Alaska Taxi Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Taxi Insurance. Taxi services - the ability to hire a driver and means of transport on a short-term basis - have, in some form, been available since at least the 17th century.
Taxi cab companies offer transportation to passengers on public roads to and from their specified destinations. Some also offer courier services that deliver packages and documents.
The taxi company's employees are usually limited to dispatchers, schedulers, and office workers, as most taxi drivers are independent contractors. Passenger pick-up may take place on the street, at taxi stands on a first-come, first-serve basis, or by specific request through the taxi company's dispatcher.
Local ordinances may prohibit a taxi company from declining service to prospective passengers, including those going to or from high crime areas.
In modern times, countless people rely on taxi services on a daily basis, whether because they do not drive their own vehicles or because cabs provide a more convenient means of transportation.
Taxi services exist on various scales, using diverse business models. While taxi companies may own a whole fleet of vehicles (which are then operated by employed drivers) as well as an office space and parking lot, even "solopreneurs" can run a very successful and busy taxi service.
To make it in the taxi business, it is crucial to get ahead of the possible risks you may face and to take steps to protect yourself from the financial devastating that may follow unforeseen, and ruinous, circumstances.
What types of Alaska taxi insurance may help you meet this goal? Find out more in this brief guide.
Alaska taxi insurance protects your taxi cab business from lawsuits with rates as low as $67/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do AK Taxi Cab Services Need Insurance?
Whether you are the owner and manager of a sizable taxi company or you run a solo taxi service, you will - like any other commercial venture - be faced with a number of hazards. Some of the risks that should be on your radar are of such a universal nature that they could befall any business, while others are more industry-specific; related to either your vehicle or vehicles, or the fact that you provide a service.
AK taxi services that own or rent an office space face the risk of damage to that property, for example, due to acts of nature such as earthquakes or hurricanes, or as a result of criminal acts like vandalism (which includes arson) or theft. Accidents are another example of a universal threat that could inflict severe property loss - think accidental fires or serious plumbing disasters.
In addition, taxi drivers face the risk of road traffic accidents and, when they had a client in the car during a collision, the possibility of being sued is very real. Customers may damage your upholstery, and taxi services also need to consider the threat of crime, as the threat of armed robbery and other forms of violence are a major occupational hazard for taxi drivers.
While you can take proactive risks to mitigate the risks you face as a taxi service, the fact that circumstances beyond your control could easily threaten your financial and physical health remains inescapable.
By investing in Alaska taxi insurance coverage, you can rest assured that you have done everything you can to shield your business from ruin even if you were to be impacted by a major peril.
What Type Of Insurance Do Alaska Taxi Companies Need?
The exact types of coverage a taxi service needs to protect their business depends on numerous factors. A single independent taxi driver will not have the same insurance needs as a taxi company that owns multiple vehicles and an office space, as well as being responsible for employees, for instance.
The location where you are based also plays a role in your Alaska taxi insurance needs. To make sure you are completely covered, it is therefore essential to consult a skilled commercial insurance broker who understands the taxi cab business.
Having said that, taxi services may need the following forms of coverage:
- Commercial Auto - As work-related driving is quite literally the job description of a taxi driver, commercial auto insurance is the first type of policy any taxi service needs. It protects you from financial losses in the event of a vehicle accident, theft, or vandalism pertaining to your own vehicle, third party vehicles, and the bodily injury of yourself and third parties. Due to the high risk profile of taxi services, commercial auto insurance will be more costly within your industry.
- Commercial Property - If you use a dedicated office space to book rides, you will also require commercial property insurance - which covers the costs associated with major perils such as acts of nature, theft, and vandalism that could damage your building or result in the loss of smaller assets such as computers.
- Workers Compensation - Companies with employees will require workers' comp. If an employee sustains a work-related injury for which you could be held liable, it covers their medical expenses as well as any lost wages.
There may be additional Alaska taxi insurance needs in the form of cyber coverage or general liability coverage (if they receive visitors in their office space or a re required by certain locations); these important forms of insurance are merely examples of the types you will need to protect your business. For further details, talk to a commercial insurance broker.
AK Taxi Service's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposures are limited because the public ordinarily does not have access to the office and garage. Off-premises exposures from contact with passengers usually come under automobile liability, not general liability.
The contract between the driver and the taxi company determines the extent of its liability for the driver's actions. Personal injury exposures, such as assault and battery, discrimination, or invasion of privacy, may include allegations against the taxi company for negligent hiring and supervision of contract drivers.
Workers compensation exposures vary depending on individual state laws. Drivers are usually independent contractors and are not subject to workers compensation coverage. However, exposure can be significant if the law in a specific state requires that such drivers be covered as taxi drivers work alone, often after dark, carry cash from passenger fares, and cannot generally decline service even to high-crime areas.
