By Michael Regan
Commercial auto insurance provides protection for any vehicle designated for business use against both property damage and liability. Whether your employees drive a vehicle that is for dedicated business use or drive a personal vehicle for business, it is important to have commercial auto insurance, whether that’s insurance for a new HGV driver or a different type of vehicle, as those vehicles will not be covered under a personal auto policy.
Who can drive your vehicles? I get this question from a lot of clients. The bottom line is that anyone you authorize to drive your vehicle is able to, provided the insurance company approves them. If, for instance, you own a van and are looking for the best van insurance policy, you can avail of the insurance provided you submit all the necessary documents and are up-to-date with the required regulations. You should always list employees who regularly drive your vehicles. If you have employees that may be temporary drivers then ask your broker or insurance company if it covers those drivers as long as they have your permission to operate the vehicle.
Commercial carriers ask for a list of drivers and their license numbers when a policy is written or at the time of renewal so that they can properly underwrite the risk. It is surprising the number of times we hear from the carriers that some of the drivers provided have a suspended license, recent DUI’s, or horrendous driving records. The carriers can and do mandate in certain circumstances that specific drivers are not allowed to drive the insured vehicles.
A “vehicle safety” program is an integral part of the recommended safety and loss control procedures for our insured’s. Not only does it address vehicle maintenance and safe operations, but also driver protocols; including new employee license review, driving training on the company vehicles, probationary driving periods, and operating violation penalties. That is, for any accidents or infractions there are written warnings of potential employment termination and that a third accident or infraction would result in termination.
Having safe drivers and a robust safety program not only helps to prevent claims, but also shows the carriers that you are serious about safety. This leads to more carriers vying for your business which may result in lower premiums.