It’s not about what you’re driving—it’s about why.
A common question that arises from business owners is whether or not their company vehicle qualifies for commercial auto insurance. It’s a valid question because there are many different scenarios to consider and a common misconception that personal auto insurance will suffice. So let’s review the guidelines and determine whether your vehicle qualifies.
Who needs commercial auto insurance?
Many companies utilize vehicles to conduct their business, but do all of them need a commercial policy? If any of these descriptions apply to your business, you should consider getting a commercial auto policy to ensure that you are covered should the unexpected occur:
- • You use your vehicle for pickup or delivery of products, supplies, materials, food items or messenger services
- • You transport customers
- • Your vehicle has some sort of equipment onboard like ladder racks or permanent toolboxes
- • Your vehicle is 10,000 pounds or more or has a load capacity of more than 2,000 pounds
- • Your employees drive your vehicles for work purposes
Why personal auto policies aren’t enough
Your personal policy was designed to protect you and your personal vehicle, which means the coverage that’s offered often does not extend to commercial use. It provides coverage for normal activity like commuting to work and school, shopping, driving in town and on road trips.
A commercial policy, on the other hand, is specifically designed to cover the increased liability you face when using your vehicle for business purposes. Things like employees, work related gear and equipment, and passengers are all considered within the commercial policy.
Despite what many people believe, your vehicle does not have to be a truck or van to be considered a commercial auto. Examples of vehicles covered with commercial policies include:
- • Utility vans
- • Flatbed trucks
- • Dump trucks
- • Catering and refrigerated trucks
- • Rented or leased cars
- • Vehicles with work equipment
- • Box trucks
- • Limos and taxis
What’s covered under a commercial policy?
When it comes to ensuring the safety of yourself and your employees, your products, your vehicle and the livelihood of your company, a commercial policy is essential for any business that is using automobiles in the work environment. Here’s what is covered:
- • Your employees: Whether you have one or a dozen, whoever is driving or riding in your company vehicle will be covered
- • Your equipment: When an accident or damage is inflicted upon any business equipment, it’s covered
- • Your business as a whole: In the event that your vehicle is involved in an accident and your business is found liable, you’ll be protected against damages awarded in a lawsuit
What to look for in a commercial auto policy
Every state has different requirements so be sure to do some research and find a policy that satisfies all the criteria. Next, you want to make sure that you not only have the proper amount of liability coverage, but also that you consider the options that will ensure you are fully protected. Some additional elements you might want included in your policy are:
- • Uninsured or underinsured motorist
- • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage
- • Emergency Roadside assistance
- • Personal effects coverage
Determining whether or not your company vehicle qualifies for commercial auto insurance can be confusing, especially if you have a small business and you’re the only one driving it. But following these guidelines and talking to your provider should help you make the decision. Remember, it’s not about what kind of vehicle you’re driving, it’s about how you’re using it. If you are in need of guidance or would like to find out about the different options available for commercial auto policies, get in touch with us for more information.