Snow Plow Season - Coverage Questions

from Gammons Insurance Agency Inc.

Nov 04, 2014

The Blizzard of 2010 officially made Monday a “snow day” for many Massachusetts and New England residents. Thankfully, schools were closed which means many parents were already on vacation. So, who didn’t get the day off? The plows!

As the snowfall totals piled up between Sunday and Monday, the plows were out in full force, making sure our roadways were safe to travel on. After all, what would winter in New England be without the sound of a plow truck coming down your street with snow flying from the blade?

So for those of you that are out cleaning the streets (or maybe even driveways or parking lots), here are some insurance questions to consider to make sure you are properly covered during the plowing season.

#1 – I have a Business Auto policy. Does my policy provide coverage if someone slips and is injured after I have finished plowing?

No. Your Business Auto policy provides liability and possibly physical damage coverage for your vehicle. It will not protect you against claims made by someone who is injured as a result of your plowing. This coverage, known as Completed Operations coverage, must be obtained through a separate Business Owners Policy or General Liability Policy.

#2 – I have a plow on my personally owned light truck and I plan on clearing snow. Do I need a commercial auto liability policy?

Maybe. Having a snow plow attached to your truck does not disqualify you from having a Personal Auto Policy, even if you are paid for your plowing services. However, you will need to advise your insurance agent as your policy may need to be rated with a business class 30 rating.

#3 – I am attaching a plow to my vehicle. Does my Business Auto Policy provide physical damage coverage for the plow?

Yes. The plow itself will be covered for physical damage as long as the vehicle to which it is attached also carries physical damage coverage. (You will need to advise your insurance agent as to which vehicle the plow is attached to and as to what the Cost New of the plow is to ensure proper coverage.)

#4 – I plow for the town and/or businesses that require Additional Insured status. Do I need a commercial auto liability policy?

Yes. Additional Insured status cannot be added to a Personal Auto Policy, regardless of the weight or ownership of the vehicle. In this case, you will need to obtain a Business Auto Policy and have it endorsed with the appropriate Additional Insured endorsement.

#5 – Will the premium increase on my Business Auto Policy if I offer plowing services for a fee?

Possibly. It all depends on how much you will be plowing. Assuming that plowing is a side operation, (you are not plowing more than 20% of the time) than the premium may not increase. If however you plow more than that and your vehicle was previously classed as a “service” vehicle, your vehicle will need to be re-classed as “commercial” and you may incur an additional charge.

Please note, every insurance company treats plowing operations differently. Coverage afforded will depend on a variety of factors, including whether you are clearing main streets, back roads, driveways, highways or parking lots. Another consideration will be whether you have obtained registry issued “plowing” plates.

So, before the next storm hits, be sure to call Gammons Insurance Agency to discuss your plowing operations and make sure you have the proper coverage.

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