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Your Family & Insurance

Kids, Pizza and Auto Insurance. What's the Story?

Let's say your child delivers pizza as a part-time job. Does your auto insurance cover any minor fender-benders while out delivering pizza? Insurance trade group officer Don Griffin strongly suggests that you contact you auto insurance company to find out the answer to that before you send your kids out with your car.

"If your child is delivering pizza as part of his part-time job and is driving your car for business then it's your personal auto insurance policy that's on the hook if there's an accident or some other incident that could result in a claim being filed," according to Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, in Des Plaines, Ill.

Griffin's has clear advice. "Notify your auto insurer in advance that you're going to let your child use the family car to deliver food as part of his or her part-time job. The insurer will probably charge you extra, but that'll be a small price to pay when considering that if you fail to notify your insurer in advance and your child gets into an accident driving the family vehicle on the job, you may get an unpleasant surprise of no coverage when you file a claim."

Ohio insurance agent Brad Vermilion said many insurers will shy away from covering your child using your family car for delivering pizza. "This type of job creates a lot of risk," points out Vermilion. Uncertainty about determining insurance pricing is a key reason why auto insurers aren't necessarily enamored by the idea of covering a vehicle used to deliver pizza.

"The car is driven to a lot of places at different times of the day and night, and it would be difficult for the insurer to be able to accurately price the risk," observes Vermilion. "You might have to shop around to find a company that would provide protection under that set of circumstances. That could entail purchasing a commercial auto policy, which would figure to be significantly more expensive than your private passenger automobile policy. But it'll definitely be worth the extra money. You'll have some peace of mind knowing that there will be insurance protection if junior gets in a fender-bender backing out of the driveway of one of his pizza delivery customers."

A cautionary message comes from Dave Snyder, vice president and assistant general counsel, of the American Insurance Association, in Washington, D.C. "Check with your insurance agent or your insurance company about possible policy exclusions that would be applicable in this situation. There's no substitute for checking with people in the know regarding your personal insurance situation."