Fleet Auto Insurance Policies
A mention of the topic of auto insurance generally brings to mind the myriad policies that cover the individual owners and drivers and individual cars and trucks that operate every day on the streets and highways of the United States. In many cases, though, fleets of greater or lesser numbers of vehicles owned by a single entity and operated by many different individuals are sent out on the roads in order to carry out the business of their owners. The existence of such fleets creates unique issues in the area of motor vehicle insurance.
Vehicle fleets vary widely in size and type and in the kinds of activities they conduct. As a result, the nature and extent of the risks created by their operations are much more expansive and difficult to characterize than those involved in the operation of an individually owned and operated vehicle. Fleet policies of motor vehicle insurance are commercial in nature, and enforcement of certain of the protections afforded to individual insured parties, such as the formalities required in order to effectively waive or limit certain coverages, may therefore be more limited in the case of a fleet policy. Because fleet policies cover numerous vehicles and numerous drivers who may have differing relationships with the insured party, questions often arise about the stacking of underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage under a fleet policy, with a claimant seeking to receive the benefits of coverage provided to an entire fleet and an insurer seeking to limit coverage to that afforded the single vehicle involved in an accident. Such issues will be decided in accordance with the terms of the policy and the language of the applicable state statutes dealing with stacking.
The business of insurance in the United States, including motor vehicle insurance, has historically been governed by the individual laws of each state rather than by a single unified body of federal law. As a result, the answers to questions concerning auto insurance coverage of vehicle fleets will vary from state to state, and will be found in the state statutes regulating the business of insurance and in the decisions of courts dealing with matters of insurance law.
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