Many nonprofits offer community outreach that includes pick-ups and deliveries. They need to insure the vehicles and the drivers as well as ensure the vehicles are well maintained and the drivers are fit to drive.
Driver Due Diligence
Nonprofits, and any company with a fleet, need to research who’s behind the wheel of their vehicles. Allowing someone with a poor driving record to drive a fleet vehicle opens the organization up to potential liability and increased risk of accidents.
Some insurance companies or even asking to pre-approve drivers. What we used to consider to be a nonsense ticket, like using a mobile phone while driving, is now considered by a lot of carriers to be more serious, the same as having an accident or getting a DWI.
Driving records are available for employers via the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. DMV also has the License Event Notification Service (LENS) that can enable an employer to be notified of changes in their driver's license records. This information helps insurance companies identify risks and price the coverage accordingly, and its use ensures that your organization has done the right research about your drivers.
Not only do organizations have to check the driving records before adding a driver, they also need to develop their own driver requirements and safety procedures. Documenting these processes will clarify the working conditions and keep drivers safe. Often your insurance company will have their own underwriting or loss control guidelines that can be very helpful to you!
Some nonprofits need to consider additional training for their drivers if they will be transporting people who need special care. Drivers need to understand what to expect to encounter, such as assisting people boarding and exiting the vehicle or operating special equipment that assists people with boarding and exiting the vehicle.
Nonprofit outreach services differ from one organization to the other and so the vehicle requirements need to match the service. Sometimes a car or van will be fine, other times a larger vehicle with specialty equipment is needed.
The conversation with your insurance agent needs to start with your vehicle specifications. Any additional equipment will require an understanding of its use and risks. It may also require a documented maintenance process and schedule, and proof that all drivers have been trained on how to safely use the equipment.
Often employees may use their own vehicles in the course of their employment, even possibly transporting customers. It is important that these drivers meet the same guidelines and requirements as those driving company vehicles. In addition, if using their own vehicles on company business, they should be required to show proof of their own car insurance that meets specific liability coverage limits.
Additionally, how the vehicles are garaged, or not garaged, plays a role in the insurance coverage. What is the risk of theft or damage when the vehicles are not in use? Where will they be operated or driven?
Speak with Your Business Insurance Agent
Commercial auto insurance is complicated for any organization. Your insurance agent can guide you through the process and help you gather all the information you need to get the right coverage.