With a new school year getting underway, carpooling is a hot topic for time-strapped parents and commuters who want to cut costs and do their part to reduce traffic congestion. Beyond the financial and environmental benefits of carpooling and ridesharing, participants also enjoy other perks, including priority parking, less wear on your car, reduced stress, and strengthened friendships and social connections. Some enterprises also offer benefit and incentive programs to employees who share rides to and from work, and these can add even more rewards.
Carpool.ca is a great place to get started if you’re looking for information and resources. The City of Calgary also has a page devoted to carpooling, which provides details on the designated carpool parking areas in the city, including options operated by the Calgary Parking Authority, the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University.
In the meantime, here’s an overview of some of the important practical aspects of operating or participating in a local carpool.
How Carpooling Affects Auto Insurance Coverage
One of the most common ways people approach carpools is for the various participants to share driving duties. This lowers everybody’s costs while reducing individual vehicle use.
However, carpools also have auto insurance implications. Specifically, they impact liability insurance, and for that reason, all carpool drivers should consult their insurance providers to make sure they have adequate protection in place.
When you take part in a carpool, you are increasing the number of passengers in your vehicle. That, in turn, amplifies the potential liabilities you could face in the event of an accident. The more passengers there are in a vehicle, the higher the liability claims could be if multiple occupants suffer injuries at the result of a crash. It’s a smart idea to increase your liability limits (ask your broker for a recommended amount), and umbrella insurance is also a great option to close off any loopholes or gaps that may exist in your coverage while providing added financial protection.
Carpooling with Kids
Since carpools are a great option for getting kids to school, sports, and extracurricular activities, here are some helpful tips that will help you manage a vehicle full of children:
- Make sure that government-approved car seats are available for all passengers that require them
- Pack an emergency kit including food and water, fuel, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and vehicle flares
- Plan games and activities to keep kids occupied if you’re going on a longer trip
- Share driving responsibilities with other parents so no one driver gets burned out
Smart Driving Tips for Carpool Participants
While you should never engage in distracted driving, it’s even more important not to do it when you have a car full of other people. Keep music at acceptable levels, concentrate on the road, and never text or talk on a handheld device when you’re behind the wheel.
Having others in the car makes it easier to find directions and navigate unfamiliar areas. Passengers can share any navigation responsibilities that might arise, allowing the driver to keep his or her attention on the road.
Finally, if you want to maximize your cost savings, consider switching to a smart vehicle for your carpool. You’ll reduce your fuel consumption and minimize your environmental impact, all while enjoying a more reliable and efficient way of getting around. The insurance benefits of driving smart can add up, too!
Review Your Auto Insurance Coverage with Lane’s of Calgary
If you’re going to be starting or joining a carpool and you want to review your current insurance coverage, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Lane’s Insurance. The knowledgeable professionals at Lane’s will also happily assist you if you have questions about the coverage implications of running a carpool, or if you want to shop around for better coverage at a more competitive rate.
Lane’s Insurance also offers discounts of up to 20 percent to customers who bundle their home and auto insurance together. It’s a great way to save! To get started, please visit Lane’s Insurance online to get a fast, free quote for auto insurance in Calgary.