If you're considering commercial auto insurance for your company, it's critical to grasp the fundamentals of a commercial auto policy. The more information you have, the easier it is to compare coverage and make an informed decision regarding the best commercial auto insurance.
Imagine this: You’ve just realized a lifelong ambition of owning and driving around your own food truck. You’re traveling to your customary position one morning when another fancy car runs a red light and collides with the back of your truck. At the moment of impact, your stove jolts out of place; your bumper is crushed and ruined. To make matters worse, when you exchange information with the automobile driver who hit you, you discover he is uninsured.
At this point, you might be wondering if your dream of owning a food truck has probably ended. Do you know how you can preserve this dream of yours? Get commercial auto insurance that protects your food truck and any other commercial vehicles you own. Commercial auto insurance comes into play to help you achieve your goal and provide a remedy for any potential risks in the future.
Follow this basic guide to get basic information on the best commercial auto insurance, learn what commercial auto insurance covers, and why you need commercial auto insurance. We’ll also go over the basic working of commercial auto insurance, so read on and make better decisions for a financially secure future and a successful business.
What is commercial auto insurance?
Commercial auto insurance is a type of insurance that provides coverage to vehicles used by businesses and corporations. Despite sharing many characteristics with personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance is created expressly for automobiles used by or for businesses.
This can apply to both personal vehicles you use for work and vehicles you purchase for a company you control. For instance, the best commercial auto insurance can protect against the following:
- Delivery trucks or vans
- Work vans
- Dump trucks
- Forklifts or other construction vehicles
- Food trucks
- Service utility trucks
- Box trucks
- Company cars
Business vehicles and their drivers’ liability and collision coverage are available through commercial auto insurance. In the event that you cause an accident, the former assists in covering the other driver’s repair costs and/or medical expenses. The latter covers any repairs or medical expenses you or your car may have due to an accident.
The fact that your premiums are frequently tax deductible is a benefit of getting the best commercial auto insurance for your company. The amount of taxes you owe for the year may decrease if you can deduct them as a business cost. Except in cases when you use the car for business, personal auto insurance rates are not often tax deductible. Even then, you won’t be able to deduct the total cost of the premium.
How does commercial auto insurance work?
Commercial auto insurance works in many ways, similar to basic auto insurance. Instances that are unique to a business and its requirements are covered by commercial auto insurance. For instance, if you have staff members who use business vehicles or cars, you might need non-owned vehicle coverage as part of your insurance. You will need a commercial auto policy that covers your vehicle if you’re self-employed and you use your vehicle for work-related purposes.
Once more, commercial auto insurance may offer liability and collision damage coverage. Your liability coverage limitations may exceed what you’d ordinarily receive from a personal insurance policy. That’s quite advantageous if you’re concerned that your company will face legal action due to an accident involving you or one of your employees. The best commercial auto insurance may also provide coverage for other benefits besides liability and collision benefits.
- Injuries from accidents may result in medical expenses or personal injury claims.
- The destruction brought on by burglary, vandalism, falling objects, or weather-related occurrences
- Damages caused by drivers who are either underinsured or uninsured
- Trailers that are used in conjunction with commercial vehicles by your business.
- Costs associated with renting a vehicle if you need to get a new vehicle for your company temporarily
- Vehicles rented out for the transportation of clients or workers
- Vehicle fleet used by the company for work.
Your coverage may also cover the contents of business vehicles. Consider the scenario of operating a contracting company and using your work vans to transport tools or supplies. Your commercial auto insurance policy might provide coverage if the van’s contents are stolen.
Who needs the best commercial auto insurance?
Your need for the best commercial auto insurance depends on whether your company owns and uses vehicles for business purposes. You will require commercial auto insurance to protect your fleet of company vehicles if you manage a firm that depends on them to function.
Being self-employed or operating a firm as a sole proprietor can make deciding whether you need commercial insurance more difficult. As a lone proprietor, think about the following while weighing a commercial policy:
- What protections does your individual auto insurance policy provide?
- What is your regular business usage of the vehicle
- The weight and kind of vehicle
- What degree of liability protection does your personal policy offer in comparison to the level of protection you require for your line of work?
