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Insurance questions !!!!

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by dunedog, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. dunedog

    dunedog Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Just to remind some of the folks that I see posting under this forum "Personal Use"... (at least in Ma.) and are going to pick up a few driveways in 'the neighborhood'.......if you are using your truck and plowing for anyone other than yourself, on your property,you are liable and running at RISK !!!
    If you run into a friend's,relative's,neighbor's house, parked car,telephone pole,favorite shrub,etc.your insurance company will not cover you. It will come out of your pocket.
    Unless you have special plowing insurance, you are not covered for property damage etc.
    Read the fine print of your insurance policies sometime ,they can be eye openers. :nod:
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2004
  2. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    And running into things does happen. I caught the edge of a trampoline a few days ago and it folded up like a house made of cards. Last year I backed into the corner of a garage but no damage occurred. I feel that I am very careful but these things just happen when you are working in tight quarters and in a hurry.
     
  3. dacse

    dacse Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    If you are plowing for your neighbor just to be a nice guy and not charging them, do you still need insurance for plowing? If you do, how much does this insurance run (I assume that it depends on the individual)? Do most insurance companies, for example Geico, carry this protection? If not, which company usually has the lowest rates?
     
  4. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    Techically if you do it for free your are not commercail for insurance needs in most states. There is not that many to underwrite snowplows anymore properly. I pay under 950 per truck a year now for one half million commercail coverage now. (full coverage to) It actually went down a bit this year too.
     
  5. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    As far as plowing as a favor, it would depend on your state's "Good Samaritan" law. You could still be held liable if there were an injury as a result of your "action". Since you wouldn't have any type of agreement or contract, injury as a result of "inaction" would not apply.
     
  6. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    This is true but your non-commercail insurance may not be a issue though if you are doing true freebies.
     
  7. bobingardner

    bobingardner Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    I changed my insurance and registration today. According to the agent I couldn't get commercial coverage because the truck is less that 10k GVWR so they changed the classification of my personal auto coverage to business use. It raised the premium by $50. They said I had to re-register the truck as a commercial vehicle or they wouldn't cover me in the event of an accident on someone else property, even if I was doing it as a favor for a friend. I got the new Snow Removal plates which as far as I can tell are just commercial plates with an "SR" prefix. That cost $125 for a year as opposed to $40 for two years on a personal auto registration. I asked about general liability and was quoted $1100 but decided against getting that because they said it wouldn't help in truck related accidents, and I won't be doing any salting or sanding so I don't think slip and fall accidents will be a problem.

    I started off just wanting to do my driveway and help a few friends and neighbors but am now considering doing it professionally.
     
  8. RJNewman

    RJNewman Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Bobingardner - plowing as your primary occupation?

    Im not sure your agent is giving you the straight scoop. If your vehicle causes damage to someone elses property, your insurance is going to cover you if you are found to be liable. there is no investigation first that tries to uncover what you were doing when the property was damaged. after the accident, the insurance company might want to drop you or change your classification if they find that you were plowing as your primary occupation. If you are plowing as your occupation, then an insurance company might want to claim that you fraudulantly obtained coverage for a commercial entity under a personal auto polciy. But if this plowing is just a "pastime", even if being paid 20 bucks here and there, its not your occupation and there should be no issue with your perosnal auto coverage.
     
  9. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    And that's how it begins. :drinkup: :waving:

    Welcome to the snowplower's dilemna - "I'll do a couple of drives to pay for the plow. I need insurance? I'll get a couple more. Now the truck needs repairs? I'll take a couple more. I need a backup truck? I'll take a couple more. I need to buy a sander/salter? I'll take a couple more." :help:
     
  10. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,600

    Good Samartian law ( if in your state which I believe it is in some 48 states ) might apply if the person you are plowing for is in capable of doing it them selves. Otherwise, even if free you run a risk of exposure.

    As for the insurance agent telling you to flip a private vehicle to commercial - get a new agent. Yours runs to tight to the letter of the insurance code and would probably drop you in the event of a claim. I have a contractors policy for snow plowing in addition to my normal auto insurance. ie. Two seperate policies. The contractor policy is for a 1 mil and costs me $418 a year - granted I have no sub-contractors working for me. The coverage is only on me. Yet, once a year a go through a phone audit to verify if I have anyone working for me.

    I plow several of my neighboor's drives. However, I have not set up any type formal arrangement or schedule and have not ever asked for money ( not even accepted money ). So, it's totaly a good will gesture. So, then it really comes down to malice action. Did I act in a malice or dangerous manor - if not, it is that clear. ( of course anyone can sue you for anything but, those two questions will be asked first ). Commercial is slightly more complicated as is your assumed responsibility.
     
  11. RJNewman

    RJNewman Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    I dont see a liability issue that wouldnt be covered by insurance

    my kids are shoving walks and driveways (ages 13 and 17)- shovels and snow blower - they are getting paid to do this. if they damage something, my homeowners insurance is going to cover ME. Now, i decided to buy a plow (snowbear)to do my house and a few neighbors. What i will likely also do is help my kids with their venture by Plowing much of the driveways which would save them time, leave them with the just "clean-up" and enable them to do more jobs and make more money. if i damge something on someones property, my auto PD would pay it no problem, no exclusions, no questions aksed (other than a police report to verify that i actually caused the damage). anyone lawyers out there disagree with this understanding?
     
  12. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    Lots of "what if's" You need to dicuss this with a knowledgbel insurance agent it your area but someone sueing a 13 and 17 year old shoveling snow would be low and unless damage was willfull not accidentail you would likely be held harmless anyway.
     
  13. dunedog

    dunedog Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Property liability is one thing but in the case of kids shoveling or mowing lawns........... in Ma. one person in the cross hairs is the homeowner that has hired your kids. If they hurt themselves (hopefully this will never happen) he could be liable for their hospital costs etc.
    He has hired them and like hiring any contractor ,if that contractor gets hurt and doesn't have insurance, the homeowner becomes the deep pocket.
    As someone in this thread suggested,give your insurance agent a call.If they don't know all of the answers to your questions....get another agent!
    Better yet if you belong to a business group in your town ,have a insurance agent or a few come and give a talk to your group.We have had them talk from time to time with our local landlord group and it opened some eyes. Just a thought .....
     
  14. bobingardner

    bobingardner Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    RJNewman - I'd love to plow full time in addition to something like small engine repair and selling outdoor power equipment and have been trying to talk my brother into starting up a small business. But at the moment it's part time.

    I suspect they wouldn't bother investigating a minor property accident but something involving personal injury would be a different story. The application had a sheet to describe the business and specifically stated snow plowing. If there's no mention of snow plowing or business rating on the policy when it arrives I'll follow-up with Commerce.

    As much as I hate to admit it I have to side with the insurance company on this. If I'm regularly using my truck in a way that increases the risk of an accident, and I fail to inform them or this, it would be reasonable for them to refuse to honor a claim. Even if I'm doing it as a favor.

    Thanks Mick. You predicted something like this in a previous reply. The more I think about paying customers the more enthusiastic I get for plowing. :drinkup:
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2004