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  1. #1
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    Default Insurance and civilians on apparatus

    We recently learned from our fire district insurance agent that any civilian riding in or on the fire appratus (including the Chief's car) is not covered by their insurance. Years ago, we puchased a rider that allowed civilians on the engine or aerial (parades, when a ball team wins a championship, etc.), but we were also informed that this was no longer available.

    Has anyone else tackled this issue? We are a volunteer company and our family participation in events is so important. This will certainly hurt our morale.
    NCVFC17


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber KevinFFVFD's Avatar
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    Our SOP’s are as follows….

    “Only members of the department (including Jr. Firefighters) shall be permitted to ride on the fire truck. The only exception shall be at special functions, such as parades, school programs and public service. During these times there shall be one member responsible for this function, other than the driver. Non-members will be able to ride if they can ride in a safe manner under member supervision.”

    But then there is also this in the SOP’s…

    “In response to an Emergency Situation, apparatus seating priority will go to firefighters first, then junior firefighters if seats are available.”

    However, it is basically understood that during emergency responses there shall be no “non-members” on the truck. Another words girlfriends, boyfriends, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, or best friends cannot ride on the apparatus while it is responding to an emergency.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncvfc17 View Post
    We recently learned from our fire district insurance agent that any civilian riding in or on the fire appratus (including the Chief's car) is not covered by their insurance. Years ago, we puchased a rider that allowed civilians on the engine or aerial (parades, when a ball team wins a championship, etc.), but we were also informed that this was no longer available.

    Has anyone else tackled this issue? We are a volunteer company and our family participation in events is so important. This will certainly hurt our morale.
    We must be covered by the same insurance company...this came down for us two years ago. We aren't even allowed to use liability waivers to let them ride according to our Township government.

    It's been tough...we only go to one parade a year but it sure was popular with our kids to ride on the rigs

    There's probably an insurance company somewhere with a rider available but we have had no luck getting our Township to even look.
    "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." - Vince Lombardi

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncvfc17 View Post
    Has anyone else tackled this issue? We are a volunteer company and our family participation in events is so important. This will certainly hurt our morale.
    What about having the family members join as a "social" or "honorary" member? A quick application, $1 a year for dues, and incorporate them into the bylaws.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncvfc17 View Post
    We recently learned from our fire district insurance agent that any civilian riding in or on the fire appratus (including the Chief's car) is not covered by their insurance. Years ago, we puchased a rider that allowed civilians on the engine or aerial (parades, when a ball team wins a championship, etc.), but we were also informed that this was no longer available.

    Has anyone else tackled this issue? We are a volunteer company and our family participation in events is so important. This will certainly hurt our morale.
    I can understand the overall issue with the membership. But if you can not even have a non-member in the Chief's car you have a "real" operational issue that is just as if not more important. In theory, you could have a fire investigator working with the Chief on an official investigation and he/she would not be covered by Fire Company insurance while riding in the Chief's car? They are not a member of the Fire Company, they are not covered.

    I would say that alone is reason enough to seek a different insurance carrier.

  6. #6
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    Default Some additional information

    The existing company is VFIS and the district is now looking at Selective, which has the same rule.

    The Chief's car rule applies to "non-fire district employees", which would mean inspectors, commissioners, etc. would be covered. However, the volunteer chief's wife, children, etc. are not covered, even in non-emergency response periods. Lets face it, volunteer chiefs and their families deal with a lot of crap and one small perk ours gets is a car for his term. He deserves to be able to use it and needs to be available at all times too.

    His own personal auto policy must cover these riders, which begs the question "what if he doesn't have insurance???". Our existing Captain, next in line for Chief, owns his own business and has all his vehicles in the business name, therefore, he does not have his own insurance! God forbid he gets in an accident and has injuries to his family members - he will have to sue the District for compensation!!!

    I know this is crazy, but it is happening. I am hoping somebody out there has a solution - maybe a company that has provided a rider??? HELP!
    NCVFC17

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    Two thoughts...

    1. The insurance co. will not care one little rip what your SOP's are if there is a loss that is not covered under the terms of the policy.

    2.READ YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES! ALL OF THEM! The insurance policy is a business contract between you and the insurance co. The policy states very specifically the responsibilities of the FD and the insurance co. in terms of the policy. The insurance co. is not a charitable organization. It is a business. And when you signed your insurance policy application, you agreed to abide by the terms of the business contract that it is. "I didn't know", "I didn't read that part", "That's not fair", etc. is not a defense. There is plenty of case law that backs what I just wrote up.

    If you have trouble understanding your coverage, go to your Risk Mgmt. Dept. (if you have one) or directly to the agent and have them explain it to you in terms you can understand. It is also a sensible thing to do to review your coverages every few years to make sure they are keeping pace with your FD. It is usually an eye-opening experience.

  8. #8
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Two thoughts...

    1. The insurance co. will not care one little rip what your SOP's are if there is a loss that is not covered under the terms of the policy.

    2.READ YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES! ALL OF THEM! The insurance policy is a business contract between you and the insurance co. The policy states very specifically the responsibilities of the FD and the insurance co. in terms of the policy. The insurance co. is not a charitable organization. It is a business. And when you signed your insurance policy application, you agreed to abide by the terms of the business contract that it is. "I didn't know", "I didn't read that part", "That's not fair", etc. is not a defense. There is plenty of case law that backs what I just wrote up.

    If you have trouble understanding your coverage, go to your Risk Mgmt. Dept. (if you have one) or directly to the agent and have them explain it to you in terms you can understand. It is also a sensible thing to do to review your coverages every few years to make sure they are keeping pace with your FD. It is usually an eye-opening experience.
    On the flip side, you would also be amazed at what an insurance broker/agent will verbally tell you is not allowed, which actually is not stated in the policy. Why? Sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes because they can suffer if their company has to pay out for those things that they cover. Lower year end bonuses, lower price on the company stock, etc. Remember your insurance agent represents the company, not you. Check with your general counsel to find out what is really covered and what is not. Would be tough to run our ambulance if we could only have department members on board, I don't think the Patients would like to be left at the scene.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    On the flip side, you would also be amazed at what an insurance broker/agent will verbally tell you is not allowed, which actually is not stated in the policy. Why? Sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes because they can suffer if their company has to pay out for those things that they cover. Lower year end bonuses, lower price on the company stock, etc. Remember your insurance agent represents the company, not you. Check with your general counsel to find out what is really covered and what is not. Would be tough to run our ambulance if we could only have department members on board, I don't think the Patients would like to be left at the scene.
    Letting the broker/agent tell you without showing you is just plain dumb. If you have a doubt, ask him "where does it say that"? Agents are different frm brokers and have very different functions and different allegiences. It pays to make sure you are talking to the right person.

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