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Commercial Auto Insurance Information
As a business owner, commercial auto is part and parcel of your business.
You need a commercial auto policy if:
• Your business owns, leases or rents any vehicles
• Employees drive company-owned, leased or rented vehicles
• Employees drive their own vehicles while conducting business for your company
• You or your employees drive company cars for both business and personal use
These coverage include bodily injury and property damage liability, coverage for uninsured and under-insured motorists, collision and comprehensive, medical payments, towing and rental car. In fact, many business people use the same vehicle for both business and pleasure. If the vehicle is owned by the business, make sure the name of the business appears on the policy as the “principal insured” rather than your name. This will avoid possible confusion in the event that you need to file a claim or a claim is filed against you. If you or an employee of your company sued following a serious accident in a car or truck you own, liability insurance helps protect your company’s assets.
Is minimum coverage enough?
Minimum required commercial auto liability coverage varies by state, and typically is the same for both personal and commercial auto liability policies. Many businesses prefer coverage far beyond state-minimum coverage level. If an injured party sues your company for a larger amount than the minimal policy covers, it could drive your company out of business.
There are no clear rules as to how much business auto coverage you may need. We recommend that you choose at least $100,000 commercial auto liability limit for each vehicle. However, to be on the safe side, we recommend a coverage of $500,000 to $1 million per occurrence.
A good insurance agent will ask many details about how you use vehicles in your business, who will be driving them and whether employees, if any, are likely to be driving their own cars for your business.
While the major coverages are the same, a Commercial auto policy differs from a personal auto policy in many technical respects. Ask your insurance agent to explain all the differences and options.
Unfortunately for every business owner, the chances of getting sued have dramatically increased in the last decade. General liability insurance (GL) can protect you from a variety of claims including bodily injury, property damage, personal injury and others that can arise from your business operations. As a contractor or small business owner, you need some form of general liability protection to safeguard your business operations. If you’re a contractor and do not own any commercial buildings, you might only need general liability, not a Business Owners Policy, BOP.
Examples of General Liability Coverages
• Bodily Injury, including the cost of care, hospitalization, the loss of services, and the restitution for any death that results from injury
• Property Damage coverage for any physical damage to property of others or the loss of use of that property
• Products-Completed Operations provides liability protection (damages and legal expenses up to your policy’s limit) if an injury ever resulted from a product your company made or service your company provided
• Contractual Liability extends to any liability you may assume by entering into a variety of contracts
Business Owners Policy (BOP) and Commercial Package:
Business Owners policies combine liability protection with building property and business property protection in one package. Package policies are created for businesses that generally face the same kind and degree of risk. Larger companies might purchase a commercial package policy or customize their policies to meet the special risks they face.
BOPs do NOT cover professional liability, auto insurance, worker’s compensation or health and disability insurance. You’ll need separate insurance policies to cover professional services, vehicles and your employees.
BOP coverage include:
• Property insurance for buildings and contents owned by your company
• Business interruption insurance, which covers the loss of income resulting from a fire or other perils that disrupt the operation of the business. It can also include the extra expense of operating out of a temporary location
• Liability coverage, which covers your company’s legal responsibility for the loss it may cause to others. The loss could be the result of things that you or your employees do or fail to do in your business operations that may cause bodily injury or property damage to others. It could be due to defective products, faulty installations or errors in services provided.
Workers’ compensation pays for doctors’ visits, hospital and medical expenses that are necessary to diagnose and treat your injury. But it also provides disability payments while you are unable to work (typically, up to two-thirds of your regular salary), and may pay for rehabilitation, retraining, and other benefits as well.
Workers compensation laws were created to ensure that employees who are injured on the job are provided with adequate coverages. This eliminates the need for litigation and creates an easier process for the employee and helps control the financial risks for employers since many states limit the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer.
As a protection for employees, most states require that employers carry some form of Workers Compensation Insurance. Workers Compensation Insurance is not health insurance. Workers Compensation is designed specifically for injuries or diseases sustained on the job.
In most states, if you have employees, you are required to carry Workers Compensation coverage. Even in non-mandatory states, you would better carry it, especially if you have many employees and they are engaged in hazardous tasks.
Who needs workers compensation insurance?
Employers have a legal responsibility to their employees to make the workplace safe. However, accidents happen even when every reasonable safety measure are taken.
Workers compensation insurance covers workers who are injured on the job, whether they’re hurt on the workplace premises or elsewhere in the course of duty, or in auto accidents while on business. It also covers work-related illnesses. Workers compensation provides payments to injured workers, without regard to who was at fault in the accident. It also provides death benefits to surviving spouses and dependents.
Workers compensation insurance must be bought as a separate policy.