WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2020
Even if you conduct extensive background checks on all potential drivers, accidents are unavoidable. If you have employees operating vehicles for your business, it is important to predict that an accident may occur at some point. To protect both your driver and your business, you should carry a commercial auto insurance policy.
When to File a Commercial Auto Insurance Claim After an Accident
After an accident occurs involving one of your business’ commercial vehicles, you should file a commercial auto insurance claim as soon as possible. Keep in mind that only covered incidents will receive compensation. Make sure that your commercial auto insurance policy has as much coverage as possible.
A full coverage commercial auto insurance policy should have:
Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage provides compensation for damages to the commercial vehicle caused by fire, wind, hail, lightning, smoke, theft, vandalism and more.
Collision Coverage: Collision coverage provides compensation for damages to the commercial vehicle caused by a collision with another vehicle or object.
Liability: Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage the driver may cause someone else while operating the insured vehicle.
Medical Payments Coverage: This insurance helps with medical bills the driver and their passengers may face after an accident, no matter who caused the accident.
So long as the accident is covered by your policy, you should file a car insurance claim within 30 days of an accident.
Make Sure All Involved Seek Medical Attention
No matter if it is a small accident or large accident, you should encourage everyone involved to seek medical attention—including your employee. This is to ensure that everyone receives the medical attention they need as well as protect everyone involved. For example, say another driver is injured in an accident caused by one of your drivers. The other driver refuses medical treatment, but later has a medical flareup due to the accident. They decide to file a lawsuit against your business in order to receive compensation.
If you have the proper amount of coverage, commercial auto insurance can cover legal expenses in case of this type of lawsuit. However, your employees should receive medical attention immediately in order to receive compensation from your business’ commercial auto insurance policy.
Have the Damage Professionally Appraised
After everyone has received medical attention, have your commercial vehicle inspected by a professional. You will want to know approximately how much damage has been done to the vehicle. If the damage is less than the cost of your deductible, you may not be able to file a claim on your commercial auto insurance policy. Unless you reach your deductible, you will not be able to receive compensation for an accident involving one of your commercial vehicles.
Having the damage inspected can help you clarify how much compensation you can receive and how much you will have to pay out of pocket.
Document the Accident
Every part of the accident should be documented, either through a police report or through pictures and details from those involved. All drivers should be trained on what to do in case of a car accident. Checking for injuries and calling 911 are some of the first steps one of your drivers should take after an accident.
Remember: Fault is Complicated
Fault is complicated when it comes to car insurance. Most states operate on an at-fault basis, meaning that the driver who is held at fault for an accident will be held primarily responsible for the expenses involved—both for themselves and the other drivers or passengers.
Drivers should not admit fault. Fault will be calculated generally on a percentage basis. Also keep in mind that if one of your employees is not considered at fault, this doesn’t mean that you are off the hook. You may still be expected to file a claim for a percentage of the damages to your vehicle and injuries the driver or their passengers may suffer.
Double Check Your Commercial Auto Insurance Policy
Before an accident happens, make sure that your commercial auto insurance policy covers what it needs to—along with who it needs to. Most commercial auto insurance policies will cover any driver who is given permission to operate the vehicle, but other policies will offer better coverage for named drivers. Make sure certain accidents are covered under your commercial auto insurance policy before filing a claim.
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