Commercial Auto Insurance: Getting the Right Coverage for Your Business

If you own a business, chances are you need commercial auto insurance. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule, but if you have any company-owned vehicles, for sure, you’d need commercial coverage.

Laws and the minimum amounts of coverage you need vary from state to state, but if you’re looking at commercial auto insurance in California, you should look for a well-known insurance company or find an insurance broker to help you get the best and proper coverage for your money.

What Kinds of Vehicles Are Covered by Commercial Auto Policies?

Commercial auto insurance can cover both cars and trucks (and their drivers), as well as other kinds of motorized equipment. Making sure you have the right types and amounts of coverage can be tricky because the rates vary based on the type and weight of the vehicles being used, as well as how the vehicles are used in your business. Rates are also based on the individual needs of your business and what your exposure to risk may be.

For instance, someone who runs a small delivery or messenger service will likely pay less than someone who owns and operates an over-the-road trucking company. By the same token, if you’re a restaurant owner who provides delivery service, but your delivery drivers use their own vehicles to make deliveries, their private or personal auto insurance may not cover them when they’re on-the-clock making deliveries for you.  That’s something you want to discuss with an agent or broker, but you also need to disclose that information to your employees, as well. The time to find out there’s no coverage is not after there’s been an accident, especially if there are any injuries involved.

What Does a Commercial Auto Policy Cover?

When looking for coverage, whether in the Yellow Pages or on the internet, you’ll likely be inundated by the number of commercial auto insurance companies in California. To get the best rates, talk to several of them before making a final decision. But they should all collect the same basic information from you; just as they should all cover the same types of things.

In a nutshell, commercial auto coverage protects your company from any liability to exposure you may have stemming from autos used in your business, or damage to any of the business vehicles covered under your policy. Policies can be flexible enough to cover business, personal, non-business-owned or hired autos depending on the kind of coverage you purchase.

One big difference between commercial coverage and that provided for personal vehicles not used in a commercial setting, is that in a personal setting, auto policies separate coverages for bodily injury and property damages.  In a commercial auto policy there usually is a combined single limit. Because of this, there are higher limits for both kinds of incidents. Commercial policies usually carry limits of either $500,000 or $1,000,000. Besides liability and property damage coverage, commercial auto insurance in California also covers medical payments or personal injury protection.

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