Had an accident. Are you still fully covered by your insurance?

There is a question all lorry drivers need to ask themselves: ‘Have I been involved in a road traffic accident while driving my LGV at work?’

This would appear to be a very straightforward question to answer. However, if you have answered ‘yes’, you may find that you are no longer fully covered by your insurer should you then have an accident in your own vehicle. This is likely to be the case if you have renewed your own insurance policy since the accident and failed to de-clare it.

Andrew Drewary CMILT, Consultant Accident Analyst, working on behalf of 3Sixty Fleet says: ‘Most lorry drivers who have had a road traffic accident in their employer’s LGV believe they only need report it to their transport manager. However, this is not the case and failure to notify the insurer of their own vehicle or any policy they are a named driver, could have far reaching implications.’

Following a road traffic accident while driving a company LGV, lorry drivers will report the matter to their transport manager and complete the obligatory Accident Report Form. In most cases this is the only thing they believe they have to do. However, for the more serious types of accident they may be interviewed by an investigator from their employer’s insurance company or face criminal driving offences following a police investigation.

Drewary says: ‘Regardless how serious an accident is or how formal or informal the investigation is following an accident in their employers LGV, all lorry drivers have a responsibility to report the accident to the insurer of their own vehicle. The lorry driver should not be misled into believing that it is just a matter for their employer to deal with. Failure to notify their own insurer could mean they are no longer fully insured to drive their own vehicle.’

There is one main reason why most lorry drivers who have had an accident while driving their employer’s LGV, do not report an accident to their own insurer. This is because they believe there is no need to as the accident has not involved the vehicle they own and insure personally.

To a degree, this is may seem a reasonable enough reason but on the whole it is not a very good excuse for a lorry driver to use. On closer inspection of their own insurance policy it will clearly state: ‘If you have an accident you must report it immediately.’ It does not specify that it has to be an accident in the vehicle they own.

Most insurance policies are renewed automatically and the renewal information will normally advise that you do not have to do anything if you are happy with the new premium. However, how many lorry drivers have received the renewal notification without giving another thought about the accident they had in their employer’s LGV.

Drewary continues: ‘There is a well-publicised driver shortage within the industry, which is likely to last for a few more years. Lorry drivers and their employers have invested a lot of time and money with driver CPC training to secure their futures. However, failure to report an accident you have had to your own insurer when driving your employer’s LGV could mean you are no longer fully insured. Most people will only find this out when it is too late and the consequences could be very costly indeed.’

Failure to report an accident could affect the company as much as the lorry driver. Employers should look to introduce awareness seminars to bring this to the attention of their employees.

As for the lorry driver, they need to report all accidents they are involved in to their insurer so they remain fully insured. Thereafter, they need to co-operate fully with any investigation their employer’s insurer conducts. This is to ensure they are not held liable for the accident or at least to try and mitigate their liability. This will then reduce the effect the accident will have on their own policy premium or that of a policy they are a named driver.