Why do in-home daycares need to consider commercial auto insurance?

A lot of the time, we don’t think much about getting behind the wheel of a car. It’s simply the way we get where we need to go, a comfortable and practical method of transportation. We become desensitized to the implications of controlling a vehicle. If you have an in-home daycare, you may find yourself in a situation where it would be easiest and most convenient to drive the children you care for somewhere, whether that’s to your home, the store, or so on. This, however, would open you up to a lot of risk. There are a lot of things to consider if you’re going to have to drive children around. Craig Meier, managing agent of New England Insurance Services, shared his thoughts with us on the matter of daycares and auto insurance.

Home daycares and auto insurance.

The first question you might have is — what about my personal auto insurance policy? You have insurance — you’ve followed the law. And you’re a safe driver. But your personal auto policy is not sufficient if you will be driving children for your in-home daycare. “This activity would not be covered under a personal auto policy, and could result in denials of claims and cancellations of policies since this is considered a commercial venture,” Meier explained. That distinction — commercial venture — is important. Meier elaborated, saying, “If you are driving kids to and from their home to your home to care for them, you are acting now as a commercial livery driver.” Which, as you might have guessed by now, requires a different type of coverage than is provided by a typical personal auto policy. And that coverage might just be commercial auto insurance.

Now, you might wonder if that’s really necessary; commercial auto insurance sounds serious and, well, business-like. However, you need to consider the possibilities. If you pick children up, take them to the store, take them to get lunch, and so on, you could run into problems. Meier said that whether or not this is acceptable depends on the insurance carrier. “It depends on the insurance carrier and how often this activity occurs, but most likely this would not be acceptable to an insurance company.” And, as you can probably deduce, something that is not acceptable to an insurance company is something that could cause you a lot of trouble.

So. What happens if it’s absolutely necessary for you to drive the children around? What if there just aren’t other options? Well, you have to make sure that you are properly covered from an insurance perspective. “The best thing to do is talk to your agent and fully disclose your plans,” Meier said. “They cannot advise you of proper coverage requirements if they don’t know the whole story.” They need to know what is going on and how you are planning on using your vehicle in the context of your home daycare business. That way, everyone is on the same page when it comes to the coverages that are needed.

Now, the reason you need to make sure to be open with your insurance agent is because of all the risks you face if you’re using your car to transport the children you care for. “You put all of your assets at risk every time you get behind the wheel,” Meier said. “You are hopeful that if you do ever cause an accident, your liability limits will be sufficient so the other party does not go past your policy limits and attack your personal assets like your home, bank accounts, and so on.” Once again, you need to make sure that you and your agent are on the same page. That way, you can make sure that you have the right coverage for your needs.

Get quotes for car insurance for your in-home daycare.

If you have an in-home daycare, you may seriously consider driving the children you care for around. Whether it’s to pick them up, take them to the store, take them for food, or what not, you need to make sure that you have the right coverage. You can do that by being open with your agent and discussing the situation with them. That way you know that you will be protected from the risks that you face when you hit the road with your young changes. You can’t assume that your personal auto insurance policy is going to be enough — or that you’re covered for chauffeuring children around. Talk to your agent and work with an agency that specializes in in-home daycares so they can help you get the coverage you need.

Interview with Craig Meier, Managing Agent

Craig Meier started his insurance career as a claims professional for 6 years, and has been an award winning licensed insurance agent for over 23 years.   He has seen a variety of complicated claims cases and coverage issues along the way.  Mr. Meier is currently a managing agent for New England Insurance Services, which is a member of the SIG insurance agencies.  New England Insurance services specializes in providing comprehensive insurance packages for people involved in the daycare industry.

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