The first reason is the simplest. Basically it’s not covered anywhere else. General Liability specifically excludes it and if you are using your personal vehicle, it’s excluded on that policy too. Some examples of business use could be carrying tools, having signage on your car or having the vehicle wrapped, or working for a ride sharing company like Uber or Lyft. Any business use can potentially be used to exclude coverage.
A second reason to have business auto insurance is hired and non-owned auto liability. Hired and non-owned auto coverage provides protection for your business for those incidental (meaning not their everyday work) reasons where your employee(s) might be using their vehicles while working. Some examples include going to the bank, going to pick up lunch or coffee for the office or maybe picking up some office supplies. If the employee gets involved in an automobile accident during that time, your business may be brought in to the claim because basically they were working at the time. Hired and non-owned auto liability would respond to protect your business. Sometimes, you can add the coverage to your General Liability policy but that falls into the ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’ column. It’s kind of like drinking a skim decaf cappuccino. Yes, it’s technically coffee but you are not going to have the same experience that you would if you had the coffee the way it was intended. With a general liability policy, you’ll be dealing with an adjuster who doesn’t have as much experience with auto losses. The coverage is also usually written on an excess basis on general liability policies, so that means that you will be dependent on your employees’ coverage to handle the claim before your policy will start to protect you. On a business auto policy, the coverage is primary and the adjusters have a lot of experience with those types of losses, so the experience will be smoother, quicker and handled with the least amount of hassle to you.
A third reason to have business auto liability insurance is something that most people believe is covered under the general liability policy, however it is specifically excluded. That is loading and unloading. So, you would think that after you’ve parked the car, turned it off and put the keys in your pocket that the business auto liability would be over, but if you’re making a delivery, you are still being covered by the business auto liability. Let me explain. After the car is parked, you open your trunk, take a few boxes and put them on a hand cart. The boxes could be anything: a product, Christmas gifts, gifts for a referral partner or maybe even documents. As you walk through the parking lot, in the building, up the elevator, through the door and literally until the items are finally delivered, you are considered to be unloading which is excluded on the general liability policy and can be covered on the business auto policy. This is the primary reason that many building owners want to see the business auto liability coverage of any company providing deliveries at their buildings.
Those are only three reasons why you should have a business auto liability policy but there are many more.
Keep in mind that NOT all insurance is created equal.
No matter what you may see on TV or internet ads, all policies are NOT the same. You should spend some time with your independent insurance agent to discuss your coverages and make sure that the insurance coverage you want to have is the coverage you do have on your policies. If you don’t have an independent agent or would like a second opinion, feel free to call, chat or email us and we would be glad to discuss your needs and/or policy with you. Thank you.