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Use of Church Vehicles by Staff Members' Children

Check your insurance policy to avoid a costly denial of coverage.

Does your church have a vehicle that is made available to pastors or other church staff members for both business and personal use? If so, have you considered whether your church insurance policy would cover an accident involving the vehicle while it was being driven by a child of the pastor or staff member? A New York court addressed this important question in a recent case. A company owned a vehicle that it provided to an employee for business and personal use. It was insured under a "business auto policy" that provided coverage to anyone using the vehicle with the company's permission. The company adopted a corporate policy specifying that the vehicle was to be driven only by the employee and his wife. However, the employee permitted his teenage son to drive the car, and the son caused an accident that seriously injured a father and his infant daughter. The company was sued, and its insurance ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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  • June 1, 1997

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