Whether you own a Sioux Falls catering business or a Rapid City construction firm, the vehicles you own or use for your South Dakota business are most likely required to have commercial auto insurance. Not all insurance providers are the same, however, nor are their policies. Before you search for commercial auto insurance quotes, there are several factors to consider.
What Is Commercial Auto Insurance?
Commercial auto insurance provides property damage and liability protection for vehicles designated for business use. Whether you drive a company vehicle or a personal vehicle for company operations, it is important to have commercial auto insurance, as your personal auto policy will not provide coverage for a vehicle used to conduct business.
You May Have To Carry Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial insurance applies to large and small businesses alike. Even if you own a food catering service, commercial insurance may be your best means of coverage. To help you decide, consider the following:
- Will you use a single vehicle or an entire fleet?
- How will you use your company vehicle(s)?
- Who will be driving your vehicle(s)?
- Will you be transporting a heavy load of tools or equipment?
- Will you require use of a trailer?
- Will you need higher limits of liability due to the nature of your business?
You should always check with the South Dakota Department of Transportation to find out if you must carry commercial auto insurance. Some cars or trucks used for business may have coverage under a personal automobile insurance policy, whereas others need the additional protection of a commercial policy.
What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?
Commercial auto insurance coverage varies from policy to policy and from provider to provider. Most South Dakota insurance companies will offer the following coverage options:
- Property damage liability
- Liability for bodily injury to others
- Optional bodily injury coverage for injuries that occur outside of the state in which you reside
- Personal injury coverage, including medical expenses and lost wages, for you, your employed drivers and passengers
- Collision coverage for costs associated with an accident, regardless of who is at fault
- Comprehensive coverage for damage other than collision
- Medical payments coverage for the cost of hospitalization, treatment and funeral expenses
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
- Non-owned auto coverage for when you or your employees drive a rented or borrowed vehicle
- Loading and unloading liability
- Substitution transportation when your commercial truck or vehicle is undergoing repairs and you use a loaner from the repair shop
- Towing and labor costs
Be sure to speak with an independent insurance agent who can assist you in finding the coverage options most applicable to your business.
How Much Commercial Auto Insurance Do You Need in South Dakota?
If you decide that commercial insurance is the right fit for your business, you must then decide how much coverage to carry. To help you decide, consider the following:
- Who owns the vehicle(s)?
- What is the weight of the vehicle(s)?
- What is the usage of the vehicle(s)?
- How much liability insurance coverage do you want?
South Dakota does have a minimum level of liability coverage that all motorists, private and business alike, must carry. However, these limits are often not sufficient for commercial vehicles, so you may want additional coverage to protect your business assets.
How Are Commercial Auto Insurance Price Quotes Determined?
Commercial auto quotes and rates can vary considerably depending on the policy you buy and the insurance provider. Most SD insurance providers take the following into consideration when they calculate your quotes:
- The size of your business
- The types of vehicles you use
- The number of vehicles you need to insure
- The risks your vehicles face
- The amount of coverage you need
Generally, a passenger auto vehicle will cost much less to insure than a heavy-duty vehicle, such as a dump truck. However, insurance carriers also offer fleet insurance, which is typically available 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 cause your rates to be higher, so it is always a good idea to perform a driving record background check on prospective employees. Insurance rates are typically lower for drivers who are between the ages of 30 and 65.
Rates and quotes will be higher for heavy-duty vehicles used on a daily basis than for passenger vehicles used less frequently to pick up clients from the airport, for example.
Where To Find Commercial Auto Insurance in South Dakota
You have probably worked hard to build your business and want to protect your assets with commercial auto insurance. You also want an insurance agent who works for your business interests and not the insurance company's. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in the Trusted Choice® network are always available to answer your questions, assist you in identifying your coverage needs and even help you file a claim.
Contact a Trusted Choice member agent near you to find out how you can obtain a commercial auto insurance policy with the best coverage at the most affordable rates.