If you use a vehicle for work in Florida, then you should consider getting commercial auto insurance. If you’re not familiar with this type of insurance policy, then you have come to the right place. This post will show you exactly what commercial auto insurance covers and why it is such an important investment.
Most people aren’t surprised that semi-truck drivers need to have commercial auto insurance. The same typically goes for dump truck drivers and even food trucks. Where our insurance agents often see issues are with business owners who use their personal vehicles for work in one way or another. They believe things will be fine because their vehicle is covered under their personal auto insurance policy.
That is a line of reasoning that could lead to significant problems down the road. Please read on to see why…
What’s Included With Commercial Auto Insurance Coverage in Florida?
It is understandable why there is some confusion here for business owners in Hillsborough. A commercial auto insurance policy includes several types of coverage that should sound familiar to anyone with a personal auto insurance policy. These include:
This type of coverage would kick in if an employee caused bodily injury to another person while driving the covered vehicle. This coverage also includes property damage liability that would pay for any damages done to the injured party’s car or other property.
Note that while these liability coverages are typically separated out in personal auto insurance policies, they are combined into a single liability limit in a commercial auto insurance policy.
Medical Payment Coverage
Sometimes referred to as personal injury coverage, this would pay the medical expenses incurred by an employee driver and/or any passengers that were in the covered vehicle. Medical payment coverage will be applied regardless of who was at fault in the car accident.
This type of coverage will be used to pay for the damages inflicted to your commercial vehicle in an accident. Just like with the medical payment coverage, collision coverage will be applied regardless of who was at fault in the car accident.
If you were wondering what would happen if one of your vehicles were damaged in a hurricane, then that’s where comprehensive coverage comes to the rescue. This type of coverage will be used to pay for damages sustained from theft, vandalism, mother nature or other non-crash incidents.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
What happens if one of your delivery trucks gets backed into by someone who has no insurance? This could be a bad day just waiting to happen, but it doesn’t have to be if that truck is covered under a commercial auto insurance policy in Hillsborough. Uninsured motorist coverage would pay for those damages.
Specialized Coverages in Commercial Auto Insurance Policies
So now that’s out of the way, you should also familiarize yourself with the more specialized types of coverage that you wouldn’t see on a personal auto insurance policy.
- Trailer Interchange Coverage – If you are hauling trailers with your commercial vehicles that are owned by other companies, then you’ll be happy that you have this type of coverage.
- Rental Reimbursement with Downtime – This will be used to cover any costs your business incurs to rent a temporary replacement for a vehicle that is undergoing repairs.
- Hired Vehicle Coverage – If you need to rent a car or van for your employees (or possibly for a client), commercial auto insurance provides hired vehicle coverage.
- Non-owned Vehicle Coverage – This is a very important type of coverage. Some business owners in Hillsborough have employees use their own cars when conducting business. If they end up getting into an accident while operating their vehicle for work, you would be held responsible as the business owner. Non-owned vehicle coverage is included in commercial auto insurance policies for this reason.
Do You Need Commercial Auto Insurance if You Have Personal Auto Insurance?
As mentioned before, there are still plenty of business owners that mistakenly believe commercial auto insurance isn’t worth the investment if they have personal auto insurance.
To illustrate why this doesn’t work, you need to think of your auto insurance policy as a contract you have with your insurance carrier. They agree to cover damages inflicted on your car in an accident granted that you are using it for personal reasons. If you use the car for business reasons, then you are violating that contract. This gives your insurance carrier ample reason to reject your claim.
A commercial auto insurance policy differs from personal auto insurance in several distinct ways, including:
- A commercial auto policy will have a higher liability limit than a personal auto policy
- The cost of your commercial auto insurance policy is tax-deductible
- A commercial auto policy can be used to cover specific named employees or blanket coverage can be applied for all employees
- A commercial auto policy includes additional coverage for equipment like trailers and forklifts (something that personal auto insurance won’t include)
Do You Need Commercial Auto Insurance as a Rideshare Driver in Florida?
Driving for a rideshare company like Lyft or Uber is a viable way to earn a living, but the job comes with some extra considerations when it comes to auto insurance. The first thing to note is that rideshare drivers in Florida are required to have their own auto insurance policies. This is because there will be times you’ll be driving when not actively logged in to the rideshare app as a driver.
So do you really need a commercial auto policy as well? An insurance expert would say “yes” and here’s why. An insurance carrier can deny coverage to you during the time that the rideshare app is on.
For the time when you are driving with the app on, the state of Florida requires you to carry a higher insurance limit. Drivers can purchase the necessary insurance coverage themselves, but it is notable that companies like Uber and Lyft are required to provide coverage for any drivers with insufficient policy limits. Here are the specifics for when you have the rideshare app on:
- When there is no passenger assigned – At least $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $100,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident and $25,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident.
- When there is a passenger assigned – You’ll be covered by the company’s third-party liability insurance policy, with at least $1 million coverage for bodily injury and property damage.
If you want full coverage while working as a rideshare driver, you should call us at (813) 685-9393. There are certain requirements that these companies have in order for their drivers to qualify for comprehensive coverage. This working situation can be stressful and confusing, so it is recommended that you speak to an insurance expert.
Additional Information for Business Owners
Commercial auto insurance is a great investment for any Hillsborough business owner who relies on vehicles in their day to day operations. Just remember that it won’t cover an employee who gets in an accident while driving their own personal vehicle. A simple errand could result in a significant accident and your business could be held liable.
If you are ready to make that investment, we can get you a commercial auto insurance quote ASAP. Complete our online form to get started or give us a call at (813) 685-9393. Our insurance agency has been helping Hillsborough business owners protect their livelihoods for over 35 years and we’d like nothing more than the opportunity to help you.