Drivers can be injured during hold ups, from altercations with passengers, bitten or scratched by passengers' pets, or in vehicle accidents. Handling passenger luggage and other belongings can result in strains, sprains, and back injuries. Drivers may slip and fall on ice, snow, or water, or trip over curbs.
Vehicles should be well maintained, equipped with two-way communication devices with the dispatcher, shields to separate the driver from passengers, surveillance cameras, a global positioning system (GPS), and safety equipment commensurate with weather conditions. Driver training should include how to deal with violent, intoxicated, or uncooperative passengers.
Mechanics can be exposed to toxic fumes from refueling and repair operations. These should be done in well-ventilated areas. Exposure to asbestos may result from repairing brakes.
Property exposures are from office and dispatch operations. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems. If vehicles are stored and maintained on premises, the fire exposure increases due to flammables, including lubricants, oils, degreasers, and solvents. These must be properly labeled, stored, and separated from one another.
If welding is performed, tanks and gases must be handled properly. Welding must be separated from other operations by flash/welding curtains or performed in a separate room or building. Tires do not ignite quickly, but once ignited are difficult to extinguish and leave an oily smoke that permeates the entire area.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the taxi company offers credit, computers, and valuable papers and records for contracts with drivers. Also, driver logs may be required to meet federal, state, and municipal regulations. Computers and satellite tracking systems may be used to track vehicles and maintain contact with drivers. All data must be duplicated and stored off-site so it can be easily replicated in the event of a loss.
Crime exposures are from employee dishonesty, burglary, robbery, and money and securities. If drivers are independent contractors, the exposure is limited off-premises as they are responsible for arranging their own crime coverage. The exposure is high on premises as drivers return to the taxi company's premises to turn over money collected during their shifts.
Background and criminal history checks should be performed on all employees who handle money. There must be a separation of duties between persons handling orders, deposits and disbursements and reconciling bank statements. Outside audits should be conducted regularly.
Due to the potential for large amounts of cash to be on the premises, alarms and other security arrangements should be appropriate. The timing of bank deposits and routes taken should be staggered.
Commercial auto exposures are high. Taxi companies often own the vehicles and lease them to the drivers, but have limited control over them because they are independent contractors. However, the taxi company can require each driver to have a valid license appropriate for the type of vehicle driven, require satisfactory MVRs, prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs, and require successful completion of driving courses.
Drivers should be trained on how to respond in case of a medical emergency. Random testing for alcohol and drug use should be required. Seatbelts and child safety seats should be required when the vehicle is in motion. Vehicles must be properly maintained on a scheduled basis with records of such maintenance kept at a central location.
Alaska Taxi Insurance - The Bottom Line
To learn more about the exact types of Alaska taxi insurance policies you'll need and how much coverage you should carry, consult with a reputable agent that is experienced in business insurance.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Commercial Auto Insurance
Learn about small business commercial auto insurance which includes liability and physical damage protection for vehicles that are used for business purposes.
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The person injured in an vehicle accident may be a child, a wage earning single parent, a brain surgeon, or even a homeless person. The costs of the accident may be relatively small or run into the millions of dollars, depending on the victim and his or her injuries. Do you have the assets to handle such costs?
Trucking operations in this chapter are among the most heavily regulated in the country. All are subject to multiple types of regulation including municipal, state and federal. The regulations are necessary because potential for severe property damage and/or bodily injury is extremely high.
All carry cargo that if not handled appropriately could have serious consequences to the cargo owner and/or the public at large. Those that carry people must prove that they keep their equipment in good condition and that employees operate in a safe, sober manner.
The insurance company pays amounts an insured is legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage and certain types of pollution events covered by this insurance caused by an accident and resulting from ownership, maintenance or use of covered vehicles.
The obligation to pay is triggered only by accidental occurrences involving vehicles covered under the Business Auto Coverage Form. An eligible pollution event is covered only if it is connected to a covered bodily injury or property damage loss.
It is important that you have the proper Limit of Insurance to protect your operations. This limit is the most the insurance company pays for the total of all damages, including any covered pollution cost or expense resulting from any one covered accident, is the Covered Auto liability limit of insurance on the declarations.
This limit applies regardless of the number of insureds, autos covered, vehicles involved in an accident, premium paid, or number of claims made.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Building, Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Accounts Receivables, Computers, Motor Truck Cargo, Valuable Papers and Records, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Umbrella, Motor Carriers Liability and Physical Damage, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Earthquake, Flood, Mobile Equipment, Signs, Warehouse Operators' Legal Liability, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Environmental Impairment, Underground Storage Tank, Stop Gap Liability and International Coverages.
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