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Do Food Couriers Require Commercial Auto Insurance?

In all questions of commercial auto insurance, we can basically break it down to this: If you drive your car to work, your personal auto insurance covers it. If you drive your car at work, you probably need to consider commercial auto insurance.

image of pizza delivery guy

This extends to food couriers. If you make your living delivering pizzas, burgers and Chinese food to hungry customers — whether as an employee of a restaurant or through a food-delivery app like Uber Eats — your car will likely be considered a commercial vehicle. You will need a commercial auto insurance if you hope to carry adequate protection.

You may be able to skip buying your own coverage if the company you work for provides insurance. Uber Eats, for instance, offers a limited insurance policy that covers you while you are in the process of delivering the food. DoorDash offers a similar insurance plan. However, these plans may leave you with insurance gaps. If you are in an accident while driving to the restaurant to pick up the order, the company’s plan might not offer coverage for that stretch of time, and your personal auto insurance provider might not recognize your claim, as the accident was technically business-related.

Talk to your insurer and find out what their policy is on food couriers. They may offer you full protection through your personal auto insurance while you are on your way to a pick-up, but only if you inform them that you are using your car for business purposes.

While personal insurance can be very limited in covering a commercial vehicle, the inverse is not true. A commercial auto insurance policy will cover your car when you’re driving it for personal use.

So, if you deliver food on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to consider buying commercial auto insurance rather than a personal vehicle policy.

How Workers Compensation Insurance Protects Your Employees

image of various employeesWorkers compensation insurance is required in most states, although the requirements vary greatly. Having this insurance is an added expense, but it protects your employees. It also won’t leave you on the hook for lost wages, medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses. Find out more about covered events and when to file a claim.

How Workers Compensation Insurance Works

Workers compensation provides medical benefits and wages when an employee experiences an injury or gets sick at work. The main purpose of this coverage is to get employees back into working shape quickly.

Employees receive access to experienced professionals to aid their recovery. These benefits may include:

  • A large network of health providers, available through a workers compensation claim.
  • Case managers to assist with care and treatment coordination.
  • Prescription drug coverage that excludes out-of-pocket costs for employees.

Your agent can help you put together a plan that covers the unique needs of your business and employees.

Types of Injuries Covered by Workers Compensation

Workers compensation covers injuries received while on the job. This covers your business location as well as remote worksites. For example, you own a moving company and one of your workers falls and breaks her arm. Since she is performing activities related to her job, she is most likely covered under workers compensation insurance.

For covered events, workers compensation also covers illness contracted while on the job. For example, if mold is discovered in your building, and one of your employees becomes sick as a result, their medical bills and lost wages are paid for by workers comp.

What’s Not Covered Workers Compensation Insurance?

Deliberate acts are not covered under this policy. These include:

  • Injuries sustained in a fight the employee started
  • Injuries due to working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Emotional injuries separate from a physical workplace injury

When Should You File A Workers Compensation Claim?

It’s important to file a workers compensation claim as soon after the incident as possible. If you aren’t sure what events are covered, check with your insurance provider before filing a claim. Here are some examples of events covered by most policies:

  • The injured person is employed by your business
  • An employee gets sick due to the nature of their work
  • The employee comes to harm while performing job-related duties
  • The employee is injured at work

Workers compensation insurance protects your business assets as well as those who work for you. Without this coverage, your business might be responsible for thousands of dollars in medical costs.

Will General Liability Insurance Cover Customer’s Broken Belongings After an Accident

insurance signA person walks into a business, falls, and damages his expensive watch. Is the business responsible for that loss? This is a common example of a general liability insurance claim. In many cases, business owners need to have this type of financial protection in place to limit any type of loss they have just by opening their doors. Take a closer look at when damaged property may be covered on your policy.

Does General Liability Insurance Cover Property Damage?

General liability insurance aims to help business owners avoid the financial burden of paying for losses their customers, clients or third-party visitors experience. There is the expectation that your business will be safe for a person to walk into and use.

Yet, problems can happen many times over, even as you try to avoid them. Proving that there is negligence happening is more complex, however.

Let’s say that someone does suffer a loss on your property. Will your insurance help you? In most cases, the answer is yes.

If the person is able to file a general liability insurance claim for the incident, then any losses he or she had during that period may have coverage. For example, if someone enters the property and slips on a wet floor, he or she may damage their watch, a laptop, or any other item they are carrying with them. If the claim applies to any injuries they suffer, it may cover the property damage, too.

Proving Negligence Is Complex

That’s not to say that anyone can file a claim though. What if the person walking in tripped over a table because he was not paying attention to where he was going? What if there was a clearly marked wet floor sign and someone was working on cleaning it up? The good news is that the individual has to prove that the business was negligent in the situation. That may not be as easy as it seems.

