May 21, 2024

Auto Insurance for Animal Welfare Organizations

Category: Animal Welfare

Is your animal welfare organization overlooking a significant risk? If your employees or volunteers ever use their own vehicles or rented vehicles for work-related tasks, your organization may face liability if they’re involved in a significant accident. Since hired and non-owned auto coverage provides excess coverage to shield your organization from costly lawsuits, it’s an important element of animal welfare insurance.

What Is Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance?

Hired and non-owned auto insurance provides secondary liability coverage when your workers use vehicles that your company does not own for work-related purposes. Coverage applies to following types of vehicles:

  • Vehicles your organization rents or leases
  • Personal vehicles your workers own

Why Is Hired and Non-Owned Insurance Recommendable?

Some organizations assume they don’t need additional auto insurance for vehicles that employees rent or own because these vehicles already have some coverage. For example, when you rent a vehicle, the company you rent it from may provide some auto insurance. Likewise, your employees and volunteers should have personal auto insurance for their vehicles.

However, in these scenarios, how do you know for sure that your organization is protected? Your employee or volunteer may be driving with minimal limits or may have let their coverage lapse last month. If an employee or volunteer is involved in a significant crash while performing work-related tasks, and especially if the underlying policy’s limits are exceeded, your organization may be named in a lawsuit. In addition to having to pay for any damage to the other driver’s car, your organization may be on the hook for medical costs, lost wages, and punitive damages.

Examples of Hired and Non-Owned Insurance Claims

There are many scenarios in which an animal welfare organization may need to file a claim against a hired and non-owned auto insurance policy. Consider the following situations. Your organization:

  • You are receiving a donation of animal food, but you need to pick it up. One of your employees takes her personal truck to pick up the donation. On the way back, the driver is distracted by a phone call and fails to see a stop sign. She hits another vehicle, damaging the other car and injuring the driver. This other driver files a lawsuit and names your organization as the defendant.
  • Your organization rents a vehicle to transport one of the animals in your care. During transportation, the volunteer is involved in a crash and determined to be at fault. The other driver files a lawsuit for medical costs. You find out the rental company doesn’t provide sufficient liability coverage.

Is Your Organization Protected?

While all coverage is based on each individual organization’s needs and coverage may vary from state to state, hired and non-owned coverage may help shield your organization from unexpected costs.

To determine whether you’re adequately protected, consider the following:

  • Do your employees or volunteers ever use their personal vehicles to run errands for the organization? This includes picking up donations or supplies, transporting animals, and going to events. If this happens even just occasionally, hired and non-owned insurance would provide valuable protection.
  • Does your organization ever rent vehicles? For example, you might rent additional vehicles to pick up supplies or transport animals. If so, review the insurance available. If your organization doesn’t have sufficient liability protection, you should consider a hired and non-owned policy.
  • Are your liability limits high enough? Given the rise of nuclear verdicts, it’s hard to pinpoint the ideal amount of coverage. However, low liability limits may leave your organization exposed. In addition to raising your limits, consider purchasing an umbrella liability insurance policy to increase the limits for all underlying policies.

Does your animal welfare insurance package leave dangerous coverage gaps? Tangram’s animal welfare program provides insurance designed for animal welfare organizations. We are your source for pet shelter, animal rescue, and wildlife sanctuary insurance. Learn more.