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With employment being more uneven than ever before thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are plenty of enterprising souls out there looking to make some money with side hustles and self-employment. While most self-employed jobs have the major advantage of flexible hours and being (largely) your own boss, there are a few things self-employed individuals need to keep in mind before they start their own business.
One major example: auto insurance. While personal auto insurance is perfectly fine for most people, the self-employed have to think about whether personal insurance will be enough, or whether they need to switch to commercial insurance.
For freelancers who work from home and never or rarely meet with clients face-to-face, personal auto insurance is probably enough. For freelancers who need to travel, transport people or goods, or otherwise use their vehicle for business purposes a lot, you may want to look into your car insurance options and consider commercial insurance instead.
Why is it so important? The major reason is liability. If you're a freelancers who finds yourself the subject of a work-related lawsuit involving your car, it could quickly mean the end of your business. Freelancers already have to be careful about their money -- a lawsuit can be especially grievous when you're just getting by.
Commercial auto insurance will help cover you in case of a lawsuit if:
Here are a few examples of self-owned businesses that most likely require commercial
Consulting work comes in all sorts of flavors. For some, like social media consultant, you may rarely or never have to use a car for much of anything. But if, for example, you work as a network consult, you may have to make frequent visits to businesses or even clients' homes to do the work you need to do -- and that means commercial insurance.
A job as a event coordinator is going to involve a lot of travel -- not only to scope out venues for events like weddings, birthdays, graduations, fashion shows, corporate events, and more -- but also to browse shops for the accouterments you need, pick them up, and maybe even deliver to them to the venue. Event coordinating is definitely not a work-from-home job.
This one is a no-brainer: to work with ride share companies like Lyft or Uber, a car is going to be your primary tool. Since you'll be transporting human beings, you definitely want the best commercial insurance you can afford -- and the company is likely to require it before they'll work with you, anyway.
A close cousin to ride-sharing, delivery driving can be a lucrative side gig if you already have the equipment and expertise. Typically your average pizza delivery person doesn't need commercial insurance. But if you have a pickup, truck, or van and have an opportunity to move around large items like furniture, heavy electronics, and the like, commercial insurance is definitely going to be a priority. You might even help with people moving out of their house, which involves both expensive possessions and people. Of course, you don't need this if you're helping your pals move over the weekend -- just if you're making a living at it.
Much like an event planner, an interior decorator is likely to be doing a lot of driving for their job. Simply put, transforming someone's home is going to involve a lot of shopping at places from big box and department stores to art galleries and boutiques. And you likely won't be doing it alone, either -- clients may be along for the ride more often than not.
If you're a caregiver for the disabled, the elderly, or infirm, your job is likely to involve a lot of transportation even if you live with the person in question. There will be trips to the stores and pharmacies for supplies, transporting the client to doctor's offices and other appointments, and maybe even trips to the hospital. It can be an intensely challenging job, and whether you have enough car insurance is the last thing you want to worry about.
Being a stylist or image consultant often means going to clients' houses to work with them in the privacy of their own home. Like many such freelance businesses, it will also involve getting necessary equipment, as well as possibly going clothes shopping with clients to help them look their best.
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