Whether your Virginia business uses its commercial vehicles to deliver pizza, attend meetings across town in Richmond or to haul goods across state lines, a comprehensive auto insurance policy is a good idea to protect your investment and drivers. Big or small, most commercial vehicles require specialized insurance protection. Before you search for commercial auto insurance quotes, however, there are a few things to consider.
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Virginia Crash Statistics
The Virginia Highway Safety Office provided these statistics:
- Beyond emergency or outpatient care, more than 4,000 people required hospitalization due to crash injuries, staying more than 27,900 days with charges of more than $277 million.
- Vehicles that traveled more miles, such as those used for commercial purposes, were two times more likely to be involved in traffic collisions.
- In more than 44 percent of traffic collisions, the driver did not violate any laws.
- Vans and trucks combined accounted for more than 34 percent of all traffic collisions.
As you can see, no matter how well trained or reliable your driver or how sturdy your commercial vehicle, accidents can and do happen. Protect your business and personal finances with commercial auto insurance for those worst case scenarios.
You May Need Commercial Auto Insurance
Determining whether you need commercial insurance or whether a personal auto policy is sufficient can be challenging. If you need some guidance, ask yourself the following:
- How many vehicles need insurance?
- What kind are they?
- How will you use the vehicles?
- Who will drive them?
- Who owns them?
Your answers can lead you in the right direction. Most business-owned vehicles in VA do require commercial coverage; this includes those used for deliveries and for farming. If you're an employee and your company requires you to drive its vehicles as part of your job, your firm's policy might protect you.
Some self-employed Virginians or sole proprietors might be able to get by with their personal policies, especially if the only business use of their vehicles is business trips across town.
If any of the following apply to your situation, the odds you'll need commercial protection increases:
- You can't remove your business equipment from your vehicles.
- You allow your employees to use your vehicles for your business.
- You can't find personal auto policies with high enough coverage limits.
In the end, you might need to partner with both the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and your insurance agent. The DMV can advise you on the legal requirements for your business, while your agent can assist you in determining the amounts and types of coverage you'll need to protect your business investments.
Does Virginia Require Commercial Vehicle Insurance?
Always keep the Virginia's minimum liability insurance requirements in mind when you search for quotes. Virginia law requires the following minimum coverage:
- $25,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or a death occurring to one person in an accident
- $50,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or deaths occurring to more than one person in an accident
- $20,000 of property damage coverage per accident
Remember, these are just the minimum standards. Depending on your business and the types of commercial vehicles you use, you may want much more coverage.
What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?
There are many coverage options applicable to commercial auto insurance. Some Virginia businesses use vans to deliver furniture. Others allow top executives to drive the company's four-door sedans. And some businesses use large trucks and semis to haul goods great distances. Because there are so many different uses and types of commercial vehicles, Virginia insurance providers offer a variety of policies to choose from. Your provider may include some of the following features in your comprehensive commercial vehicle policy or let you buy them as options:
- Property damage liability: Protects your business in the event one of your drivers crashes into another person's property
- Liability for bodily injury to others: Pays for the medical treatment of others injured by your commercial vehicle; both property damage and bodily injury liability coverage can pay legal expenses if you're sued after an accident you (or your driver) causes
- Personal injury: Pays medical expenses and lost wages to you, your employed drivers or passengers
- Collision coverage: Pays costs associated with an accident, regardless of who is at fault
- Comprehensive coverage: Pays for damage other than collision, such as fire, flood or theft
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist: Pays in the event your commercial vehicle is in a collision with someone without proper insurance
- Non-owned auto coverage: Covers you or your employees while driving a rented or borrowed vehicle
- Loading and unloading liability: Covers you if you use your truck or van to carry heavy objects
- Substitution transportation: Pays for a loaner from the repair shop while your commercial car or truck undergoes repairs
There Are Penalties for Not Carrying Commercial Auto Insurance
What happens if you allow your policy to lapse and have no proof of insurance?
You could face license and registration suspension. Reinstatement is by filing an SR-22 form for three years with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and paying both a $500 fee and a $30 reinstatement fee.
What Will Your Commercial Vehicle Insurance Quotes Look Like?
The quotes you receive from Virginia insurance providers depend on a variety of factors, including the following:
- Size and value of the vehicle
- Traffic records of your drivers
- What the vehicles will be use for
- How many vehicles you wish to insure
- Where the vehicles will be used and how often
- Whether or not they will be used to transport hazardous waste
Some Virginia insurance providers will offer a discount on your quote for the following:
- Multi-policy discounts for commercial vehicles
- Paid-in-full commercial auto insurance discounts
- Experienced commercial driver discounts
- Commercial driver’s license discounts
Be sure to ask your insurance agent if any of these discounts apply to your commercial auto insurance quotes.
Where To Find Commercial Vehicle Quotes
As a business owner, you probably want to prepare for anything. The perfect commercial auto insurance policy will help protect your Virginia company's investments. A knowledgeable Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent can answer any questions you may have, find a variety of commercial auto insurance quotes at competitive rates and even help you file a claim.
Contact a Trusted Choice agent in your area to find a comprehensive commercial auto insurance package.