Most business managers, corporate safety managers, and risk managers are aware of the liability exposures associated with company vehicles. But did you know your company could be held liable for crashes involving your employees driving their own cars on company business?
Whether your employees routinely drive personal vehicles on company business or only occasionally do so, liability may arise from an accident caused by one of those employees. If your company permits or requires employees to use their personal vehicles on company business, be sure to incorporate the following elements and guidelines into your program:
Insurance coverage: Require that employees driving their personal vehicles on company business maintain minimum levels of their own automobile liability insurance. These should be determined based upon your state’s requirements and your company’s appetite for assuming liability. Be sure to consult your insurer, agent, or broker for minimum or recommended limits. Keep in mind state minimum levels tend to be low and may not provide your company with sufficient protection. Require employees to annually provide a certificate of insurance or a copy of the policy declarations page that indicates the period of coverage as well as the employee’s limits of liability. Maintain a copy of what they provide to verify the minimum limits are met. Be sure to ask for a new copy when the policy renews.
Vehicle use agreement: Every employee driving a personal vehicle on company business, even if only infrequently, should sign an agreement stating that he or she will follow all company policies and procedures while driving.
Vehicle inspection: Regularly inspect the condition of all personally owned vehicles used to conduct company business. Unsafe or poorly maintained vehicles represent a significant exposure to your organization. Advise employees to repair any unsafe conditions; otherwise, do not permit them to use these vehicles for business purposes.
Additionally, all company vehicle programs should also include clear policies outlining driver qualification, safe driving expectations, approved vehicle types, testing and training, crash reporting, and requirements for use of any vehicle on company business.
Whether employees are picking up office supplies on the way to work or driving to an off-site meeting, following formal guidelines for the use of personal vehicles can help minimize the risk of on-the-road accidents and protect your business.