Often churches and religious institutions have different modes of transportation such as a church bus or van. If your vehicle(s) carry or transport members, staff, students, volunteers etc., you face a high potential for loss and injury, and you will want the correct auto insurance. Your carrier will want to know if the vehicles are used for the transport of people or will simply be used to pick up and transfer supplies.
The types of vehicles that many churches use to transport members pose certain dangers:
- They may not be equipped with seat belts
- If there are seat belts, many choose to forego them
- These large vehicles can be top heavy and prone to tipping or rolling
- Often the operator of the vehicle has not had proper driving training for vans/buses or does not have the correct commercial driving license
So to reduce your risk be certain your vehicle has seat belts and that passengers wear them at ALL times.
Have every driver be properly trained and licensed to operate a commercial type vehicle in New Jersey. Also, make sure you always keep up routine maintenance on your van or bus and save all documentation that indicates so. If you’re able to complete these few safety precautions, your liability will be reduced drastically.
Getting insurance in NJ for your church van and/or bus is a necessity! Keep your vehicle and passengers safe with the right amount of coverage, but also by adhering to the safety tips. Then you can have peace of mind that each trip your church makes will be one made in safety.
It’s also an important factor that these vehicles be properly maintained on a regular basis with all the correct documentation.
Often churches purchase buses and vans that are older and at a discounted rate, due to their limited budget. If this is the case for you, you will want to take all necessary precautions to ensure the vehicle runs right. Consider getting your vehicle inspected by any of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commision approved facilities. You can find a list of locations here at https://www.state.nj.us/mvc/business/inspectionfac.htm
Church Van Best Practices:
- When choosing drivers, always get a copy of their current motor vehicle report and keep it on file. If the individual has a record of accidents and violations, use extreme caution in choosing to allow them to drive your vehicles.
- You can request a driver history abstract from the NJ MVC at https://www.state.nj.us/mvc/license/driverhist.htm
- Consider having a “co-pilot” with every driver. This allows you to avoid the scenario of a driver being alone in the vehicle with one child or student while en route to pick up others.
- Before allowing a driver to chauffeur children or teenagers, make sure to perform a thorough background check.
- Require that all drivers and passengers wear seatbelts.
- Consider taking a second vehicle for baggage rather than towing a trailer.
- For all vehicles larger than a 15 passenger van, require that the driver have a CDL license.
Take the Next Step
If you would like more information on needed coverages for your church in New Jersey, The Ross Maghan Agency can help you evaluate the type of car insurance your church van or bus will need, and find you the best rates. Complete the form below to request a quote today!
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