You have to insure vehicles used for company business in Florida with a commercial auto policy
- Commercial auto insurance covers any vehicle that’s used for business purposes, whether you own, lease, rent, or hire the vehicle.
- Commercial auto covers the expenses and legal claims related to property damage, injuries, and deaths of others
- The policy covers you, as well as your authorized employees, contractors, and drivers.
- Florida businesses are required to carry $10,000 for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 for property damage liability.
If you’re a business owner in the Sunshine State, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of commercial auto insurance in Florida. This type of policy covers vehicles used for business purposes, including work/delivery vans, trucks, fleet vehicles, passenger vans/limousines, and buses. Commercial auto insurance can provide peace of mind, protecting your employees and business on the job.
You’re probably at least somewhat familiar with commercial auto insurance, but you might not be aware of everything this policy covers or the specific requirements in our state. What events and people are covered and how much coverage is needed in Florida? We discuss so you can decide the coverage you need.
Commercial vs. personal auto insurance
If you’re a Florida driver, you’re required to have auto insurance for your personal vehicle. A business auto policy covers vehicles used for business purposes. A typical policy helps pay for expenses or claims related to property damage, injuries, and deaths.
Commercial auto insurance policies may cover:
- Liability – Includes bodily injuries and property damage if you or one of your employees cause an accident. It also covers legal costs and judgments against you or your company.
- Medical payments – Florida policies offer no-fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for medical expenses for injured drivers or passengers, no matter who’s at fault for the accident.
- Uninsured motorists – This will help pay for injuries or property damage caused by an uninsured/underinsured motorist or hit-and-run incident.
- Comprehensive and collision coverage – Comprehensive coverage pays for damage due to theft, vandalism, fire, or natural disasters such as hurricanes. Collision coverage helps pay for repairing or replacing vehicles that collide or get hit with another object.
Your policy will cover your vehicles whether you own, lease, rent, or hire them. Along with cars, vans, trucks, and buses, commercial auto can also cover a wide variety of mobile transport, including motorcycles, boats, jet skis, ATVs, RVs, snowmobiles (depending on the policy), and trailers (e.g., cargo or horse) used for business purposes.
Using your personal vehicle for business purposes
Your personal auto policy may cover you if you use your car for “occasional” business purposes. However, you should inform your insurer about this activity, or you run the risk of having a claim rejected if you get into an accident. You might also need to pay a higher premium depending on how you use your vehicle.
Do you need commercial auto insurance in Florida?
You may only need a personal auto policy if you only use your vehicle for work commutes. However, if you use your car for work or employ other people as drivers, you will most likely need a commercial auto policy. You might need commercial coverage, even if you’re self-employed, if you:
- Transport people or food for money
- Drive to multiple job sites during the day
- Transport tools or equipment
How much coverage do you need in Florida?
Florida businesses must carry minimum coverage of $10,000 for PIP and $10,000 for property damage liability. However, you’ll likely need more coverage since $10,000 might not go far if you’re sued because of an accident. Unfortunately, lawsuits are all too common in our society.
“In today’s litigious society, many insurers recommend a business auto coverage limit of $1 million with $500,000 as the minimum — that even a small business needs to cover the potential damages in a serious accident,” according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Covered users fall into three basic categories:
- Named insured (you):You are known as the “named insured,” although it can also be the company.
- Permissive users:This category includes anyone authorized to operate one of your commercial vehicles, including employees, contractors, and delivery drivers. Coverage includes vehicles that you own, rent, or hire/borrow.
- Omnibus insureds: This final category includes those liable for your conduct or the conduct of permissive users. It extends coverage to those authorized to use one of your commercial vehicles, even if they’re not listed on the policy.
What’s not covered?
Employees who commute to work in their personal vehicles are not covered under commercial auto policies. Activities like picking up lunch for the office or delivering flowers to a client are also excluded. Your employee’s personal auto policy would cover those incidents.
Rideshare and food delivery drivers
If you want to make extra money working for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, you’ll need to make some decisions about auto insurance. Your personal auto policy probably won’t cover rideshare activities. Most rideshare companies do offer minimal coverage, with an emphasis on “minimal.”
You can purchase rideshare insurance to protect yourself if you’re ever in an accident while waiting for or transporting a client. In Florida, you’re required to have insurance coverage whenever you have the rideshare app turned on. You may want to consider buying a commercial auto policy to get complete protection.
Most food delivery companies like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub offer their own policies. They usually don’t provide enough protection, though, just like rideshare companies. It’s best to find out what they cover before you drive.
Get your wheels in order
If your business includes operating any vehicle, it’s essential to carry commercial auto insurance. You want to protect yourself, your employees, and your financial investment if there’s an accident that results in property damage or injuries involving another person. Avante Insurance can help you secure the right commercial auto insurance policy for your business needs. Contact us to talk about your business needs and request a quote.
This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.