Business owners sometimes overlook the need for commercial auto insurance. When vehicles are used for business, however, it’s important to maintain additional coverage that protects not only the vehicle and driver but also the employees and the business itself.
What Is Commercial Auto Insurance?
A commercial auto insurance policy is similar to a personal auto insurance policy. However, it usually includes expanded liability coverage. These higher limits are necessary to cover the higher potential losses when an incident involving a business vehicle occurs.
What Types of Businesses Need This Coverage?
Commercial auto insurance isn’t limited to heavy-duty vehicles. Any person who drives a car, truck, or SUV during the course of conducting business should be covered by this type of policy. Other types of vehicles that need a commercial auto policy include, but are not limited to, limousines and passenger vehicles, flatbeds, utility vans, delivery trucks, catering trucks, taxicabs, and work vehicles outfitted with equipment.
How Much Coverage Do Businesses Need?
The policy should pay for injury to employees, passengers, and other drivers, as well as the cost of replacing damaged vehicles, supplies, inventory, and equipment. Beyond liability, business owners can add special coverage for cargo, employees, and lawsuits against the company.
Most states, including Pennsylvania, have requirements for commercial auto insurance coverage. According to the PA Public Utility Commission, business vehicles with a seating capacity of up to 15 passengers must carry at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability per passenger, $30,000 in liability per incident, and $5,000 for property damage. Vehicles seating 16 to 28 passengers are required to carry at least $1 million in commercial liability insurance, and vehicles seating 29 or more passengers must be covered by a policy worth at least $5 million. Cargo vehicles must carry at least $300,000 in personal injury liability and $5,000 in property liability coverage.
Those who finance or rent commercial vehicles might have additional coverage requirements from the bank. This usually includes comprehensive and collision policies, which cover at-fault accidents, as well as damage caused by inclement weather and other unexpected events.
If your business requires the use of vehicles, contact Balliet Gilmartin Insurance to explore your coverage options. We’re an independent agency that has been serving Carbon County clients for more than 20 years. For excellent customer service and guidance from our knowledgeable, professional staff, call us today at 570-386-8001 to request a quote.
Auto insurance is confusing for many people, with many different types of coverage available and requirements varying from state to state. Nearly every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of coverage, but that isn’t adequate for every driver. Here’s how to know whether to choose the bare minimum or opt for full coverage.
State Minimum Coverage
Pennsylvania requires drivers to carry $15,000 bodily injury liability per person ($30,000 per accident), plus $5,000 property damage liability and $5,000 first party medical benefits. Drivers should also choose between limited or full tort coverage. This is the least amount of coverage a driver can have to drive legally, so it’s usually the cheapest option. It does not protect the driver’s own vehicle. While carrying minimum coverage is better than driving uninsured, it usually won’t cover all accident-related expenses. In 2016, the average bodily injury liability costs were above $16,000, with property damage liability costs nearing $4,000, per accident, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Accidents involving multiple vehicles—or expensive ones—will be more expensive. Drivers without sufficient auto insurance could be sued for that money.
While not a type of auto insurance itself, “full coverage” refers to having enough coverage to also protect the driver and their vehicle in nearly every case. Full coverage is often made of coverage including bodily injury liability, property damage, and the following:
- Collision coverage, which fixes the driver’s vehicle in a collision
- Comprehensive coverage, which covers scenarios including storm damage, theft, etc.
- Medical payments to cover the driver’s medical expenses if he is a named insured or resident relative of the named insured
- Uninsured motorist coverage, which kicks in if an at-fault driver has no insurance
- Underinsured motorist coverage, which kicks in if an at-fault driver has too little insurance to cover the accident
Some policies may offer additional coverage, like roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement. Although it comes with a higher premium, carrying full coverage is the best way to ensure complete protection in the event of an accident.
What Coverage Do I Need?
In Pennsylvania, you’ll need at least the state minimum. Any additional coverage will depend on your personal situation. If you’re unemployed, rarely drive, or drive a 20-year-old vehicle, the minimum may be all you need. If you drive a brand new car, you’ll likely want full coverage. If you own substantial assets like a home, business, or savings account, full coverage is also a wise investment. If you aren’t sure which option to choose, let Balliet Gilmartin Insurance help you decide. We’ll learn about your assets, vehicles, and driving habits, then we’ll shop around with more than a dozen carriers to find the best coverage for you. Contact us or call Balliet Gilmartin Insurance today at 570-386-8001 to learn more.
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