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What If I’m a Nanny and Transport Children In My Car?

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What If I’m A Nanny And Transport Children In My Car?

Do you remember the movie “Mary Poppins”?  It was one of my childhood favorites!

Well, in the movie, Mary Poppins is the magic nanny, hired to care for two upper-class children who have successfully managed to scare away at least a half-dozen nannies in record time.  Not so Mary Poppins!  She wins the two siblings’ hearts, and teaches them an important life lesson:  A little imagination and play go a long way in creating everyday happiness!

One of Mary Poppins’ most exciting activities are her outings:  She takes her little proteges into the pictures of a street artist, on a fox hunt, to a ceiling dinner party, and on a walk across the city roofs.  Fun stuff!  But not from an insurance standpoint …

Luckily, one of our clients, who is a nanny, called us before using her personal auto to take ‘her’ daycare kids on outings..

You see, your personal auto insurance policy does not cover you if you use your car “to transport persons or deliver property for compensation of any kind.”.   Whether you use your car to deliver pizza, mail, or newspapers… or whether you transport children (that you’re paid to watch) to and from parks and museums – it comes down to the fact that your car is now an essential and compensated part of your job. Granted, in the case of our nanny, the transport of her daycare kids was incidental to other parts of her job, for which she might receive a single “fee.” But since the legal language in a personal auto policy contract clearly excludes transporting people or products for compensation, and she is being paid for her services which include the transport, she runs the risk of having a claim denied because of the contractual language.

(Note:  Shared expense car pools are specifically exempted from this language.  So, this exclusion doesn’t impact parents who share driving duty to swimming or dance lessons with another parent, or just reimburse for gasoline expenses.)

Insurance contract language does vary from company to company, and state to state.  If you are in the situation where you really need to transport persons or products in your personal vehicle, please be sure to talk to your insurance agent to find out the right solution for you. The best advice may be to purchase a commerical auto policy with high liability limits.  Yes, this may cost more, but it would assure that your insurance coverage is there when you need it.

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Please note: The information in this blog is illustrated in examples and refers to insurance law in Washington State.  Actual claims scenarios might vary, be subject to different regulations in other states, and/or be subject to exceptions and exclusions of your particular insurance contract.  If you have a claim, please contact your agent or insurance company directly for answers on coverage questions.

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