Camps, like many other service oriented industries, are accustomed to utilizing personal vehicles to conduct camp business. While the up front savings in vehicle costs, insurance and upkeep are often beneficial to the camp’s bottom line, the hidden dangers often catch camp leaders by surprise. While still a valuable asset to any organization, special attention should be given to managing the risks associated with these vehicles and drivers.
Personal Car Insurance
In most instances, standard personal auto insurance excludes business driving. Therefore, simply requiring higher limits doesn’t protect the camp if the employee drives regularly as part of their job. Occasional driving, which is not in the employee’s normal duties, is usually covered even with the exclusion. For the employees who are required to drive as part of their normal duties, I would recommend the following:
1) Have the employee add an endorsement for business driving
2) Have the employee add the employer as additional insured on the policy.
Another issue is workers’ compensation and the auto policy. In most states if the employee pays for the insurance the camp can not subrogate workers’ compensation costs. Therefore, I would recommend that the camp offer to pay a little over the costs of adding the business driving and additional insured endorsement to the employee’s personal insurance to show that the camp is funding the portion of the insurance in consideration of the driving to be performed during their employment.
In order to reduce the ability of third parties claiming negligent hiring, negligent entrustment or other torts associated with placing an employee in a driving position without knowing their driving record or history, I would recommend that you have an MVR and criminal background prior to placing them in the driving position. In addition, I would have requirements for the vehicle itself such as: 1) Vehicles driving for company business must be a newer model rather than an old clunker. 2) Have a vehicle checklist prior to first use and then periodically as needed. The checklists should include a safety check of the tires, maintenance history, seat belts, etc. 3) Finally, a written policy detailing the company rules when driving would also be beneficial. Be sure to only add in basic and broad information, such as no texting while driving, no drinking while driving or prior to the shift, always wear seatbelts, etc.
As a last protection, the camp should add an endorsement to the camp auto policy for non-owned vehicles. This will provide coverage in case the employee’s coverage is inadequate or has lapsed.