An insurance agent should be able to assist you if you already have personal auto insurance and are unclear whether you need business coverage. Just be ready to describe how and when you use the car for work so the insurance agent can determine exactly what kind of protection you require.
How much does commercial auto insurance cost?
According to Progressive Commercial Insurance, the national average price for commercial auto insurance in 2020 is $187 per month for both business auto and commercial customers. The large insurer advertises prices for business automobiles in service industries (including restaurants, stores, and cleaners) at $188 monthly, while average monthly premiums for contractors like carpenters and electricians are $186.
According to Insureon, a different carrier, the average monthly premium for business auto insurance is $142. Although some insurance companies charge for plans on a six-month basis, that amounts to $1,704 yearly. (The median price for Progressive was reported as $153, which is more comparable to the Insureon figure.)
Although Insureon advertises a $1 million coverage premium, you’d need to seek a quotation to learn more about additional coverage options like comprehensive and collision. Progressive claims that comprehensive and collision coverage are also included, although the liability limit levels will depend on the insurance cost. As you can see, various factors influence the typical cost of commercial auto insurance, and each company prioritizes the options and coverages that it deems to be the most crucial.
- Is commercial auto insurance more expensive?
- What affects commercial auto insurance costs?
- How to get cheap commercial auto insurance?
Is commercial auto insurance more expensive than personal auto insurance?
Commercial auto insurance policies are typically more expensive than equivalent coverage levels on personal auto insurance policies since using commercial vehicles includes higher risk. However, the price of commercial auto insurance will vary according to the number of covered vehicles, the coverage limits and deductibles selected, your company’s location, and even your employees’ driving distance.
What affects commercial auto insurance costs?
The difference in average and median insurance costs indicates that many factors influence policy pricing. To acquire an accurate price, you must consider several factors related to your company and the car you are insuring, just as when choosing any business insurance. Some elements that impact the cost of commercial auto insurance include these:
- Location: Some states have higher insurance rates than others, so your location will significantly impact your premiums.
- Vehicle Type: The price of a commercial vehicle will depend on its year, manufacture, and model. Generally, bigger, heavier cars cost more to insure than smaller, lighter cars.
- Miles drove: Your prices will also depend on how many miles you drive during the insurance life. Your premium will increase when you increase your driving because the likelihood of an accident rises as you drive more.
- Driving history: You and your workers driving history will impact auto insurance rates. Lower rates are given as an incentive for better driving histories.
- Industry: Your profession has an impact on your automobile rates.
- The quantity of automobiles: Owning a fleet of cars raises your overall rates, but it might also cut your per-car premium.
Work with your insurance provider to develop a quote that takes into account all necessary information regarding the vehicles and drivers if you want a precise estimate. Professional help will benefit you in the long run and help you save money by keeping you adequately insured with the right amount of coverage.
How to get cheap commercial auto insurance?
Compared to personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance is more expensive. A typical personal auto insurance policy costs $1,652 annually, or even more roughly $187 per month, according to PolicyGenius. As commercial auto insurance may be a costly line item in a budget, many small business owners seek ways to reduce expenses in the face of such a disparity. Here are some pointers for lowering the price of your commercial auto insurance:
- Inspect the drivers. Employ only drivers with a clean driving record. Do routine drug tests to ensure that staff aren’t operating a vehicle while intoxicated, which can result in penalties and accidents and raise your insurance rates.
- Put in driving monitors. Companies that employ driving trackers to monitor speed and erratic maneuvers may be eligible for discounts from some insurance providers. These gadgets might also be GPS-enabled, allowing you to monitor whether cars take unnecessary detours.
- Locate a less expensive base of operations. You can save money if you base your commercial vehicles out of a less expensive place because rates are affected by geography. Move your fleet to a less expensive location. This might not be an option for some businesses, such as restaurants that deliver food.
- Driven miles are restricted. In general, your insurance costs decrease the less you drive. While distance for work vehicles cannot be eliminated, it can be cut down with GPS route planning and arranging deliveries according to proximity.
- A corporate use policy may be of interest. You might not require a commercial auto insurance policy; in some circumstances, a personal motor insurance policy with a “business pursuits” label will do. You’ll pay less if the car is largely used for personal purposes.
