As a business, you need to protect not only your bottom line, but also your employees and your assets. For example, if some of your team members need to travel as part of their job, you should recognize the risks involved and protect your interests with commercial auto insurance. Like personal coverage, business policies cover vehicles used for work-related activities, such as driving to a sales meeting or making deposits at your bank.
Read on to learn more about what commercial auto insurance is and how it benefits businesses.
Commercial auto insurance explained
As mentioned a moment ago, the purpose of commercial auto insurance is to protect a business against the risks associated with the vehicles it uses to conduct business. One of these policies could be comprised of a variety of protections, including:
This option covers your company’s liability for bodily injury and property damage that you may be responsible for in a car accident. For example, say your sales rep is driving to a meeting with a client across town and has run over someone at a red light. Liability insurance would cover injuries and damage to the other driver’s car if your team member was at fault. This includes coverage for legal fees that may arise from the incident.
Full and Collision
This coverage will cover damages if one of your semi-trailers is crushed by a fallen tree during a storm. You can also count on this option to cover floods, fires, vandalism and theft if they are not committed by an employee. It also protects your work vehicles if they are hit by another object, such as a tree or a car.
Medical payments (MedPay)
Commercial insurers often provide medical payment coverage to ensure that injured parties can get prompt medical treatment for their injuries after being involved in an accident. Policies that include this option don’t care who was at fault and pay medical expenses for the driver and any passengers involved within the limits of coverage.
One of the worst accidents your employees could suffer while traveling for work involves a underinsured/uninsured motorist. This additional coverage can be extremely useful when a negligent driver causes a collision and has no way to cover the damage they have caused.
Employees and non-owners
Who pays for a car accident when you don’t own the vehicle, but your employee does? What if it’s a rental car or truck? This type of policy will provide the necessary liability coverage to cover situations involving automobiles that your business does not own but use for business purposes.
Reasons you need commercial auto insurance
If you are self-employed, you may be able to purchase a personal auto insurance policy that covers your business needs. But, if you regularly drive for business or have a fleet of vehicles with employees driving, you should purchase commercial coverage.
Get your business auto insurance coverage at the earliest if your conduct falls under one of these scenarios:
- Rideshare to earn extra money (Uber/Lyft)
- Pick up supplies from a store and deliver them to job sites
- Transport products to customers with your fleet of commercial trucks
- Deliver food to paying customers
- Bringing colleagues and/or clients to a conference or work event
- Visit construction sites throughout your working day
- Ask employees to transport heavy equipment, tools and supplies to your construction site
- Deliver pizzas to paying customers
- Driving clients to a business event
- Allow account reps to visit customers for sales meetings
- Operate a fleet of commercial trucks for rent
- Visit the bank once a day to make deposits into your business account
- Assign your assistant to pick up the mail every week at the post office
As you can see, the most menial day-to-day tasks could warrant commercial auto insurance.
Best Practices for Comparing Commercial Auto Insurers
Before buying commercial car cover, carefully assess the level of cover you need and consider the different policy options insurers have to offer. Specifically, consider the following factors:
- Policy limits
- Liability and Collision Coverage Details
- Additional coverages for personal vehicles and rentals used by your business
- Types of vehicles covered
- Premium rates and deductibles
- Potential discounts your business may be eligible for
- Policy exclusions
- Regulatory requirements for your industry
It’s always a good idea to call your current insurance provider first. You may be able to get a significant discount by bundling your different policies. However, be sure to get several quotes before buying. While it’s very convenient to have all of your insurance provided by one company, their coverage may not meet your business requirements. This could prove costly later if you had to file a claim.
Also, be prepared for some vehicles to cost significantly more to insure than others in your fleet. This is especially true for commercial trucks due to heavily regulated coverage requirements by state and federal agencies.
Ultimately, a commercial auto insurance policy should cover any vehicle used by a business to conduct business activities. Luckily, figuring out what coverage you need isn’t complicated, and signing up is pretty straightforward. You may decide to create a comprehensive umbrella policy that covers additional aspects of your business, including professional liability, property coverage, business interruption, and more.
Remember that any time you go without commercial auto insurance for your company’s vehicles and/or fleet, you run the risk of incurring significant financial damage. So, don’t hesitate and begin the process of protecting your business, so that your hard work to succeed is not compromised.