12 march 2021, text: Hansjörg Ryser, photo: Depositphotos
Company vehicles are used for a wide range of different purposes. For example, a construction company’s fleet will consist of trucks, excavators, rollers or delivery vans, while architects will use their vehicles to drive from one construction project to the next and an electrical contractor will carry a large amount of equipment around in its vehicles. Employees often use company vehicles for private purposes too. So from the insurance company’s point of view, there are very different risks that need to be assessed to arrive at the right solution for the company.
Fleet insurance should therefore not be considered primarily for the sake of volume discounts, but because of its complexity and ultimately the fact that it offers greater and more targeted security. Whenever new vehicles are registered or old vehicles are taken out of service, the policy is updated automatically, and the vehicles are included straight away. In an emergency, the insurance needs to function smoothly to give policyholders and the employees who use the vehicles optimum cover – after all, a fleet contract means less admin work.
Apart from compulsory liability cover, the most important insurance components are partially or fully comprehensive insurance and cover for passengers if they’re involved in an accident. Additional modules, such as parking damage or cross-liability insurance covering damage caused by a collision between company-owned vehicles, allow needs to be individually customized.
Assistance cover, which in many cases safeguards the maintenance of supply chains and other business processes, can also be taken out for heavy motor vehicles. Helvetia also provides organizational help and support if a truck breaks down, for example. Tyre damage is repaired on the spot and indemnified by Helvetia.
Employees need to be aware that the add-on “occasional driving of third-party vehicles” in their private liability insurance will not be sufficient if the employer claims for damages such as lost bonuses or deductibles for damage to the vehicle. The use of company vehicles must be explicitly mentioned in the private liability contract.
If a company vehicle is regularly used for business and private purposes, the resulting rights and obligations should be spelled out in a usage contract with the employer. It’s best to lay down the conditions for private use in regulations. Conversely, if a private vehicle is used for business trips, the company will be liable for any claims. If private vehicles are used on a regular basis the company should take out insurance for accidental damage while travelling on business.
Claims and accidents can be avoided by ensuring that company vehicles are regularly maintained and by only employing properly qualified staff to operate special vehicles such as construction machinery or forklift trucks. And buying models of the same vehicle type that are as similar as possible makes them easier for employees to operate correctly. It’s also advisable not to skimp on useful assistance systems and precautions. It is clear that drivers are responsible for following road traffic regulations, even if line managers urge them to rush.