As an insurance agent, there are four words in our vocabulary that can keep us up at night knowing we are going to have to pick up the phone and say that to someone when the sun rises. I’ve been fortunate to never have had to say that to someone, but you hear enough horror stories around town to cross your fingers and knock on wood that it never is the case. Those four little words, I’m talking about are, “You have no coverage” and personal auto in the place of where a commercial auto policy should be is where it occurs quite frequently.
I heard a story the other day about a guy who ran a mowing business. Every day he lugged all his equipment around in a trailer attached to his truck from job to job, he worked hard, and paid his personal auto premium on time every month. One day, he was doing the same thing he did every other day, but he went to switch lanes and didn’t see someone in his blind spot. No big deal, he has insurance, right? Wrong. Car insurance companies consider commercial auto insurance and personal auto insurance to be two completely different types of policies due to the differences in liability and risk involved. Personal policies are written with the average private citizen and their needs in mind, while commercial policies are designed to address the unique needs and situations that arise in commercial use. If you file a claim on your personal car insurance for a vehicle you use for work, your car insurance company can and may deny your claim simply because some business uses violate the terms of your personal car insurance policy.
If your answer is yes to any of the following questions, you may need a commercial auto policy.
- Do you use any of your vehicles for pickup or delivery of goods, including supplies, materials, newspaper, food items, or for messenger services?
- Are any of your vehicles used for limousine, taxi service, or other livery service?
- Are any of your vehicles owned or leased by a partnership or corporation?
- Are any of your vehicles registered or titled to a business, corporation, partnership, or DBA (Doing Business As)?
- Do any employees or non-listed drivers drive any of your vehicles on a regular or occasional basis?
- Are any of your vehicles leased or rented to others?
- Are any of your vehicles a pickup, van, or utility vehicle with a gross weight exceeding 10,000 pounds, or do any of your vehicles have a rated load capacity over 2,000 pounds?
- Are any of your vehicles equipped with snowplowing equipment, cooking or catering equipment, bathrooms, altered suspensions, hydraulic lifts, or racing equipment?
- Do any of your vehicles have equipment installed such as ladder racks or permanent toolboxes that are used to support a business?
Ask your insurance agent if you’re properly covered for Oklahoma City commercial auto insurance and if they can’t help, ECI is always there.