There are really only eight cargo van models that dominated the American market in 2013: The Ford E-Series, the Chevrolet Express, the Ford Transit Connect, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the GMC Savana, the Nissan NV, the Ram Cargo Van, and the Nissan NC200. You might be surprised by this, considering the various uses for commercial vans. Vans are excellent company resources for businesses like restaurants, catering companies, florists, rental companies, restaurant supply and parcel delivery companies.
Whether you have one vehicle or a fleet of vans, it is important to get the right commercial van insurance for your business.The coverage you need will depend on a number of factors, including how you use your vans and whether your drivers cross state boundaries.
Types of Commercial Vans
- Box vans: Heavy duty box-shaped vans with a dual axle that can carry heavy items such as loaded pallets and beverage crates.
- Cargo vans: These are practical medium-weight delivery vans that can typically carry 3,000 to 4,000 pounds.
- Step vans: Usually used for parcel delivery, these vans are designed for the driver to enter and exit quickly.
- Refrigerated vans: Designed to transport perishables, these vans can carry a wide range of weights depending upon their size.
- Courier vans: These are smaller vans, typically used to deliver small parcels across town or between cities.
- Passenger vans: Manufactured in many sizes, passenger vans deliver people comfortably from one place to another, often with luggage racks or a special hold area for those heading to or from the airport.
Who Needs Commercial Van Insurance?
Commercial insurance can provide coverage for vans that is specific to their use, whether they are used to deliver goods, perishables, flowers, equipment, parcels or people. Personal auto insurance is designed for car owners who use their vehicles for non-commercial driving, and it is important to know that if you use a personal vehicle for business, any incidents that happen may not be covered by your insurance.
There are many different reasons you might need to buy commercial van insurance. Here are some scenarios where commercial van insurance is important to carry:
- You own a commercial operation and hire drivers to make deliveries or to transport passengers.
- You run a service-based business, such as a floral shop, bakery, or rental equipment company, and deliver to venues like churches and reception halls.
- You run a home service business, such as painting, plumbing, electrical or carpet cleaning services, and you transport your equipment to job sites in a van.
- You are a professional courier and use a courier van to deliver documents and parcels around town.
- You are a commercial van driver who works as an employee or contractor, and you use your own van to make deliveries.
- You have a van rental service.
- You have a fleet of vans to deliver passengers to and from the airport.
- You offer van service for churches or care facilities.
Commercial van insurance not only provides insurance protection for the driver, passengers and contents, but it also protects the business owner as well. For example, you can set liability coverage at a higher limit with a commercial auto policy than with a personal auto policy. With higher limits, you’ll be able to protect the business operation financially if an employed driver is responsible for an accident that causes bodily injury or property damage.
Commercial accidents can involve employees, passengers, valuable goods and even hazardous materials. Your commercial van insurance needs to be able to cover the expenses of vehicle repair and replacement, lost goods, potential medical expenses if anyone is injured, and legal costs if an injured party files a lawsuit.
What Commercial Van Insurance Do I Need?
The type and amount of van insurance you should buy depends on whether you are a business owner, entrepreneur or contractor, among other things. The first step is to learn about the laws in your state, as many states have specific insurance requirements for commercial vans and trucks. A local independent agent can help you get your questions answered and determine the right amount of insurance for your needs. Your local agent can also help you compare quotes from several different providers.
A typical policy will include some or all of the following coverage:
- Bodily injury liability: Covers the expenses of one or more injured people if you or one of your employees or hired drivers is at fault for an accident while working for you.
- Property damage liability: Covers the costs of property damage that you or one of your employees or hired drivers may cause while driving your van.
- Physical damage (collision): Covers the repairs to your vehicle after an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- Comprehensive: Now known as "other than collision," this portion of your policy covers damage to your van in a non-collision incident, such as severe weather damage, theft and vandalism.
- Medical payments: Covers medical expenses for the driver and passengers of your van.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage: Covers your costs in an accident caused by another motorist who does not have sufficient insurance to pay for your injuries or damages.
The amount of compensation you receive in a covered incident will be determined by the amount of loss, the amount of coverage you have, and your deductibles. Be sure to carefully review your needs with a knowledgeable agent. If you are a business owner, one option you may want to explore is an umbrella policy that can provide much higher liability limits. Typical umbrella coverage amounts range from $1 million to $5 million, providing additional liability protection if you face a lawsuit.
How Can I Save Money on My Commercial Van Insurance?
There are a number of ways to save money on your commercial van insurance. Here are somt tips:
- Choose excellent drivers: If you are an employer, carefully choose those you hire to drive a commercial van for your business. Make sure all drivers have a spotless record without traffic violations and accidents. Your insurance costs will be lower if your drivers have good driving records.
- Require safety training: Many companies require safety training for their hired drivers to ensure that their employees use best practices while on the road. Certificates from safe driving courses may also help to lower your insurance costs.
- Combine policies: You may qualify for multi-policy discounts if you combine your commercial vehicle policies under one insurance company.