In a situation like this, your first step is to contact your insurance agent. Report the claim. Then, an adjuster will work with the person filing the claim to determine what happened and what type of loss they suffered. It is best to try to refrain from providing any promises to the individual, though. Let the agent handle all of these inquiries for you instead. It can help alleviate the frustrations involved.

What Happens When Your Driver Hits a Pedestrian?

image of man in commercial work vanThere is nothing more devastating than a pedestrian accident. Your driver didn’t see the individual walking across the street. The location of the individual was just too far out of view. The result is a significant amount of medical injury costs. Some are fatal. When this occurs, it is critical that your drivers know what to do. Here is some insight to consider.

Know the Risks Are Not in Your Favor

Having a commercial auto insurance policy is step one in protecting your company from these claims. It is also important to recognize that this type of accident is very common. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, there were 6,227 pedestrians killed in the country in 2018. That is a very high number, and it shows the number of pedestrian deaths is on the rise.

Many of those incidents involved larger trucks or commercial vehicles. The risk is there. You have commercial auto insurance to minimize the financial loss. Now what?

Teach Your Employees How to React

In a situation like this, an employee needs to know what to do. He or she should immediately stop the vehicle. They should exit the vehicle. Most of the time, they should call 911 if someone else has not. Even if the pedestrian seems okay, a call can be critical to documenting what happened.

If an individual needs medical help, your driver should follow all instructions from the 911 operator in what to do. It is also important for the driver to remain present on the scene at all costs.

Then, your driver needs to answer questions from the police and document the incident fully. Witness statements can also be helpful. If the person ran out into the street and hit the side of the truck, it may be possible to reduce negligence claims. On the other hand, if the driver knows he or she is at fault, there is no benefit in lying. However, he or she should allow their insurance agent and attorney to answer these claims. It can help to safeguard the company.

Commercial auto insurance is there to help you, as the business, in a situation like this. The liability coverage helps pay for damages. It may also provide legal defense for your company. Most often, the insurance will settle these types of claims with the person who suffered the loss for you.

Workers’ Compensation and Fault

image of employee falling off ladderDoes it matter who is at fault if a worker suffers an injury on the job? It can be very frustrating. You told the worker to follow a specific set of steps. They did not do so. It is their fault they have an injury. Do you have to pay for it? Generally speaking, workers’ compensation insurance covers worker injuries no matter who is at fault. There are limitations here, however. Business owners need to understand what they can expect in this situation. Here is a closer look.

Why Fault Does Not Matter

In most workers’ compensation insurance policies, the goal is to provide financial compensation to cover most or all of a worker’s injury costs if they happened during the normal course of business. That sounds pretty simple.

Yet, when you have a situation in which the employee’s actions or inactions cause the injury, it’s frustrating to know if your business has to pay for the losses. This is how workers’ compensation insurance generally works.

One big instance in which this does not apply is intention. If a worker specifically hurts himself or herself because they want to collect workers’ compensation coverage, they generally do not have protection. Coverage is not going to pay out if the worker specifically or maliciously tries to file a claim. This would be an instance of fraud. Be sure to report that to your insurance company.

Why Is This the Coverage Setup?

In most cases, workers’ compensation is a way for employers to avoid lawsuits. It’s true – a worker can sue you if he or she has a reason to do so.

However, by providing workers’ compensation insurance, there is less likely a chance of that occurring. In some systems, the worker accepting workers’ compensation surrendered the right to sue the employer, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This does not apply in all states, and some limitations apply across the board (such as in situations where claim limits are a concern).

What applies in your situation? If an employee suffers an injury, you have the legal right to question it, even if you provide the employee with your workers’ compensation. If you believe it was an intentional injury, tell your business insurance company about it. They will pursue this if it is worthwhile.

You cannot fire an employee for filing a claim either. You can work with your workers’ compensation insurance company to minimize the risk of having to pay out on claims that are fraudulent.

How to Choose a General Liability Plan if You Work with Your Client’s Equipment

As a business owner, having proper general liability insurance is critical. It image of man with toolshelps ensure your business remains protected from a variety of risks. One key risk occurs when you maintain your customer or client’s equipment or other possessions. In this case, having enough liability insurance is important. How much you maintain depends on a variety of factors.

Why You Need More Coverage

Let’s say you are a mechanic. You store numerous vehicles on your lot for your customers. To make repairs, those vehicles sit in garages or on lifts. Mistakes can happen at any time. If your customer’s property has any damage to it, you could be responsible for it.

Or, perhaps your business repairs equipment for other companies. If you take possession of that equipment, even for a small amount of time, you may be responsible for its well-being. If an accident happens, and the owner’s property suffers damage, you could be responsible for the repairs or replacements.

In both of these situations, the correct liability insurance is paramount. You’ll usually need at least a property damage liability policy in these cases.

