Carpooling: What types of insurance do I need?

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Carpooling: What types of insurance do I need?

Carpooling has become a part of our lives.  It’s likely that most of us have participated in a carpool at one time or another, and when we joined the carpool we likely only considered the convenience it’d add to our lives.

We join carpools to save money on gas, to reduce the number of cars on the road during rush hour, or as a workaround for a lack of public transportation in the area. Parents join carpools to balance transporting their children with work and the rest of what makes up their busy lives.  Ultimately, carpooling does add convenience to our lives. However, it also comes with some inherent risks that most of us have never even considered.

Hypothetically, let’s say you’re a parent driving a five-kid carpool in your minivan to and from soccer practice. You’re now legally responsible for more than just you and your child; you’re also responsible for the other four children in the car. The same could be said of someone driving a five-person carpool to and from work each day.

Have you thought about your auto insurance policy?

Do you have enough liability insurance to cover all of your passengers should you get into an accident and passengers are injured? Do you have personal injury protection or medical expense coverage on your policy?  Do you have an umbrella policy?

If you answered no or I don’t know to the questions above, you may not have the right coverage to safely participate in a carpool. And if the questions above have never crossed your mind, you may need to revisit your policy to make sure it provides the right coverage for you in your current driving situation.  Costs after an at-fault accident can stack up quickly. Covering damages to the other party’s car and injuries can be staggering. With friends, children, or co-workers in your car, covering their injuries only adds to the costs.  Without appropriate liability limits, you could end up putting your own financial assets at risk.

  • Liability and umbrella insurance will protect you if you’re ever at-fault in an accident that results in damage to the other car, bodily injuries to the passenger(s) in the other car, and/or bodily injuries to you or the passenger(s) in your own car up to the policy limits. There’s no one specific number that constitutes “enough” when it comes to liability insurance. That number depends on your specific driving situation, including who you’re driving, how many people you’re driving, what the cost of living is where you live, and more.  Talk to your insurance agent.  He will help you determine the proper amount of coverage you need based on your current driving situation and make suggestions to limit your overall exposure.
  • Carpoolers may also consider adding medical expense coverage to their policies. Following an accident, medical expense coverage goes into effect and can help cover injuries to yourself, your passengers, or any other person hurt in an accident with your car. Typically, medical payments coverage can cover things directly associated with medical care up to the specific limits of the policy. These expenses include hospitalization, ambulance fees, x-rays and other tests, surgery, doctor visits, and more. This coverage will supplement your liability coverage in the event of a severe accident.
  • Work carpoolers should also consider adding personal injury protection (PIP) to their policies. In some states it’s actually a legal mandate that drivers have personal injury protection, and it’s highly encouraged everywhere else. This coverage not only protects you against injuries sustained in your own vehicle, it also protects you if you are injured when riding in someone else’s automobile.  Typically, PIP goes into effect regardless of who’s deemed “at fault” in order to help the injured parties immediately. PIP will help cover medical expenses, funeral costs and lost wages.

If you’re regularly driving with other passengers in your vehicle, contact Foundation Insurance Group to discuss your auto insurance and the different coverage options available to you.  They are always happy to review your existing policy and make recommendations to limit your exposures.  If the unexpected happens, make sure your insurance coverage fully protects you.

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