- Grouping vehicles as an armada. To be eligible for lower premiums if you own more than one commercial vehicle, group them together as a fleet if at all possible. This isn’t always an option since certain carriers have minimum fleet requirements.
- For discounts on additional business insurance packages, inquire for the required information. Some will provide discounts if you’ve obtained several business policies from a particular carrier. You can group together commercial insurance plans in the same way that you would home and auto insurance bundles for personal insurance.
What does commercial auto insurance cover?
The best commercial auto insurance can protect you from some of the basic and crucial losses endured by business owners owning vehicles for business purposes; still, before discussing the points of what your commercial auto insurance policy will cover, it’s crucial to consider who the coverage will cover. The named insured, permissive users, and omnibus users are the three types of individuals that commercial motor insurance may cover.
If you purchase the policy on your company’s behalf, you will be the named insured and receive the highest level of protection. Even if the named insured wasn’t directly involved in the disaster, they are typically nonetheless protected.
Permissive users are your staff members or anyone else you’ve given the go-ahead to use the car for which you’ve paid for insurance. Omnibus users are individuals who may be held accountable for any mishap or carelessness that you or your permissive users may have caused.
An omnibus user might be one of your clients, for instance, if one of your drivers delivers something on their behalf. This means that even if the driver was delivering something for their company, they could not be held legally liable for errors made by your driver.
Commercial vehicle insurance acts in terms of coverage much like the majority of other insurance policies do, in that there are certain fundamental items that standard policies always cover, in addition to optional coverages that can be added to your policy via endorsement or rider.
- The basics
- Common Endorsements
- Types of vehicles that commercial auto insurance cover
- Bodily and liability injury: You will be covered if you or your drivers are judged to be at fault for an accident that caused third-party property damage or personal harm. In the worst-case scenario, your insurance will pay for repairs, medical bills, lost wages, legal fees, and funeral costs.
- Medical payments: A commercial auto policy will pay for your, your drivers’, and any injured passengers’ medical costs regardless of who was at fault. Your commercial auto policy must include medical payment coverage in several jurisdictions.
- Collision coverage: Your car will be completely protected from any damages. Repair costs are covered under collision coverage in collisions with other vehicles, traffic signs, and trees.
- Gap insurance: If you lease a car beyond repair due to damage, insurance will pay the balance you still owe.
- Comprehensive: offers protection against damage not caused by a collision. Comprehensive will include loss due to theft, vandalism, fire, bad weather, etc.
- Uninsured motorist: In the event that a third party engaged in the collision lacks insurance, your insurance will still protect you and pay for any losses and related expenses.
- Hired and non-owned liability: This coverage is essential if your company depends extensively on vehicles that aren’t its own. This coverage will take effect to pay for medical costs and third-party damage if you or your drivers are involved in an accident while operating a vehicle that is not yours. If you want damage to the vehicle you were driving to be covered, you can add a hired auto physical damage rider.
- Roadside assistance: To provide 24/7 coverage, whether you want a tow, fuel, tire repair, or a jump start for your vehicle, you may add a roadside assistance rider to your commercial auto policy.
Types of vehicles that commercial auto insurance cover
As stated previously, commercial auto insurance will cover business vehicles that are either owned by the business or the person using the vehicle for business purposes. The following are just a few of the many different kinds of cars that a commercial auto policy can cover:
- Passenger cars
- Cement mixers
- Delivery Vans
- Tractor Trailers
It is preferable to buy commercial truck insurance if you need insurance for bigger commercial vehicles like trucks because it is made expressly to provide coverage for larger vehicles and the risk profile associated with operating such vehicles for profit.
What does commercial auto insurance not cover?
When it comes to commercial auto insurance, there are exclusions for risks that are either uninsurable or covered by other insurance policies, as there are with just about any sort of insurance, including:
- Intentional damages
- Property of others
- Employee-owned vehicles
- Damages exceeding policy limits
For obvious reasons, intentional harm or damage is excluded. The insurance provider is not liable for losses and expenses if a person covered by the policy intentionally causes harm to another person or damages property while operating a covered vehicle.
Property of others
Property owned by someone else but kept in the possession or under the care of a covered individual is another fairly typical exclusion clause for commercial auto insurance plans. The use of a car owned by someone not listed on the insurance by a covered individual will not be covered.
