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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Howdy,

I wanted to get some opinions and suggestions on this topic. I work for County Government here in the US and I drive a Mini Cooper S. I'm a Computer Tech so I have to transport PCs and various equipment but they make me use my vehicle. A friend of mine and I are in the stages of trying to get them to get us a van, but it will be hard since they got rid of our previous county vehicle (piece of junk that was). My question is does anyone know how this would affect my insurance? Should I our shouldn't I call my insurance company? Also I've already had my leather on the back seat ripped (fortunately its small and in the cracks of the seat so you can't see it) as well as had my plastic in the back scratched up. Was wondering if anyone knows or has an idea of how and what the price to replace this stuff would be. Also if anyones faced a similar situation how did you deal with it or what would you do in my situation?

Thanks,
Dd.
 

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ddraig,

first thing's first! Get a moving blanket/pad from Lowe's or Home Depot to protect your boot!!!

Secondly, document everything (receipts and pic's , too). Talk to your manager about compensation. Are you expensing the mileage? It's a good idea, as that's wear and tear on your personal car for business purposes. Your accountant would agree.

given past behavior of typical insurance companys, they woud love to raise rates if you told them you were using your car for business purposes.

Depending on far you want to escalate things, you may want to consult a labor lawyer.

Remember, my advice is worth what you paid for it. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the suggestions.

I did have a blanket in the back of the car for a little while but still caused some problems. Right now I've managed to at least get a plastic tub/bin container to put the stuff in while it is in the back but it is a real pain in the neck. Also I've said to my managers that I don't want to transport stuff in my car the immidiate thing they say back is well take mine. Which is a whole other situtaion on its own.

I do write down my miles but I have been lax in turning them in, so I've got a years worth piled up :) I agree I don't think it is a good idea to tell my insurance company either so I'm a bit stuck their. The way my office works is strange, we try and push up from the bottom and it gets blocked by our manager. Just really frustrating I guess.
 

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Hi,

Thought i'd respond, too. I'm a CPA and I know of many tax consequences of company use of your personal vehicle. Whether you are compensated or not, you will want to show your expenses on doem 2106, Employee Business Expense. This should be a good thing for you as far as taxes are concerned. On this form you can write-off, if you qualify, mileage at 37.5 cents per mile (less what your employer is compensating you for it), business use of phone (I see an opportunity for the blue-tooth option being partially paid for by Uncle Sam), business meals, tolls paid, and the ever popular category of 'Other Business Expenses' which can contain many things that you and a good CPA can come up with. I know it's a bummer to have to use your MINI for business but these deductions may make it easier to swallow. As far as insurance is concerned, be careful! If you are using your car for business and have an accident, your insurance company may have an out on whether they pay on your claim. My two cents worth. Happy business motoring.

Deacon Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Deacon,

That makes some sense although I'm really trying to find reasons why my employer should get us a proper tech vehicle as opposed to having a personal vehicle. I guess the only recourse I have is to refuse to drive any vehicle unless its a county one right?
 

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Ddraig said:
That makes some sense although I'm really trying to find reasons why my employer should get us a proper tech vehicle as opposed to having a personal vehicle. I guess the only recourse I have is to refuse to drive any vehicle unless its a county one right?
Since you mention working for a county government, are you in a union? Your union can probably take this up for you, especially as the duties that they're asking you to perform are damaging your personal property. Alternately, leave your car at home and bicycle to work. Claim its for fitness and health reasons. :)
 

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Ddraig said:
Thanks Deacon,

That makes some sense although I'm really trying to find reasons why my employer should get us a proper tech vehicle as opposed to having a personal vehicle. I guess the only recourse I have is to refuse to drive any vehicle unless its a county one right?
I did exactly that for 8 years. Beat the crap out of my personal vehicles.
It's be fairly easy to build a flat deck for the back with some holes for tie downs or bungie cords.
 

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The plastic pieces are pretty easy to replace, but could be expensive. The leather will be really, really expensive. So much so that I'd say you should ignore it, or look into buying some seats second hand.

I wouldn't trust any of those leather patch things, but maybe someone else has had good luck with them.

There's a MINI cargo cover, that will protect the backs of your seats when they're down. I'd look into it through your dealer, and you could probably (as per the CPA) count it as a business expense.

