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Common "What If" Questions for Auto and Business Insurance


We love the small businesses of the Emerald Coast! We work with so many creative and ambitious entrepreneurs that want to improve our area. We live in a unique place that has 1,000 different kinds of business crammed into a very small geographic location, and it keeps our daily conversations very interesting. The possibilities of what could happen with a business are ten times more complicated and varied than most home and personal insurance. It can be a challenge finding the right coverage for such varied types of businesses, but it’s a challenge that we welcome, because it keeps the job interesting! When looking for coverage for your small business, make sure you find an agent that has a complete understanding of your industry and the potential risks it has. Having an inexperienced agent could mean getting the wrong coverage and could ultimately bankrupt your business.

Continuing our article from last week about common and weird “what if” situations, we now address Auto and Business Insurance questions that we frequently get. Every policy is different and of course each situation brings unique circumstances that could alter the outcome of a claim, so these examples are meant as only possibilities and not advise or guarantee of coverage.

What If…

Someone without insurance hits me?

From an insurance perspective two coverages will come into play, the PIP coverage and Uninsured Motorist. PIP is Personal Injury Protection usually with a $10,000 per person limit and can sometimes have a deductible. This will likely be used for medical expenses while the uninsured motorist coverage may be used for physical damage to your vehicle. Your insurance company may subrogate against the at-fault party and if your coverage amounts are insufficient may opt to do the same.

I crash a company car on personal errand?

It depends on the situation, the company structure, and the company’s commercial auto policy (if they have one), and if the company had the correct forms on that commercial auto policy. If it’s a sole proprietorship then PIP gets complicated but may be available. In short, if personal use wasn’t properly disclosed ahead of time, it could be denied, but you may have some coverage under your personal auto policy; if it’s a personal vehicle used for company tasks the same thing may happen if it wasn’t properly disclosed.

You damage someone else’s property not related to the work you’re doing?

For example, a landscaper hit a water line or puts a rock through a window damage to someone else’s property (not the client’s property). This would likely fall under the general liability policy, which may or may not have a deductible.

Someone slips and falls in my store?

General liability is typically the coverage that response to a slip and fall. The tenant’s policy usually responds first but the landlord could get looped in. If it happened in “common space” such as the parking lot, it would likely go straight to the landlord policy. It depends on how the lease is written with what area the tenant is responsible for.

Steals from the store?

Theft usually falls under the property insurance coverage, specifically the contents coverage (unless it’s copper pipes or something permanently attached that was stolen). There is likely a deductible in the $1000-$10,000 range for this so petty theft is usually not enough to claim. Theft coverage may come with stipulations such as a monitored alarm system, not just closed circuit cameras.

Employee cuts hand with knife?

Workers comp is very straight forward and usually works in the employees favor, regardless of fault. Workplace injuries are almost always covered to some degree and can be broad enough to include lost time, wages, medical, and more.

Employees get into a fight?

The medical expenses could be under workers comp but the liability could get complicated. Personal liability may fall under the individual’s home insurance policy which can include a liability portion but the circumstances of this event could bring it in a lot of different directions.

Rent a car while traveling on business and get into an accident?

Some commercial auto insurance policies have an optional coverage for hired or non-owned auto. If you have this coverage, renting a vehicle for work should give that auto and driver comparable coverage as if it were listed on your policy. The physical damage coverage for a rented vehicle is another optional coverage often called “hired auto physical damage”.

Rent a box truck for the day and get into an accident?

Renting a box truck for the day: same situation, if they had the correct forms it could be covered but those are optional coverages not included on the base policy.

Pay cousin to work for the day and they either get hurt or cause damage to the property?

Day labor could be anyone, either well known like a cousin or a total stranger. There are a few things to consider here: some coverages are name-specific, such as workers comp through the JUA or through a PEO/leasing company; the person would need to be named on these policies to be covered for workers comp. Other workers comp policies are tied to the company with no specific names listed, the person would likely be automatically covered under this policy, but it should be disclosed to the insurance company if the use of day labor is expected.

If there are any other scenarios or weird situations you have a question about, feel free to give us a call