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Small Business Auto Insurance

Small business auto insurance or commercial auto insurance protects your business when you or your employees are out on the road doing company business or anytime they are driving company vehicles. This type of insurance coverage can pay for medical expenses if the driver of a company vehicle is involved in an at fault accident. It may also protect the business by paying for damage to property caused by the driver of a business vehicle or for the medical expenses of those the driver injured in the accident. This is important because if you don’t have enough small business auto insurance to cover the costs of the accident, the business will have to pay the costs.

Not just for accidents and property damage caused by your company vehicles or drivers, business auto insurance coverage may also cover damage to business cars, trucks, or vans that are caused by fire, theft, windstorms, hail, flood, and vandalism.

Small business auto insurance can provide coverage in company provided vehicles, or if your employees drive their own vehicles. Most states require businesses to have some type of commercial auto insurance. Check this interactive state map for the minimum basic auto insurance requirements in each state. The requirements for business liability may be different, but this gives you a starting point.

Why Your Small Business Needs Commercial Auto Insurance

If you lease, own, or rent any type of vehicle for your small business, you need to have small business auto insurance coverage. A commercial auto insurance policy will cover vans, cars, trucks, and any other type of motorized vehicle if it is used in the line of business. Business vehicles are not covered by personal auto insurance, nor are they covered by regular business liability insurance, you have to have a separate auto insurance policy for your small business.

If the business doesn’t own any vehicles, you rarely use your personal vehicle for business, and your employees don’t use there personal vehicles for business use, then you may be able to state on your personal vehicle policy that it is used occasionally for business and not be required to purchase a business auto insurance policy. You should check with the company that insures your personal vehicle to see if your circumstances allow this option.

Another option for small business owners if you have more than two vehicles that are used for business purposes is fleet insurance. This type of coverage is often used by businesses that have multiple vehicles. It can offer options like one deductible for all vehicles instead of a deductible for each individual vehicle. This way if several of your business vehicles are involved in the same accident, you only pay one deductible for the accident.

Cost Effective Tips for Small Business Auto Insurance

In order to find cost effective auto insurance coverage that will protect you or anyone else you permit to use a company car, truck and/or van, you should start buy getting several quotes on the same insurance limits and options from different companies. This part you can probably do online at a commercial insurance comparison website. This will allow you to compare pricing.

Once you’ve narrowed the field to a couple of quotes, talk to the agent or broker about your business specifics and if there are any options you haven’t considered. For instance you may want to provide roadside assistance in order to keep your driver with the vehicle if it breaks down. This can cut down on theft and vandalism of company vehicles.

You will want to ensure that the company you get your small business auto insurance from provides ongoing support so that as your business grows and changes you can keep your coverage up-to-date.

Summary

If you have any vehicles titled in the company’s name, or if lease, rent, or use any vehicle regularly for you business, then you should have a small business auto insurance policy. All states require some form of auto insurance and you are mandated by law to carry the required minimum. If you have employees use their own vehicles within the business, say for deliveries, then you should also have a business insurance policy to cover at least the liability of your company if your employee gets into an accident while using their vehicle for business purposes.

Small business auto insurance can cover physical damage to the insured vehicle, property damage done to stationary objects (like a telephone pole), damage done to company vehicles by a variety of causes outside an accident like fire, theft, vandalism, or hail, and even medical coverage for anyone injured in the accident, including the driver. There are also options available like roadside protection.

The cost of your small business insurance policy is determined by a number of factors, use, mileage driven, and the driving record of employed drivers.

Online Business Insurance Quote

Getting quotes online for your business insurance can prove to be an effective tool. You can get several quotes based on the same information, which provides an effective way to make price comparisons. Actually purchasing business insurance online might not be the best choice for your business. In fact, many online business insurance quote websites will send you the quotes, but to purchase you have to speak with an agent or broker.

When you are searching for online insurance quote sites for your business, it is important to understand that there are actually three types of websites that will provide insurance quotes.

The first is the insurer. This is a company’s website, say like State Farm, Progressive, or Safeco. You fill in the requested information for the type of business insurance you are interested in and the single insurer will provide you a quote and basic information on the policy. Typically on these websites, after you get the quote you will be contacted by an representative of the company to finalized the policy and make the purchase.

The second type of online insurance quote mirror’s the above, only after you received the quote from the insurer, instead of a representative calling you, the website will direct you to a search engine to allow you to choose a local agent that will take the quote, make sure you’ve considered all the options and understand the coverage, then the agent will finalize the business insurance policy and will become your point of contact with the insurer.

The third type of website is owned and operated by a third party, and this online service offers insurance quotes on multiple companies. You input the information on what you are looking for one time, the website sends this information out and you will typically get quotes from several different insurance companies. It is important to do a little research before choosing a third party website to get quotes. Many are legitimate, but some aren’t. Some may not even be licensed to sell insurance within your state. Once these third party companies give you the quotes, they often will urge you to purchase the policy online.

At this point it is up to you to decide if it is appropriate for your business to purchase business insurance online.

