If you run a company that relies on the use of vehicles for yourself or employees to complete job-related tasks, a personal auto insurance policy isn’t sufficient coverage to protect you in the event of an accident or damage.
Commercial auto policies are designed to provide coverage for
the increased risks that come from a business' daily operations.
If you have employees who spend a lot of time on the road, or you’re an individual who uses your personal vehicle to make money, here’s everything you need to know about commercial auto insurance:
What is commercial auto insurance?
Commercial auto insurance is a business insurance policy that applies to autos owned by or used for your business that protects against liability for damages caused by accidents involving your business autos. This type of policy also provides certain compensation to occupants of your business autos who may be injured in an accident.
The difference between personal and commercial auto policies
The main difference between commercial and personal auto insurance is the coverage provided. A personal auto policy provides coverage to protect you, your personal assets, and prevent you and your family from experiencing financial hardship. Commercial auto insurance provides coverage to protect you and businesses from auto-related lawsuits and settlements.
Another key factor to this policy is vehicle ownership. If your vehicles are owned by your business, they need to be covered under a commercial auto policy. That way, commercial auto insurance will help protect your business’s finances from costs related to accidents or other covered losses. It’s events like these — when you or your employees are driving one of your
business’s vehicles — where you need this protection most.
Do I need commercial auto insurance?
When do you need business auto insurance for your vehicle? Consider the following:
How is the vehicle used?
If you own a business, have a business owner policy, or general liability policy for your business, and own or use the auto in conjunction with your owned business, you’ll most likely need a commercial auto policy to protect those vehicles and your business.
Who owns the vehicle?
Your vehicle will most likely need commercial auto insurance if it’s owned by a business, but if you’re the sole proprietor, you might only need a personal auto insurance policy. For instance, if you only use your vehicle simply for commuting to and from work, you might be covered by your personal auto insurance policy. Contact your agent to make sure.
You’ll typically need commercial auto insurance if:
● Any of your vehicles are owned by a partnership, LLC, or corporation.
● Any of your vehicles are registered or titled to a business, including corporation or partnership.
● Any of your employees or you rent or lease vehicles for business purposes.
● Any non-listed drivers use their own vehicles to conduct business on your business’s behalf.
How is the vehicle being used?
The type of your vehicle, ownership and how the vehicle is used are important factors when determining if you need commercial auto insurance. Consider the following:
● Are any of your vehicles a dump truck, semi or commercial trailer?
● Do any of your vehicles, including pickups, vans or utility vehicles, exceed a gross weight of 15,000 pounds?
● Do any of your vehicles have catering equipment?
● Is your vehicle outfitted for snow plowing and not used for personal use snow plowing?
● Are any of your vehicles equipped with altered suspensions, hydraulic lifts?
Coverage included with commercial auto insurance
Like any insurance policy, coverage will vary based on your business’ specific needs. We recommend you review your policy thoroughly with your insurer, however, the following are common when it comes to a commercial auto insurance:
● Liability Coverage — Covers damage to you or another individual’s vehicle and any legal
costs related to an accident.
● Medical Payments Coverage — Covers the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation, and, if applicable, lost wages and funeral expenses for you and your passengers as a result of an accident, no matter who is at fault.
● Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UI/UIM) — Coverage in the event that another driver involved in an accident does not have insurance or doesn’t have sufficient coverage to pay your medical bills. Nearly 14% of all drivers in the US are uninsured, so you’re taking your chances if you don’t add UM/UIM coverage to your commercial auto policy.
● Comprehensive Coverage — Payment to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged from an incident out of your control, such as fire, vandalism, theft, natural disasters, or animal collisions.
We hope this helps you better understand commercial auto insurance and whether it’s right for
you. Visit our website to find an agent near you who can help explain your coverage options.