Can I list my work truck on my personal instead of buying another insurance policy?
This is a question that comes up a couple of times a week, or at least often and regularly for me. Like so many other insurance and especially legal questions, the first answer is always “it depends” until all the information is known about the circumstances, and in this case, what is actually happening with the truck use.
The first rule of thumb and starting place when evaluating a vehicle use is to categorize the various uses. The natural starting point is to first find if any of the truck use is actual personal use. If you’re driving from your home to a work related location, that generally (not always, albeit it’s unusual for it not to be) counts as a “commute” and IS personal use.
That can mean driving from your home to a distant and often changing work related location. Once at the work related location, you can drive from there to other personal use locations, for example, going to lunch (which generally includes meeting clients at the lunch location), and back to the work related location.
“Business Pursuits” (is generally, and without getting too deeply into the legalize) A use that is intended and undertaken for some financial gain, and this includes many things, albeit to name a few, we have use for a trade, profession, or occupation. The main “exception” is of course driving to and from home (or some other personal use location). In fact, one of the key and primary difference between a typical small business vehicle insurance policy and a personal vehicle insurance policy is the personal insurance policy has an exclusion for “Business Pursuits.”
The “problem” of turning the truck from personal to business use develops when the truck travels from one work related location to another work related location. For example, driving from one prospect’s home/office to create and or give estimates. Or driving from the job location to get supplies and back. Also, pulling a work-related trailer may or even likely will give the strong impression any use is for business purposes (you should be thinking about this in several terms and situations, including that of an insurance adjuster looking at and reviewing a serious vehicle crash, which happens to be the very same situation you DON’T want a claim denied).
After learned about the above, I often receive many questions, including “what if I use the vehicle for just a day a two a week for ‘Business Pursuits’?” How does that impact the situation? I will use a very common example of Mom and/or Dad letting their teenager use their car for delivering pizzas. When delivering pizzas (feel free to replace “pizza” with your favorite delivery food), that’s a “Business Pursuit.” BUT WAIT, I only work there, I don’t OWN the business. Right, just because your an employee / subcontractor doesn’t change the definition that using a vehicle for financial gain (other than the above described “commute”) is the same thing.
Another common question is “what if I drop something off on the way to/from work and my home (or other personal use location)? “It depends” is the easy answer, not helpful, albeit still the most accurate actually. It’s beyond the scope of this post to go into all the nuances, but a generally good rule of thumb is to ask if the primary purpose is business or personal use, and given that answer, then ask how far out of your way are you traveling for business use that you wouldn’t if you were only driving to get to your final destination?
If you’re going way way out of your way, you’re driving (cheesy pun, I know) towards “business pursuits” use and if you’re not, well then you’re in the direction of a safe use as it relates to if your insurance could deny for non personal use. Often, you will see terms of “frolic” and “detour” used to describe the distinction regarding “what is the use?” question.