Some companies offer special benefits and extra perks to loyal, long-time employees. One of them might be having the full-time use of a company vehicle. This could be a life-changing benefit to you and your family, especially if money is tight and you only have one vehicle. Yes, I’ve been there and done that, and it’s not fun. Additionally, it could mean that you no longer are responsible for insurance premiums and some maintenance costs. However, each company will be different, so don’t assume anything. Get your agreement in writing to protect yourself. Here are some things you need to know about driving a company car.
Care and Maintenance
Unless your employer has offered to fully care and maintain the vehicle at no cost to you, you will need to take care of that vehicle. This means driving safely, avoiding accidents and unnecessary damage to the interior and exterior. You may also be required to take care of the annual tune-up and other regular things like oil change, tire rotation, and system checks. The vehicle should be cared for as if it was your own. Keep it clean and treat it with respect.
Fuel Costs and Mileage Tracking
The next thing to think about is fuel costs and tracking. Some companies want you to keep track of mileage and the costs involved in running the vehicle on a daily basis. You may need to record what is business mileage separately from your personal use.
There is some good information on websites like TripLog for small businesses and tax professionals where some of this is explained in more detail. Keeping your records accurate and up-to-date is the best way to make sure your side of things is covered. This works well for reimbursements as well.
It is important to know that a business insurance policy may be different from a personal one. You may be added to their policy and have no cost to pay directly. However, that policy may not cover everything should an accident occur. Make sure you read through the policy, as well as your own to understand exactly what is covered and what the monetary limits are. If you are at fault in a serious accident with injury, the costs could be well over the insured amount. You need to know where your responsibility is.
Finally, many companies prefer to place tracking devices on their cars as an added security measure. But this is also an efficient way of tracking where the car has been. As an employee, this could be a little nerve-wracking, especially if you use the vehicle for personal reasons. You should be informed of any tracking and the rules before you use the car. Be sure that you can live with this and be compliant before agreeing to take the car.
Getting a company car might be just the thing you and your family need to help with finances. Just remember, it’s not really yours. Be careful, treat it well, and understand all of your responsibilities before you get behind the wheel.