Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial vehicle insurance is a policy of physical damage and liability coverages for amounts, situations, and usage not covered by a personal auto insurance policy.
This type of business insurance covers many types of commercial vehicles—from automobiles used for business purposes, including company cars, to a wide variety of commercial trucks and vehicles.
Commercial Auto Insurance 101
What is commercial auto insurance for businesses?
Commercial vehicle insurance is needed to cover the cars, trucks, and vans used in conducting your business. Large fleets, as well as small businesses, should be properly covered by a commercial auto insurance policy.
What kind of vehicles are covered by a commercial auto insurance policy?
Box trucks, food trucks, work vans and service utility trucks are just a few examples of larger commercial vehicles which will require a commercial auto insurance policy, including coverage for employees operating the vehicle and possibly the equipment inside. You may have heard of this coverage referred to as commercial auto insurance, commercial car insurance, truck insurance, or fleet insurance. While commercial vehicle insurance is most commonly associated with trucks or more recognized work vehicles, regular cars and automobiles may also require a commercial auto policy if they're used for business purposes.
Why do you need commercial vehicle insurance?
Certain business usage and vehicle types may be excluded from personal auto insurance policies. Why? Since personal auto policies were not meant for businesses, they are written and rated differently. More important to you—a business owner or manager—businesses often need the particular coverages found in a commercial auto insurance policy.
Determining whether your situation requires commercial auto coverage can still be confusing. Here's a little more information and examples of when you need commercial insurance.
What does commercial vehicle insurance cover?
Commercial vehicle insurance, like your personal auto policy, provides similar coverages such as liability, collision, comprehensive, medical payments (or personal injury protection) and uninsured motorist coverage. However, there are also differences between a commercial auto insurance policy and your personal auto policy that may include eligibility, definitions, coverages, exclusions, and limits.
What are the coverages in a commercial vehicle policy?
Bodily Injury LiabilityThis coverage applies to injuries that the policyholder and family members listed on the policy cause to someone else. These individuals are also covered when driving other peoples’ cars with permission. As motorists in serious accidents may be sued for large amounts, drivers can opt to buy more than the state-required minimum to protect personal assets such as homes and savings.
Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP)This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages, and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident. It may also cover funeral costs.
Property Damage LiabilityThis coverage pays for damage policyholders (or someone driving the car with their permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings, or other structures hit in an accident.
CollisionThis coverage pays for damage to the policyholder’s car resulting from a collision with another car or object or as a result of flipping over. It also covers damage caused by potholes. Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000—the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Even if policyholders are at fault for an accident, collision coverage will reimburse them for the costs of repairing the car, minus the deductible. If the policyholder is not at fault, the insurance company may try to recover the amount it paid from the other driver’s insurance company. If the company is successful, policyholders will also be reimbursed for the deductible.
ComprehensiveThis coverage reimburses for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as fire, falling objects, missiles, explosions, earthquakes, windstorms, hail, flood, vandalism, and riots, or contact with animals such as birds or deer. Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, though policyholders may opt for a higher deductible as a way of lowering their premium. Comprehensive insurance may also reimburse the policyholder if a windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer separate glass coverage with or without a deductible. States do not require the purchase of collision or comprehensive coverage, but lenders may insist borrowers carry it until a car loan is paid off.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist CoverageUninsured motorist coverage will reimburse the policyholder, a member of the family, or a designated driver if one of them is hit by an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for the other driver’s total loss. This coverage will also protect a policyholder who is hit while a pedestrian.
Are the tools and materials in a commercial vehicle insurance policy?
Unattached tools and materials transported in your vehicle are not covered by commercial auto insurance. Tools and equipment are best covered as part of a Business Owner's Policy or general liability policy.
Who is covered to drive my commercial vehicle?
Your commercial auto policy can cover employees, family members, and others as drivers. If someone drives the vehicle on more than an emergency basis, you should add them as a driver to your policy.
Is my trailer automatically covered by commercial vehicle insurance?
That depends on the size of the trailer.
Less than 2,000 pounds gross vehicle weight: It's automatically covered for liability. You'll need to add it to your policy for full coverage in case of theft or damage.
More than 2,000 pounds (usually more than one axle): The trailer won't be covered unless you add it to your policy.
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