Commercial Auto Insurance
Who Does Business Auto Insurance Cover?
In most cases of commercial auto insurance, three categories of people are covered: the named (you), permissive users, and omnibus users.
Naturally, the named insured has the broadest coverage in your average commercial auto policy. It is important to note that as the named insured, you would also be covered in the case of an accident in which you were not a participant. Since employers are technically and vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees, you could be sued for such an act, in which case your commercial auto insurance would provide coverage.
Permissive users are people who are driving a covered vehicle that you own, hire or borrow, with your permission to do so. Omnibus insureds include anyone who is liable for both your conduct and the conduct of the permissive users. Basically, this means that coverage is provided to anyone who could potentially be held legally responsible for an accident caused by the named insured or the permissive user.
Permissive users are all employees who drive vehicles you own, hire or borrow for the needs of your businesses, assuming that all of the vehicles that are being used are covered by your insurance policy.
The widest coverage would include covering all of the vehicles that you need for business, regardless of whether you own them. For example, if your policy only covers vehicles that you own and an employee gets into an accident while driving a vehicle that your company is renting, you will not be covered.
It’s also important to note that most commercial auto policies do not cover employees who get into accidents while driving cars that they own, even if they were using the vehicle on company business.
What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?
One way in which personal and commercial auto insurance are similar is the fact that both offer a wide range of coverage that protects you and your vehicles, including:
Property damage liability: Covering costs that result from damages caused to someone else’s property.
Bodily injury liability: Covering costs that result from injuries caused to another person.
Personal injury protection: Covering costs that result from personal injuries, regardless of which driver was at fault.
Medical payments: Covering medical costs of you and your passengers, no matter who was at fault.
Collision: Covering costs that result from damages caused to your vehicle.
Gap insurance: If you total a vehicle that you are leasing, this coverage can cover the money that’s still owed on it.
What Doesn’t Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?
As with just about any type of insurance, there are exclusions when it comes to commercial auto insurance for risks that are either uninsurable or covered by other types of insurance policies, including:
Contractual liability: Any liability that you assume under some type of business contract.
Employer’s liability: Claims made against you by injured employees. These types of claims are covered by employer’s liability insurance.
Expected or intended injury: Bodily injury or property damage that was expected or intended from the standpoint of the insured. This usually applies when the insured named is involved in a claim for intentionally causing bodily injury or property damage.
Fellow employee injuries: Claims by one employee against another for an injury sustained on the job.
Handling of property: Claims related to injuries or damage that occur before you have begun loading property onto a vehicle. Commercial auto insurance will cover injuries or damages incurred during the process of loading property in and out of the vehicle, however.
Movement of property: Unless it’s a hand truck or a device that is attached to your vehicle, auto insurance will not cover injury or damage that results from the movement of property by a mechanical device.
Operation of mobile equipment: Injuries or damages that occurred on any mobile equipment that is not covered by the commercial auto policy (such as a forklift).
Pollution: Injuries resulting from automotive pollution are not covered.
Highly-Publicized Examples of Commercial Auto Insurance at Work
- Five children and two adults were killed in a multiple-vehicle crash on their way from Louisiana to Walt Disney World. The mother of one of the victims filed a lawsuit against the company of the truck driver involved in the crash. See: Mother of fatal I-75 crash victim filing lawsuit against truck company
- A Detroit woman who was a passenger in a high-speed collision while riding in a Lyft sued both Lyft and Uber ride services for millions of dollars, alleging that her driver was distracted by pickup notifications, causing him to crash. See: Injured Detroit woman sues, blaming Lyft and Uber for crash
- A former trooper with the Wyoming Highway Patrol sued the owner of a food delivery truck that turned in front of his patrol car and caused a head-on crash in 2015. The trooper sought compensation for the injuries sustained in the collision. See: Former trooper sues trucking company over vehicle crash
- A Coca-Cola truck collided with a van and slammed into scaffolding outside a Bronx apartment building. In this case, the Coca-Cola company was liable for the damages caused by the accident. A commercial auto insurance policy would cover the damages to the victims, the property and all other costs. See: Coca-Cola truck hits building in deadly Bronx crash
Commercial Auto Insurance Costs
Your commercial auto insurance rates will depend on a lot of factors, including the driver (their driving record and experience) the number of drivers you need to cover, the type of vehicles you own (make, model, year, weight, etc.), how and for what purposes the vehicles are being used, coverage amount, and the level of risk that is determined by your insurer.
Here are some tips that can help you get lower premiums:
- Hire drivers with clean driver’s records and reports.
- Hire experience drivers between the ages of 30 and 65 years old.
- Use private passenger vehicles if possible instead of heavy-duty vans and trucks.
Now that you have a better understanding of commercial auto insurance, you may be wondering how all of this affects your business and where to go from here. If you need more help or information, you can reach out to our team of expert brokers. If you prefer to get started on intelligent quotes, create your Embroker account today.
Having a quality commercial auto insurance policy in place and a broker who can help you navigate the terms and conditions, as well as the claims process, can save you money and, more importantly, time.
Embroker is the easiest way to intelligently insure any business. We’re here to help!