Plenty of pickup truck owners in the northeast and Midwest are tempted to add a snowplow to their truck so they do not have to pay for a snow removal service. However, the average truck owner has no idea whether his or her auto insurance policy will also prove applicable to the snowplow. Let’s take a closer look at this issue for further clarification.
Snow Plow Auto Insurance Coverage
Your vehicle’s snowplow might or might not be covered by your auto insurance policy. What matters most is the type of auto insurance policy you hold and where the plow is being used. When in doubt, pick up the phone and contact your auto insurer to ask specific questions. In general, if you are only using your snowplow for plowing your own driveway or plowing a family member’s driveway as a favor, your plow is likely to be covered. However, you will likely need physical damage and liability coverage in order for the coverages to apply to your snowplow.
If you use your vehicle’s snowplow as a means of making money as a part-time or full-time snow removal contractor, you will likely need a commercial automobile insurance policy for the plow to be covered. The bottom line is running a business or even having a side hustle poses considerable risks that are not accounted for with your personal automobile insurance policy. However, this is not to say you will be denied all insurance coverage for your plow. Inquire about a commercial auto policy and you just might find it is well worth the extra money.
The Two Main Types of Insurance for Snow Plowing
In general, there are two primary types of insurance necessary for those who plow snow: the forementioned commercial vehicle insurance and general liability insurance. Regular auto insurance does not always cover a vehicle used for commercial work. If you accept any form of payment or barter for plowing snow, it is considered income. Those who accept compensation for plowing snow will need a commercial vehicle insurance policy in order for their plow to be covered. In fact, this type of policy covers the truck similar to how regular auto insurance provides coverage for everyday automobiles.
If you take out a commercial auto insurance policy for your truck and its snowplow, double-check to ensure the proper parties are covered when driving the vehicle. Many such policies restrict insurance coverage to the business owner. If anyone else drives the truck with the plow, they must be added to the policy on an individual basis. However, there is a chance the commercial vehicle insurance rate will be exorbitantly high. If this is the case, consider using your truck for landscaping or another activity when the weather warms up. This way, you can pay the snowplowing rate for half the year and a comparably low landscaping rate for the other half.
General liability insurance is protection for what is referred to as completed activities. Some refer to this type of insurance as slip and fall insurance. General liability insurance becomes important once the plowing is performed and you exit the property. Though many of those who plow driveways do not want to pay extra for general liability insurance, it should be acquired after you get your plow. After all, the chances of making a significant mistake are that much higher when you initially start plowing driveways.
What Commercial Auto Insurance Covers
Obtain commercial auto insurance for your truck and it will cover a wide variety of damage. As an example, the aforementioned damage to the plow will be covered. Commercial auto insurance also provides coverage for vandalism, theft, damage to the truck and damage to other automobiles and property involved in the accident. However, commercial vehicle coverage is not meant to provide protection against general liability claims as noted above.
If your snowplow was not initially included in your insurance policy, the insurance company agent must be made aware that the value of your insured property (the truck plus the plow) has increased. Though you might end up paying a little bit more for insurance once coverage is added for the plow, you will enjoy an invaluable peace of mind knowing you can plow in your preferred style without worrying about an unpaid insurance claim.
General Liability Coverage Alone Will Not Suffice
Too many snow plowers assume their general liability coverage is sufficient in and of itself. Unless you have a business that exclusively focuses on snow and ice management and you acquired business insurance for this sole purpose, you will need more than general liability insurance. Your policy must be created to deal with the added risk of using a snow plow when the outdoor conditions worsen. Whether your state’s insurance department mandates coverage for “completed operations”, commercial vehicle coverage or another type of coverage, obtain it in a timely manner so you can head on out when the snow arrives and plow without worrying about a potentially unpaid claim.