What to Do to Protect Your Company

Property damage incidents can occur to any business. Any time you take possession of your customer’s belongings, you should take a careful look at your liability insurance. Does it include property damage coverage? Be sure it is enough to cover these assets from risks. Here are a few examples.

  • Employees may cause damage to the property. You may be responsible for repairs.
  • Damage can occur to the property due to weather events, which might still be your responsibility to repair.
  • Another customer may cause damage to the property.
  • Someone may steal the customer’s property.

There are many ways that damage can occur. It is up to you to have enough liability insurance in place to minimize those risks from costing you. General liability insurance can cover many of these damages. You can file a claim with the insurer who will handle the entire process for you. This includes working with the customer to ensure they have the financial recourses owed.

Keep in mind, though that you should work with your business insurance agent to establish the right policy. Be sure you carry enough liability insurance. It should be enough to cover the valuables and other property you maintain for your clients. Also, remember that you might need additional specialty liability coverage, based on the services you provide.

Consider the value of the property on your location now. Do you have enough liability insurance in place to protect you from claims related to damage to it? If not, give us a call at 800.475.0001.

Applying for and Paying Commercial Auto Deductibles

Just because your commercial auto insurance policy might pay for a multitude of costs, that does not mean it will cover 100% of the cost of your claims. When you file a damage claim on your policy, you will likely have to pay the cost of the deductible. What are deductibles? How can you manage to pay them?

image of oil tanker truck

Understanding Deductibles

A deductible is a policyholder’s personal responsibility for the cost of a commercial auto insurance claim. Your policy will list a deductible (sometimes multiple deductibles) that policyholders must pay before a policy pays the remaining claim amount.

For example, your commercial auto collision coverage might include a $1,000 deductible. So, if you hit a light pole, you can file a claim on collision insurance to pay for your vehicle repairs. You will pay the $1,000 deductible first, then your policy will pay the remainder of the claim. For example, if you have a claim for $3,000 total, then you will pay the $1,000 deductible and the policy will pay the remaining $2,000, since ($3,000 – $1,000 = $2,000).

Do All Policies Contain the Same Deductible?

The deductibles available within commercial auto policies will vary considerably. In some cases, policies will even contain multiple deductibles. Elements of your policy that might contain deductibles include:

  • Collision coverage that pays for your vehicle if it sustains damage in wrecks.
  • Comprehensive coverage insures your vehicle damage that results from non-accident hazards like fires or theft.
  • If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, you might have to pay a deductible on related claims as well.

Liability policies usually will not include deductibles.

Sometimes, you must pay several separate deductibles at once if you have to file a claim on multiple parts of your policy. However, sometimes, you might be able to buy what is called a single deductible endorsement. If you buy this element, even if your policy has multiple deductibles, you will only pay the highest deductible triggered by a given claim. That’s a great benefit for commercial drivers. It will save them money on the cost burden of deductibles.

Drivers can use their commercial auto insurance deductibles to their financial benefit. The higher the deductible(s) you choose, the lower your policy’s premium might be. That happens because if you raise your own cost responsibility, you will lower that of an insurance company. Because they might not have to pay as much money for claims you file, they might not have to charge you as much.

Given that commercial auto policies can contain a lot of different deductibles, it’s best to ask your agent up front about how those within your own policy will work. Ask them where you have leeway to change yours to suit your own cost responsibility. You don’t want to pay so low a deductible that your rates might unfairly rise. However, you don’t want one that is so high that your business can’t afford to pay it anyway.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Rig Injuries

As you might know, running an oil rig or well site is a dangerous endeavor. Multiple personal safety hazards exist throughout the complex. Numerous safety laws govern conduct. So, if someone gets hurt while at work, then you might face a variety of challenges.image of accident report Foremost, you might have to provide that person with workers’ compensation. Often, it you will have no option but to do so. Here’s why.

If a workers’ comp claim arises on your property, you usually must address it. You’ll have to remember a few things to do so.

Workers’ Compensation for the Oil/Gas Industry

Accidents might happen on your site at any time. They might include:

  • Burns
  • Head injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Slip-and-fall injuries
  • Repetitive motion injuries

Indeed, if it can happen, it very well might.

If your employees get hurt, then it might be the business’s duty to cover them for workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp will provide supplementary income help for employees injured at work. Most businesses in the oil and gas industry must carry this coverage by law.

Workers’ comp is a heavily-regulated industry, so addressing claims might take time. It might also involve the authorities.

Documenting Workers’ Comp Rig Claims

An employee might approach you, and want to file a claim on the rig’s workers’ comp insurance policy. Depending on regulations in your state and from your insurer, the process for doing so might vary. However, most will go like this.

