In Ontario, if you use a vehicle for any business purposes other than simply getting to and from work, you need commercial auto insurance.
WHAT IS COMMERCIAL AUTO INSURANCE?
Commercial auto insurance is a policy that covers damage and liability amounts that a regular personal auto insurance policy does not cover.
For example, if your truck is used to haul equipment for your contractor business or your van is used to deliver food for your restaurant and catering business, this is considered business use outside of what would normally be covered by personal auto insurance.
It’s sometimes referred to as commercial truck insurance, fleet insurance or commercial vehicle insurance. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.
While keeping your commercial vehicle safe should the top priority, insurance is there when you need it.
WHAT TYPES OF VEHICLES CAN BE COVERED BY COMMERCIAL AUTO INSURANCE?
Commercial auto insurance can apply to any vehicle in Ontario that is used for business purposes.
While most often applied to commercial trucks, it can be required for any car, truck, van or even a whole fleet of company vehicles that are used for things outside of what a regular personal auto insurance policy may cover.
Types of vehicles that can be covered by commercial auto insurance include:
- Pick-up trucks
- Box trucks
- Service vehicles
- Delivery vans
Are you an Uber driver?
That would be considered the use of your private passenger vehicle for commercial purposes to generate income and would have to be classified as a commercial vehicle.
Be aware that this may be an excluded category or not insurable by many insurance companies.
WHAT TYPES OF BUSINESSES USE COMMERCIAL AUTO INSURANCE?
The short answer is that any business that uses a vehicle for commercial use beyond what a personal auto insurance policy would cover needs commercial auto insurance.
Whether you’re a large heating and air conditioning business with a fleet of service vans on the road a small contracting business with a single truck that stores tools and equipment, commercial auto insurance will help make sure your Ontario business is properly protected.
The most common types of businesses that need commercial auto insurance are:
Commercial auto insurance is needed for any business that is involved in:
- The transport and delivery of merchandise
- Storing and moving equipment or tools between job sites
WHAT DOES COMMERCIAL AUTO INSURANCE COVER?
In Ontario, commercial auto insurance generally covers the same things as personal auto insurance (view list below) however the important thing to note is that if you are involved in an incident related to business activity with personal auto insurance in place, your claim could initially be denied under particular sections of your vehicle coverage.
If you review your personal auto insurance policy you will most likely find a clause that excludes incidents related to business activity.
This is what commercial auto insurance covers:
- Liability from bodily injury and property damage that you or your driver may cause during business activities.
- Medical costs for you, the driver and the passengers.
- Collision coverage for damage to your vehicle or fleet.
- Comprehensive insurance coverage may apply to things like vandalism or theft.
- Uninsured or underinsured protection for when the other driver involved does not have insurance.
COMMERCIAL AUTO INSURANCE VS PERSONAL AUTO INSURANCE
While personal and commercial auto insurance generally covers the same things, there are extra benefits to having a commercial auto insurance policy in place for your business vehicle(s) above and beyond what personal auto insurance can do for you.
These benefits can include:
- Multiple vehicle coverage so that different types of cars, trucks and vans can be covered by a single policy
- Rental vehicle costs may be covered in the event you need a temporary replacement vehicle
There are other insurance options you could be covered through with a commercial property insurance policy such as your employees using their own vehicle for business purposes, tools and equipment stored in your commercial vehicle and loss of earnings incurred while your commercial vehicle is off the road.
HOW MUCH DOES COMMERCIAL AUTO INSURANCE COST?
Commercial auto insurance is no different.
On average, in Ontario costs can range between $100 – $300 a month or more.
The specific amount for commercial auto insurance you will pay depends on:
- The industry your business is in
- The type and number of vehicles that need to be protected
- Policy limits and deductibles
- Location of business and radius of travel for business purposes
Commercial auto insurance costs more than personal auto insurance because:
- Commercial vehicles are more likely to be on the road during the busiest driving hours
- You’re more likely to be carrying expensive goods or equipment
- You tend to drive more often in unfamiliar areas
- Commercial vehicles can sometimes have more than 1 driver
- Commercial vehicles are more often the target of theft or vandalism
You can reduce the costs of your commercial auto insurance in some ways including:
- Bundle your commercial auto insurance with other insurance policies such as commercial liability insurance
- Only hiring employees with good driving records
- Install safety tech into vehicles such as GPS
- If available, participate in your insurance company’s monitoring program
- Increase your deductible
- Pay your insurance premiums annually instead of monthly
Get a quote for commercial auto insurance from Erie Mutual.
Erie Mutual Insurance proudly serves the commercial insurance, farm insurance, home insurance and auto insurance needs of members throughout Southern Ontario including Haldimand, Niagara and Hamilton.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about this or any other topic related to your insurance.