Snow Plowing & Removal – Are You Covered?
By: Jay Long, CIC, CRM, Commercial Lines Director
We have all seen the social media posts from friends saying that they have a plow on their truck and to let them know if anyone needs their driveway or office plowed. The question is, does that friend have the proper coverage in place to protect you as the business owner, or homeowner. Is that friend opening themselves up to potential law suits that are not covered by their insurance?
As the person doing the snow removal, if they currently have a personal auto policy covering their truck, they do not have the proper coverage. Most personal automobile policies exclude coverage for vehicles used for business purposes. If they were to hit something or someone while using that truck for plowing, the business exclusion could cause the carrier to deny coverage leaving them to defend the claim on their own. Proper coverage should be purchased using a commercial auto policy, which allows for snow plowing.
What happens to that snow removal contractor when someone slips and falls, breaking a leg, in the parking lot that they cleared? Without a general liability that includes snow removal products and completed operations coverage, they would not have an insurance policy to fall back on. They would be held liable for that person’s medical bills and potentially pain and suffering.
As the homeowner or business owner, it is important to verify coverage for any contractor that is doing work for you. Ask for a certificate of liability insurance from them. The certificate of insurance will show the current coverages that the contractor has. If the contractor has others working for them, you would also want to make sure that they have workers’ compensation in place. Without verifying that your contractor has the proper coverages, you could be held liable for work they performed on your behalf. Instead of their carrier providing coverage for the slip and fall injury, it could come back to you as the business owner. In the situation regarding snow plow coverage, it is important to ask for the description of operations section of the certificate to state that snow removal is covered under the policy.