When running work errands in a company vehicle, hazards extend beyond just a potential fender bender. That’s why it’s so important to have the proper coverage working right along with you. But what happens if you run an errand in the company car to pick up coffee for everyone in the office, and someone breaks a window and steals your boss’s golf clubs out of the back seat? Who’s responsible for this mess, anyway?
Luckily an independent insurance agent can not only answer this question for you, but also help you get set up with the proper coverage. Independent insurance agents have handled all kinds of claims, so they know exactly what kind of protection you need, and they’ll get you covered long before it’s ever time to file a claim. Here’s how they’d help you get coverage against someone stealing your boss’s golf clubs out of the company car.
Who’s Responsible If Someone Breaks into the Company Car and Steals My Boss’s Golf Clubs?
If you make a coffee run for the office in the company car and someone breaks into it and steals your boss’s golf clubs, you’re in luck. From an insurance standpoint, your boss would be responsible for filing a claim for his personal property getting stolen, even though it was being stored or transported in a business vehicle. As the employee and driver, you would not be held responsible for the theft or the break-in.
Which Insurance Policy Would Cover the Loss?
Your boss would actually need to make a claim through his homeowners insurance policy to reimburse him for the theft of his golf clubs. Even the company’s business or commercial auto insurance policy wouldn't respond to a claim for personal property being stolen out of a company vehicle. However, home insurance does often cover personal property while its transported in vehicles, and property stored away from the home.
As for damage to the company vehicle, if your boss or company purchased comprehensive coverage under their commercial auto insurance, the cost to fix the shattered window would be reimbursed through that. Comprehensive coverage reimburses for damage other than collisions, which is why it’s important to get your business vehicles set up with the full picture of protection.
How Would Property Insurance Work in This Scenario?
Under your boss’s homeowners insurance policy, it would be the property coverage section that reimbursed him for the stolen golf clubs. Property coverage protects personal property like clothing, electronics, furniture, and even golf clubs against damage or destruction due to a covered peril, as well as theft. Personal property is covered even outside the home, such as in storage units. However, coverage limits are typically lower for property outside the home.
What Else Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Aside from protecting your personal property, homeowners insurance provides lots of crucial coverage. This coverage protects not only physical objects inside or outside the home, but also the home’s structure and its inhabitants or guests.
The other major areas homeowners insurance provides protection against include:
- Structural damage: Covers what’s known as the “dwelling,” or structure of the home. Damage to or destruction of the dwelling by covered perils such as certain natural disasters or fire falls under this category. Coverage often also extends to detached structures such as sheds.
- Liability: Covers legal expenses such as attorney and court fees in the event you are sued for bodily injury or property damage to a third party. Settlements you’re ordered to pay if you lose the case are covered as well. Coverage extends to all members of the family living in the home, including pets. Many incidents that occur away from the home are also covered.
- Additional living expenses: Covers extra costs in the event your home gets badly damaged or destroyed and you’re forced to live elsewhere while awaiting repairs. Reimbursement for things like hotel rooms, eating out, extra gas mileage, and more is covered. Additional living expenses coverage makes up the difference in spending to maintain your normal lifestyle while living away from the home.
Your independent insurance agent can help you review your homeowners insurance policy and let you know exactly what is covered, and whether you have enough coverage or should look into increasing it.
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Is Business Property Covered If It’s Stored at Home?
What if the situation was reversed, and your boss had business property stolen from his home? Well, standard homeowners insurance provides some coverage for business property/equipment/inventory stored in the home, but the limit usually caps at $2,500. Coverage may run out fast if expensive business equipment or inventory is stored at home.
Depending on the type and amount of business property stored at their house, your boss would be likely to need to purchase additional coverage to help protect it. This could be done by increasing the limits under their homeowners coverage, or purchasing endorsements or a hybrid business and homeowners insurance policy known as an in-home business policy.
What Doesn’t Homeowners Insurance Cover?
It’s important to not only know what your homeowners policy does cover, but what it doesn’t as well, in case you ever need to file a claim. Standard homeowners policies do not provide coverage for the following:
- Maintenance-related losses
- Wear and tear damage (i.e., failure of the homeowner to maintain upkeep of the home)
- Damage from war or nuclear fallout
- Insect damage or infestations
- Business-related liability
- Certain natural disasters (i.e., floods, earthquakes, and mudslides)
If you’re concerned about any areas where your homeowners insurance doesn’t offer coverage, work with your independent insurance agent to get set up with all the protection you might need.
What Does Business Insurance Cover?
While business insurance wouldn’t cover your boss’s personal property getting stolen from a company vehicle, it does provide a lot of important protection for other risks. Standard business insurance policies provide these common critical protections:
- Business auto: Covers company vehicles against hazards like natural disasters, theft, vandalism, and more.
- Property insurance: Covers loss of or damage to physical business property, including the building’s structure, from fires, storms, and more.
- Workers’ compensation: Covers financial losses if your employees become ill, get injured, or die from a work-related incident. Coverage is mandatory in most states, depending on company size and the type of work being performed.
- General liability: Covers property damage or injury claims made by a third party.
Your unique business may require more coverage than what’s provided by a standard business insurance policy. Your independent insurance agent can help you determine if you should add more coverage.
What Other Coverage Add-Ons Should I Consider for My Business?
As a business owner, you’ll want to consider all areas where your company needs coverage. There are many common add-on coverages that take care of the most frequent types of business claims.
Optional add-on coverages to business insurance include:
- Business income: Covers the financial loss suffered while a business is closed due to fire damage or other disasters.
- Professional liability: Also known as "errors and omissions insurance," this coverage protects against claims made by clients who have suffered financial loss due to the work they've hired you for. This coverage is crucial for those who offer advice or consulting as part of their services.
- Crime insurance: Covers losses due to criminal activity such as theft or fraud. Coverage even applies to employees who steal from the company.
- Boiler & machinery: Also known as "equipment insurance," coverage applies to electric equipment in the building (e.g., AC units and boilers) that breaks down due to power surges, etc. Property insurance may cover this stuff, but not always.
The more complex your business, the more coverage it’ll require. Your independent insurance agent can help you brainstorm all the areas in which your business is in need of additional coverage.
Here’s How an Independent Insurance Agent Would Help
When it comes to protecting personal property stored in company vehicles and other perils, no one’s better equipped to help than an independent insurance agent. These agents search through multiple carriers to find providers who specialize in home and business insurance, deliver quotes from a number of different sources, and walk you through them all to find the best blend of coverage and cost.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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