Car Insurance Issues for Travelers There are several insurance coverage issues when you drive a vehicle that you do not own especially when traveling. Here are some examples:
1. Even if you decide that your predominate means of transportation for traveling will be by either airplane, train, or bus, when you finally reach your destination you will probably want to rent a car.
You may know somebody who will let you drive their car temporarily while you are visiting.
3. You may want to drive to your vacation destination. You have a perfectly good drivable insured vehicle, but you may still decide to rent a car before you leave home so you do not put any additional wear and tear on your own vehicle.
4. You may be an employee who is the custodian of a vehicle you use everyday that is either owned or leased by your employer and you want to drive that car on your vacation.
5. You may be required to drive that company owned car on a business related trip within the scope of your employment.
6. Your employer will pay for you to drive a rental car while you are within the scope of your employment on a business related trip.
I cannot tell you in any case whether or not you have insurance coverage without reading your individual insurance policy with all of the conditions and exclusions to determine which insurance coverage is primary, what is supplemental or excess, and where there is no coverage at all. For example, if you are an employee on a business trip driving your employer's vehicle or a rental vehicle within the scope of your employment, worker's compensation may come into the equation also. However, I will point out some important things that you should be aware of that many people overlook and let you know what you need to ask so you can find out the correct answers from the appropriate people and also make sure that you have all of the proper documentation so there is no misunderstanding or confusion.
The best, easiest, fastest and most reliable way to determine what type of coverage you have on a nonowned or rental vehicle is to call and ask your insurance company (or agent) or ask your employer if you are driving a company vehicle. Also, call and ask your credit card company if you plan to use it to rent a vehicle. Find out if they offer some type of insurance coverage when you use their credit card to rent a vehicle and if so, specifically what type of coverage and what the limits are.
FIRST, for employees driving your employer's vehicles, not all company vehicles are insured by an insurance company with an insurance policy. Some company vehicles are Self-Insured. Employees driving company vehicles need to know because different rules apply. Your employer should let you know this on the day they give you the keys, but if they don't you need to find out. Also, you need to know if your company insures anybody other than the employee to drive your company car and are you allowed to drive the company car outside of your state or outside of the country.
I was an Insurance Claims Adjuster for 17 years in Los Angeles. All of us adjusters as well as the appraisers and managers drove company cars. The company made it crystal clear to all of us that the only people who had permission to drive the company owned cars were the employees and their spouses. We were allowed to drive the cars for business and personal reasons including going on a vacation and we had permission to drive the cars out of the state of California if we wanted to. Employees did not have permission to allow their licensed teenage sons or daughters, nor their friends, neighbors, parents, siblings, cousins, other relatives or anybody else to drive the company vehicle.
In summary, as adjusters we had 4 basic responsibilities: 1st was to confirm or deny coverage. 2nd was to investigate the claim and determine liability, and how much liability was attributed to the claimant(s) and how much to the insured. 3rd was to determine the amount of damages including bodily injuries and property damage and 4th was to either deny the claim and prepare for litigation or attempt to negotiate and settle.
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