Recently a friend who works professionally with older people, and I were discussing an arrangement for driving a client to his doctor’s appointment. She told me that she’d discovered that her insurance company had changed its policy about driving clients in her car, without alerting her. She had always figured that she had proper coverage for driving her clients anywhere..to do errands, to the doctor, and so forth.
So I called my insurance company (a very well known company) and sure enough, as I dug deeper with my questions, I too found out that I did not have coverage in the case of an accident, for my passenger, if they were paying me.
The insurance company was not talking about clients who pay for the ride, in particular. But clients who were paying me for any kind of assistance. Even just companionship or just because their family lives out of town and they needed a lift somewhere or to the doctor or they are a therapy client…If they were to wind up in the hospital, I would be liable. And I had thought it was OK with this company to drive clients around. Lucky I had that little chat with that particular friend!
I made a series of other calls – to other very well known insurance agencies, to other agents in the same company I used, and to independent agents who know about all the companies and don’t have to represent any particular one of them. I found the same answer every time. I went through as complete a picture as I could: I was not charging for the ride. I did not drive clients every day – some times not for weeks at a time. I am not a commercial transport service in any way and I don’t have signs on my car. And so forth.
So the bad news is:
You can no longer drive clients in your car, even if you have full insurance for passengers, unless you have a policy that covers paying clients.
The good news is:
There are independent insurance companies who do offer what’s known as “business” coverage..it’s not the same as a commercial plan. It’s slightly more than regular auto insurance..and very worth it. My well known company does not offer this coverage.
So send me an email if you are interested, if you are a person who is paid to assist with anyone at all and you find yourself giving them rides here and there, I can help with what I learned. I can give you more specific names and more about what I now know!