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Commercial vehicle insurance – Coverage, purpose, and things to consider

Commercial vehicle insurance – Coverage, purpose, and things to consider

Commercial vehicle insurance is similar to personal auto insurance but covers the automobile you own, buy, or lease for business purposes. It can cover vehicles you exclusively get for business use or vehicles you or your employees use for business purposes. For example, commercial auto insurance can cover your car if you use it to commute to work or on business trips. Here, the policy covers physical damage not covered by personal auto insurance.

Eligible vehicles
The vehicles covered under commercial vehicle insurance are box trucks, company cars, delivery trucks or vans, dump trucks, food trucks, forklifts or other construction vehicles, service utility trucks, and commercial vans.

What does insurance cover?
Like personal auto insurance, commercial vehicle insurance covers liability and collision damage. The policy helps prevent or deal with lawsuits if you or your employees are involved in an accident. Apart from the basic coverage, commercial vehicle insurance can cover the following:

Healthcare payments or personal injury claims
Damage caused to commercial vehicles due to weather, theft, or vandalism
Damage caused by drivers with no or insufficient insurance
Cost of a rental vehicle until your vehicle gets serviced or repaired
Rental vehicles used to transport employees
Owner’s or employee’s vehicles used for business purposes

The policy includes the following types of coverage:

Collision coverage: Here, the insurance covers healthcare costs and repairs for your vehicle in the case of an accident.
Bodily injury liability coverage: The policy pays for bodily injury or death in an accident caused by you. The coverage also includes legal defense.
Property damage liability coverage: If your vehicle is involved in an accident and damages another person’s property, the insurance pays for any damages, and you can avail of legal defense.
Combined single-limit (CSL): A CSL policy groups damages to property and bodily injuries in a claim, limiting coverage to a single dollar amount.
Personal injury coverage: If the occupants of a commercial vehicle suffer injuries, this coverage pays for all their health expenses, irrespective of who was at fault.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: Some drivers may be uninsured or underinsured. If they cause an accident, the commercial auto insurance policy can pay for your bodily injuries and property damage.
Comprehensive physical damage coverage: Here, the policy pays for damages that your vehicle may suffer due to weather, vandalism, theft, flood, or fire.

Who needs commercial vehicle insurance?
If you have personal auto insurance and your vehicle is used for business purposes, you should buy commercial auto insurance. You should also consider the policy if your business uses vehicles transporting people or goods. Without commercial auto insurance, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for vehicle repairs in a collision. The policy offers protection against uninsured drivers, helps you pay treatment expenses, and covers free legal advice.

Things to consider
Before getting an insurance policy, you should assess the usage of the automobile, its type, and other features. Commercial vehicle insurance is mandatory in some states if you move people or goods across state borders. Additional coverage may be required if your vehicles are involved in the following activities:

Delivering food, books, or other products
Transporting hazardous or flammable material
Carrying equipment
Towing other vehicles
Moving freight

Commercial vehicle insurance costs depend on the size, type, and the number of vehicles used for business purposes. The number of insured drivers also determines the cost, and if you use leased or hired vehicles, the cost can be influenced by the number of employees who drive company vehicles. The most important factor determining the insurance cost is the coverage amount you want.