Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Choosing the Right Vehicle Insurance Company

Expensive claim or peace of mind? Here are 10 questions you may not know to ask when building a policy that’s right for you.

July 2009, by Ryan Furmick

Your vehicles are the backbone that keeps your business running. So when insuring those vehicles, make sure you're covered by an insurance company that fits your business needs-because the last thing you want when you have a claim is to find out you have insufficient coverage.

When working with a local independent agent to build a policy, ask these 10 questions to determine the right carrier for your business.


1. Are all of my drivers covered, even if they're not listed on my policy?

Ask your insurance company its policy for covering employees who drive your business vehicles. Some insurance companies will only extend coverage to drivers who are specifically named on the policy. So, every time you give a new driver the keys to one of your vehicles, you would need to call your insurer and add him or her to the policy or else he or she wouldn't be covered in case of an accident.

Some insurers allow permissive use, which means that all of your drivers are covered as long as they have your permission to operate the vehicle.

2. Are my employees' personal vehicles covered if they get into an accident while running a business errand? What about rental cars?

In many cases, rental cars and employee vehicles are not covered under a standard commercial auto insurance policy. And if one of those vehicles is damaged in an accident, you could be liable.

If your business often uses rental vehicles, or if you send employees on business errands in their personal vehicles, consider adding Hired Auto, Non-Owned Auto or Any Auto coverages to your policy.

3. I'm a seasonal business and don't need full coverage in off months. Can I cancel my policy and start up when it gets busy?

If you were to drop your insurance completely, you might pay significantly more to get a new policy when your peak season rolls around because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage.

A comprehensive-only policy provides coverage for businesses that don't need liability coverage during certain months, but want basic protection against incidents like vandalism, theft, falling tree branches, and hail. This is ideal for vehicles that sit for long periods during off-season. Plus, a comprehensive-only policy provides continuous insurance.

4. What can you recommend to make my drivers safer and to lower my premiums?

Many larger independent agents who specialize in fleets can recommend driver training programs specifically designed for your industry. These programs can help keep your drivers safer and, in some cases, lower your insurance premium.


5. How fast is your average turnaround time for a claim?

Find out how quickly your insurer resolves claims on average.

Whether your insurer uses full-time, part-time or contract claims adjusters can affect turnaround time. Some companies use part-time or contract adjusters to handle claims, which can slow down the process.

Progressive handles 100 percent of its commercial vehicle insurance claims with its own staff.

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