The commercial trucking industry and the number of commercial trucks and vehicles on the streets and highways in North Dakota are booming. Whether you are new to the scene or you are an experienced commercial businessperson in the state looking for a new provider, commercial auto insurance is a must-have for any transportation business. Before you search for commercial auto insurance, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.
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Commercial Vehicles and North Dakota's Economy
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, thanks to the Bakken formation and the oil boom, trucking and other transportation services related to the oil and natural gas industries have nudged North Dakota's unemployment rate to an all-time low of 2.6 percent.
North Dakota's economy is growing five times faster than the nation's economy, and transportation services are driving much of that growth.
What Is Commercial Auto Insurance?
Commercial auto insurance provides protection for any business vehicle against liability claims and property damage. The limits on a commercial auto insurance policy are usually much higher than for a traditional passenger vehicle policy to reflect the increased drive time and the likelihood that your fleet is heavier and more valuable than a four-door sedan.
It's important to carry insurance tailored to your business interests, as a basic car insurance policy most likely will not pay claims for an accident or injury caused by a commercial vehicle.
Are You Required To Carry Commercial Auto Insurance?
All vehicles traveling on public roads in North Dakota must carry minimum liability insurance. However, if you're in the business of transporting hazardous materials or transporting people with your taxi service, you may have to carry commercial auto insurance. Always check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles to find out if you must carry certain levels of insurance for your particular business.
If you or your employees must have commercial driver licenses to operate the vehicles owned by your business, it's a good idea to carry commercial auto insurance rather than basic car insurance, as your provider may deny any claim related to business travel.
What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?
Most ND insurance providers will give you several options from which to choose as you build your commercial vehicle policy, including the following:
- Liability coverage: This can help pay for injuries sustained by your driver and other motorists and for property damage your drivers may cause while operating your commercial vehicles. It can also help pay for legal fees and court costs should someone sue your business due to an accident.
- Collision coverage: This can help pay for repairs to your vehicle should it be involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This can help pay for repairs to or replacement of your commercial vehicle as a result of fire, severe weather, theft, vandalism or any other covered event.
- Non-owned auto coverage: This can help pay for costs when you or your employees drive a rented or borrowed vehicle.
- Loading and unloading liability: If your drivers or other employees load or unload heavy equipment, supplies or other materials, this can help pay for any injuries or damage stemming from the loading/unloading process.
There are other options – industry-specific coverage options, so be sure to speak with a qualified insurance agent to find out which choices are best for your commercial interests.
How Much Is Commercial Auto Insurance?
The quotes you will see from North Dakota insurance providers will depend on a number of factors, including these:
- The size of your business
- The types of vehicles
- The number of vehicles
- The risks associated with your business
- The amount of coverage you need
Generally, quotes for a passenger car will be much lower than quotes for a heavy-duty vehicle such as a dump truck. However, insurance carriers also offer fleet insurance, typically at a bulk discount.
The cost of insurance also depends on the driving records of the drivers who will be using your commercial vehicles. Employees who have bad driving records will cost you more to insure, so it is always important to perform a driving record background check on prospective employees. Drivers who are between the ages of 30 and 65 typically get better insurance rates.
In terms of the cost for the type of vehicle you are insuring, rates are generally the least expensive for vehicles used in construction and farming. Vehicles used as passenger vehicles and delivery vehicles are slightly more expensive. The most expensive vehicles to insure include heavy-duty cargo vehicles that transport loads heavier than 10,000 pounds.
Where To Find Commercial Auto Insurance
Whether your North Dakota business delivers pizza, newspapers, people or heavy equipment, you want a commercial auto insurance that protects your interests. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in the Trusted Choice® network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options best suited for your business and even assist you in filing a claim.
Contact a Trusted Choice member agent near you to find out how you can obtain quotes and the perfect commercial auto insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.