Running a business that involves the use of buses means you or your hired drivers are transporting people — whether across town or across the state. Because you deal with the public, you need the right insurance to cover your vehicles and potential injuries to your passengers in the event of an accident on the road. Perhaps you run a sightseeing company or you have a church or camp that has a bus for transporting people. Or maybe you lease buses to city schools, churches, sports teams, activity groups or senior centers. How do you find commercial bus insurance to cover your risks?
Whether you have just one bus or a fleet of buses, you need insurance to protect your business investment.
Commercial Bus Risk Statistics
- In 2009, the fatality rate in buses and large trucks was 1/10th of the overall rate in all vehicles.
- The injury rate in buses and large trucks was 1/15th of the rate in all vehicles.
- There were 56,000 bus crashes in 2009, which killed 254 people and injured 20,000.
- In all vehicles, there were 5.5 million crashes that killed 31,000 and injured 1.5 million.
What Types of Buses Does Commercial Bus Insurance Cover?
There are several types of commercial buses, classified by their general use. There are charter buses, school buses, coach buses and tour buses. As each of these types of buses has different roles, different usage and different environments, coverage for each will vary.
Charter buses and tour buses may be hired several times a year and may run greater distances and across state boundaries. On the other hand, school buses are used most often. They have children on board and are often limited to district or enrollment boundaries around a school. Frequency and number of miles for different types of buses can vary widely, and so can the coverage. For this reason, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable agent, such as an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network. A member agent can help assess your insurance needs based on the type of bus or buses you own, and how they are used.
The Growing Demand for Party Bus Insurance
Party buses have become increasingly popular for transportation to and from a wide range of activities, including birthday parties, wedding parties and everything in between. If something goes wrong, the party bus owner can be left with more than just a mess. Unfortunately, many insurance companies are hesitant to write coverage for party buses due to the unique risks they present.
If you own or operate a party bus service, your job is to make sure that your bus is compliant with passenger limit and safety regulations. And you need party bus insurance to make sure that your passengers, employees and vehicles are protected at all times. In addition to commercial auto liability, comprehensive and collision coverage, you may need additional coverage, such as liquor liability and special equipment coverage.
With the help of your Trusted Choice member insurance agent, you can find insurance companies that specialize in the unique risks of party bus companies.
What Does Commercial Bus Insurance Cover?
Similar to auto insurance, commercial bus insurance can be broken up into several types of coverage. Due to its large size, a bus can cause extensive damage and injuries in an accident, so it is important to evaluate the appropriate limits on your coverage based on the potential costs of an accident.
A commercial bus insurance policy will typically include the following:
- Liability insurance: Liability is the most important coverage in your policy; it covers your company in case one of your buses is involved in an accident in which you or one of your hired bus drivers is at fault. Liability coverage has two parts:
- Bodily injury: This portion of the liability policy covers the costs of medical care for a driver or passengers in another vehicle involved in the accident.
- Property damage: This portion of the policy covers the costs of damage done to other vehicles or other people’s property.
- Collision coverage: This insurance covers damage to your vehicle regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
- Medical payments coverage: This insurance pays for your medical expenses, as well as those of your passengers, in the event of an accident. If any of your passengers does not have health insurance or if anyone injured on the bus has high deductible health insurance, medical payments coverage helps to cover the costs.
- Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive, or “other than collision” coverage, compensates you for loss due to things like vandalism fire, theft or damage from an object.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorists: This covers your accident costs if the driver at fault does not have sufficient insurance to pay for your damage.
Depending on how you use your bus, you may want to add additional riders or optional coverage types to your policy. For example, if your passengers are children, you may want to protect your company financially if a driver or employee is accused of abuse or molestation. You can also consider excess liability coverage, known as an umbrella policy. Umbrella policies can dramatically increase your liability coverage limits to protect your business from liability claims that result in a lawsuit.
How Much Does Commercial Bus Insurance Cost?
Rates for commercial bus insurance vary considerably, depending upon the number of vehicles you have, the use of the buses, the distance the buses are driven and other factors. Some of the factors that go into the cost of your commercial bus insurance policy include the following:
- The number of buses you have, i.e., whether you have a single bus or a fleet
- The number of seats in each of the buses
- The driving records and experience of your drivers
- The number of miles you expect your bus to travel in a year
- The type of business you have and the purpose of the bus or fleet
- Will you be transporting children regularly?
- Will you be transporting the handicapped and equipment such as wheelchairs or oxygen?
- Will your bus travel just around town, on highways, across state lines or across the country?
- The insurance company you choose and the available discounts
- You may be able to qualify for discounts if you combine multiple policies or insure multiple vehicles with the same bus company.
- You may qualify for discounts if your drivers have all taken a safety training course.
Answering each of these questions carefully can help your agent come up with adequate coverage and rates.
How Much Commercial Bus Insurance Do You Need?
The amount of commercial bus insurance you need depends upon how and where you transport passengers, among other things. You also need to assess the value of the company assets you need to protect in the event a lawsuit is filed against you. If you are in an area where severe weather can cause disruptions on your trips, you might need plenty of comprehensive coverage. The amount of coverage you need corresponds with the amount of risk you are taking.