If your business owns or operates vehicles (even just one) for official business purposes, then you might need commercial auto insurance. It’s there to protect not only the vehicles and their drivers, but also your business from the costly ramifications of accidents. It is much more unique than the standard auto insurance policy, which is why you can’t insure most business vehicles with private plans.
Commercial auto insurance will have to be a part of your company’s budget and overhead. That’s why it is only natural to want to pay an affordable price for it. Our agents are of course going to do everything that we can to help you save on your rates in all cases. Still, there are many specific and practical steps that you can take to save on your rates in the end.
What is Commercial Auto Insurance and Who Needs it?
Commercial auto insurance is designed specifically to cover the operating risks that are associated with vehicles owned and used by businesses. Drivers who might need this coverage include:
- Someone who uses their personal car on official business (besides commuting)
- Businesses that own vehicles and employ drivers for them.
- Employees who drive company-owned vehicles during their non-working hours.
To ensure that your business has appropriate liability insurance for drivers who use their personal cars for work, you will need to carry hired/non-owned auto liability coverage. If you plan to insure vehicles that the business itself owns, then you will need more expansive coverage including liability, collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist and medical payments coverage. Most states require commercial drivers to carry minimum levels of coverage.
Regardless, drivers should not have to pay exorbitant prices just to receive the coverage they need. No matter what plan you need, there are ways that you can work with your insurer to keep your costs affordable.
Ways to Manage Your Commercial Auto Insurance Costs
If you only buy minimal levels of commercial auto insurance in an effort to save money, then you are not doing yourself much of a favor. Though they might be cheaper, low levels of coverage offer low levels of protection. Therefore, you might put yourself at risk of paying high recovery costs in the future just because you wanted to save a few dollars in the present.
There are many other ways that the savvy commercial auto insurance holder can potentially save money. It’s often as simple as calling your insurer and asking them if they can:
Bundle Your Coverage
Most businesses have to carry numerous types of insurance to adequately insure themselves. Often, you can buy different policies from the same insurance company, which is called bundling.
By buying your commercial auto insurance and other business policies from the same company, you save yourself a lot of time and effort that you might waste trying to juggle different policies from different insurers. Therefore, many companies reward customers for their loyalty with lower premiums. Some will even allow you to bundle your commercial auto plan with personal auto and homeowners policies.
Review Your Plan for Unnecessary Coverage
You always need adequate levels of commercial auto coverage to protect yourself from financial losses. However, if you carry too much coverage, then you might wind up paying for a plan that isn’t providing you the best benefits. For example, if you still carry physical damage insurance on a paid-off, older vehicle, then you might actually be paying for a benefit that will provide little reimbursement in case of a claim. Ask your agent to help you review your policy periodically to make sure your coverage still fits your needs.
See if You Qualify for Discounts
Insurance companies often offer the safest drivers lower premiums and extra savings. For example, if you have no claims on your policy for a certain number of years, then you might qualify for a claims-free discount on your policy. This can help you save money, and if you haven’t got one on your policy already, then ask your agent if you qualify to add it.
Adjust Your Deductibles
Portions of your policy might include a deductible. This is a cost that you must pay for damage costs before your plan pays. So, if you have a $500 collision deductible, then you pay for the first $500 of your repair costs.
If you increase your deductibles, you agree to pay for more of your own losses out of pocket. Therefore, you shift this cost burden away from your insurer, and they might be able to offer you a lower rate. However, always be careful when increasing your deductibles, because these are costs that your business must pay on its own.
Ask About Payment Method Savings
One last perk to ask your agent about is whether you can save money by changing when or how you pay for your policy. Insurers want to make it easy for you to make payments and never let your plan lapse. Therefore, if you agree to pay for your policy in full at the start of your policy term, then you might qualify for a discount because you won’t have to pay again until it is time to renew your coverage. Not only that, but some insurers also offer savings if you agree to automatic payments which deduct from your account each payment period.
Also Read: What Insurance Covers Commercial Vehicle Passenger Injuries?
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