If you’re new to the world of commercial car insurance, it can be a bit overwhelming. Panorama Insurance Northridge, CA has put together a helpful list of frequently asked questions to get you started off on the right foot. The most important thing to know is that your personal auto insurance does not cover vehicles used for work.
Commercial vehicle insurance in California is similar to the coverage you have on your personal, privately-owned vehicle. The main difference is that the covered vehicles are owned by a business entity, not by a human being. If one of your business’ vehicles is involved in an accident, your commercial vehicle coverage can help with collisions, lawsuit damages, property damage, legal bills, weather damage, medical expenses, and other types of incidents. Additional coverage can also protect your fleet from vandalism and theft.
You can choose to insure your business’ vehicles one by one or as a fleet. If one of your employees causes an accident that leads to an injury in your vehicle, your commercial car insurance policy covers the expenses related to that claim up to your policy limit. What is known as an “umbrella policy” is another option to cover your business even beyond the normal policy limit. It is usually offered in one million dollar increments.
Forty-eight states do legally require that vehicles owned by a company have commercial coverage (Virginia and New Hampshire are the exceptions). What if my California business uses rented or leased vehicles for work purposes? Then you’ll want to look into what’s called “Non-Owned” and/or “Hired” vehicle insurance. Policies like these are crucial if your employees drive their own vehicles for work purposes.
The state you live in determines the requirements for the commercial car insurance that you’ll need. Typically, each state will have a limit required for property damage, bodily injury, liability, and uninsured motorist coverage. Of course, you are always welcome to purchase more than just the minimum required by state law.
Most rideshare apps do offer a free-of-charge policy that covers you while you are driving for that particular app. Be sure to confirm the specifics as each app is unique. Get all the details because, for example, some delivery apps will not cover you if an accident occurs even just 5 seconds after you complete a delivery (Uber Eats). You do need to disclose that you are driving rideshare to your insurance company as well. This will most likely increase the amount you currently pay for coverage. Be aware that despite all this, many rideshare accidents will indeed rely on the driver’s individual policy.
If a self-employed DJ (not incorporated) uses her or his personal vehicle to transport speakers and lights to a wedding, is that a work vehicle? It depends on how often that sole proprietor is transporting equipment. If you regularly use your personal car or truck for
things like these, you should consider a commercial insurance policy:
Panorama Insurance can help, whether you are a rideshare driver or own a fleet of semi-trucks. Contact us today to get started protecting your business.