The same applies to any tools, equipment, or personal objects belonging to others. Some insurers will provide coverage extensions to safeguard other people’s vehicles and property while they are being used by an insured.
A collision that occurs when a worker uses their personal vehicle for work purposes is another frequent scenario not covered by commercial auto insurance. Considering that privately owned automobiles are not covered by commercial auto insurance, this isn’t precisely an exclusion. As we previously indicated, adding hired and non-owned auto coverage to a commercial auto policy is feasible to cover this, but this won’t be substituted unless the buyer specifically requests it.
Damages exceeding policy limits
Maximum coverage limits, which define the exact maximum sum of money that the insurer will pay out toward claims on the policy, are a feature of all commercial auto insurance contracts. Damages incurred more than the coverage limit won’t be compensated.
Purchasing an excess liability (or umbrella) policy, which extends coverage of the commercial vehicle and other typical insurance plans for businesses, is one option to add extra protection beyond the restrictions of the commercial auto insurance policy.
How can you compare different commercial auto insurance providers to get the best commercial auto insurance?
It’s crucial to compare different commercial auto insurances to choose the best auto commercial auto insurance. If your company needs commercial auto insurance, take the time to investigate the many coverage alternatives before deciding on one. Compare insurance by taking into account elements like:
- Primary liability and collision insurance options
- Options for supplemental coverage for trailers or rental cars
- Policy minimums and maximums
- Types of vehicles included
- Insurance costs
- Taxable amounts
- Premium reductions
If you already have personal auto insurance, you might start by asking your existing insurer if they also offer business insurance. You might be able to get a deal on business insurance as a current client. Also, if you’re occupied with running your day-to-day business operations, having all your insurance in one location may be simpler than dealing with various insurers.
Depending on the kinds of vehicles you use for your business, you can have different insurance needs. For instance, while looking for a business vehicle insurance policy, there may be a few more things to take into account. Commercial trucks typically need greater coverage limits to account for heavier and more valuable vehicles and the cargo they haul.
What are some of the best commercial auto insurance companies?
There are numerous things to consider and compare while looking for the best commercial auto insurance. Businesses that own automobiles or even send workers out on errands in their personal vehicles need this coverage in order to shield the company from liability and loss in the event of an accident, theft, or another occurrence.
While some businesses (including real estate salespeople and rideshare drivers) can be protected by personal auto insurance, this coverage may not be comprehensive. You might not always be completely protected when you get behind the wheel. Also, getting the best commercial auto insurance is necessary if your firm permits employees to use work vehicles or if you own several vehicles.
We analyzed more than a dozen commercial auto insurance providers to determine which companies offered the best coverage, the finest features, and the lowest prices. Continue reading to learn which businesses provide the best commercial auto insurance and why.
- The Hartford
- State Farm
It’s simple to understand how Progressive made it to the top of our list with its extensive range of coverage options offered across the country. This provider offers commercial auto insurance for almost all types of businesses and vehicle configurations, with various savings and the freedom to change your policy at any time without incurring fees.
With a market share of more than 15%, Progressive, which was founded in 1937, will be the top business auto insurer in the US in 2021. They provide business insurance in each of the 50 states, and their plans cover a variety of automobiles, including cars, light trucks, vans, SUVs, food trucks, dump trucks, and even tractor-trailers. Also, they provide an unlimited travel radius in the majority of states without raising premiums.
A combination of liability (personal injury and property damage), medical payments, underinsured/uninsured driver coverage, collision, comprehensive, and fire/theft coverage can make up commercial auto protection. Moreover, Progressive offers specialty insurance options that not all carriers do, such as hired auto, non-owned, and any auto. As a result, whether your company owns the vehicles or your workers use their personal automobiles for work, everyone may be protected.
Progressive offers the flexibility to change coverage at any time, which is advantageous for businesses that operate seasonally and may not require year-round protection. Also, they make it simple to obtain savings for defensive driving, autopay, work history, combining policies, and paying in full.
According to its website, Progressive main liability and physical damage coverage are included in the typical monthly rate for commercial insurance, which is roughly $183. Online quotations are available for certain firms, but you’ll need to interact with an agent to get coverage. They provide 24/7 policy support by phone or online, and making a claim over the phone is simple day or night.
