Do you operate a company owned vehicle? Be aware that you may not be covered by your underinsured motorist coverage while operating the company vehicle and your employer is likely to have rejected such coverage under its policy. If you are seriously injured while operating a company vehicle and not covered by underinsured motorist coverage, you are likely to be left uncompensated for your injuries beyond the recovery of your lost wage and medical expenses, especially if you are on the clock at the time of the accident.
Are You Affected?
In today’s business environment, many employers offer company cars for employees to use. Consider police officers, for example, who arrive at work and drive cars they do not own. Even if you do not operate a company-owned vehicle, you may regularly drive a non-owned vehicle in many scenarios that insurance does not cover, including:
- Family vehicle sharing: Maybe you are part of a non-traditional or blended family and regularly use another family member’s car.
- Car use to help loved ones: You care for an elderly loved one, for example, and regularly use their car when visiting.
- Vehicle borrowing: In this situation, you might borrow someone’s car for an extended period of time.
In 2012, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in the case of Rother v. Erie Insurance Exchange that the Regularly Used, Non-Owned (RUNO) Vehicle Exclusion applied in the case of a teenager who was denied benefits because he was driving his father’s car. The youth usually drove his mother’s car because he lived with her. She had inadequate insurance coverage on her policy. For two weeks, the young man used his dad’s car for emergencies and to get to work. The Supreme Court determined the RUNO exclusion was relevant because the man’s use of his father’s car was regular.
The controversial RUNO exclusion can be devastating. If you are in a serious car collision in someone else’s vehicle, not being able to recover damages under uninsured and underinsured coverage can be financially destructive. In a serious accident, you could sustain thousands of dollars in medical costs, lost income and other losses. If you suffer permanent injuries, the total cost of your accident can be more than one million dollars. Not being able to recover damages can be financially catastrophic.
Since the Pennsylvania Superior Court determined that only two weeks is enough to suggest “regular” use, even small changes in what you drive can impact your ability to recover after a collision.
How Can You Best Protect Yourself?
You can do a few things to address the risks of the RUNO exclusion:
- Rather than drive a company vehicle, take a vehicle allowance or mileage reimbursement and operate your own vehicle with proper insurance coverage on it, including business use coverage.
- Find out what is covered and whether accidents in the company car are covered by unions, workers’ compensation or any other benefits.
- Find a good policy for all your household vehicles so they are all covered under one insurance policy.
- Carefully check the insurance on all cars you use even slightly more than casually.
- If forced to use a company vehicle, verify what coverage your employer carries on the vehicle and purchase additional coverage for yourself, if permitted to do so, through the company, it’s insurer, or through your own insurer.
- If you’re not able to follow either suggestion, carry proper coverage on your own vehicle and operate your own vehicle whenever not required to be operating the company’s vehicle.
Do You Have Concerns About Your Car Insurance?
To find out about the best insurance coverage for your unique situation, contact the car accidents attorneys at KBG Injury Law.
If you have been in a car accident and are concerned about your insurance and recovery, contact the auto accident attorneys at KBG Injury Law for a consultation. Our attorneys can represent you as you seek to recover funds from your collision. They can explain your insurance and work with you through the claims or legal processes involved.
If you are having problems with the insurance company, contacting an attorney is an important next step. Many of the attorneys at KBG Injury Law worked for insurance companies before dedicating their time to assisting injured drivers and workers. With an in-depth understanding of the policies insurance companies use, our attorneys are poised to work with you after a traffic accident.