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Commercial Insurance Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability

Commercial Insurance Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability

If you’re a small business owner or run a non-profit, did you know you could be sued if an employee or volunteer is involved in an accident while driving their own car or a rented vehicle on business? Unfortunately, it’s true and there is an option that may be added to your commercial insurance policy or purchased separately, if it can’t be added to your general liability insurance, to protect you in such an event. It’s referred to as hired and non-owned auto liability, or HNO liability, and it could save your bacon financially. Let’s suppose that you send an employee or a volunteer out to pick up office supplies, lunch, coffee, set up a trade show booth, or deliver something to a client or donor. The employee or volunteer looks down at their phone and is involved in an accident. The person they hit is hurt and the employee or volunteer’s car insurance doesn’t cover the victim adequately, then the victim may decide to sue your company or non-profit. Without this coverage, you’d have to pay for defense cost and possibly the liability claim out of your own pocket. That’s where hired and non-owned auto steps in. A good HNO auto liability policy will provide coverage for at least three things including liability claims, defense costs, and actions of your employee, temporary staff, or volunteer. Liability Claims provides protection for liability claims to your business or non-profit if an employee or volunteer is involved in an accident when driving their vehicle or a rented vehicle for business purposes. Defense Costs enables the insurance company to appoint an attorney to defend your business or non-profit in a lawsuit, even a frivolous or groundless one. That beats having to pay for one out of pocket! Employee / Staff Actions protects your business or organization to the extent it is liable for an employee’s (full time or part time) or volunteer’s actions when driving their personal or a rented vehicle. It’s also important to note what most HNO auto liability policies don’t cover. The Employee is not covered when driving a vehicle by the HNO policy; it’s for your company or organization. Physical Damage to the employee’s or volunteer’s vehicle is also not covered. That’s covered by their car insurance policy. Transportation of Property such as a company laptop, tradeshow booth, or other organizational property is not covered if damaged while being transported. Is your business or non-profit covered? To find out if this is included by your commercial insurance policy, ask your agent. It’s much better to find out before an accident happens than after one when it’s too late. Do you have a question,...

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Duplexes and Home Insurance

Duplexes and Home Insurance

A homeowner called me last week to discuss home insurance on her Dallas area duplex. It was coming up for renewal and she wanted to confirm she was not over paying for her home insurance. I was delighted to review her current rate and advise her on her coverage. Based on that conversation, let’s review insurance considerations for a duplex. There are many ways to write home insurance on a duplex, however, it hinges on two key issues; do you own one or both sides and who lives there. Let’s look at a couple of examples of how home insurance companies approach this. One Side Owner Occupied: This is the easiest of all the scenarios. When a person owns only one side lives in it as their primary residence then we quote a standard home insurance policy on just their side. The policy covers only their half of the duplex including their portion of the roof, exterior walls, interior finish out, and their personal property or contents. Whomever owns the other half of the duplex is responsible for covering their half. One Side Tenant Occupied: When the owner only owns one side and rents it to a tenant, then we write a rental property policy for their half of the duplex. The policy covers only the half they own including their portion of the roof, exterior walls and interior finish out. Personal property is usually not included unless the owner is providing appliances such as a washer and dryer for the tenant. The tenant is responsible for protecting their personal property with a renter’s policy. Both Sides Tenant Occupied: Like the one side tenant occupied case, a rental property policy is written on both sides of the duplex with each tenant needing a renter’s policy to cover their personal property. Both Sides Owned Mixed Occupancy: This was the case of the person who called me last week. She owns both sides, lives in one side and rents out the other side to a tenant. Home insurance companies approach this in a couple of different ways. Write a primary home policy over both sides, however, only the owner’s personal property is covered under the policy. This approach may also be used if the second half is occupied by an immediate family member such as a parent or adult child. The family member, like a tenant, will still need a renter’s policy to protect their personal property. Write a primary home policy over the owner occupied side and a rental property policy over the tenant occupied side. One company writes a primary rental property policy over both sides and covers the owner’s personal property with a...

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