Make sure you’re covered before you start to plow
Baby it’s cold outside… and if you live in Windsor-Essex or Chatham-Kent, you woke up this morning to what can only be described as the nastiest dumping of snow we’ve experienced in two winters.
If you own an ATV or a tractor and have a snowplow blade for it, you might be tempted to use it to make a few extra bucks over the next couple of days. Even if you’re not charging for the service, it’s important to understand the liability you are exposing yourself to if something unforeseen happens while you’re out battling the drifts.
Now, if you’re plowing your own driveway, and have proper insurance, you’re going to be covered if, let’s say, you accidentally dragged the blade along the side of your wife’s vehicle. Nothing in your policy will keep you from sleeping on the couch for a few nights, but your policy will likely cover the cost to repair the damage. It’s when you leave your own property to plow someone else’s driveway where things can get fuzzy… especially if you’re charging a fee for your services.
If you charge money to clean driveways, unless you specifically purchase a commercial liability policy, and live in an area where it’s even legal to be off your own property with your ATV, you’ll be out of pocket for any damages or injury you cause. This could even be the case when performing a good Samaritan act and plowing someone else’s driveway for free. The same goes for tractors.
Make sure you understand the legalities of operating an ATV anywhere other than your personal property as they apply to your municipality – they can differ significantly from place to place. And if you think you might find yourself in a position to be cleaning other people’s driveways for them, it’s best to check with your insurance broker to ensure that you’re actually covered in the event something goes amiss.