Charter And Tour Bus Insurance Alaska Policy Information
Charter And Tour Bus Insurance Alaska. Whether you transport tourists or you take people to and from events, owning a charter bus company comes with a lot of responsibilities. Not only do you need to ensure that your patrons are comfortable, arrive on time, and all of their needs are being met, above all else, you must ensure they're safety.
Commercial interstate bus lines provide transportation to passengers in two ways. The first provides scheduled services along fixed routes according to specified schedules. Passengers for these buses purchase tickets online, at a ticket booth, or automated ticket dispenser. The second offers a service to charter a bus for a few hours, a day, or a longer period of time for a specific trip or tour.
Passengers for these services purchase tickets through the group arranging the charter. Most interstate bus lines are required to accommodate passengers with mobility limitations. Some provide this service with specially-equipped buses.
As the owner and operator of a tour bus company, you are liable for any mishaps that may arise. Though you always go the extra mile to ensure everything operates smoothly - employ a team of expertly trained professionals, tour guides, and other professionals, and keep your fleet of vehicles in tip-top condition - you never know when unforeseen events will occur. How can you keep yourself and your company properly protected from the unexpected? - By investing in the right type of charter and tour bus insurance Alaska coverage.
What type of insurance do AK tour bus drivers need? How much coverage should you carry? You can find the answers to these questions below.
Charter and tour bus insurance Alaska protects your company from lawsuits with rates as low as $67/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do Charter And Tour Bus Companies Need Insurance?
A passenger slips and falls while getting off of one of your busses and sustains an injury. A driver hits a puddle, hydroplanes, and crashes into another vehicle or a building. An employee improperly handles a client's luggage and the client files a lawsuit against your company. An employee sustains a work-related injury at your lot.
The above-mentioned scenarios are just some of the issues that could end up facing, and as the owner and operator of your charter bus company, you are legally responsible for paying any damages, legal fees, settlements, medical care, and more. The cost of such expenses can be astronomical, and if you have to pay them out of your own pocket, they can be financially crippling; that's why having the right type of charter and tour bus insurance Alaska is vital.
If any mishaps do occur, instead of having to pay the related expenses yourself, your insurance company will cover the expenses.
In addition to the financial protection that insurance offers, AK charter bus companies are also legally required to carry certain types of coverage. Fail to have mandated coverage and you could end up facing stiff penalties, legal trouble, and may even lose your business.
What Type Of Insurance Do Charter And Tour Bus Operators Need?
The insurance needs of charter bus operators are complex and vary according to the specific needs of each individual company. That's why it's important to speak to a reputable agent that is knowledgeable about the complexities of insurance coverage for charter bus operators. With that said, there are certain types of charter and tour bus insurance Alaska that all operators in this industry need to carry. Examples include:
- Commercial Auto Liability - Every AK charter bus operator must carry commercial auto liability coverage. If a bus in your fleet is involved in an accident, this type of insurance protects other motorists who may have been injured, including any medical care that may be required. It will also cover the cost of any damages to other vehicles.
- Commercial General Liability - In addition to auto liability insurance, you'll also need to carry commercial general liability coverage. This policy covers third-party personal injury and property damage liability claims that may be filed against you. For instance, if an employee damages a passenger's luggage and the passenger files a lawsuit against you, your commercial general liability policy would assist with the legal expenses, as well as any damages that you may be found liable for.
- Commercial Property - If your garage, your dispatch center, or any other property that is associated with your charter bus company is damaged in a fire, a burglary, an act of vandalism, etc., this insurance will help to pay for any repairs or replacements that need to be made.
- Workers Compensation - As an employer, you are responsible for the safety and well-being of your staff. If any member of your staff - from those who work in your dispatch center to your drivers - suffers a work-related injury, this type of coverage will cover any medical care that they may require, as well as any wages that they may lose while recovering.
In addition to these industry specific coverage types, you may need other types of insurance for your charter and tour bus business that are not mentioned above. For instance, umbrella insurance offer excess liability and cyber liability protect against data breaches.
AK Tour Bus Charter's Risks & Exposures
Commercial Auto exposure is very high as an accident can result in bodily injury to numerous passengers as well as property damage to bridges, buildings, guardrails, other structures, and vehicles belonging to others. All drivers must be carefully screened and trained to safely operate buses under all kinds of conditions, including adverse weather, construction impediments, darkness, and heavy traffic. Training must be ongoing, with regular reviews.
Drivers must hold commercial drivers licenses (CDL's) with a passenger endorsement. MVRs must be acceptable and checked on a regular basis. Full medical exams are required every two years. Random drug and alcohol testing should be mandatory. Schedules should permit adequate breaks for drivers to maintain alertness.
