Personal Auto Insurance… “Business Use” and the Realtor

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Sooo…..You are headed to Sanibel to show a condominium to a new customer, who you have just picked up at SWFL International Airport. You are talking with the client, who is seated in the passenger seat.  A text comes in on your phone, you look down… 3 lanes of traffic in front of you STOP…..and you do not.  The accident totals your car, and both you and your passenger are seriously injured and taken to hospital.  What happens next??

How is your insurance going to respond? Let’s first look at what auto insurance coverage you have purchased.  Soooo….You went online and purchased what you thought was an adequate policy, a Personal Auto Policy.  You did not research the language in the policy and you filled in the blanks of the online app with the “easiest” answers that you thought would get you the cheapest premium.

Here are some important points to remember……

A Realtor’s largest “Liability Loss Exposure” probably comes from the amount of “on the job” driving that they do. Personal automobile insurance policies typically will not cover a vehicle that is intended for “regular business use,” which is defined differently depending on the policy. Many personal lines policies put restrictions on how much you can actually drive your personal vehicle for work and whether you can carry customers. ASK YOUR AGENT. Make sure he is aware of how you use your vehicle.

If you use your vehicle for “Business Use” most of the time, you should definitely consider purchasing a Business Auto Insurance Policy. Realtors are typically on the road most of their working day. There are “blurred lines” as to when you are “on the job” and when you are on “personal time”.

Are you doing business under an S Corporation or LLC? Your “business use” vehicle should be insured under a Business or Commercial Auto Policy with the business entity being the “named insured ” and your name should be shown as an “Additional Named Insured”.  Your RE Broker should be shown as an Additional Named Insured on this policy.

You have a “higher duty” to be properly insured when you are carrying customers and working under a RE Broker. Take the risk out being properly insured, use the Business Auto Policy.

Always carry Medical Payments at the highest limits available. This coverage will be available to your passengers.

Personal Injury Protection – PIP coverage will typically respond for you and your passengers. This provides some medical and lost wage coverage.  Your out of state customer may not have PIP coverage available.

Always carry Uninsured Motorist coverage at the same limits as your Bodily Injury Limits. UM will typically respond for passengers when an Under or Uninsured Motorist is the cause of the accident with your vehicle.

Always carry the Bodily Injury and Property Damage Limits at the highest limits that you can afford to protect you and your business entity for “at fault” accidents.

Request Drive Other Car coverage to provide protection when you are renting a vehicle.

If you have a personal vehicle, titled in your name and insured in your name, be very careful using this vehicle for business. Have your agent confirm that your present policy will respond should you have and accident while on the job and carrying clients.  Do not assume that you have coverage.

Always read and understand the intent of the insurance policy that you are buying.

Call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 for a review of your present coverage and a premium proposal.