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Need advice on auto & liability insurance

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by HGT INC., Feb 18, 2009.

  1. HGT INC.

    HGT INC. Senior Member
    from MI.
    Messages: 158

    I just started working as sub contractor for a very reputable company. I have over 30 years plowing experience. Previously I drove their trucks, but now I have purchased my own truck and plow. What are the requirements for proper insurance coverage. I don't want to cut corners here, I want to be properly insured for both auto and liability. I own a fertilization company and my agent was not real happy quoting for plowing. He gave me a rough price of about $700.00 per season. I have the truck insured through AAA, they said I was covered for property damage, auto collision ect. on my auto policy. I'm in suburban Detroit. If anyone can give me some advice it would be great. Thanks everyone.
  2. snowguys

    snowguys Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    that sounds about right i paid about $750 for a million dollar coverage i think thats what most guys get hope that helps
  3. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    tymusica Million liability dont go very far anymore. We have 2 million on the trucks and 5 million on our contractors policy
  4. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    For 2 mil general liability snow plowing insurance through American Family Ins.

    just for One truck.
  5. HGT INC.

    HGT INC. Senior Member
    from MI.
    Messages: 158

  6. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I did well with Patriot Insurance. Ask your agent to try them.
  7. PA-plow-at-home

    PA-plow-at-home Member
    Messages: 59

    For those people wondering what liability limits they should purchase (such as $1 million, or $2 million, etc), this may help in your decision:
    • Most people who file suit use lawyers to do so.
    • Most lawyers are willing to accept the policy limits, if a case is worth that much or more.
    • Most lawyers are unwilling to go through the hassle of trying to obtain more than the policy limits from an adverse party (or their insurer). When I say the "hassle", I'm talking about having to take such a case to trial (not settling) and getting a verdict that is higher than the policy limits, and then attempting to collect money from reachable assets that are owned by the party who got sued.
    • Most people would be surprised how little of your assets are not reachable, or are otherwise able to be made unreachable if you were facing such a situation.
    • The above is especially useful for the small business operator, who runs his own truck etc. Its a different story for the business that has multiple trucks and numerous employees, and might even own a shop. Those businesses may want to consider the larger policy limits, in order to protect their assets, because those business assets may be reachable.

    I know about the above because I've worked in arenas that deal with these issues for many years, and I currently deal with these issues daily. I'm on both sides of the issues, but more often I'm on the side that would be going after you for the insurance money, and debating whether its worthwhile (or even a viable option) to pursue you for personal assets. I can tell you that 99.9% of the time, there is no pursuit of personal assets, and all thats done is to take the policy limits.

    The explanation could go on for days, but hopefully the above brief outline was helpful to one or more persons here.
  8. BigDave12768

    BigDave12768 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,446

    Great post you 100% right. Lawyers just want the fast check and not a long drawn out trial. And under the homesteader act they cant take your house.
  9. PA-plow-at-home

    PA-plow-at-home Member
    Messages: 59

    I'm glad you mentioned that issue, because I suspect that many people are unaware of this.
    Homestead exemptions vary from State to State. A few States have an unlimited homestead exemption, and the classic cases involve people with multi-million dollar homes that nobody can touch even though the person living in the home owes lots of people millions of dollars.
    Some States have fairly low homestead exemptions, so people in those States are less protected.
    For those interested in reading more, just look up "homestead exemption" in Google, or punch it in Wikipedia.

    A related issue is the reachability of assets, including the home. In many States, the caselaw (or statutes) say that assets which are held jointly, cannot be reached, if only one of the joint owners has a judgment against them. In other words, if you and your wife own your house and several cars and a few sizeable bank accounts, etc, and one of you gets sued and has a $10 million dollar judgment against you, its likely that your State's law on reaching assets will prevent the person who obtained the judgment from actually collecting on it; and you wouldn't even need to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying. But sometimes the judgment holder will place a lien on property, but they'll have to wait until you die to try and collect, so its fairly rare.
    Again, this varies State to State, so if anybody out there is facing that situation, its best to consult a good lawyer (and those are hard to find).
  10. HGT INC.

    HGT INC. Senior Member
    from MI.
    Messages: 158

    Thank you to everyone who responded. If anyone can contribute here please do so. I feel you can never have too much info. Again thanks to everyone, Jerry.
  11. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I just paid $450 for an additional $1mill umbrella I had to have for a city job.

    Sounds like you were an employee instead of a sub for the years you drove their truck. That doesn't matter now.

    When you say fertilizer do you mean lawn fertilzing or ag? If it is lawn, then maybe your company should be considered a landscape company and then the rates would go down for snow plowing. My policy had it included. They just assume that I would plow during the winter. Don't assume it is covered, check.

    I have all my business vehicles and coverage through a seperate company than my home and personal vehicles. Easier to pay and I'm not paying extra because they aren't combined.

    I have 1 mill on vehicles, 1 mill on liability and a 2 mill umbrella. The umbrella is required for some jobs I do otherwise I wouldn't have it.
  12. Ditchdiggin

    Ditchdiggin Member
    Messages: 31

    Yeah, just what QuadPlower said "Don't assume it is covered, check". Short story here... I HAD Farm Bureau insurance a few years ago. We went over coverages, he knew what I did and what I had for equipment including plows and salt spreaders. Towards the end of our meeting he looks at me and says " you don't do any street cleaning do you?" I said no because I don't do any street cleaning. He then said "good, I didn't think so, just sign here stating you don't do any street cleaning." Probably 4-5 years go by and a girl that I'm a friend with who works at this agency calls me and ask if I realize I don't have any snowplowing liability. I freak out and tell her she's crazy(and she really is). She pulls out the form that I signed that states that I do not do any street cleaning and shows it to me. She then tells me that as far as Farm Bureau is concerned street cleaning is or includes snow plowing. So for those years thankfully nothing bad happened because I didn't know that I had no snowplowing liability. I had a new agency within a week. My new guy used to work for Farm Bureau and confirmed as he laughed about what I told him.
  13. bdbwtie1

    bdbwtie1 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    wow thanks ditchdiggin. I just recieved a quote from farm bureau. That makes me kinda skeptical about them now..
  14. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    most policies consider street cleaning and snow plowing in the same bracket. Good thing nothing happened.
  15. BigDave12768

    BigDave12768 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,446

    One thing about the Homesteader act. Consult your lawyer. Some states you also have to file paperwork
  16. PA-plow-at-home

    PA-plow-at-home Member
    Messages: 59

    Thats a classic situation.
    Many many insurance agents either do not know about coverages that are a little bit out of the ordinary, OR they simply lie to their insureds.
    I know this from experience. Its a fact.
    Knowing and learning these things for yourself (such as reading the policy and the endorsements very carefully) is very important, because you generally cannot trust the verbal words from your insurance agent.

    If you have very specific coverage questions, you should try to get answers from your insurance agent IN WRITING. That way, if you have a claim, and if the insurer denies the claim, you'll have your "detrimental reliance" arguments in your claim against the insurance agent and against the insurer.
    The problem is that most insurance agents, when asked to give answers in writing, they will not do so. And when you want the insurer to give you answers, all they'll do is direct you to a copy of the policy or the endorsements (often called "riders").