As a small business owner, you have a million balls in the air at any given time, but there are some you definitely can’t drop — like making sure your business is fully insured, including protecting your business travel, company vehicles, and drivers.
If you’re about to open up a new business, or you are going to list a vehicle under your business or add commercial driving or drivers to your operations, you need commercial auto insurance.
And while it’s a requirement, it’s also just a good idea. If something happens to one of your work vehicles (or if the worst-case-scenario occurs and one of your employees is hurt in an auto accident on the clock), commercial auto insurance will protect you and your company from the fallout.
What is commercial auto insurance?
Commercial auto insurance may be part of your larger business insurance plan, or it could be a standalone policy that you purchase separately. Either way, commercial auto insurance generally provides coverage for any vehicle or drivers that are used to conduct business.
This type of insurance is a must for anyone who has commercial vehicles or vehicles registered under their business name, as well as anybody who drives to carry out business or anybody who pays employees to drive as part of their work.
If your regular business needs require any form of driving, you need commercial auto insurance. Don’t try to scrimp on expenses by ignoring this important coverage.
How Commercial Auto Insurance Works
Much like regular auto insurance, commercial auto insurance follows the basic model where you choose your coverage, pay your agreed upon premium, and your business is then protected from damages incurred by accidents involving either your company vehicles or your employees while they’re doing work for you.
What Commercial Auto Insurance Covers
While the coverage and terms you end up with depend on the provider, you can count on some or all of the following to be included in your policy:
- Liability coverage for external party injuries
- Personal injury coverage for you and your employees
- Collision coverage
- Property damage liability
- Comprehensive coverage for damage that exceeds collision
- Medical payment coverage
- Coverage for motorists who are uninsured or underinsured
- Rental replacement coverage if you need a vehicle while yours is being repaired
- Towing and labor costs
These are the basic things covered by commercial auto insurance, but you may find value in looking for a customized plan if you have hyper-specific or unusual needs. If you want a package and price point that can grow with your small business, you may need to do extra research.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing the Right Commercial Auto Insurance
If you understand the “why” of commercial auto coverage, but not quite the how, don’t worry; the process itself is fairly easy. The hardest part is determining what your plan should look like and picking the best plan based on that information.
Use this step-by-step guide to find the best policy for you.
Step 1 – Decide What Kind of Coverage You Need
If you know you drive as part of your daily business, then you already know you need coverage.
But do you want coverage that is bundled in with other insurance plans? Do you want a standalone plan? Do you want an existing plan, or is it best to get a custom-fit plan from a provider that matches your specific business needs?
These are the questions to ask yourself when starting your search. Several factors will affect what your coverage requirements are. Your commercial trucking fleet insurance policy may look completely different than a policy for your food truck.
Once you determine your ideal plan, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step 2 – Compare Quotes from Providers
Even if you think you know the exact plan from the exact provider you want to go with, comparing is an extremely smart step to take. To save time and energy, use a quote comparison service.
Enter your basic information and what you’re in the market for to see all your options side-by-side. This high level oversight will allow you to make the most informed choice, reducing your risk of picking the wrong option.
Narrow down your options from there and thoroughly research your shortlist choices to really zero in on your best fit.
Step 3 – Reach Out to Your Selected Providers
Once you have a solid idea of which company you’d like to go with — plus one or two backup plans — reach out to your provider to see if they offer any bundles or customized plans. You may end up saving even more money by slimming down your coverage to only what is most necessary.
Step 4 – Choose Your Plan and Follow Your Provider’s Instructions
Almost there! As soon as you know which provider and plan you want to sign up for, it’s time to protect your small business with commercial auto insurance.
Your provider can take it from here, and you can just follow their instructions to complete the process.
How much does commercial auto insurance cost?
How much should you expect to pay for commercial auto insurance? This really depends on the exact nature of your business, the type of vehicles you are insuring and how many vehicles and drives you have.
For example, a commercial trucking fleet costs much more to insure than a single work fan licensed to a florist. And a trucking business that only operates in-state may see a lower price than one who operates across state lines or nationally.
That’s why it’s so important to do your research and get as many quotes as possible since this will help you determine a fair cost for coverage for your exact business. Comparing quotes can also reduce the risk of experiencing sticker shock when you apply for coverage.
Protect Your Small Business with Commercial Auto Insurance
You’ve worked hard to build your business, so of course you want to protect it. If you or your employees drive as part of your business operations, commercial auto insurance is vital to make sure you’re covered from all angles.