Small business owners are the economic driver of this province. Thousands of people work every day filling unique niches in the market and providing exceptional services at low costs because of equally low overhead. But while small business owners conscientiously worry about controlling expenses, keeping up with their customers’ demands, handling their marketing strategies, and balancing their books, often the last thing on their minds is their insurance coverage.
Commercial auto insurance is not limited to fleet owners. Landscapers travelling from location to location or baker delivering tasty goods need commercial auto insurance. It’s a mistake to think you are completely covered underneath your personal auto insurance policy as there are big – and important – differences between the two.
Businesses That May Require Commercial Auto Insurance
Examples of enterprises that may require commercial auto insurance include:
- Caterers of any sort
- Tradespeople (electricians, landscapers, plumbers, inspectors, etc.)
- Retail store owners
- Massage therapists
- Delivery drivers
- Health care providers
- Rideshare (Uber) or private drivers
Just because a commercial auto insurance policy seems warranted, it doesn’t mean it’s cost-prohibitive. Just like your regular auto insurance coverage, commercial auto insurance can be tailored to meet your exact needs. As an insurance brokerage, we are able to deal with a number of Alberta’s top providers to compare and contrast policies and find the one to best meet your needs at the lowest possible cost.
More Ways to Determine if You Need Commercial Auto Insurance
Some questions to ask yourself if you are trying to figure out if you need commercial auto insurance are:
- How do you use your vehicle? Commercial auto insurance coverage should be considered if you use your vehicle for transferring tools or equipment, delivering products or merchandise, or if you transport customers from point A to point B.
- What type of vehicle do you drive for your business? Heavy vehicles such as trucks and large SUVs cause a lot more damage in an accident and therefore should have appropriate coverage. And vehicles that are specific to construction or maintenance services (such as a Bobcat or driving mower) should have commercial auto insurance coverage.
- Do you or your business own the vehicle? If your vehicle is registered underneath your business’s name and used mainly for business purposes a commercial auto insurance policy is warranted. If you have a home-based business but rarely leave to visit customers or clients your personal insurance policy is likely good enough.
What Additional Protections Does Commercial Insurance Offer?
With commercial auto insurance, you have many options for upgrading your coverage. You can choose supplementary protections, which offer:
- Coverage which extends to borrowed vehicles and rented vehicles
- Full reimbursement, with no depreciation factor, for write-offs on new vehicles
- Protections that limit or eliminate rate increases, even if drivers are involved in at-fault accidents
- Extended coverage for garages and vehicle storage bays
If you have other specialized needs, be sure to discuss them with a qualified insurance professional. You’ve invested a lot in your commercial vehicles; don’t leave them unprotected.
Controlling Your Commercial Auto Insurance Costs
Many worry that commercial auto insurance will be too expensive, but this should not be the case if you are conscientious about your driving habits and encourage your employees to do so as well. Ways to control your commercial insurance costs include:
- Prioritizing safety. Insurance rates are directly tied to perceived risk, so if the insurance company has reason to believe you pose a low level of risk, they will offer you a lower price on the coverage you’re looking for.
- Consider telematics. Fleet owners may consider usage-based coverage (or telematics), which will reward drivers for good behavior.
- Adjust limits and deductibles. Raising your deductibles and lowering your maximum coverage limit will both reduce your overall monthly or annual rates. While you will sacrifice a bit of your safety net, this generally won’t be a problem if your business has the cash flow to cover a higher deductible in the event of an accident.
- Investigate discounts for multiple policy holders. This is a proven strategy for achieving lower insurance rates. If you have multiple policies through the same company, you may qualify for an insurance discount of as much as 20 per cent.
Commercial Insurance Coverage From Lane’s
In addition to commercial auto insurance, Lane’s also offers policies for commercial property insurance, commercial surety bonds, contract surety bonds, and contractors insurance. Contact us at our Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, and Alberta offices today.