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On holiday with the company car: frequently asked questions

23 June 2022 Ellen Van Grunderbeek Employers

The summer holidays are approaching. What if your employee goes on holiday in his/her company car and... has an accident? Or wants to install a luggage rack? And can your employees use their fuel cards abroad? Acerta answers some frequently asked questions.

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Who is liable in the event of damage or an accident?

In principle, the employer itself is fully liable when the car is used exclusively for performing work. Only when the employee commits a serious error (such as ignoring a red light, driving under the influence, or crossing a continuous white line), or when he/she regularly makes minor errors, can the liability pass from the employer to the employee.

 

If the company car is also used for private purposes, the liability lies with the employee. In that case, if an accident happens (abroad), although the employer will be held liable initially in the first instance, the costs will be later recovered from the employee.

What if there was an accident on holiday?

If your employee has a car accident while on holiday, the accident report must be made in the prescribed manner to the appropriate department. If there are injuries, an official report should be drawn up.

What can the employer do?

Employers are advised to include various regulations in the car policy regarding:

  • The insured loss and any excess;
  • The procedure to be followed (to whom should the damage be reported within what time frame?);
  • Agreements around the cost of any repairs abroad;
  • Agreements surrounding providing a replacement vehicle;
  • etc.

What if your employee wants additional options with his/her company car?

A tow bar, bike rack or roof box – for instance – are useful pieces of equipment for a car when you leave on holiday. What if your employee wants an extra option with his/her company car?

First of all, the car policy should be checked, as this may already contain rules or guidelines about the installation/cost price.

Usually the options must be provided by a licensed concessionaire. In some cases, these options have an impact on the employee's list price and/or the employee’s own deductible.

If you offer a flexible pay policy, the options or the upgrade of the company car might possibly also be financed through the budget of the flexible wage policy.

Can the employee temporarily select another car?

Maybe your employee's company car is on the small side for a family holiday? Or maybe an electric model is not ideal for long distances. Can your employee temporarily select another car in these cases? Yes, that’s possible. There are even two options:

Option 1: You may be able to provide a pool car as an organisation during the holiday period. A fixed-rate benefit is then charged for its personal use. The arrangements for use are then included in a pool car policy.

Option 2: As an employer, you can also offer a second company car, even if one of those cars is for private use. On that second car, as an employer you then owe a solidarity contribution. That second car can also be chosen within a flexible pay policy.

Is the employee allowed to refuel or load in a foreign country?

The use of the fuel or charge card might be limited to Belgium, but can also go wider (with or without the employer's permission).

What you should definitely check out:

  • Are the costs paid in full by employer or employee?
  • Is there an additional charge if a certain mileage is exceeded?
  • Is there an additional charge if the fuel or charge card is used abroad?

These are all things that are mentioned in the fuel card or charge card policy.

A good policy, clear agreements

The moral of the story: make clear agreements, and lay them down in a company car policy. You will write, among other things, agreements on liability, damages, the settlement of options, etc . You may wish to supplement this with a pool car policy and fuel card/charging card policy to establish agreements on the use of pool cars and mileage/charging abroad.

Our experts are ready to inform, advise and support you.

Would you like to create a policy or modify or expand your existing policy?

Contact us

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Written by Ellen Van Grunderbeek

Legal advisor at Acerta

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