If you've recently attained a new job or promotion that will have you traveling frequently, you may be wondering whether the raise or travel stipend you receive will be enough to cover the increased expenses and the quantifiable risk -- associated with a jet-setting lifestyle. Will you need to purchase additional insurance coverage to protect you if you're involved in an auto accident while on the job? Read on to learn more about what to do in the situations in which your primary auto insurance may not be enough to fully shield you from liability.
When does your primary auto insurance policy cover work travel?
The correct response to this question depends on your specific policy declarations -- but in many cases, the answer is no. Often, personal auto insurance policies specifically exclude travel undertaken in the course of business. This means that whether you're driving to a client site for your 9 to 5 job or delivering flowers from your weekend gig, accidents during this time may not be covered.
However, if the bulk of your work-related auto travel is going to be to and from the train station (rather than traveling to specific work sites, delivering product, or meeting with clients), this driving may be considered incidental to your job -- just like your morning commute. If this is the case, your auto insurance may cover accidents that take place during these trips, even if business use is excluded.
Whether your auto insurance policy specifically excludes business use or not, you'll likely want to call your auto insurance agent to ensure you're fully aware of the various nuances of your policy and how it will apply to your new driving habits. It can be tempting to simply stick your head in the sand when it comes to coverage for work-related travel, but the last thing you want to find yourself facing is a wrecked car while far from home and dealing with an insurance company that is denying coverage for needed repairs.
What should you do to protect yourself if you're involved in an accident while traveling for work?
In some situations, any damage to your vehicle or medical expenses for injuries you suffer during an accident may be paid by your employer through workers compensation insurance, even if your regular auto insurance isn't in effect. Workers compensation insurance is coverage paid by your employer to help protect you against any work-related injuries or illnesses. However, workers compensation won't cover an accident that takes place when headed to or from the job site (or to or from the airport), so you'll need to ensure you have coverage for these periods as well.
In most cases, you'll be able to extend or upgrade your normal auto insurance to cover some business use of your vehicle without increasing your policy premium. Depending upon the terms of your transfer or promotion, you may be able to persuade your employer to pick up some of these costs -- if not, you'll likely be able to deduct them on your federal income tax return as qualified employee business expenses.
For maximum protection against expenses related to injuries or property damage following an accident, you may want to purchase an umbrella insurance policy. These policies generally have much higher maximums than typical homeowner or auto coverage and can even help pay your legal fees if you're sued after an accident. Because umbrella insurance policies don't kick in until you've exhausted the limits of your auto policy (a statistically rare occurrence), premium costs are much lower than you'd expect for the large coverage limits available.
For more information, consider websites like http://www.collinginsurance.com/.