Reps on the road pay up for car insurance

Gone are the days of companies providing all the perks for their sales reps on the road. In an attempt to drive down costs, and perhaps to limit liability, many companies expect their reps to drive their own vehicles, and to cover their own insurance.

Ryan Wheeler, key account manager at Litha Pharmaceuticals says: “In the past many firms had a fleet of cars, and it was included in the package. Some still do this, but they are few and far between. That would then include the insurance, and you as the rep didn't have any expense. Over the past few years it has changed as companies realised that it's near to impossible to calculate personal mileage.”

A number of reps that TAM spoke to said that the biggest irritation with having to insure your own vehicle is that when you use it for work, it needs to be insured as a business vehicle, which increases premiums substantially.

Elaine van Wyk, product manager at Mirren says that she has had various options: “There was an instance where the company provided a car allowance, paid for maintenance, tyres, and insurance. The other option, which is the more common one, is a simple car allowance. You are then responsible for the other expenses. It’s important to keep in mind that when we do our tax returns annually we get a lump sum back from SARS as you are using your car for work purposes.”

“As a rep it is better to have your own insurance. You then control the cover without any nasty surprises when there is an incident. In either case, should there be an incident you are responsible for the excess regardless of who is at fault. This makes up a huge cost for companies so they do try and curb it as much as possible,” added van Wyk.

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