Opening a business is a significant achievement involving heavy investment. However, operating a business can be complicated, as you have to navigate unique risks. Your business could be sued at any time. Perhaps you plan to offer delivery service in order to reach a new segment of customers. Commercial auto insurance in Florida can help protect your business while you are on the road.
Business owners need various types of commercial insurance coverage in order to protect their business completely. If you use vehicles to help your business function, commercial auto insurance is essential.
Commercial Auto Insurance Explained
Commercial auto insurance offers coverage similar to personal auto policies; however, they are specifically designed to cover any vehicles you use for business-related purposes. Commercial auto insurance covers different types of vehicles: cars, utility trucks, cargo vans, limos, taxis, and other vehicles. Commercial auto insurance policies cover owned, leased, rented, and hired vehicles. You can also obtain commercial auto coverage for any equipment that you have inside the vehicle. This protects you if the work equipment is stolen or vandalized. Commercial auto insurance protects your employees and any passengers in the vehicle if they are involved or injured in an accident. Liability coverage protects your business if you are sued as a result of your vehicles injuring someone or damaging their property. Commercial auto insurance helps your business function at its maximum level and protects you in emergency situations.
Using Personal Auto Insurance for Business Vehicles
You cannot use personal auto insurance to cover your commercial vehicles. Operating a vehicle is relatively high risk because of the variables that you have to deal with on the road. Business vehicles are seen as riskier than personal vehicles because you use them more frequently, and they are also viewed as more valuable. Your personal auto insurance does not factor in using the vehicle for business-related purposes. If you are involved in an accident with your personal vehicle while conducting business, the insurer could deny your claims or even drop your policy. If you avoid telling your insurer that you are using your personal vehicle for business, you are withholding information, which may be viewed as insurance fraud. This may cause the insurance company to raise premiums. Luckily, commercial auto insurance premiums are tax-deductible. You can also receive a tax break for owning a commercial vehicle.
Commercial Use Policies
If you only use your personal vehicle for commercial purposes on special occasions, you may still be protected under your personal auto policy. However, you must inform your insurer about such usage when you first purchase the policy. There are some instances where you may have no other option but to use your personal vehicle for commercial purposes. You will receive a small tax break for the operating costs. If you want to change your policy, speak to your insurer to know which type of coverage will benefit your business the most.
What about Your Employees?
Normally, you can protect your employees through workers’ compensation coverage. However, you can also cover your employees through commercial auto insurance. If your employees are driving your business car regularly, you can list them on your commercial policy. You also have the option to add your employees as permissive users. Your employees are classified as permissive users if they don’t drive regularly but are supposed to complete occasional tasks, such as quick drop-offs. It’s important to note that employees commuting to work in their personal vehicles are not covered under your commercial auto insurance policy. This is because even though your employees were on the road due to work, they were not working while driving. If you know that some of your employees will be using their personal vehicles to perform business-related tasks, you can add the non-owned vehicle to your commercial policy. That way, they will be covered if they get involved in an accident while working. Contact your insurance provider to get non-owned physical damage coverage added to your policy. In most cases, commercial auto insurance is designed to protect the financial interests of the business and not the employees.
Commercial auto insurance policies in Florida must provide a minimum amount of coverage. You are legally obligated to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and property damage liability coverage in order to operate your business.
Other Common Types of Coverage
Bodily injury liability coverage protects your business if you are sued after your vehicle hits someone.
Property damage liability coverage protects your business if your company vehicle hits a wall or object and causes damage.
This coverage protects your business if one of your rented or borrowed commercial vehicles causes damage while being used for work-related endeavors.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects your business if you are involved in an accident with someone who does not have insurance.
Collision coverage protects your commercial vehicle if it suffers damages due to impact with another vehicle or object.
Comprehensive coverage protects your commercial vehicle if it’s stolen, vandalized, or damaged due to inclement weather.
Medical payments coverage protects you and any passengers in the vehicle if you are injured in an auto accident while performing work-related tasks.
Other Things to Consider
If you are a taxi driver or work for a ride-sharing app, you should be able to find coverage. However, the process is complicated, as there are multiple risks involved in transporting your customers to their destination. Once you have picked up a customer, you should be covered under the company’s commercial auto insurance policy. However, you are expected to have a level of protection on your personal policy before receiving coverage from your employer. So let your auto insurance company know that you are a ride-sharing driver. You may even qualify for a special policy that prevents gaps in your coverage.
Consult with Locke Insurance Group
You need commercial auto insurance if your business functions through meeting clients, delivering services, and hauling equipment. Simply relying on your personal auto insurance could be a huge mistake. Speak with our insurance experts to evaluate your options. Your business may qualify for a rider or floater so that your business is protected in every situation. If you have any questions, our team at Locke Insurance Group is here to assist you.