If you get into a car accident where you are liable for the damages, and your auto insurance company finds out that you were driving your vehicle for business purposes, you could find yourself in hot water. Here are some guidelines for understanding when you need commercial auto insurance.
Are You Being Paid to Drive?
If you are getting paid to drive in any way, then you need commercial auto insurance. This includes participating in a rideshare service or acting as a shuttle. It also includes transporting and delivering goods for a fee.
Is Your Vehicle Setup Unconventional?
In many cases, with commercial driving, your vehicle setup is unusual. You might be carrying a much larger weight than what you would expect to see in a personal vehicle situation. Or, you might need to hitch a trailer to your vehicle, leaving yourself at a greater risk of creating or experiencing property damage. In these situations, not only is commercial auto insurance required, but it's also very advisable since you need the more robust coverage limits of a commercial auto insurance plan.
Are You Hauling Your Own Expensive Goods?
You don't actually need to be hauling other people's goods in order to call your vehicle a business vehicle. Say you have an electronics business, and you routinely transport your own, very expensive merchandise across town. If you are in an accident and found to be partially at fault, you could lose a lot of money if you aren't insured. Save yourself this risk and get a commercial auto insurance plan that has your vehicle and the property within it covered during your business trips.
Get a Good Business Insurance Policy
When you are in the position of needing commercial auto insurance, the fact is that you're running a business. And that probably means that you can benefit from an all-around business insurance policy that will cover your costs for business interruption, liability, and other issues that can come up as you make your income.
Typically, commercial auto insurance is rolled up into a business insurance plan, and you get discounts on each additional insurance coverage you bundle with your plan. So, it may be wise to speak to a business insurance broker who can get you the commercial auto insurance plan you need as well as review other coverage options for your small business.
On the other hand, if you only have short term vehicle needs, you may want to limit your liability by going through commercial vehicle leasing agencies and choosing their insurance option. Either way, don't leave yourself open to claims that your personal auto insurance can't handle.