Comprehensive coverage or “full coverage” is just about the best kind of car insurance you can get. Essentially, it’s the full package of bodily injury and property damage liability paired coverage combined with personal injury protection. For commercial insurance, full coverage can take two different forms:  a named operator policy, or a business owner policy.  The basic difference here is that one form of insurance covers the car with a list of approved drivers, and the other type covers the driver on any car.

For your own business’s insurance policy, you’ll have to decide how much to invest in your employees. One benefit of the business owner policy is that the premium is generally less expensive as it only covers your employees while they’re driving a company car, specifically for company business. This is the policy that follows the vehicle rather than the driver. A shortcoming of this protection is that if your employees end up in a collision in a company car, while conducting anything but company business, they won’t be covered. Non-owner, or named operator policies follow the driver rather than any specific vehicle.

The benefit of this plan, is that no matter what your employees are doing, or in what vehicle they drive, they’ll always be insured. While this is a slightly more expensive policy, having the freedom to drive any car can increase efficiency, depending on your business. The downfall of this type of insurance is that you as an employer are paying to insure your employee on his or her personal time as well. This sort of policy can be dangerous for a business owner with a deductable, especially if a normally responsible employee at work engages in risky behaviour at home. Of course, there are provisions as with any group policy, to limit your liability when your employee is off the clock, it’s just a matter of sitting down with a professional and hashing it out.

Comprehensive coverage limits for small businesses tend to pay out between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000 depending on the amount of coverage you choose. Generally speaking, businesses opting for a higher limit in comprehensive coverage will pay their premium “in excess.” An in excess premium for a business can be optional or mandatory depending on the garage zip code, solvency of the business, employee driving records, and potentially hazardous material conveyance clauses. In excess payments are set aside so that in the event of a collision, any damages incurred but not covered will be taken care of. At the end of the contract, in excess payments are often returned much as a safety deposit is returned barring excess payment.

Comprehensive coverage tends to work its “limits” differently than many other non-comprehensive policies. In most personal a commercial policies that aren’t comprehensive, the insurance agency pays out amounts in a “split limit.” A split limit will divide your total coverage payout; say $100,000 between bodily injury and property damage. Often there will be a disparity between the bodily injury limit and the property damage limit. Say your employee loses control of the vehicle sideswiping a row of five parked cars. No one is injured, but the incident caused damage to several different panels and totalled the final car in the row. Your $100,000 payout allows $85,000 for bodily injury but only $15,000 for property damage. While you have purchased $100,000 worth of coverage, you may end up in a lot of debt anyway.

However, with a combined single limit comprehensive coverage policy, you have one limit that covers every payout, in any covered event.

Another type of comprehensive insurance is called “collision coverage.” Both collision and comprehensive coverage have something called “uninsured motorist protection.” While many other insurance policies might offer it, comprehensive and collision coverage almost always include uninsured motorist protection. Uninsured motorist protection essentially saves a lot of time resolving in court, collisions wherein the at-fault motorist is uninsured or not covered by their insurance company for whatever reason. Basically how this form of insurance works is that the insurance company pays you for the damages up front, and then goes to court for you to extract the money from the offending motorist to settle the balance. Collision coverage also covers repairs or replacement in the event of a collision.

Finally, comprehensive coverage puts your mind at ease with some unexpected perks. For instance, if your car breaks and is in the shop, most policies carry “loss of use” policies in which the cost of your rental car is covered. Having a backup car to replace a downed company car can really help with mitigate a loss of revenue. Being the best insurance that money can buy, comprehensive coverage provides for towing, and also the replacement of damaged or stolen property inside of the car.

While you may not be able to afford comprehensive coverage now, as your business grows you might find that you can’t afford not to have it.