About commercial auto insurance
The right commercial auto policy can make a difference between a business needing to file for bankruptcy or allowing the insurance company to get it up and running as soon as possible. We are sometimes surprised by how some commercial auto policies are written or how some vehicles are insured under a personal auto policy even though there would be no coverage in a case of an accident.
In the most general sense, you need commercial auto insurance if you use a vehicle for work or own vehicles operated by a business. Commercial vehicles can include what you might consider “personal use vehicles,” such as cars used for delivering a pizza or driving a patient or client to and from appointments. Your personal auto policy excludes any for hire-risk which is defined as the business of carrying or transporting passengers for compensation (direct or indirect). Do you drive for Uber or Lyft? We work with insurance companies that can offer affordable coverages on a standard personal auto policy. Click here to find out more.
If you are asked by your boss or employer to drive your own vehicle while “on the clock” or run errands for the company, make sure that the right insurance policies are in place. If you are not sure, please give us a call at 425-242-5252 for more guidance. You can never be safe enough before jumping behind the wheel.
Commercial vehicle insurance FAQs
What does commercial auto insurance cover?
It covers a variety of situations. Options and terms vary from one insurance company to another, so be sure you fully understand what is included in the policy. We can help you create a completely customized policy that matches your business needs, complete with all available discounts.Several types of coverage may be included in your commercial auto policy; others are options that you can purchase separately. You will also need to choose the limits and deductibles. It is important to make sure if your policy covers all listed, owned, non-owned, hired or any vehicles driven by your company. Not sure what these terms mean? Give us a call at 425-242-5252 today. Typical coverages that are available include:
- Property damage liability and liability for bodily injury to others. For businesses of any size, we recommend at least $1,000,000 in coverage.
- Personal Injury Protection to you, your employee drivers or passengers. Starting at $10,000 per person, PIP can cover medical expenses, lost wages and a few other benefits. Some states either require this coverage or require an insurance company to at least offer the coverage. We strongly recommend this coverage for all businesses.
- Collision coverage for damages to vehicles associated with an accident, regardless of who is at fault. A deductible applies.
- Comprehensive coverage for damage other than collision such as theft, weather damage, glass breakage and vandalism. A deductible might apply.
- Uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage for both your vehicles and the drivers and passengers in the vehicle. We strongly recommend this coverage.
- Non-owned auto coverage for when you or your employees drive a rented or borrowed vehicle. If these situations apply to your business, we strongly recommend this coverage.
- Rental reimbursement to cover the cost of renting a vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired due to a collision or comprehensive claim.
- Towing and labor costs
- Loading and unloading liability
When do I need commercial auto insurance?
You need commercial auto insurance for any vehicle that your company uses for business purposes, any vehicle that has a commercial license plate or tag and any vehicle because it is registered as a commercial vehicle. Some insurance companies also nullify personal auto coverage if you have business signing attached to your car.
You must also get commercial auto coverage if your employees will be driving or using vehicles on behalf of your business, whether driving clients or patients, making deliveries, or running errands.
If you use your vehicle for any of the following reasons, you may also be required to get commercial coverage:
- Delivering any goods such as pizza, packages or newspapers.
- Using the vehicle to carry equipment.
- Transporting housekeeping equipment for business use.
- Using, carrying or transporting cranes, or a winch or plow.
- Hiring your vehicle out to tow other vehicles.
- Transporting flammable or hazardous material.
- Transporting people as a chauffeur, limousine service or taxi service also referred to as “livery”.
- Transporting clients or patients such as caregivers.
- Please keep in mind that this list isn’t all inclusive so if you are unsure, give us a call at 425-242-5252 before hitting the road.
Progressive, which is one of our preferred commercial auto carriers, offers some great resources to get an idea of whether or not you should insure your vehicle under a personal or commercial auto policy. Click here to find out more.
How much does commercial auto insurance cost?
The cost of commercial auto insurance depends on a number of factors including the following:
- Type of business you own.
- Radius of the distance driven.
- Size and type of the vehicles.
- Claims and credit history of the business and or principal of the business.
- Driving history, age and license status of all drivers.
- Coverage amount needed.
- Value and type of customization and attached equipment.
Do I have to include all of my employees on my commercial auto policy?
We strongly recommend listing any employee that may drive one of your vehicles on your policy. The worst-case scenario for your business is that an insurance company enforces its policy language and exclude coverage in case of an accident caused by an unlisted driver. Our clients enjoy the ability to request any driver or vehicle add-on 24/7.
Before hiring a new employee that will be a driver, we also recommend requesting a copy of their driving record. If you are client of ours, we offer this service for free. Otherwise, you pay approximately $10 per record depending on the state. We understand that sometimes looking the other way to hire an otherwise qualified employee with a bad driving record is tempting, it isn’t worth putting the future of your business at risk.
Is commercial auto insurance tax deductible?
Yes, your commercial auto coverage is tax deductible. We recommend contacting a local account or tax professional to receive more guidance. There are many situations that allow you to deduct the cost of commercial auto insurance for tax purposes when you use your vehicle for business use. If you are self-employed, you may be able to deduct your commercial auto insurance costs under Schedule-C if you don’t use the mileage-based tax write-off. If you are an employee and do not receive mileage or expense reimbursement, you can use Form 2106 (Employee Business Expenses).
Does my commercial auto insurance cover personal use?
Personal use will be covered for a company owned vehicle as long as the vehicle is listed directly or indirectly on the commercial auto policy. If you are driving your personal vehicle to-and-from work without using it for commercial purposes, it would be covered under your personal auto policy.
If you are using your personal vehicle for occasionally for commercial purposes, you will either need to have sufficient liability coverage under your personal auto policy, or purchase commercial auto insurance.
If your personal or commercial vehicle is insured under a commercial auto policy and other members of your family use the vehicle for personal purposes, then you may have to add a “non-owned vehicle” endorsement. The right choice will depend on the circumstances so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 425-242-5252 to let us help you walk through your specific situation.
Do I need commercial auto insurance to deliver pizza?
If you use your own vehicle to deliver pizza, there are several options you can consider:
- Request non-owner coverage from the pizza business owner. This will give you liability coverage for injuries and property damage to others, but will not cover physical damage to your own vehicle.
- Get a commercial lines policy to make sure that damages to your vehicle may also be covered.
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