If you own or operate a vehicle on behalf of your business, then it is crucial to have adequate and far-reaching commercial auto insurance. It’s not there to be a burden for a business owner. Rather, it will supply an extensive amount of protection for the driver, the vehicle and others in case of accidents and other driving hazards.
Still, commercial auto coverage is going to become a standard (and sometimes hefty) part of your company’s overhead expenses. It’s certainly going to cost more when it’s used to insure a fleet of vehicles. All the same, many factors influence the cost of your policy, and one of these is the number of drivers you hire and how you plan to use them.
It is possible to insure multiple drivers under a commercial auto policy. However, you have to do so correctly in order to maximize your benefits. Here’s how you should do so.
Insuring Multiple Drivers on a Commercial Auto Policy
A commercial auto insurance policy will cover the business as the primary insured party. After all, when something happens to a company-owned vehicle, then it is the business itself that will have to suffer the consequences, be they repair bills, injury costs or accident lawsuits.
However, while the policy might belong to the business, each driver that is allowed to drive the insured vehicles will also be considered insured under the policy. This is good for your business on one hand because it allows you to comprehensively insure everyone who might be using one of your vehicles at any given time.
Still, this practice has its drawbacks. Even if your driving record and credit score are squeaky clean, your employees’ may not be. It’s at this point that you might be more prone to seeing your commercial auto insurance rates increase.
Factors that influence your commercial car insurance rates include:
- Size and weight of vehicle
- Type of cargo
- Credit score
- Claims history
- Amount of coverage purchased
And, importantly, the driving records of those who operate the vehicles also factor into your policy’s rates. After all, drivers with tarnished records are more likely to have accidents in the future. Additionally, companies with a longer history of losses or insurance claims are likely to pay more than other businesses for commercial auto insurance. Therefore, if you have a driver on your commercial auto policy who has a tarnished record, you are putting yourself on the line for added cost risks that could drive up your rates.
For the insurance company, each of these factors add up to how likely your company is to file an insurance claim. If you have drivers on the policy with bad driving records, the insurance company is likely to charge more since the drivers may file a claim due to their history.
How Much Is Commercial Auto Insurance?
All commercial auto insurance policies vary in price. A ballpark estimate provided by HowMuch.Net places the average price between $900 and $1,200 per year. Again, however, based on many factors, including the amount of coverage you buy, your precise premiums will vary. You must buy at least the coverage that is required of you by law, and in forty-nine states, commercial auto insurance is mandatory.
Heavier vehicles and vehicles that carry hazardous materials will cost more to insure because of the unique risk these vehicles pose to other people. States generally require businesses with these kinds of vehicles to carry a higher amount of liability insurance, as well.
Saving Money on Commercial Auto Insurance
Though, of course, some factors that influence your commercial auto insurance costs are beyond your control, there are many other practical ways that you can work positively influence your rates.
Consider the following when working to keep your rates favorable:
- Conduct background checks on all drivers. This is important both for saving money and making sure that you’re putting drivers on the road that you can trust behind the wheel. When considering prospective hires, ask for a driving record. Periodically re-check these records to see if a driver has received any significant driving charges.
- Add protection to the vehicles such as anti-theft locks. Lowering the likelihood of filing a claim can save money on commercial auto insurance.
- Ask about bundling. Some insurance companies have opportunities to bundle your commercial auto insurance policy with other insurance benefits.
- Ask about discounts. Most commercial auto policies come with many of the same discounts as private policies.
- Avoid claims when possible. Sometimes, the cost of repairing damage is less than the cost of your deductible. In this case, it may be best to simply repair the damage out of pocket.
Though you can choose lower amounts of coverage to save money, this is only a step that should be taken with care. While you must carry only the coverage that is legally required of you, that does not mean that you can’t benefit by carrying substantially more coverage. The more comprehensive your plan, and the better it fits your needs, the more your company will be able to withstand commercial vehicle accidents and other hazards.
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