We are often asked, “Who can drive my nonprofit’s vehicles?” The answer is that with the nonprofit’s permission, anyone may use a vehicle owned by the nonprofit. No matter who is driving—employee or volunteer—the nonprofit’s commercial auto insurance policy will apply to any accidents involving vehicles owned by the nonprofit. The policy should be examined closely. A nonprofit’s commercial auto policy has three components: liability, physical damage on the vehicle itself collision and comprehensive coverages, and medical payments for injuries to occupants of the nonprofit’s vehicle. Nonprofit policy holders should review their policies with their brokers or agents to determine which specific losses are covered and where coverage gaps might lie. For instance, you might assume that your nonprofit’s auto policy would provide coverage in the event a van were stolen, when in fact the coverage may exclude theft completely. The nonprofit’s auto insurance will generally cover all vehicles both owned by the nonprofit. Many nonprofits also have coverage for “non owned” vehicles such as those that are leased or rented by the nonprofit or personal vehicles driven on the nonprofits’ behalf. It is important to note that volunteer drivers, while using their own cars, will be covered initially by their own personal auto insurance. A volunteer’s personal auto insurance for his/her own car will cover anyone named in a lawsuit arising out of the use of the personal auto, therefore, the nonprofit may also initially be covered by the volunteer driver’s policy. However, in cases where a catastrophic injury occurs to someone, such as a passenger or pedestrian when a volunteer driver is using her own car, the damages might exceed the driver’s personal auto insurance limits. In addition, several lease contracts deliver additional provisions that address routine servicing, such as oil changes.
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You should know that not all car insurance companies are equal.