  • You will provide the employee with the workers’ comp insurance policy information. They will then file a claim on their own. The insurance company will likely require them to seek medical care. They might also have to gather more information from you. This ensures that the employee can prove that they got hurt at work. It reduces the risk of fraud.
  • In the meantime, you might have to gather information on your own. You might need to take pictures of the scene or take statements from witnesses. Sometimes, this is the employee’s duty or the insurance company’s.
  • You might have to turn over certain information to the workers’ compensation insurer. For example, if a camera captured the incident, the insurer might want to view the film to verify the claim.
  • You might have to report the claim to an industry regulator or your state’s workers’ comp board. These parties might launch investigations of their own into the injury.

Please note: Do not start your own investigation without checking with your insurer. You might face various rules that limit your ability to interfere in the claims process.

If you face an injury claim on your rig, immediately contact your workers’ compensation insurance company. They can help determine what the process will look like going forward.

Providing Workers’ Compensation for Rig Workers

You likely know that an oil rig owned or used by your company is a very hazardous place. Of course, there are significant risks of fires and explosions. However, other threatens await you or your employees. If something happens, even accidentally, someone’s injuries might

image of drilling rig

wind up costing them a lot of time and money. In such situations, you might actually owe them financial assistance. It’s called workers’ compensation. Here’s what it’s all about.

Workers’ comp helps protect employees hurt on the job. Therefore, it is some of the most important commercial insurance any oil & gas company should carry. It will particularly come in handy in case of mishaps on your rigs.

What’s Workers’ Comp

There are a lot of workplace safety laws, and workers’ rights regulations out there. All in all, they stipulate that you have to create a safe working environment for your workers. Furthermore, they often institute workers’ compensation requirements.

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance. It helps supplement the income of workers who get hurt or injured on the job. It stems from the fact that those injured at work can’t continue working in their recovery. Yet they need income nonetheless. It might help pay for their medical bills while they cannot work. It can also supplement their income and other critical costs until they can get well again.

Businesses usually have to offer this protection to their workers. Regardless of whether an accident was the business’s fault, the injured worker might have a right to file a claim. Even a simple fall in the bathroom that results in a shoulder injury might qualify for coverage.

Why Rig Workers Need Workers’ Compensation

Usually, as long as your rig workers are full-time employees, they usually qualify for workers’ compensation. Even in some cases, part-time employees qualify as well. A multitude of injuries might occur on your rigs. They might include:

  • Burns from fire and explosion risks
  • Slip and fall risks on slippery surfaces
  • Head injury risks from falling objects
  • Risks to limbs from machinery
  • Inhalation and breathing risks from smoke or solvents

In that vein, any injury risks that might happen in any office could also happen on a rig. Someone could twist an ankle in the restroom. Or, they might burn themselves in the break area. Therefore, it is up to you to do all you can to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. You should institute the strongest possible safety regulations and security requirements for all workers. Then if something does happen, provide them with full instructions on how to file, prove and investigate a workers’ compensation claim.

Property Insured By Your Oil & Gas Insurance

Drilling, marketing and selling oil is expensive work involving specialty equipment. You’ll thus likely spend a lot of money maintaining your business overhead costs. You’ll therefore likely not want to spend a lot of money cleaning up your property after damage occurs. If you have property insurance, you’ll probably find the coverage helpful. Here’s a closer look.image of natural gas rig

Given the wide range of property in the care of oil companies, how can coverage help? What property can qualify for this protection?

Understanding Oil & Gas Property Insurance

You don’t want accidents to occur on your business’s property. The damage to possessions, equipment and locations might prove extremely costly. That could put your solvency and success rates on the line.

Therefore, every oil business should have property insurance. In the event of a damaging accident, the policy can pay to help the business recover from the losses. They won’t have to lose too much money trying to rebuild and restart operations. Some of the incidents covered under your policy might include:

  • Damage from storms
  • Fire damage
  • Theft of materials or vandalism
  • Damage from unavoidable explosions or rig malfunctions
  • Collapse of underground lines
  • Pollution damage or hazardous material spills

Keep in mind, most covered damage must be the result of an unpreventable accident. Your insurer will likely investigate the claim to determine if you could have avoided it. If you could not, then you might very well have coverage, as long as the policy does not exclude the damage.

Covered Property

Think about all the assets in your business’s control. They all need insurance coverage in case they sustain damage. Just a few of these items might include:

  • Your building and office space
  • Personal property and furnishings inside the space
  • Electronics in your space
  • Oil drums and storage tanks
  • Leased property, which is property that exists on property you lease to salvage oil
  • Your rig and drill equipment
  • Equipment owned by your company
  • Rented or leased equipment
  • Certain quantities of crude oil

However, property insurance is not a one-size-fits-all policy. You’ll often need several different coverage types to combine to insure all the assets you own. Usually, you’ll need a combination of both property insurance (for your owned property) and oil lease property coverage (for property you lease on which to drill). Other policies might also prove beneficial. Talk to your insurance agent at 800.475.0001 about the best protection and coverage limits for you.