There are more than 88,000 businesses based in Connecticut. These businesses encompass many different industries and have varying insurance needs. Those that rely on company-owned vehicles as part of their day-to-day operations will need to supplement their business insurance policies with commercial auto insurance.
Whether you own a large manufacturing company like Stanley Black & Decker or a single pizza shop like Zuppardi’s Apizza, you will need the extra liability protection that these policies can provide.
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Connecticut Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics
- Total number of accidents in CT in 2008: 104,187
- Property-damage-only accidents: 77,841
- Accidents with injuries: 26,066
- Fatal accidents: 280
- Total number of vehicles involved in collisions in 2008: 190,418
- Tractor-trailer trucks: 2,466
- Construction/farm vehicles: 124
- Commercial buses: 640
- Passenger vans: 6,749
- Automobiles: 153,677
As can be seen by the numbers above, a majority of traffic accidents involved passenger cars, but a significant number involved company-owned and work-related vehicles.
How Much Commercial Auto Insurance Is Needed?
There is a variety of commercial vehicles on Connecticut’s roads at any given time. These can range from cars, such as those used for local deliveries, to large 18-wheeler trucks that transport goods across the country. Commercial buses, taxis, vans and construction vehicles are also part of the commercial vehicle family.
These different types of vehicles can have different insurance requirements mandated by the state. For example, company cars must meet the same liability requirements as passenger vehicles. In Connecticut, these are the minimums:
- $20,000 for bodily injury per person
- $40,000 for bodily injury per accident involving two more injured parties
- $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident
Other, larger commercial vehicles may have much higher liability requirements. In Connecticut, the requirements include the following:
- Freight vehicles of at least 10,001 pounds that carry non-hazardous materials must have a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage.
- Freight vehicles of at least 10,001 pounds that carry moderately hazardous materials must have a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability coverage.
- Freight vehicles of at least 10,001 pounds that carry highly hazardous materials must have a minimum of $5,000,000 in liability coverage.
- Any commercial vehicle with a seating capacity of more than eight passengers must have a minimum of $1,500,000 in liability coverage.
- Any commercial vehicle with a seating capacity of 16 or more passengers must have a minimum of $5,000,000 in liability coverage.
Even if your commercial vehicle is not included in any of these higher minimum requirement categories, it is a good idea to purchase liability coverage in amounts that are much higher than the state’s required car insurance minimums.
Average Collision Costs, 2011
- Each fatality costs about $1,420,000 in liability charges.
- Each resulting incapacitating injury costs about $70,500 in liability charges.
- Each resulting non-incapacitating injury costs about $22,700 in liability charges.
- Each resulting property-damage-only collision costs about $9,100 in liability charges.
The National Safety Council calculated the above figures based on all accidents across the country. As these are average costs, keep in mind that your actual costs may be significantly higher or lower if you or one of your employees is responsible for a vehicular collision. When a company, rather than an individual, owns the vehicle involved, jury awards tend to be much higher.
What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?
All commercial auto insurance policies in Connecticut will provide, at the very least, liability protection to cover injuries or property damage to others in the event that you or one of your drivers is responsible for an accident while driving a company car.
You should be able to get quotes on several options and combinations of coverage, including the following:
- Collision coverage: This will cover collision-related damage to your company’s vehicle no matter who is at-fault in a collision.
- Medical payments coverage: This will cover medical costs if your driver or any authorized vehicle passengers sustain injuries in an accident for which your driver is at fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This will cover non-collision-related loss or damage to your company’s vehicles. Covered events include such things as vandalism, theft, falling objects, fire, flood and severe weather events.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage: This will provide coverage for injuries or property damage to your company vehicle if your driver is involved in an accident with an at-fault motorist who lacks the necessary auto insurance coverage to cover damage.
- Non-owned or for-hire auto coverage: This provides liability coverage if one of your employees is responsible for a collision while using a personal vehicle to do company business.
- Bobtail insurance coverage: This provides coverage for tractors driven without a trailer in tow. This coverage is applicable even if the driver uses the trailer for personal rather than commercial purposes.
- Loading and unloading coverage: This provides monetary compensation for product or merchandise damage while loading or unloading the product or merchandise from a company vehicle.
- Towing and labor coverage: this provides coverage for specialized roadside assistance if your company vehicle becomes inoperable while out on business.
It is a good idea to discuss your company’s unique coverage needs with an insurance professional who can advise you on commercial auto insurance options, quotes and suggested coverage amounts.
Minimize Your Company’s Vehicular Risks
When you hire drivers for your company vehicles, try to employ experienced vehicle operators who have solid driving records. Bear in mind that even the best drivers can find themselves involved in a motor vehicle collision. Hazardous roadways, reckless maneuvers by other drivers and inclement weather are all factors beyond your driver's control but can play a significant role in causing collisions.
The good news is that many commercial vehicle accidents are preventable. You can reduce your risks by ensuring that you properly maintain your company vehicles at all times. You can also offer your employees safe-driving educational materials and training programs. Most importantly, because driver fatigue can cause distraction and inattention, and is a leading cause of vehicular accidents, be sure to limit the number of hours your drivers spend on the road each day.
Where to Get Commercial Auto Insurance Quotes
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to commercial auto or commercial truck insurance in Connecticut. Because of this, it is not a good idea to base your policy selection solely on price. While you may find that one policy comes at a much lower rate than most others do, the policy may not include all the coverage you need to keep your business operation financially stable.
An independent Trusted Choice® agent can help you compare and review a variety of competitively priced commercial vehicle policies so you can make an informed decision when purchasing. Contact a local agent so you can start comparing commercial auto insurance quotes.