When purchasing, upgrading or expanding a fleet of vehicles, a business’ commercial auto insurance needs change. If you run a Vermont business that’s recently invested in or is about to purchase a fleet of vehicles, here are some changes you may want to make to your business’ commercial auto policy.
When My Vermont Business Gets a Fleet of Vehicles, What Changes Should Be Made to Its Commercial Auto Insurance?
Increase Property Damage Coverages
First, you’ll likely want to increase the property damage coverages that your business’ commercial auto insurance provides, in order to account for the new vehicles. Investing in a fleet will increase how much your business’ vehicles are worth, and you’ll want to protect your investment with adequate insurance.
(If your business is leasing or financing its new vehicles, the lease or loan terms may even require you to increase your business’ property damage coverages so that the bank’s interest in the new vehicles is fully protected.)
Increase Liability Limits
Second, you may want to increase the property damage and bodily injury liability limits offered by your company’s business auto insurance.
Although the potential liability of one accident doesn’t necessarily increase when your business invests in a fleet of vehicles, the risk of having employees cause multiple accidents increases. To account for this increase in risk, it’s often wise to increase a business auto policy’s aggregate limits, which determine how much a policy will pay for liability claims over the course of the policy.
Occasionally, business owners think they can get around aggregate limits by switching business auto insurance policies if an employee is in a major accident. Switching policies can be an expensive strategy, though, and it’s not always feasible. Sometimes, multiple employees will cause accidents within a relatively short period of time, and business owners won’t have enough time to get a new business auto policy. This is an especially real risk in Vermont during the winter, when storms can make driving treacherous and several employees may be in accidents on the same day.
Consider Roadside Assistance
Many insurers that underwrite business auto insurance policies offer emergency roadside assistance as an optional add-on. Moreover, the rates insurers charge for this service are often quite reasonable.
If your company is reliant on a fleet of vehicles, consider signing up for emergency roadside assistance. The service may pay for itself in a single call, especially when you take into account the cost of lost time while a vehicle is broken down on the side of the road.
Protect Any Equipment or Products in Vehicles
If your company’s new vehicles will be regularly transporting equipment or supplies, you should make sure the items are properly insured. Even if the items in a single value don’t cost too much, the cumulative value of all the items kept in your company’s fleet could add up to a significant sum -- enough that you may need to secure special insurance for them.
Depending on the terms and conditions of your company's business auto insurance, you might have two ways to insure equipment and supplies that are in vehicles. The business auto policy itself may offer sufficient coverage for these items, either as a standard protection or an optional one. Alternatively, you can look into getting an inland marine policy to supplement your company’s business auto policy. Inland marine insurance is designed to protect items while they’re being transported and, thus, may help to cover equipment and supplies in vehicles.
Review Your Vermont Business’ Commercial Auto Insurance with Your Insurance Agent
For help with these changes and reviewing the other parts of your business’ commercial auto insurance, contact your Vermont business’ independent insurance agent. They’ll be able to help assess how getting, upgrading or expanding a fleet of vehicles will affect your business’ insurance needs, and they can help you find coverage that will provide proper protection for your business’ new fleet.