Page 14 - Mississippi 811 Magazine 2021 Issue 3
P. 14

“What Do You Mean We’re
Not Covered??”
By Virginia Reames Gaps that can – and will – take you out! The Policy Center
o, probably you have had Vehicles, of course, have comp and insurance ever since you collision unless they are older and paid started in business, right? You for. Auto insurance is fine – no issues covered all that equipment there in any way. Really? Are you
as you bought it. It was financed, and willing to bet everything you have?
It frequently also states that if 811 is not called, and damages occur, liability remains with the contractor.
That means you are on the hook for the whole amount of damages! If your sub failed to call 811 even though you told him to – well, that’s still on you because it was your contract, And that sub? Billy Bob from down the road? He’s a sole proprietor and even if he did carry insurance, it wouldn’t pay anyway. (HE didn’t call 811 – which, if he had, we wouldn’t be talking about it)
Besides, he’s gonna take bankruptcy! He’s probably already heading for the lawyer’s office.
But, never mind – you’re not in the digging business anyway, so none of this applies – your General Liability is fine. You don’t have customers walking into your office – nothing.
Got company vehicles? No? Got a secretary? Anyone go to the bank or post office on company business? You have no vehicles, so they drive their own, right? They have insurance, so
if anything goes wrong, it’s on them. Sorry – no. Not if they are running an errand for the business or for you as the business.
See, if they have an at-fault accident on the way to the bank or post office or wherever they are going on company business – once their personal liability coverage is used up (which it will be
- quick - state minimums being pretty
insurance went right along with the rest of the paperwork and payments.
Same with your building, shop, yards. You got them all covered – just like the bank wanted.
Your contracts usually stipulate that you have a certain amount of liability coverage, and you probably have to add those businesses either as Certificate Holders or Additional Insureds. The banks and the companies you contract with keep pretty good track of all this, so you don’t really need to, right?
Everyone knows you have to have auto coverage and you also have a lot of power units financed, so, again, you got everything covered just like you should have. Done. No problem.
Well, so far, probably so good.
How long ago did you first get insurance on those buildings you have? Did you get insurance on what the bank financed – even though you got a really good deal on the building because it needed some work – which, maybe, you did yourself? You might have a problem.
Equipment – same thing. Do you have enough coverage on say, your backhoe, to go out and replace it if it got stolen tomorrow? Or would you have to throw in some extra money to get the same thing?
Liability? You have whatever the State, or agent told you that you need, or whatever the contract says you need to carry. You’re careful. You do whatever you’re supposed to do. And you have an umbrella – so this area is all good. Not necessarily, unfortunately.
Let’s start with the liability issue. IssueS! (No – that’s not a typo).
Before you find out the hard way, are you aware that NO insurance pays if the insured is found to be in violation of the law – or doing something illegal? Obviously, if you crash your truck into the bank to rob the place, you can skip filing the auto claim for damages to the truck – but that’s obvious. What may not be so obvious is if you fail to call
811 – or if any of your subs fail to call before digging – all damages that occur because you (or they) hit that fiber optic cable and knock out 911, the fire and police department, the shopping center whose registers fail to work, etc. – all those damages? Your insurance is going to decline paying. You’ll get this multi-paragraph letter duplicating the policy language – telling you exactly which page and how far down said page of your policy the language may be found – outlining how coverage is excluded if a law is violated. The law says you MUST call 811 before you dig.
12 • Mississippi 811 2021, Issue 3

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