Deciding to Buy Business Insurance Online

If you got several business insurance quotes and are thinking about buying online, there are several things you should consider. Think about your business. Its size, how well you understand the liability risks that concern your business, and how well you manage those risks.

Small businesses may be okay with getting online insurance quotes and buying their insurance online. Small restaurants, offices, or retail stores with only a few employees and no delivery service might benefit from this service. Service providers like a small printer, dry cleaner, or package service might also be able to purchase their business insurance online.

But if you are a large company, have several employees, delivery trucks, or have specialized risks, such as handling pets or providing health related services, purchasing business insurance online is probably not a good idea. If your business has a fleet of vehicles, manufactures anything, is in the construction business in any way, or if you are a restaurant of any size that might have to deal with the liability of liquor consumption by diners, then you shouldn’t buy business insurance online.

You should be less inclined to purchase business insurance online the bigger you are, the more employees you have, or the more complicated your business becomes. At this point you may want to get several online business insurance quotes, then work with an agent once you’ve determined the company or companies you are really interested in doing business with.

Summary

Getting a selection of online business insurance quotes is a great way to compare pricing and policy options through several companies. Purchasing business insurance online should only be contemplated by those with a small, simple business that has no unusual or common risks associated with the business.

It is better if you get online business insurance quotes and then work with an agent to fine tune and purchase your policy. This way you will get more personalized service and some one specific to contact if you need to make changes in your policy or upgrade your coverage. The insurance agent should also be able to help you assess risks to your business and insure you’ve addressed all the areas of liability for your company.

There are also options that you may not realize you qualify for, for instance higher or combined deductibles, self-insured options, and other creative ideas. Working with an insurance professional to fine tune your policy will ensure that you’ve considered all the alternatives.

Understanding Car Insurance Needs

Young drivers aren’t particularly concerned with auto insurance, they are content being covered under their parent’s policy; however, there will come a day that understanding car insurance needs will become important. When this day comes, they need to know what type of insurance they need, what is required in their state and many other facts about car insurance. Relying on an insurance agent to help them decipher auto insurance can be a costly mistake since agents typically work on commission. The following information should help explain car insurance needs so that drivers can choose what is best for them and their situation.

Knowing the Laws and Requirements

The first thing that any driver needs to know is the laws that are put forth by their state regarding auto insurance. Forty-seven of the fifty-two states have laws that mandate drivers having at least liability insurance. This type of insurance covers any property damage or medical bills that arise as the result of an accident where the insured is at fault. In addition to liability insurance, there are fifteen states that also mandate Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance. This insurance pays for time lost from work due to a car accident and pays for medical bills.

If the car being insured has a lien against it, the lien holder will require collision and comprehensive insurance in order to protect their investment in the vehicle. These two types of insurance cover damages to the vehicle in the event of accidents, acts of nature and other events.

These are just a few examples of the laws and regulations that states and other interested parties have in place to protect drivers. There are additional laws for high risk drivers and other situations. It is important to get an understanding of what is required before researching policies.

Coverage Options

Before purchasing auto insurance it is a good idea to have an understanding of the various options that are available. These options can alter the price of the policy dramatically. Some options that may not be necessary include:

Car rental insurance: This provides a rental car if the insured vehicle is not operable.
Roadside Assistance: Provides minor help or a tow truck if needed.
Extended Warranty: Extends the warranty period on the insured car.

Gap Insurance: If the car is not paid for or is leased, gap insurance covers the difference in the amount owed on the car and the actual cash value of the car should it be totally destroyed in an accident.

These are just a few of the optional coverage available. Each one should be considered thoroughly before choosing them and a decision made based on necessity and financial ability.

Consider the Car

The car that is being insured is another important part of the process of understanding auto insurance. If the car is an older car that is paid in full, it might not be important to have collision and comprehensive insurance; however, if the car is a classic vehicle or a newer vehicle, collision and comprehensive insurance may be vital. Older cars may need to have roadside assistance on their policy while newer ones may have this feature built into their warranty.

Budget

The ultimate decision maker when purchasing insurance is going to be the budget available to spend on car insurance. Online insurance quote sites are ideal for comparing various insurance costs and reconfiguring the various aspects of the quote until it is in line with the budget that is available.

Using these sites helps put together an idea of the coverage amounts that can be afforded while still maintaining the required amount of coverage. These sites personalize policies and provide the best prices from a variety of companies which can save time searching for an affordable policy.

Check All Other Policies

Before purchasing auto insurance, it is a good idea to check any other insurance policies for overlapping areas. For instance, many people have comprehensive health coverage that would cover them in an accident; this can eliminate the need for PIP insurance. Additionally, there may be rental insurance and roadside assistance built in to other plans, such as some cell phone carriers. The cost of this through the cell phone carrier is typically much less than it would be through an auto insurance company.

Young drivers just starting out with their own insurance policies as well as older drivers who are looking for a new policy need to understand the various aspects of auto insurance in order to make sure they get the best possible price on a policy that meets all of their needs. Car insurance is a necessity that should be taken seriously and researched thoroughly in order to cover all the necessary areas and protect financial assets and other drivers on the roadways.