When you begin a new job, there are a lot of adjustments you must make. Schedules, new coworkers, a new commute—it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all this change. One change that you may not expect is being expected to use your vehicle for work purposes. To clarify, using a vehicle to commute to and from work doesn’t count as a business purpose. Business use for your vehicle would include frequently transporting equipment and products or taking customers to lunch. If you don’t have commercial car insurance, you may want to refuse to use your personal vehicle in case an accident happens where you aren’t covered. This is where you should be careful, however.
There are two types of employment: at-will and contract. At-will employees may be fired at any time for no reason barring those of discrimination based on race, sex, disability, etc. Contract employees often have more protection when it comes to their employment. Most employees are at-will employees, however. If you don’t work on a contract basis and an employer requires you to use your personal vehicle for work, they may fire you for refusing. This is because your employment is considered at-will, and if you’re unwilling to perform an expected part of the job, the employer may let you go. This, of course, doesn’t apply if the employer tries to coerce you into illegal activities or activities that breach your individual rights.
Contract employees, meanwhile, are protected within the terms of their contract. Should a contract not explicitly require the employee to use a personal vehicle, they may be able to refuse using their personal vehicle for work purposes.
If your employer does require you to use your personal vehicle for work, ask about their insurance policy. A lot of companies have commercial auto insurance. You may be covered beneath their Hired and Non-Owned auto insurance coverage, but this isn’t guaranteed. If your employer doesn’t cover your auto insurance while working, you may need to purchase commercial auto insurance. Commercial auto insurance covers personal use, as well. In some instances, you may be able to write off part of your commercial auto insurance policy for the times it is being used for work.
When agreeing for work, be sure to go over the details and expectations of your employment with your employer to avoid any unpleasant surprises.