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What is Commercial Auto Insurance?

Whether you’re a sales tech who drives all over the South Shore, a local contractor who hauls a trailer and expensive equipment to construction sites, or a legal professional who only occasionally uses their car to see clients, you might be exposing yourself to substantial financial risk by not having a commercial auto insurance policy.

The reason to have auto insurance in Massachusetts is pretty straightforward. No matter what type of vehicle you drive, you are required by state law to carry at least minimum required levels of this critical coverage.

Somewhat surprising, though, is that these mandatory levels of insurance requirements are exactly the same whether you’re looking for auto insurance coverage for a personal vehicle or one used for business purposes. However, this does not mean that if you’re driving a business-owned or leased vehicle that a personal auto insurance policy is sufficient coverage. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth.

If you or an employee were to get in an accident while driving a company vehicle, having personal auto insurance coverage on this car or truck is going to be completely useless to you. In such a scenario, your insurance company will likely deny your claim. Even worse, you could be on the hook financially for any injury or damage claims that you are liable for as well as any costs required to replace or repair your business’ wrecked vehicle.

But, with the proper commercial auto insurance policy in place, you and your employees will have the protection you need when using company-owned, borrowed or rented vehicles for business purposes. In addition to providing you with the Massachusetts’ compulsory coverages listed below, a commercial auto policy gives you the option to select critical endorsements that extend your coverage limits:

  • Compulsory Coverages include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability for third-party claims of physical injury resulting from an accident
  • Property Damage Liability for accident-related damage to other’s property and pollution cleanup costs
  • Personal Injury Protection for medical expenses incurred by insured drivers and passengers (other than you or your employees)
  • Uninsured Motorist for accidents caused by drivers with zero liability insurance
  • Additional Coverages include:

  • Optional Bodily Injury which can increase your coverage limit for injury claims per person and per accident to $1 million each
  • Comprehensive for damages to your vehicle resulting from events such as theft, vandalism, and severe weather
  • Collision for losses due to your vehicle overturning or colliding with another object
  • Non-owned and Hired Auto Coverage for employees’ driving their own vehicles or rentals
  • Roadside Assistance in case of a lockout or if towing is required

If you want to be sure that anyone driving your vehicles is not putting either themselves or other people on the road at risk every time they get behind the wheel, it’s a good idea to sit down with a local, knowledgeable insurance agent, like Austin Insurance. We will not only help you answer the somewhat complicated question, “Do I need to purchase commercial auto insurance?”, but we will also help you sort through what the most important commercial auto insurance products for your business are and identify ways to save you money.

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Who needs commercial auto insurance

When you own a smaller business, what type of insurance you need for the vehicles you and your employees drive is not always as cut and dry as it would be if you were, let’s say, a long-haul trucking company that owns a fleet of vehicles.

That’s why the Austin team will look at several factors to determine what level of commercial auto insurance coverage you need, including:

  • Are you or your employees using a vehicle for business purposes more than three times a month?
  • Do you use this vehicle to travel to clients or job sites?
  • Is the vehicle registered under your business name?
  • Are multiple employees using the same vehicle?
  • Do you carry business equipment, such as ladders, tools, or supplies?
  • Are you transporting hazardous or flammable materials?
  • Is your vehicle equipped with cranes, winches, or snowplows that are used beyond your private property?
  • Do you use this vehicle to deliver goods, such as pizza, flowers, or newspapers?
  • Is this vehicle used to provide messenger or ridesharing services?
  • Are employees allowed to bring company vehicles home and use them for personal purposes in the evenings or on weekends?
  • Do your employees drive their own cars for business purposes?

Depending on your answers to these questions, and a few more, we will be able to determine how much liability risk your company could face in the event of an accident. This, ultimately, enables us to decide if you need commercial auto insurance and, if so, then how much.

With all of this information in hand, we will work with our broad network of commercial auto insurance carriers to find the options that would be the best fit for your company, your vehicles, and your driving behaviors. Our goal is to match you with an insurance company with expertise in your industry and competitively-priced products that are relevant to your specific exposures.

How Austin takes care of you and your commercial vehicles is different from all the rest

When it comes to insuring your commercial vehicles, we use the same hands-on approach as we do when assessing your overall liability and commercial property insurance needs.

We strongly believe that to effectively evaluate your specific commercial auto insurance needs, it is essential for us to come meet you in person, at your place of business. This visit will not only give us the opportunity to get to know you and your company much better, but it will also allow us to see and evaluate firsthand the cars and trucks that your policy will be written for.

To get you the most accurate quote and optimal coverage for each and every vehicle you need insured, as well as to identify ways you could be saving money on your commercial auto insurance, the Austin team will want to:

  • Understand the type, size, and number of vehicles that require coverage
  • Identify the use class – retail, service, or commercial – for each vehicle
  • Inspect the area where your vehicles are parked overnight
  • Estimate the number of miles each vehicle is driven every day
  • Review your employees’ driving experience along with any record of accidents or moving violations like speeding or DUI
  • Assess your strategy for recruiting and hiring drivers and uncover any risky practices

For three generations, the Austin team has not only expertly handled the commercial auto insurance needs of thousands of businesses like yours, but also offered professional guidance on everything from vehicle repair, maintenance, and inspection plans to driver safety protocols.

So, if you choose to work with us, you can be confident that we will do much more than just deliver a comprehensive policy to you. We are here to provide ongoing support and advice on how to limit accident-related losses, hire the best drivers, contain costs, and manage risks and exposures. At Austin, your company’s best interest will always be the driving reason behind every recommendation we make or piece of advice we offer.

Most important, we will be by your side at that exact moment when you need your insurance, and your insurance professional, the most – when you need to file a claim. We have a dedicated claims support team member who will assist you with paperwork, answer questions, uncomplicate any issues, and much more. Once your claim is filed, we will work closely with you and your insurance adjuster to ensure that your claim is resolved promptly and fairly and that you can get your vehicle back on the road, and back to business, as quickly as possible.

To experience our highly professional and personalized approach to commercial auto insurance, please call the Austin team today, 781-447-5561.