CHICAGO — As a contractor, it’s important to make sure you have all of the right tools, and one crucial tool for any business is Commercial Auto insurance. A company vehicle is a vital part of the business. It gets service techs, salespeople and project managers and their gear from place to place so they are able to do their jobs. Good Commercial Auto insurance gives a contractor peace of mind.
When you buy a basic Commercial Auto policy, you’ll generally find a few things are covered, noted Ken Bowman, a product manager at Progressive:
• Injuries or damage that you cause
• Your driver’s injuries
• Injuries and damages caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers
• Damage to or theft of your vehicle(s)
As you research insurers, ask plenty of questions. How are claims handled? How long will it take to get your vehicle back on the road? Can you get questions answered outside of business hours or online?
You should also know how your policy is priced. There are simple things contractors can do for themselves, like running motor vehicle reports on all drivers, making sure their insurance doesn’t lapse and asking about discounts.
Additionally, when talking to independent agents, ask questions about other coverages your business might need, Bowman said. They’ll be able to help you customize your insurance with coverages like Drive Other Car insurance, Contractors Liability insurance, Workers' Compensation and much more.
Bowman also noted that in the world of Commercial Auto insurance, there are a few myths that insurance companies and agents tend to hear pretty often.
“As a leading commercial auto insurer, we want to make sure that people know the facts about their insurance,” Bowman said. “Knowledge is power, and we hope that by debunking some of the common myths, we can help people make the best decisions when shopping for coverage.”
Myth: If you have a seasonal business, you can save money by canceling in the offseason.
Not necessarily. If you cancel your insurance policy, your stored vehicles won’t be protected. While you might not need liability insurance during the offseason, Comprehensive coverage provides protection against incidents, such as vandalism, theft and weather. Additionally, a Comprehensive-only policy provides continuous insurance, which may save you money in the long run. If you drop your insurance completely, you may pay significantly more to purchase a new policy when your peak season rolls around because most insurance companies ask for proof of continuous coverage to get you the best rate. So consider dropping to Comprehensive-only in the offseason, rather than dropping coverage completely.
Myth: Your employees are covered when they drive your business vehicles.
This isn’t always true. Some insurers will only extend coverage to drivers who are named on the policy. Check and see if your insurer has something called “permissive use,” which means that all of your drivers are covered as long as they have your permission to operate the vehicle.
Myth: It’s cheaper to buy all of your business insurance products from the same company.
Chances are you’re going to need a wide range of coverages to protect your business. Depending on what kind of work you do, you might need everything from commercial vehicle insurance and general liability to workers’ compensation. While it might be easier to buy all of these products from the same company, you could save money by buying your policies from separate providers. Shop around to find the best deal, or ask your local agent for quotes from multiple companies.
Myth: All insurance companies offer 24/7 service.
This one may come as a shock to many people, but a lot of insurance companies are only available during regular office hours. That can make filing a claim, adding a vehicle to your policy and paying bills inconvenient. The more available an insurance company is, the faster they can get you back on the road. This carries importance in a business where time is money. Before you buy, check with your insurance company to make sure they’re available when you need them.