- Accessible across all 50 states
- Biggest market share in the United States
- Protects almost all vehicle types
- Many discounts are offered
- Allows for seasonal variations in policy
- Can’t purchase insurance online
- must collaborate with an agent
- does not provide coverage for companies with more than 20 vehicles
The best value in coverage goes to Nationwide commercial auto insurance, which offers a variety of economic policy options, useful features, and deductibles as low as $0. Since 1926, this organization has offered insurance coverage to residents of 48 states as well as the District of Columbia.
On a range of commercial vehicles, such as cars, cargo vans, work vans, box trucks, pickup trucks, and utility trucks, commercial auto insurance is offered Nationwide; however, semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are not covered. Although you can get quotes over the phone or online, you’ll need to work with an agent to actually purchase a policy.
Businesses can get coverage from Nationwide with combined single-limit liability limits ranging from $300,000 to $1 million and deductibles ranging from zero to $1,000. There is also coverage for cargo and non-owners. With the online quote tool, we discovered that a business owner could get a 2018 Chevy Silverado with a $500 deductible, $300,000 in liability coverage, and $500,000 in uninsured motorist coverage for just $2,102 a year.
Roadside assistance, compensation for rental costs, new automobile replacement, and even gap coverage for loans and leases are all available options. You can add personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage to better safeguard your drivers and passengers.
With Nationwide, you can receive special rates for combining many policies, paying all of your premiums up front, installing anti-theft technology, or driving hybrid vehicles. Online or telephone claims submission options are available. According to the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Small Business Insurance Survey, Nationwide ranks sixth in terms of customer satisfaction and has an A+ financial strength grade from AM Best.
- Top-ranked in customer satisfaction
- Wide range of coverage and deductible options
- Submit claims online
- Need to work with an agent
- No coverage for semis or tractor trailers
- Not available in all states
Farmers may be worth a look if you’re looking for commercial auto insurance for a single company vehicle. With coverage that includes employee-owned vehicles, this insurer offers policies for a variety of sectors (when driving for business purposes). Liability, underinsured/uninsured motorists, and comprehensive plans are used to provide commercial auto protection.
Farmers also provide protection against losses and coverage for niche markets. When insuring a food truck, they can, for instance, provide coverage for food spoilage or food-borne illness as well as tools that are stolen from the contractor’s vehicle. Many other carriers frequently offer this kind of protection through standalone BOP plans.
Farmer’s doesn’t provide online quotations, so you’ll have to connect with a local agent to get a quote and purchase a policy. There are some restrictions on discounts. Claims can be made by phone or online, and discounts for bundling and good driving practices are among them.
Owners of policies can access their coverage at any time, anywhere, thanks to the well-regarded Farmers mobile app. Farmers placed fourth in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Small Business Insurance Survey regarding customer satisfaction. AM Best has rated the carrier’s financial strength as A-.
- Offered in all 50 states
- Highly specialized coverage options
- Many industries covered
- Top-rated mobile app
- No online quotes
- Need to work with an agent
- Limited discounts
Hartford, which has been around since 1810, is our top pick for commercial fleet auto insurance coverage. Businesses with fleets of five or more vehicles can make use of the tools this insurer offers to provide reliable coverage, assist with risk reduction, and help employees stay safe.
Protection for leased or loaned vehicles, downtime loss coverage, waivers of glass repair deductibles, and coverage for electronic equipment are just a few of the other coverages that Hartford offers without charging more. By providing discounts for many vehicles, full payment, or being a careful driver, they also make it simple to nab additional savings on your commercial fleet coverage.
Liability, comprehensive, collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist, medical costs, and non-owner coverage are available. Commercial fleets also offer the FleetAhead program, which uses wireless devices in cars to increase safety, handle accidents, and be eligible for further discounts. You must contact for information and price in your location as no online quotations are available.
Hartford offers “drive another car” protection for employees and business owners using their own or borrowed, rented, or leased automobiles for official business purposes. Moreover, Hartford will waive one of the deductibles if an incident necessitates making claims against two different coverages (resulting in two deductibles).
