Businesses that own vehicles or have any employee drivers operating under their authority need to have appropriate commercial auto insurance. However, comprehensive vehicle insurance for businesses can mean more than just protecting the vehicles and drivers. It also means protecting the cargo you carry with you. How can your commercial auto insurance work with you to address this need?
Commercial auto insurance is designed to integrate with all of the other policies in your business insurance portfolio. Often, you can find cargo coverage that will work alongside your commercial auto policy to protect any shipments, equipment or other business materials carried in a company car. However, you must tailor your coverage appropriately to your commercial needs.
That’s why our agents are committed to working with you to develop the right protection. Take a closer look at how you can build the appropriate cargo protection for your company.
The Basics of Commercial Auto Insurance
If someone drives a vehicle for business purposes (outside of commuting), then they will likely need commercial auto insurance. Even if you drive your personal car for business, your personal auto policy will likely become void during that time. Therefore, your company will likely need its own commercial policy. It can cover both vehicles owned by the business and hired, renter or employee-owned cars used for commercial purposes.
Under your commercial auto insurance policy, you will receive several different types of benefits:
- Liability Insurance
- Collision Coverage
- Comprehensive Coverage
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
- Rental Car Coverage
- Roadside Assistance
Though this coverage will look a lot like what you could find on your standard car insurance, it will contain specially tailored terms and limits. It will address the specific risks and liabilities that the business, not just the individual driver, assumes by operating.
Where Does Cargo Coverage Come Into Play?
There are many niche risks that are present for commercial drivers, and commercial auto coverage might be able to help you address them. One benefit that you should never hesitate to get coverage for is cargo of any type carried within the vehicle.
You might carry your own business equipment within company vehicles regularly. Plus, you might also transport others’ possessions for shipment or delivery. If a wreck or any other type of vehicle damage occurs, then cargo can sustain damage, too. In either case, you might face costly replacement costs as you try to recover the lost items.
Therefore, it’s important to see how you need to augment your commercial auto policy and overall business insurance portfolio. Often, this will mean taking some special steps.
When trying to insure your commercial cargo, the most important thing to remember is that commercial auto insurance alone will not cover damage to items carried in vehicles. Therefore, you will likely need to apply for an additional type of benefit called inland marine insurance.
Expanding Your Protection With Inland Marine Insurance
Though you might have to buy inland marine insurance separately from commercial auto coverage, the two are closely related. They will work together in the event of damage or losses to cargo.
Inland marine insurance is designed specifically for business materials or assets transported off your company premises. These policies were initially created back when river transport was the primary mode of shipping goods throughout the United States. However, as shipping has now shifted to the highway system, the definition of inland marine insurance has expanded, too.
These policies are designed to help customers in several ways:
- The business itself is able to insure its personal assets when it transports them away from its primary location. Therefore, if you transport essential or high-value equipment, including electronics, then this coverage can help you protect them in case you have a wreck or if another hazard causes damage.
- Inland marine policies also cover the possessions of others left in your care. For example, if you repair furniture, and you are going to deliver a finished project to a customer, then this coverage can insure it. Should something happen to the item, then this coverage can help you repay the customer for the items.
- If you operate a shipping business, then you will likely need a specific type of coverage called motor truck cargo insurance. It is designed to help you cover the high cargo value that you will transport on a daily basis.
Keep in mind, however, that while inland marine and commercial auto insurance will provide exceptional coverage, not all cargo damage will mandate a claim. For example, even though a wreck might damage your commercial vehicle and cargo, the wreck might not be your fault. Therefore, if you live in an at-fault state, then it might be the responsibility of the driver who caused the wreck to repay you and others for their losses.
However, this is not a pass to not carry inland marine insurance or commercial auto insurance. Your commercial vehicles, their drivers and contents need insurance at all times. With the help of your agent, you can develop far-reaching but affordable protection for all the assets in your care.
Also Read: Convenient Ways to Save on Your Commercial Auto Insurance
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