The Statewide Automobile Insurance Program is designed to provide automobile liability and physical damage coverage to state agencies. SORM is pleased to be working with Berkshire Hathaway as the carrier for the Automobile Program.
What is Covered?
Liability coverage is available for any owned, non-owned, or hired auto operated by a state agency or institution of higher education. Liability claims are paid out when a state employee, who is driving in the course and scope of work, is at fault in an accident that results in bodily injury or property damage to another party. The policy provides liability limits up to the Texas Tort Claims Act Caps: $250,000/$500,000/$100,000; and up to $1 million when the Texas Tort Claims Act does not apply. Deductible options are available.
Physical damage coverage is elective and may only be purchased on state-owned motorized equipment. This may include but is not limited to: private passenger vehicles, buses, trailers, golf carts, tractors and other mobile equipment. The coverage pays for repair of the state-owned motorized equipment, or Actual Cash Value if the vehicle is totaled.
Hired and non-owned coverage provides protection to the state entities whose employees drive their personally-owned, leased or rented vehicles in the course and scope of employment. The policy covers liability only for these covered drivers as primary coverage. The way our policy reads states “Hired and Non-Owned coverage is excess over any collectible insurance”, therefore current policy does not make the state employee’s personal auto insurance the primary coverage because a state employee’s personal auto insurance is not deemed “collectible” by law.Physical damage coverage of the employees personal vehicles will need to be filed with that employees personal Auto Insurance carrier as it is not covered under Hired and non-owned coverage. Agencies that insure their fleet under SORMs blanket liability policy will automatically have this coverage included.
How to Obtain a Quote
SORM Automobile Insurance Program Application (Word): Complete and return this application at your earliest convenience. Please allow 10 business days for a no-obligation proposal to be returned for review.
Vehicle/Mobile Equipment Unit Schedule (Excel): Add each piece of motorized equipment your agency owns and wants to insure onto this spreadsheet. This may include but is not limited to: private passenger vehicles, buses, trailers, golf carts, tractors and other mobile equipment. Each field in the spreadsheet must be completed per item to obtain insurance coverage. All motorized equipment should be insured for liability because this is your greatest exposure. Physical damage is elective and can be purchased by writing “yes” into the columns titled Physical Damage. Please add the cost new for each item on the schedule.
Authorized Driver List (Excel): Each state agency should maintain a record of individuals who are authorized to drive on behalf of the state agency. Generally, all employees who must drive as a condition of their employment and others who drive frequently should be included on this list.
Statewide Automobile Loss Report Procedure Form (PDF): If an auto collision occurs while a vehicle is being operated by an authorized driver on behalf of the state agency, this form should be completed in its entirety and submitted for available coverage. This form is also used if there is a loss to a state owned and insured vehicle for which damage resulted from a non-collision event such as hail, flood, or fire.
Accident Tips and Reminders
- If you get into an accident, do NOT admit fault.
- Exchange insurance information with the other party using the claims form provided by your insurance contact at your agency and submit to SORM as soon as practicable.
- The Statewide Automobile Insurance Program does NOT provide medical coverage to you or any of your passengers. Employees who are injured in the course and scope of work should report their claim to SORM’s Workers’ Compensation Department.
- Obtain any witness info available.
- Call the police to create a police report.
- Take photos if possible, of the accident scene and damages to the vehicles.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Authorized Drivers list: Are drivers who are not scheduled on the Authorized Drivers List covered under the State Sponsored Automobile Insurance program? Yes, all agency drivers are covered while driving in the course and scope of employment. However, each agency should make sure to schedule all employees who are required to travel as a condition of their employment, and all others who drive frequently.
- Employee without personal insurance: If an employee does not have insurance (i.e., they forgot to pay their premium, the policy has canceled, etc), does this policy still provide coverage? In the event there was no automobile insurance on the employee’s vehicle, the policy would provide primary coverage for the Named Insured (the State Entity) for third party bodily injury and property damage liability claims. This does not insure the employee personally, and would not provide coverage for damage to their vehicle.
- Does this insurance cover only damage and injuries to the other driver, his car, and his passengers? In respect of hired and non-owned (H/NO), yes, the insurance covers damage and injuries to the other driver, their car, and their passengers to the extent the insured driver is legally liable for those damages and injuries. There is no first party property damage coverage for employee-owned vehicles, but there is for hired/leased vehicles. There is coverage for any claims brought by the passengers in the insured vehicle as long as they are not employees.
- What parties are included in or the limits of “any third party liabilities”? (Auto repair shops, medical expenses, etc.) There is no limit to third party liabilities other than the legal liability of the insured, the limits of the policy and that no claim brought by an employee will be covered by this policy. There is no automatic med-pay – Berkshire Hathaway will pay for the medical costs that the insured is legally responsible for.
- If there is an accident and the scheduled State vehicle is damaged, does the policy include rental reimbursement while the vehicle is in the shop? No, the policy does not provide for rental reimbursement.