Claims can be lodged online or by phone twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. AM Best has rated Hartford’s financial strength as A+ at the moment. In the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Small Business Insurance Survey, they also received a score of 10 for customer satisfaction.
- Coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
- Complimentary coverages
- Specialized services and features for fleets
- No online quotes
- Limited options for single-vehicle policies
State Farm has won top awards for customer service in the commercial insurance industry. This carrier claims a second-place finish in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. In the Small Business Insurance Survey. In 2018, State Farm’s complaint index with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) was significantly below average. Nonetheless, it increased in 2019 to reach the average, then soared over in 2020.
Liability insurance choices for businesses include medical payments, comprehensive and collision coverage, as well as a liability (bodily harm and personal property). They provide extra coverage options, including employers’ non-owned car liability (ENOL), which expands policy coverage to include employee cars when used for work-related travel. In order to prevent many drivers from having to pay the higher costs associated with a business policy, this carrier also provides rideshare coverage choices on personal auto insurance policies.
State Farm does not provide online quotations; as a result, you must speak with an agent to obtain a quote and buy insurance. Claims can be submitted online, by phone, or through their highly regarded smartphone app.
State Farm, established in 1922, provides insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. You should talk to your local agent to find out what possibilities are available for your company because not all policies, coverage options, or discounts are available in every state. Moreover, AM Best has rated the carrier’s financial strength at the highest level, A++.
- Top customer satisfaction ratings
- Top financial strength ratings
- ENOL and rideshare coverage offered
- Available in all 50 states
- Online quotes are not offered
- Need to work with an agent
- Limited policy options
What happens when you don’t have the best commercial auto insurance?
When protecting your assets, having the best commercial auto insurance coverage can be quite important. This is especially true when you use your vehicle for work. Commercial auto insurance is required to lower the risk of potential loss regardless of whether you run a startup or a well-established firm. The policy prioritizes the needs of a business or company over those of an individual.
You may be exposed to financial danger and loss if you don’t have commercial auto insurance. If you have questions about what happens if you don’t have the best commercial auto insurance, then continue reading.
- No liability coverage
- You need to pay for the vehicle repairs
- No coverage for legal expense
- You don’t get comprehensive coverage for unrelated damages
No liability coverage
Let’s admit collisions or accidents don’t just affect cars or vehicles. They often cause costly damage to nearby buildings and properties. In such incidences, you need an insurance policy that offers comprehensive protection if you or your employed driver damages property or vehicle.
When you don’t have commercial auto insurance, you don’t get liability coverage for damage caused to someone’s property. That means you must pay for the damages you or your driver have caused to someone else’s property.
You need to pay for the vehicle repairs
When it comes to collision protection, you have to pay for car repairs for your vehicle and the ones you hit. It is because personal auto insurance doesn’t reimburse policyholders for vehicle repair costs they need after a car crash. In other words, not having commercial car insurance means there is no coverage or extra protection layer for an underinsured and uninsured motorist.
No coverage for legal expense
Collisions or accidents often result in physical harm and costly medical expenses for you and the people involved in it. Although some personal car insurance policies offer some protection for medical expenses and lost wages, they might not cover your legal expenses. This is when you need the best commercial auto insurance to bear the expenses of a lawsuit or legal charges filed against you.
You don’t get comprehensive coverage for unrelated damages
As mentioned above, accidents and car crashes are not the only sources that can damage your vehicle you need to consider. While personal insurance includes statutory benefits for accidents, it doesn’t offer you comprehensive protection for unrelated damages such as theft, vandalism, and floods.
The number of vehicles your company owns, the amount of coverage you require, the nature of your business, and whether or not employees will use their personal vehicles for work-related errands are just a few of the personal factors that will influence which commercial car insurance policy is best for your company. Depending on whether you want to protect a fleet of vehicles as a whole, a single vehicle, or just want a top all-around carrier, certain insurance companies will be a better fit for you.
Thus before choosing suitable insurance to get the best commercial auto insurance, you must go through the important factors about commercial auto insurance, like the importance of getting one, what happens if you don’t get one, etc. By doing this, you can make a well-informed decision and safeguard your finances by not getting involved in issues related to your commercial vehicles.