By Tim Kolacz
You run a business and you have a few (or a fleet) of vehicles that your employees use on a daily basis. These vehicles are the bread and butter of your business. Depending on where they sleep at night, could hold huge ramifications as to how much exposure you have to additional worker’s comp claims.
When the vehicles sleep at the shop every night, you reduce your exposure to claims during off hours. This is because the employees are returning to the shop, dropping off the keys and the vehicles are locked up in the building or at least in the yard where they are protected. The employee then gets in their own vehicle and drives home.
However, when you allow the employees to drive their vehicle home each night, your exposure to claims increases greatly. When the employee is driving a company vehicle, even when they are driving home, if they are injured in that vehicle, they will be able to file a Worker’s Compensation claim.
Yes, indeed, the Worker’s Compensation laws will allow for a claim to be filed with your carrier due to the fact that they were in a company vehicle. A client of mine had an employee who was traveling home after work. The office was over 50 miles from his home and the company provided a company car as part of their job, but also allowed the employee to drive the vehicle home on a daily basis.
One night the employee was driving home and was involved in an accident where they were hit by another driver. The employee sustained what were thought to be minor injuries. The injuries were not minor after all and surgery was involved. The employee filed a claim with the company and even though the employee was going home, had clocked out of work and was not going to be at work the next day, because he was in a company car, the company insurance was on the hook for the injuries.
As you allow your employees to use company vehicles for their drive home, you need be aware that your exposure no longer ends when they clock out for the day. Additionally, if you allow them to drive the company car on the weekend and the employee does not have their own personal insurance, you need to add another coverage to your policy. This coverage is called Drive Other Car and allows you as the employer to designate certain employees to drive that vehicle outside of work duties and the company coverage is in place. I would recommend that not all employees are added in this way as most have their own personal insurance; but also that the coverage is not free and you have to pay additional premium to get it. Best solution, don’t let them drive the company rig on the weekend.
It’s a great perk to provide a company car that your people can drive home, just realize that it may be more coverage than you wanted to provide.
Tim Kolacz is a Producer at Hub International can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 951-779-8730.