- Can employees file a physical damage (vehicle) claim against agency employer, if using owned auto in course and scope of employment if they are involved in an accident in which the 3rd party is at fault and has no liability insurance? If so, would the OAG subrogate against the 3rd party? While the OAG defends state agencies and state employees against claims alleging that a state employee negligently caused property damage, neither the OAG nor the state is an “insurer.” Pursuant to CPRC Section 101.021, the State is liable for property damage only if proximately caused by the negligence of a state employee acting within the scope of employment and if certain other requirements are met. The State is not liable for a third party’s negligence, and would, therefore, be unable to approve payment for damages caused by that third party. Similarly, the state would be unable to approve payment for damage caused by a state employee to his or her own vehicle, even if occurring in the scope of employment.
- How are claims handled when driving a hired vehicle through the Comptroller’s state contracted vendors? If you are driving a rental vehicle, you will need to report the accident directly to the rental vehicle company; their contact details will be on the rental contract or on the auto ID card or sticker on the window. The rental company will pay up to the limits of the Texas Tort Claims Act ($250,000 per person/$500,000 per occurrence/$100,000 physical damage). Physical damage is provided for the rental car through the state contract.
- How are claims handled when driving a hired vehicle that is not contracted with the Comptroller? If your drivers use a rental company that is not contracted with the Comptroller, the Statewide Automobile Insurance Program will provide third party liability and physical damage coverage to the rented vehicle (up to $50,000) after a $1,000 deductible.
- How are claims handled when driving your personally owned automobile for work? If your employee is driving their personally-owned vehicle in the course and scope of work, they will need to report the accident directly to their personal insurance carrier and the agency should report the accident to SORM. The Statewide Automobile Insurance Program, provided by Berkshire Hathaway, will cover your agency for any third party liabilities. This policy does not pay the physical damage to the employee’s personally owned vehicle.
- If the insured state employee is at fault in an accident in a scheduled vehicle, is it the intent of the policy to provide coverage for any students, wards of the state and other non-employee and non-family passengers who are injured? Or are they excluded? Yes. Where the driver is at fault, the policy will cover the injuries and/or property damage sustained by any passenger other than a fellow employee to the extent the driver is legally liable. That includes any students, wards of the state and other non-employee passengers including family passengers.
- If the insured state employee is at fault in an accident in a scheduled vehicle, is it the intent of the policy to provide coverage for any family member who may be traveling with the state employee? Or are they excluded? Any injury sustained by a family member because of the fault of an insured driver is covered just as any other passenger would be. The injured party’s insurance pays first, and then the policy coverage is paid in excess of the primary coverage. There is no exclusion for any passengers other than fellow employees (who would fall under worker’s compensation coverage).
- How does this policy address rental vehicles? For example, when an employee rents a vehicle for official business from a rental vendor on contract with the State, does the SORM sponsored policy, as second pay, cover passengers not employed the same way as for state vehicles? Yes, as long as the employee rented the vehicle with the permission of the insured and is performing duties related to the conduct of the insured’s business. However, for example, if the driver were to go out of their way to drop a family member off at a location not related to the insured’s business and got into an accident, there may be a coverage issue. Employees would be best advised to stick to business when using a hired vehicle to avoid any issues.
- Auto Symbols: What is an Auto Symbol? The Auto Policy uses numeric symbols to indicate the types of vehicles for which coverage is in effect.
- Auto Coverage: Do Symbol 8 and Symbol 9 have the same coverages? (Please see rulebook for all Auto Symbols)
- Hired Autos (Symbol 8) has Physical Damage coverage
- Non-Owned (Symbol 9) there is no Physical Damage for 1st party and will only cover 3rd Party liability and Physical Damage.
- Rental Cars: Do you prefer the agencies to rent a car rather than to drive their POV? This is an internal agency decision. The rental car contract provides protections up to the Texas Torts limits to protect the agency should there be a claim.
- Rental Cars: What rental car agencies are preferred and why? Enterprise and Avis are contracted with the state to pay up to the Texas Torts Limits where as other rental car companies may have different limits.
- Rental Cars: What if a vehicle is not available at either Enterprise or Avis? If you must rent from another rental car company, SORM’s Auto Policy would become primary.
- Texas Torts Claims Act: Why would a claim not fall under the Texas Torts limits? If a non state employee (i.e. spouse, child, etc.) is driving, or if you are driving outside of the state of Texas.
Note: Agencies with a contractual agreement that hire vehicles directly from a rental car company- those vehicles are determined to be “owned” and there is no requirement for the employee to be performing duties related to the conduct of the insured’s business. There is coverage if they’re at fault for an accident and their passenger is injured while they’re engaged in an activity outside the course and scope of work as much as there is when they’re in a vehicle owned by the agency itself.
While some of these scenarios indicate there is coverage for a non-employee passenger, please check your agency rules. Some agencies will not allow for non-employee passengers.
Any descriptions of coverage provided are not intended as an interpretation of coverage and should not be relied upon as such. An actual insurance policy must be consulted for full coverage details.