Volunteers are one of the major lifelines that keep nonprofit organizations operating and make it possible to provide services to the communities you serve.Nonprofits rely on these volunteers to carry out various tasks including running special events, recruiting new volunteers, raising funds, and helping in the day to day tasks.At times volunteers may have to utilize a vehicle to perform these tasks, either the nonprofit organization’s or their personal car or truck. Often times, small errands like running to the post office, office supply store or to pick up lunch are overlooked as potential risks for nonprofit organizations, but there steps to take to protect your nonprofit. If you are a director for a nonprofit that has volunteers who are driving on behalf of your organization, it is vital that you make sure they are properly protected and insured in the event of an accident, injury or lawsuit.
There are four key components to consider when determining how to best protect and insure your volunteers as well as your nonprofit organization from risks associated with volunteer driving.
1.What types of policies and procedures should be in place to prevent accidents/incidents from occurring?
2.Are the volunteers driving an automobile owned by the nonprofit or their personal auto?
3.Does your nonprofit ever rent or borrow vehicles?
4.What type of insurance coverage is available to protect the volunteer and nonprofit?
If your volunteers are driving any vehicle to perform responsibilities for the nonprofit organization, you should have policies and procedures in place to prevent accidents and maintain safe driving habits.These policies and procedures should start with a volunteer application that addresses past driving experience by asking the following questions:
1.Do you have a valid driver’s license? (Ask for a copy to run a motor vehicle record on their driving history).
2.Have you had any traffic accidents or violations in the past five years?
3.Do you carry auto insurance? (Require proof of insurance)
4.Have you previously driven as a volunteer for other nonprofit organizations?
Other policies that should be in place include a Cell Phone Use Policy for Volunteers and a policy that addresses the Do’s and Don’ts of volunteer driving. Once you have these in place to help prevent accidents and promote safety, it is also important to research the different types of auto insurance coverage available. There are two types of automobile insurance, hired and non-owned auto liability insurance and business auto insurance. Both help to protect your nonprofit from damages associated with driving accidents.
Hired and non-owned auto liability can be added to most general liability insurance policies and should be purchased when volunteers are driving their personal vehicles on behalf of the nonprofit (even for those quick errands!) or if the nonprofit typically rents vehicles. This type of liability insurance will protect your nonprofit if an accident occurs and your organization is named as being responsible for the damages or injury to the other party. Typically this insurance does not provide coverage for any physical damage to the volunteer’s or the rented vehicle as this coverage would fall under their personal auto insurance.
Business automobile liability insurance is another option that is beneficial for your nonprofit to purchase if the organization owns a vehicle. This insurance coverage provides liability protection in the event your volunteer is at fault in the accident and the other party suffered from vehicle/property damage or injury. There is also physical damage coverage on a business automobile liability policies in the event the nonprofit’s auto is damaged and needs repaired.
Volunteers are vital in the day to day operations of your nonprofit organization and it is critical that these volunteers and the nonprofit are taking proper steps to protect themselves from potential driving disasters. Schedule a time to review the daily responsibilities of your volunteers- are they running some of those quick errands or are they actively driving a company owned vehicle? Create a plan to create and implement policies and procedures and t contact your insurance agent for more information on the types of automobile liability insurance available for your nonprofit.