Mobile equipment is a diverse group of things that can have wheels or crawler treads that you own or rent. Things like bulldozers, backhoes, forklifts, bobcats, earth movers, cranes, trailers, tractors with mounted tools and equipment like compressors, cherry pickers, etc.
You’d think if it quacks like a duck and it walks like a duck, it’s a duck! But this is insurance and the mobile equipment clause in your general liability insurance policy is confusing at best. Yes, you have liability coverage under a general liability policy for your mobile equipment.
Let’s start with how an insurance company defines what an auto is. Remember coverage for your autos is specifically excluded under your general liability policy because you should have them covered under your business auto policy.
Mobile equipment can be a vastly diverse group of things that might have wheels or crawler treads that you might own, or rent and use in your business. The simple descriptions are things like backhoes, forklifts, bobcats, earthmovers, cranes, trailers, bulldozers, tractors, with mounted tools and equipment like compressors and cherry pickers; you name it.
Insurance companies have their own definition, and as you might guess it is a long one. Below is a fairly standard definition that you will find in many policies. Yours might be different. So read your policy. Mind you, your construction tools and equipment will not be covered under this policy. You will need to buy tools coverage in order to cover that exposure.
Mobile equipment means any of the following types of land vehicles, including any attached machinery or equipment:
Note: You be careful if you transport people or cargo of any kind.
I want you to pay attention here; this is where it gets tricky. You might think it’s a piece of mobile equipment but the insurance company is going to tell you it’s an AUTO!
Insurance contracts frequently take coverage away. Here is how the rest of that clause reads:
Okay, like I said often these types of clauses give coverage and then… they TAKE IT AWAY. Remember where the “cherry picker was covered and now it’s not covered. What gives? Here’s the deal if the cherry picker or some other device is mounted on an automobile or truck chassis it is considered an auto because it probably requires a license by the state law. Think about it, you can drive it on public roads! Note: I’m not asking if the piece of equipment has a license. If it should have a license and you don’t have it licensed for any reason, and the state requires a license, then your general liability insurance will not cover it, period.
Nothing in this endorsement is clear cut. Here are a few more examples:
Bottom Line: If you are not sure if it’s a piece of mobile equipment or it’s an auto call our office 800-452-6826. Better safe then sorry. Ask the question, if you are not sure!
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