change, and you’ll need to shop for another policy before you can get back on the road. If your business activities are covered by your personal car insurance policy (like your everyday commute, for example), then you should be safe.
Insurance is designed to protect you when you need it most, in exchange for your premium and the promise that you’ll stick to the agreements in your policy. When you’re thinking about starting your own business or taking a new job that requires you to drive, the best plan is to contact your group’s car insurance broker before you get behind the wheel. Your insurance broker can make sure you’ll have the coverage you need when you need it most.
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