Insuring Your Business Vehicles[one_half]As a business owner, you need the same kinds of insurance coverages for the car you use in your business as you do for a car used for personal travel — liability, collision and comprehensive, medical payments (known as personal injury protection in some states) and coverage for uninsured motorists. 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.
Whether you need to buy a business auto insurance policy will depend on the kind of driving you do. A good insurance agent will ask you many details about how you use vehicles in your business, who will be driving them and whether employees, if you have them, are likely to be driving their own cars for your business.
While the major coverages are the same, a business auto policy differs from a personal auto policy in many technical respects. Ask your insurance agent to explain all the differences and options.
If you have a personal umbrella liability policy, there’s generally an exclusion for business-related liability. Make sure you have sufficient auto liability coverage.
WHAT IS BUSINESS VEHICLE INSURANCE?
As a businessowner, you need some of the same insurance coverages for the cars, trucks, vans or other vehicles you use in your business as you do for vehicles used for personal travel.
Your Business Owners Policy (BOP) does not provide any coverage for vehicles, so you must have a separate policy.
Most states require you to purchase liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage that may result from a vehicle accident occurring while you or someone from your organization is driving on business. Many states also require you to have uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage and/or medical payments coverage (known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in some states). You can also purchase physical damage coverage for vehicles your business owns, leases or hires.
The Business Auto Coverage Form (BACF) is the most commonly used contract for providing business auto liability insurance. Although the form refers only to “autos,” autos are defined to include cars, trucks, trailers, vans or other vehicles designed for use on public roads.[/one_half] [one_half_last]
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[/one_half_last] Each vehicle you use in your business can be separately “scheduled,” or listed on your policy along with corresponding coverages. In other words, you can choose different coverages, for your various vehicles, depending on the vehicle’s characteristics and the coverage you need for it.
Do I Need a Business Auto Policy?
Your insurance agent will ask in detail how you use vehicles in your business; who will be driving them; whether you own, rent or lease; and whether you and your employees are likely to be driving their own cars for your business. The answers to these questions will indicate the types of coverage you need.
In general, only a BACF can provide the level of liability protection—the recommended minimum is $500,000—that even a small business needs to cover the potential damages in a serious accident.
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