Car Insurance for Commercial Vehicles

By Desiree Baughman
Desiree maintains insurance licensure in 46 states, and by combining years of experience as a writer and insurance professional, she delivers information consumers can easily relate to and understand. A graduate of Sweet Briar College with a diverse writing portfolio, she regularly serves as an expert source and commentator for respected outlets like CBS Money, Bankrate, and Ragan.com.

Car Insurance for Commercial VehiclesHave a business and use a vehicle or fleet of vehicles for commercial purposes? Then you may require commercial vehicle insurance to fully protect your company and its assets. While each state has its own regulations as to whether or not a business owner or CDL (commercial driver’s license) holder requires commercial car insurance, this type of insurance is usually a wise investment for business owners as it provides additional coverage with higher liability limits.

What Is a Commercial Vehicle?

The term “commercial vehicle” is incredibly broad, and can apply to a variety of vehicles such as:

  • Passenger cars and vans
  • Mini vans
  • Ice cream trucks
  • Pizza delivery trucks
  • Landscaping vehicles
  • Hearses
  • Limousines
  • Fifth wheel trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Straight or box trucks
  • Refrigerated trucks

A large number of commercial vehicles cross county, state and country lines each and every day. The federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that of the 253,639,386 registered vehicles in the US in 2012, only:

  • 8,190,286 were single (straight) unit trucks
  • 2,469,094 were combination (tractor-trailer) trucks
  • 764,509 were buses

In that same year, 12.0% of all fatal accidents included at least one large truck or bus, with 6.6% of the total nonfatal accidents involving one or more large trucks or buses. That’s a high percentage of commercial vehicles being involved in an accident, particularly if you compare the total of all registered vehicles to the number of registered commercial vehicles.

The Difference Between Commercial and Personal Auto Insurance

The primary reason business owners should choose commercial auto insurance is that the extent and purpose of this coverage differs significantly from personal auto insurance. Depending on the vehicle being operated, coverage for commercial vehicles can include:

  • Trailer Interchange Insurance: Any trailers you don’t own yet haul under a trailer interchange agreement will be protected with this coverage.
  • Auto Liability: This type of liability coverage will apply to any new and existing vehicles, as well as to any commercial vehicles you hire and/or don’t own.
  • Rental Reimbursement with downtime: If you need to replace a commercial vehicle that’s temporarily inoperable, this coverage will help cover those costs.
  • Single-Deductible Options: Should you use specialized equipment for work, or haul a trailer, this coverage can be extended to protect these items, and you’ll only need to pay your deductible once for any claims applying to both your vehicle and trailer.

Talk To Your Car Insurance Company

Whether you own a fleet of trucks, are a small business owner using a personal car to run quick errands around town, or are self-employed, talk to your car insurance company to ensure your vehicle is covered when used during the course of business. Determining whether or not commercial car insurance is a good fit for you and your business can be complex, so you should enlist the help of a commercial car insurance agent who understands the laws of your state and who can assess your personal – or rather, your business – situation and needs. You work hard to make your business successful – make sure you protect that investment.