Auto Accidents While Working? You May Not Have Insurance in Indiana

The scenario:  your son uses his car (or your car) in his job delivering pizzas.  While working one night, he has an accident.  Then you find out that your automobile insurance does not cover the collision because he was using the car in a trade or business.  This scenario plays out many times each year, and catches many people by surprise (especially those who are self-employed, those in sales and people working in service industries who use their own vehicles to call on customers).

Insurance Coverage While Working

Under Indiana law, automobile insurance coverage for damages or losses caused by or to vehicles used in the course and scope of business or employment may be excluded under typical automobile insurance policies.  Some policies exclude coverage for losses arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of any motor vehicle during the course of any business or employment, unless the insured has paid a specific premium for business use coverage.  However, this point is not without some contention.  In at least one reported decision in Indiana, the court concluded that, if it is not the employee's normal job function to operate a vehicle for work, then the business use exclusion under the employee's personal automobile policy may not apply.  See Progressive Insurance Co. v. Harger, 777 N.E.2d 91 (Ind.Ct.App. 2002).

If you or your family member use your own vehicle for work, know what your own insurance policy says about your coverage.  Ask your employer if you are covered under an automobile insurance policy provided by the employer.  Don't wait until it's too late to find out if you do or don't have insurance to cover your damages, or the damages you may cause to others, in an automobile accident that happens while you are at work.


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