Real estate agents drive an average of 20,000 miles annually as they travel to properties to meet prospective buyers and conduct business. This high-mileage driving can increase the risk of having an accident.
The question is, what happens if there’s a car accident? Several variables come into play, including whether you are an employee or an independent contractor and what kind of insurance you and the real estate brokerage have. This article provides an overview of various scenarios.
For questions about a car accident that involves a real estate showing, contact Zweben Law Group for a free case evaluation.
Check Your Florida Car Insurance Policy
Because driving to a showing is considered a business activity, it’s important to determine which insurance claims are covered under your policy. If your policy doesn’t cover business vehicles or commercially related activities, you could pay out of pocket for property damage and injuries under Florida’s no-fault car insurance rules.
If your policy does provide insurance coverage for business purposes, you’ll also need to check to see what limits or restrictions are imposed for mileage.
Obtain a Commercial Policy
If you are driving to showings and your only insurance is a personal insurance policy without commercial protection, we recommend getting insurance that covers a car crash that you might have in your capacity as a real estate agent or broker.
What Real Estate Brokers Need to Know About Car Insurance for Independent Contractors in Florida
If you are driving to a showing as an independent contractor (or you have a team of independent contractors working for you), the rules for insurance claims could be different.
Generally, independent contractors act independently – hence the term. In these situations, if they are in an accident, they are on the hook for any financial and legal liability.
However, real estate agents may not qualify for the category of independent contractor, even if they are independent contractors in every other regard. The reason is that real estate agents are often acting under the supervision of a broker, and that compromises the amount of independence when determining liability.
Brokers can potentially shield themselves from liability for agent accidents by requiring agents to add the brokerage to their insurance policy as an “additional insured.”
While there is often a gray area in determining insurance coverage and liability when the real estate agent is an independent contractor, the rules are more straightforward when the agent is an employee.
Assuming that the employee is driving their own vehicle, asking your insurance company about adding non-owned auto coverage is recommended. This coverage provides protection when employees drive their own vehicles for work-related purposes, like showings.
Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney
No matter how competent of a driver you are, other drivers can engage in distracted driving and other negligent habits that lead to an accident. One of the first things an attorney will do is examine the police report from the accident scene to help determine liability.
For help navigating a personal injury claim or insurance dispute, contact Zweben Law Group for a complimentary evaluation.