Operating a vehicle for business means taking care of it. By doing so, you keep yourself safe and the vehicle in good condition. You also extend a degree of safety and protection to the business itself. What can you do, as a business owner and driver, to protect the vehicle?
Always follow a comprehensive maintenance and operating plan for your vehicles. Furthermore, carry targeted commercial auto insurance to suit your drivers and vehicles.
Why You Need to Protect Commercial Vehicles
A commercial vehicle is one used during regular business activities. For insurance purposes, the following vehicles often qualify as commercial:
- Vehicles owned by the business
- Vehicles provided to employees by the business
- Personally-owned vehicles used significantly in business practices
Driving to work, or running to the store during work, often doesn't qualify your vehicle as commercial. However, the vehicles of realtors or traveling salespeople are often considered commercial vehicles. That's because, by operating these vehicles, the drivers pose a risk to the business. Should a problem occur, the business could stand to lose out.
It's up to you to determine whether vehicles in your possession qualify as commercial. If they do, you'll likely need to enroll in specific insurance coverage and undertake targeted upkeep. By doing so, you'll put the business in a more secure financial position.
Insuring Your Vehicle
The biggest impact of a commercial vehicle classification will likely be on your insurance qualifications. If you have a commercial vehicle, you'll need commercial auto insurance.
Commercial auto coverage generally protects the business' investment in the vehicle. Therefore, if a problem arises, the business and vehicle operators will have protection. A commercial policy is thus much more secure for the business than a standard auto policy. Indeed, many standard policies become void when someone uses a car for business. As a result, most businesses only have the choice of commercial policies.
You'll face quite a few coverage choices when it comes to getting commercial auto insurance. In many ways, your coverage will look like a standard policy. It might contain:
- Liability Insurance: Your state will likely require you to carry this coverage. It helps you compensate others harmed by your actions behind the wheel. If you cause a wreck and damage someone else's car, your liability coverage can help that party pay for repairs.
- Collision Coverage: If the vehicle becomes damaged in a wreck, turn to this coverage. It will pay to have the vehicle repaired.
- Comprehensive Insurance: This coverage insures damage caused by non-accident hazards. For example, if a vehicle gets stolen, or damaged in a storm, this coverage might come into play.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage: You might have an accident in which another driver is at-fault. They might not have appropriate liability insurance to compensate you, however. In such a case, uninsured/underinsured coverage can help you pay for your own losses.
- Medical Payments Coverage: If a driver or passengers in the vehicle sustain injuries, this coverage might help them pay for their medical bills.
- Hired Auto Insurance: You need this coverage if you rent a vehicle from another provider to use for your business.
- Non-Owned Coverage: This coverage will extend to employees who occasionally use their own vehicles for business purposes.
You'll need to tailor the coverage limits within each policy to your specifications.
- Your limits to coverage will need to reflect the value of the vehicle and business assets.
- Most businesses should consider adding such coverage options as cargo protection or umbrella liability insurance. With these extra elements, you can better insure your driving risks.
Talk to one of our agents to determine what is right for you. We can help you tailor your commercial policy to meet the exact nature of your commercial vehicles.
Safety And Security For Company Cars
Regardless of how much insurance you carry, make vehicle safety your priority. By doing so, you reduce the risks of problems occurring while you're in the vehicle. Therefore, your chances of ever having to file an insurance claim will decrease. As a result, you'll likely face a lower risk of paying higher premiums for coverage.
What are some of the steps you can take to protect the vehicle?
- Use a comprehensive security process on the vehicle. Arm and maintain alarm systems. Keep the vehicles stored in appropriate areas. Consider additional security steps, such as steering wheel bars, for added protection.
- Carefully monitor employee drivers. Only qualified individuals with verified safety records should operate these vehicles. Keep the documentation for these drivers on file. At times, you can install tracking devices on vehicles to keep better tabs on operators.
- Ensure that all vehicles in your direct care receive regular maintenance. Change the oil, light bulbs and tires at regular intervals. Don't operate vehicles that show signs of damage.
Of course, whether you or others drive these vehicles, always obey the rules of the road. The closer attention you pay to the road around you, the lower your chances of problems. Being a conscientious driver is one of the best ways to stay safe.