While the coronavirus put the brakes on many of us traveling back and forth to work as remote work became the “new normal,” home health care workers continue to visit patients and perform their duties. The majority of workers use their own personal vehicles to travel from one patient’s home to the next, get groceries, deliver meals, fill prescriptions, drive patients to their doctor visits, and other tasks. In fact, the amount of driving these workers are now doing has potentially increased as family members cut back on what they can provide to keep sick or elderly patients at home safe.
It’s important for home health care agencies to manage the potential liability exposures they face that come with employees driving while on the job. This begins with checking driving records when hiring and screening new workers. A driver-training program should also be in place to ensure that conduct expectations are properly set and adhered to by all employees. Implementing a training program and monitoring employees’ driving performance can help reduce auto liability risks. In the event of an accident while on the job, employees should know what emergency and reporting procedures to follow.
In addition, home health care employers should ask for valid proof (a current copy of the declaration page) of Personal Auto insurance for each worker. Stipulate the minimum Liability limits that each employee must carry on his or her personal vehicles. It’s also wise for employees to understand that potential coverage gaps may exist in their Personal Auto insurance policies when using their cars for work.
Transfer Risk with Non-Owned and Hired Auto Liability Coverage
Make sure the home health care agency carries Non-Owned and Hired Auto Liability insurance. Although workers carry their own Personal Auto insurance for their vehicles, coverage may fall short. A Personal Auto policy may exclude coverage for work-related activities, or the limits on the policy may not be sufficient in the event of a catastrophic accident. In addition, business entities still face auto liability exposures from a non-owned auto that an employee regularly uses in the performance of his or her job duties. If the employee is in an accident using his or her own car while working and there is an injured party, a claimant will often seek recovery from as many sources, particularly those with deeper pockets. Employers could also be held accountable for their own negligence in association with the operation and use of the vehicle.
Non-Owned & Hired Auto insurance provides Liability coverage for bodily injury or property damage that the employer or employees cause while driving for work. Insurance applies to vehicles the business doesn’t own (such as employees’ personal vehicles), or vehicles an employer “hires” (such as a rental car). Coverage is designed to fill the gap in an employee’s Personal Auto policy. Note: Non-Owned & Hired Auto addresses the company’s liability, not that of the employee driving the vehicle. The person behind the wheel can still be held personally liable for any damage or injuries he or she causes.
Manchester Specialty Programs provides Non-Owned and Hired Auto insurance with separate coverage limits as part of our Professional & General Liability policy for the Home Care, Allied Health and Human/Social Services industries. Defense costs can be included in the coverage, and the policy will cover a business to the extent it is liable for the actions of an employee (full time or part time) when driving a vehicle for business purposes. For more information about our products, please contact us at 855.972.9399.