WA State: Charter-Excursion Bus Company Blues
Reader's Digest Version:
- We belong to a church with a thriving youth program - too large to haul to activities with parents' cars anymore.
- Church asked 4 people to get CDL's (class B, with passenger endorsement, airbrake lifted.) - my husband was one of those.
- We rented from Laidlaw/First Charter a couple of times (bus only), but more than an hour one way to pick up the bus, might or mightnot have a bus available, pay a fee for this and a fee for that, and charge $.55/mile (including pick-up and return mileage.) Big pain.
- So, my husband and I bought a bus for the youth to use (church is in financial difficulties, no place to park a bus without fear of vandalism, and has a terrible history of maintaining vehicles).
- Our plan was to make it a commercial venture to rent out to other parties, while renting to our church at 100% discount (or billing them full price, then donating the money directly to pay the bill.)
- Bought a beautiful bus at auction (1988 Blue Bird All-American RE, underbus storage, 235K miles, Cat 3208, 4 spd automatic) for $2700.
- Registered as commercial bus - $200-ish for tabs.
- Invested about $400 in it (a few new seat covers, some safety equipment, busted tale light, spare tire/jack/jack stands, and - let's not forget - the Siberian Express air horn.)
- Today, it passed the Washington State Patrol Commercial Vehicle inspection with flying colors.
- And...today, I got the insurance quote for a Charter and Excursion Bus company (state of WA requires $5 million liability) - $11,000/year (National Indemnity Insurance Co. through Transportation Insurance Brokers out of California. - the fourth company with whom I spoke and the first one who would even write it.)
- Needless to say, I've got the insurance blues.
We're leaving Monday morning with a bus load of kids for summer camp in Eastern Washington, so another broker is trying to get us $1 million CSL coverage on a "not for hire" basis (we're just loaning the bus to a friend),...the policy is through Progressive, who will apparently write it with the broker, but won't sell it to me directly over the phone.
So I called the Washington Utility and Transportation Commission (governing body for Charter/Excursion companies), and the lady was very nice and gave me the names of insurance companies from other Charter/Excursion companies registered with the state. Does anyone have any experience with: National Interstate Insurance, Northland Insurance, or Lancer Insurance?
State Farm and RLI won't write it, despite the fact that we have other insurance with both of them.
Open to all suggestions.
All bused up and ready to go...just no insurance to get there in WA state,