The standard non-owned automobile policy (the SPF 61) is an independent stand-alone commercial coverage. It is usually part of a package of liability coverages. In fact, some insurers issue the SPF 6 as an endorsement to their CGL (Comprehensive General Liabiliy) policy2. It is rarely issued separately as a stand-alone policy.

In a nutshell, the SPF 6 provides liability coverage for accidents involving so-called non-owned vehicles. The most common situation where this policy would respond involves claims against employers for the negligent operation of vehicles the employer does not own by employees. The named insured is liable for the employee's negligence through the doctrine of respondeat superior (vicarious liability) and it is the SPF 6 policy which provides the named insured with coverage for this common law liability. However, as we will see later the coverage grant in the SPF 6 is broad enough to provide coverage in other situations as well. In addition to providing coverage for the named insured the policy provides coverage to drivers and lessees of such vehicles in some situations.

In this paper I will comment on the issues that can arise with respect to the application of the SPF 6 to a number of commonly encountered situations. I will discuss the various endorsements that can be added to the SPF 6 and how they may restrict or augment coverage. Finally, I will comment on the priority of this policy in relation to other automobile liability policies.

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1 Standard Policy Form 6. This is actually a very old form and thus its SPF designation. Policy forms that have been drafted specifically for the Ontario market and approved by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario are designated as OAP (Ontario Automobile Policy) forms.

2 In my opinion, this is inappropriate as this can create conflicts between the definitions in the CGL and SPF 6 policies. This, in turn, can lead to coverage being extended in unintended situations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.