Every business had a commercial auto liability exposure regardless of whether or not that business owns a vehicle. The owner is driving his or her personal car to deposit money in the bank. The receptionist is using a personal vehicle to pick up lunch. The clerk hops in a car to go pick up toner for the copier. An accident during any of these trips could lead to a commercial auto liability exposure if the business they were working for at the time of the accident is named in the lawsuit. How do you protect the business?
Of course, if a registered vehicle (private passenger, van, pickup, truck, or trailer) is titled under a business name, a separate commercial auto policy is required. This policy should also contain hired and non-owned auto liability coverage. This will protect the business by defending the entity in the situations listed above and triggering the auto liability coverage limits if the business is found liable within any settlement. You do not have to buy a separate commercial auto policy if your business doesn’t own any vehicles as this hired and non-owned coverage can be added by endorsement to your general liability or business owner’s policy.
You can select coverage for physical damages to the vehicles you own as well as hired or rented autos. The commercial auto policy can also provide medical coverage to named individuals listed on the policy that need this coverage. For example, if an owner of a company buys all of his family vehicles under his corporate name, the wife and possibly children would need to be covered for medical personal injury protection (PIP) coverage regardless of if they are injured as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian. Similar coverage for loss of income due to an auto accident injury and “drive other car” DOC liability can be provided to any named individuals by paying a separate premium within the commercial auto policy. Remember that if an employee were injured in an auto accident during the course of their employment, your worker’s compensation coverage and not the commercial auto policy would need to handle the medical bills and related benefits to that employee. Let the experienced professionals at Hanson & Ryan take the confusion away and make sure all of your auto liability, physical damage, and medical gaps are provided for if your business suffers an automobile accident.