Besides that, if its your job, then you're kinda stuck using your personal car, as I don't see how you could negociate out of it, unless you were really comfortable that they wouldn't get mad. Personally, I think the best recourse is pointing out how much they're going to be spending on reimbursement (especially if they give you the full 37.5 cents/mile and you actually turn in the milage) and then you can try and justify them getting another company car.
 

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A years worth of milage?

TURN IN YOUR REIMBURSEMENTS!!!!!

Do it today, why are you letting your employer sit on your mileage $? They are already taking advantage of you by not having to buy a county vehicle for your department/division. Also you are going to run into problems if your reimbursements span different fiscal years. Your department will not like to get a reimbursement for a past fiscal year especially after the books are closed. Keep your accounting clean and turn in your reimbursements every month. That is your money.

Doesn't your county have a motor pool? If funds are a issue (of course funds are any issue!) try getting the powers that be to buy another departments decommissioned vehicle at the annual county auction.

I too work for county government and am a manager. I never require any of my people to use their personal vehicles. Nor would I allow them to drive each other's vehicle for work related reasons. That's why our department owns a van. If your manager has said "use mine" then by all means use theirs! They get the mileage reimbursement and their insurance is the one at risk.

But before you do that, talk to your Personnel or Human Resources department. Get the Risk Manager's opinion on business use of a personal vehicle. It's screams "liability" to me. IF you have an accident while transporting equipment or when going between job sites, your county/department is liable. Does your county self-insure? Find out what the coverage is for personal use vehicles performing county business. When you talk to Risk Management especially mention the damage that has already happened. Document all damage and report it to your supervisor as well as a co-worker/witness. Also read over your Collective Bargaining Agreement and see what the language is in regards to personal vehicles. Check with your state's Bureau of Labor and Industry also.

I currently drive a Pathfinder and I have moved more stuff for my department then I care to think about. One of the many reasons I'm buying a MCS is so I can't move all the furniture!

Don't forget the all important catch words! "I'm not comfortable using my vehicle." Your supervisor or manager better be listening when that particular phrase is used.

Good luck!
 

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I use my MINI for work, but then I'm an independent contractor, so it's a bit different. In your case I'm with most of the others: insist on a work vehicle for work purposes. If they absolutely won't do it, then you might want to try a solution I worked once: I don't know how much discretionary income you might have lying around, but you could always just hunt down a side-of-the-road $500 station wagon and use that for work purposes. Just leave it at work and use it when necessary. No need to worry about beating it up or anything, and it saves the miles on your car. Additionally, it's always handy to have that extra vehicle to lend to friends or visiting relatives or what-not.

It really comes down to how often you need to use a vehicle and whether you feel the money to "save" your car is a worthwhile investment.

Even if you do this, expense your mileage. Make them pay for the gas, especially if you wind up with a 8 cylinder domestic roadbeast. :)
 

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If you are going to use the car for work, make use of all the deductions available. In my case it was always more than the tax mileage writeoff.

Calculate the percentage of miles used for work versus overall miles. Going from your house to your desk doesn’t count. Mine was at 70 percent for work.

If you were at 70 percent then 70 percent of gas, maintenance, any repairs (yes...replacing the rear seats), new parts (like covers for protecting the new seats), insurance, tolls, and parking would be tax deductible. Also a depreciation schedule could be started for the car.

Still take the money from your work. It doesn't show up on the tax return anyway.

Your insurance company asked you when you first applied if you use the car for work or not. Call another agent to get a sense of how much more it will be. Don't forget it's tax deductible too. If money is tight then you have to decide if you want to risk it.

Would you rather drive your car or some POS ?

Tom
 

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Good advice above.

If you're involved in an accident when using your car for business purposes, it is possible that your insurer may not provide coverage. Ask your employer if you can be added to their auto policy as an "additional insured" or other endorsement. Then, obtain a copy of the endorsement or binder for your records.

If your employer won't provide coverage, immediately discuss it with your insurer, then decide if it's worth the extra cost for a business use policy or coverage. It's isn't cheap, BTW.

Your employer is getting a good deal, you're getting the shaft. And, it's not worth waiting 'til you have an accident to find out if you're covered.

Good luck, let us know what you do.
 
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