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Using personal vehicles for work can create liability loophole

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Many workers in California and throughout the nation drive their personal vehicles during work-related activities. We're not talking about driving a vehicle to and from your place of employment each day, but using your car or truck to go out on field assignments, make deliveries or conduct some other part of your job. When you use your personal vehicle for such activity, you need to be extra certain that you are covered under someone's auto liability plan.

One woman in California was dismayed to discover that she might not be covered at all after she was in an accident while driving her personal vehicle on the job. Her own auto insurance didn't kick in because the company said it didn't cover commercial use of the vehicle. Her employer also didn't have coverage on her for such an incident. According to reports, the woman's vehicle had physical damage but there was no mention of injury to the woman.

The woman reports that she provided her employer with proof of insurance and drivers' license at the time she was employed, but she didn't realize she would not be covered for such accidents. A Consumer Action worker reported that this is not an isolated case, and could happen to many workers in similar situations.

The California Department of Insurance will reportedly review the case to ensure the woman's policy has been adequately exhausted, but she may be out of luck regarding damages to her vehicle. In a similar case, if someone is injured in such an accident, workers' compensation might kick in to cover medical and other costs, but it would not cover damage to personal property.

Understanding how various insurance policies interact during an accident--work-related or otherwise--can help you avoid denied claims. When multiple policies are at play, insurance companies might be more prone to denying claims because they believe damages should be covered by another entity.

Source: ABC 7 News, "Some Car Insurance Doesn't Cover Work-Related Accidents," Michael Finney, Sep. 28, 2015

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