Vehicles must be maintained on a regular basis with records kept at a central location. A fire extinguisher and emergency first aid kit should be on board each bus. To prevent vandalism, each bus should be equipped with oversized rear mirrors and surveillance cameras. Due to increased concerns about security, hands-free two-way communication and GPS systems should be installed on all buses.
Fire, explosion, and terrorism exposures increase when all buses are parked at one location. Splitting the fleet and locating it at more than one place can be an effective risk management tool.
While seat belts are not mandated on public buses, handrails should be in place, floors should be slip-resistant, and sturdy poles should be available for passengers standing during transport. Emergency exits should be provided. Windows should be shatterproof.
Premises liability exposure is high due to the number of visitors to terminals and boarding areas. To prevent slips and falls, flooring should be in good condition with no frayed or worn spots on carpet and no cracks or holes in flooring. Spills should be cleaned up promptly. Steps and uneven floor surfaces should be prominently marked. There should be sufficient exits that are well marked with backup lighting systems in case of power failure.
Good housekeeping is essential. Security is important, especially for children and in restrooms. Bus lines can be a target for terrorist activity. There should be uniformed security guards on duty any time the terminal is open, and a disaster plan in place for unexpected emergencies. Off-premises bus shelters should be lighted and patrolled on a regular basis.
Personal injury exposures include allegations of assault and battery, discrimination, improper detention, invasion of privacy, and wrongful ejection.
Chartered bus services often arrange tours, lodging, and provide a variety of services, all of which increase the liability exposure. Certificates of insurance should be obtained from each provider from which services are contracted.
Environmental impairment exposure can be high due to the storage of fuel and the waste disposal of fluids used for servicing and repairing buses. All tanks, underground or above, must meet state or federal regulations and be routinely tested for leakage. Spillage and leaking of pollutants into the air, ground, or water can result in high cleanup costs and fines.
Spill procedures must be in place to prevent the accidental discharge of sludge from water reclamation systems used in washing buses. Contracts should be in place to dispose of all environmentally dangerous chemicals.
Workers compensation exposure is moderate from driving and maintenance and repair activities. Drivers work alone, often after dark. Ergonomically designed seats can reduce back and leg injuries to drivers who sit in the same position for hours at a time. Drivers can be injured in collisions. Long distance driving must be tightly controlled. Physical attacks can occur during robbery and hijack attempts or dealing with unruly passengers. Drivers should be trained to deal with these situations.
Two-way communication systems are vital to attract assistance in the event of an emergency. Back injuries, hernias, strains, and sprains can occur while lifting and aiding passengers. Garage employees can be injured by vehicles falling from hoists, strains, sprains and other lifting injuries.
Good housekeeping is critical to reduce injury from slips, trips, and falls. Burns, eye injuries and respiratory problems can occur with the welding and painting. Dermatitis can result from employees coming into contact with harsh cleaning detergents. Repair areas should be properly ventilated. Proper safety equipment is required.
Property exposures include offices, ticket purchasing booths or automated ticket dispensers, a passenger waiting area, garages for bus repair, and a parking area for buses when not in use. There may be restaurants or vending machines to serve passengers. Cooking surfaces must be properly protected. Waste receptacles should be provided throughout the facility and emptied regularly to prevent the buildup of large quantities of trash. Vandalism and smoking are a concern.
There should be security guards available to prevent problems. The repair garage will include flammable liquids - paint, gasoline and diesel fuel - and heat-producing activities such as welding. Flammable liquids and heat-producing activities must be separated from combustibles to prevent fire and explosion.
All spray-painting should be conducted in a spray booth with explosion-proof fixtures. Poor housekeeping is a serious fire hazard. Unless stored and disposed of properly, oily rags can spontaneously combust and cause a fire.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable for billings, bailees, computers, and valuable papers and records. Bailees exposure comes from the handling of passengers' luggage and storing it on the bus. All luggage should be clearly marked so it can be returned to the proper owner, and the storage area should be kept locked at all times. Computers and satellite tracking systems may be used to track buses 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. If mechanics use their own tools for repair and servicing the buses, an employees' tools floater may be needed.
Crime exposures are from employee dishonesty and money and securities. Background checks, including criminal history, should be performed on all employees handling money. Cash windows should be monitored with verification that receipts and money match on each drawer. All internal ordering, billing, disbursements, and reconciliation of bank statements must be handled as separate job duties.
Appropriate security methods, including armed guards and armored trucks, are important at deposit time. There should be surveillance cameras on automated ticket dispensers to reduce the potential for theft. Chartered operations will not have the same money and security concerns since payment is made in advance.
Charter And Tour Buss Insurance - The Bottom Line
To find the best fit coverage for your company, speak with an agent, to discuss the possibility of a specialized policy that combines these coverages and to find out what other coverage you may need, and how much you need to carry.
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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Also find AK local small businesses by General Liability Class Code and learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.