The large majority of traffic traveling the District's busy streets and highways are commercial vehicles bringing goods and services to keep DC's bustling economy running smoothly. Is your company's fleet properly protected with commercial vehicle insurance? Whether your business uses its commercial vehicles to deliver flowers or pizza, or to move large amounts of equipment or products, only the protection of a comprehensive commercial auto insurance policy can prevent devastating losses.
Before you search for commercial vehicle insurance quotes, however, there are several factors to keep in mind.
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Commercial Vehicle Statistics at a Glance
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Urban Freight Case Study on Washington, DC:
- Commercial trucks constitute approximately 5 percent of total vehicle traffic in the District.
- Commercial trucks constitute approximately 15 percent of traffic on Georgia Avenue and about 12 percent of traffic on New York Avenue alone.
- There are no officially designated truck routes in Washington, DC.
- On average, 30 traffic fatalities occur in Washington, DC each year.
- The average large truck crash costs significantly more than a passenger vehicle accident at $91,000 per incident.
Why Is Commercial Auto Insurance Important?
More than likely, you have invested a significant sum in your commercial vehicle fleet. Whether your business owns several passenger vehicles, a dozen delivery vans, or numerous heavy duty trucks, you rely on these vehicles to keep your business running and your revenues steady.
One severe accident or an injury to another motorist could set your business back substantially without the protection of a commercial auto insurance policy. You could face burdensome repairs to the vehicle, and even a lawsuit from another driver should your vehicle cause them damage, injury or even death.
Am I Required to Carry Commercial Vehicle Insurance in DC?
The short answer is yes. Washington, DC is like most states in that it requires all motorists to carry a minimum set of insurance protections before hitting the road. DC does require more insurance coverage than most other states, however:
- $10,000 damage to the property of others
- $25,000 3rd party liability per person
- $50,000 3rd party liability per accident
- $25,000 uninsured motorist per person
- $50,000 uninsured motorist per accident
- $5,000 uninsured motorist property damage
Remember, however, that these are the minimum requirements set forth by Washington, DC laws. You may want additional coverage to fully protect your business interests.
Does My Business Need Commercial Vehicle Insurance?
If your car or fleet is registered with the Washington, DC Department of Motor Vehicles as a commercial vehicle, you need commercial vehicle insurance. You should also carry commercial auto coverage if your employees will be driving or using vehicles in the course of doing business.
If you use your vehicle for any of the following, you may also be mandated to carry commercial coverage:
- Carry equipment
- Transport hazardous material
- Tow other vehicles
- Deliver any goods such as pizza, newspapers, or any form of wholesale or retail products
- Truck and freight transportation
- Transport people
Some situations and certain occupations may be covered under standard auto policies, but you should ask your insurance agent if your company's vehicle use suggests a commercial policy.
What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?
Like traditional car insurance, options and terms vary from one insurance company to another. It's a good idea to work with an experienced insurance agent to find out which options are best for your business needs.
Most insurance providers will allow you to choose from the following coverage options as you build your unique commercial vehicle insurance package:
- Property damage liability
- Liability for bodily injury to others
- Personal injury to you, your employed drivers, or passengers, including medical expenses and lost wages
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage for damage from severe weather events, vandalism and theft
- Medical payments coverage
- 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 if your vehicles are used to transport goods or equipment
- Substitution transportation when your commercial vehicle is being repaired and you use a loaner from the repair shop
- Towing and labor costs
Many of these features are optional, but some, such as liability and uninsured motorist coverage , are required by Washington, DC laws. Make sure that for those options you are carrying at least the city's minimum requirements.
What Will My Commercial Vehicle Insurance Quote Look Like?
No two businesses are alike. Therefore, no two commercial auto insurance quotes will be alike, either. The quotes you receive from insurance providers will vary. Most companies take several factors into account when they calculate your commercial vehicle insurance quote, including:
- The size of your business
- The types of vehicles you wish to cover
- The number of vehicles you need to insure
- Your risks, such as whether or not your drivers have Class C licenses, if you carry hazardous waste, the driver records of your employees, etc.
- The amount of coverage you need
Typically, a passenger sedan will cost much less than a heavy duty vehicle such as dump truck. However, some insurance providers offer fleet packages and these policies are typically available at a bulk discount.
Employees who have poor driving records will cost you more to insure, so it is a wise investment to perform background checks on prospective employees.
If you are looking for commercial vehicle insurance on three or fewer cars, your quote will be substantially lower than a business owner who needs to insure an entire fleet of delivery vans.
How to Find the Best Deals on Commercial Vehicle Insurance
Whether your business offers taxi services to the bustling masses, delivers flowers, or hauls heavy equipment, a comprehensive commercial vehicle insurance policy can mean the difference between being stalled on the highway and happily humming along.
Knowledgeable independent insurance agents on the Trusted Choice® network are always here to help answer any questions you may have, suggest coverage options unique to your business, and even help you file a commercial vehicle insurance claim.
Contact a Trusted Choice agent near you to find out how you can protect your commercial investments with an insurance policy that meets your demands and fits your budget.