Protecting your general contracting business with commercial auto insurance
Running a successful general contracting business requires a great deal of travel. Whether it’s traveling to and from different job sites, picking up materials, or delivering supplies, you rely on a work van or truck to keep your business, quite literally, moving.
But what happens when you or one of your employees is involved in an accident while driving a work vehicle? Or tools and equipment are stolen from it? Whether or not you’re at fault, the result could be costly. It has the potential to set you back financially, or even put you out of business.
To keep your general contracting business covered on the road and help your business get back up and running after an accident, you’ll need a commercial auto insurance policy. General liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance will protect you and your staff in case of accidents or injuries that occur on the job, but what about all the travel time in between?
Read on to learn more about commercial auto insurance for contractors, what’s covered, and why your business needs it.
What do general contractors need to know about commercial auto insurance?
Commercial auto insurance provides coverage for your business’s commercial vehicles in case of an accident or collision. This includes coverage for multiple employees who may be responsible for driving work vehicles.
Unlike personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance provides extra coverage for your business in instances such as someone other than the vehicle owner driving the vehicle. Your commercial auto insurance will cover expensive repairs and medical bills, as well as the cost to repair or replace expensive tools or equipment that may have been damaged.
Is commercial auto insurance required by law?
For most states, except for New Hampshire and Virginia, commercial auto insurance is required by law. However, regardless of whether your state requires commercial auto insurance, all states require some form of personal auto insurance coverage to protect you and others on the road in the event of a collision.
If your business owns or leases a vehicle, or if your vehicle has a commercial license plate, registration, or tag, you’ll need coverage.
What does commercial auto insurance cover for general contractors?
In the event you or your crew get into a collision when driving to or from the worksite, you can rely on your auto insurance to cover the costs of vehicle and/or property damages, medical bills, lawsuits, and more. What your auto insurance covers will depend on your policy. Your commercial auto coverage may include:
- Collision to cover any costs associated with your work vehicle being hit by, or hitting, another vehicle. This includes the cost to repair or replace the damaged vehicles involved in the accident or collision.
- Comprehensive to cover any damages that may occur without an accident ensuing. For example, vandalism or weather-related damages.
- Auto liability to protect you and your company’s assets should another driver sue your business after an accident with a work vehicle.
- Personal injury or medical payments to cover any medical expenses should the occupants of a work vehicle be injured in an accident.
- Uninsured or underinsured to cover repair or medical costs after an accident if a driver doesn’t have personal auto insurance or insufficient coverage.
You can also customize your insurance policy to include additional coverage such as:
- Roadside assistance to cover assistance for dead batteries, flat tires, or lock outs.
- Rental reimbursement to cover the cost of a rental vehicle to keep your business moving after an accident or collision occurs.
- New vehicle replacement cost to help pay for a new vehicle should your work vehicle be totaled in an accident.
- Expanded towing for towing coverage beyond what your existing commercial auto policy provides.
For commercial builders or general contractors who specialize in new construction, your insurance policy can also cover specialized vehicles or equipment that may be damaged in an accident. For example, if a work vehicle is totaled and the supplies it was carrying can no longer be used, your commercial auto insurance will cover the cost to replace these materials.
What happens if you don’t have auto insurance?
Adding commercial vehicles into the mix only increases the potential or risk for employees and liability for your general contracting business.
As a business owner, if you don’t have commercial auto insurance and a vehicle that you own or lease is involved in an accident, you may be liable to pay damages out of pocket. Even the smallest fender bender can be financially crippling to a small business without the right insurance policy in place.
Not covered yet?
Operating a vehicle for your business comes with risks. Even the safest driver can find themselves in circumstances out of their control, and no one wants to be stuck paying the cost of repairs out of their own pocket.
Luckily, commercial auto insurance can help you avoid expensive repairs and keep your general contracting business running smoothly. Think you may need a policy? Pie can help with that!
Thanks for reading! Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As best practices change regularly, you should refer to your trusted advisor for specific counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about workplace safety or check your workers’ comp rate in 3 minutes.