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Commercial auto insurance: the basics.

Commercial auto insurance provides coverage to vehicles used for business purposes.

Buying commercial auto insurance a good idea for both small and large business owners who use vehicles often for deliveries or transportation since it protects the policyholder's liability. 

This type of insurance also covers business-specific needs:  commercial insurance can pay for replacement cars, which can go a long way to ensuring that productivity doesn’t suffer.

Commercial auto insurance costs a lot more than normal auto insurance. Simply put, businesses face larger risks. Replacing an overturned transport truck carrying valuable materials costs more than replacing a private passenger vehicle, after all.  

Your questions about commercial auto insurance, answered.

Who needs commercial auto insurance?

If you operate a small business out of your home and don’t travel between job sites or make deliveries, your personal policy is likely protection enough.

However, if you are using a vehicle for deliveries or transporting equipment, you likely should have commercial auto insurance as it can cover expenses personal auto insurance cannot, such as damage to equipment during transportation or liabilities while moving objects.

Commercial auto insurance is also necessary to cover bigger liabilities, such as those caused by larger commercial vehicles such as trucks, tractors, trailers and specialized construction vehicles.

These expensive commercial vehicles should be covered in case they are damaged or they cause an accident, which can be more likely given their size and longer time on the road.

If you are a driver for a ride-sharing company, such as Uber or Lyft, there is no need to get your own commercial auto insurance as both companies offer coverage while you are on the clock. However, you will still need personal auto insurance for when you’re using your vehicle for personal use.

What’s covered by commercial auto insurance?

Commercial auto insurance covers similar territory as personal auto insurance but is tailor-made for business-specific damages, such as providing higher limits that can accommodate more expensive vehicles.

Commercial auto insurance covers collisions, such as damage to your vehicle from a different vehicle or object, and will partially cover the expenses of the repair bills, the cost of a replacement vehicle, and property damage.

Often, it will include replacement car coverage, so you can get a temporary rental car to carry out your day-to-day business if your regular car is out of commission due to an accident.

Commercial auto insurance also covers medical expenses due to injury from your commercial vehicle to you, an employee or a third party, as well as lost wages, funeral expenses and legal fees — regardless of who is at fault.

Commercial auto insurance usually does not cover injuries from intentional acts, though, such as road rage, or claims between two employees, such as that one caused injury while they were both working.

It usually covers loading and unloading liability, which can be important to small business owners who transport goods that could injure employees moving them.

How much does commercial auto insurance cost?

The cost of commercial auto insurance can vary depending on the type of vehicle you are using for your business and the business you are doing.

Commercial auto insurance is typically more expensive than personal auto insurance due to driving for businesses often being riskier than personal driving due to more time on the road and a higher likelihood of a lawsuit after an accident.

Some factors can drive your rate up, such as the driving history of the operator, the age of the driver, if the vehicle weighs more than 10,000 pounds, or if speedy delivery is required.

How much should I get?

You will likely need more commercial auto insurance depending on the type of vehicle you are using and the type of work.

For example, bigger, heavier commercial vehicles will likely need more coverage because they are more expensive vehicles, are on the road longer and can cause more damage if involved in an accident. Think of a van collision versus a tanker turning over on a highway.

More vehicles in your fleet will also mean the need for more coverage.

You may also need more coverage if your vehicle is travelling large distances and contains valuable cargo. It is much cheaper for the insurer to cover the transportation of hay compared to hazardous materials, for example.

Where can I get commercial auto insurance in Canada?

There is no shortage of commercial auto insurance providers in Canada, but it is important to do your research first to make sure you are using a trustworthy and reputable provider.

Commercial auto insurance providers include Sonnet, Ensurco, Aviva, Intact, State Farm Canada and Zurich Canada.

We recommend shopping around instead of going directly to one insurance company. LowestRates.ca helps you compare quotes from multiple providers of commercial insurers to help you find your best rate.

What other kinds of commercial insurance might I need?

Commercial property insurance: This kind of commercial insurance can help protect the physical assets of your business, such as your storefront or warehouse, equipment, inventory or electronics.

Commercial general liability insurance (CGL): You may consider this kind of insurance as well to protect against property damage from a third party if you are legally liable for bodily injuries or from situations that might arise if you or your employees are conducting business offsite.

Business interruption insurance: Covers ongoing business expenses if your business location is temporarily closed for repairs.