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Commercial auto insurance

What is the difference between personal and commercial auto insurance policies?

Typically, commercial auto insurance policies have higher liability limits. They also may cover rented and other nonowned vehicles, including employees’ cars driven for company business.

How do I know whether I need a personal or commercial policy?

Factors that determine this include:

  • Who owns or leases the vehicle – you individually or the business as an entity
  • Who drives the vehicle – you or your employees
  • The vehicle’s primary use – for example, transporting people, delivering packages, or carrying hazardous materials

Discuss these matters with a licensed insurance agent knowledgeable about commercial auto insurance. Consider the purchase of collision and comprehensive coverage to protect yourself against damage to your vehicle.

Commercial auto insurance tips

If your business owns or leases a vehicle, make sure its name is listed on the policy as the principal insured. If your employees operate a company car, make sure they have good driving records and are trained properly. Consider increasing insurance on your business vehicle to cover permanently attached items, such as a generator or tool box.

How can I lower my premiums?

These factors can affect the cost of your insurance premiums:

  • The type of vehicle driven. If you are buying or leasing a new car or truck, check the insurance rates before you make your final choice.
  • Safety devices. If you are buying or leasing a new vehicle, consider getting one with anti-lock brakes, side air bags, automatic seat belts, and daytime running lights.
  • Anti-theft devices – an alarm system and a global positioning system – so that your vehicle can be located if it is stolen.
  • Where you park your vehicle. If you have access to an indoor garage or locked parking lot – places that decrease the likelihood of theft – you may qualify for lower premiums.
  • The geographic region in which your business operates. For example, areas prone to extreme weather (hail, wind storms, hurricanes, etc.), higher traffic patterns, or higher risk of theft may have higher insurance rates.
  • The number of claims you have previously filed.
  • The coverage limits you choose – the higher the coverage amount, the higher your premium. If you are using your vehicle to conduct business, you may want to consider a higher liability limit so that coverage protects both your business and personal assets if you are sued due to an accident.
  • Your policy’s deductible amount. The deductible is the amount of money that you agree to pay as part of a claim before your insurer pays the remaining amount toward that claim. For example, if your vehicle incurs $1,000 of damage in an accident and your deductible is $250, you pay the first $250 and your insurer pays the remaining $750. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

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