Commercial Auto Fleet Insurance
What Is Commercial Fleet Insurance?
You can purchase fleet insurance to cover liability risks for all of your company’s vehicles. These can include cars, buses, vans, SUVs and trucks from construction vehicles to tractor-trailers. Vehicles insured under a fleet insurance plan do not need to be used for the same purpose. For example, you can insure your construction vehicles and commercial cars under the same policy.
If you have a smaller business, you may be wondering how many vehicles constitute a fleet. The answer to this question can vary according to different insurance providers. While some may require a company to have more than five vehicles to purchase fleet insurance, some will allow this insurance for businesses with as few as two cars. In many cases, however, fleet insurance is most cost-effective when you have at least three vehicles on the policy.
What Does Fleet Insurance Cover?
Fleet insurance will provide liability insurance coverage for all of your company’s vehicles in one policy. Often, these policies provide provisions to allow employees of your company to drive any vehicle in your fleet and be covered if they cause an accident.
At a minimum, this commercial vehicle insurance will provide enough collision and liability coverage to meet your province's insurance requirements for commercial vehicles. You can then add on other options such as increased liability limits, roadside assistance, uninsured motorists coverage and comprehensive coverage (known as "other than collision") to protect against theft, vandalism and other vehicular damage.
Is Fleet Insurance Expensive?
The price range for fleet insurance polies varies greatly according to a number of factors. Naturally, the more vehicles you have on your policy, the more it will cost. Some other factors that can influence cost are as follows:
The age and value of your vehicles: Purchasing used vehicles can save you money on insurance as they are less expensive to repair than custom or new vehicles.
The intended use of your vehicles: Those who do service-oriented work, such as plumbers and lock-smiths, typically pay the least for insurance. Vehicles used for retail purposes, such as pizza-delivery cars and floral delivery vans, are in the mid-range for policy costs. Those who transport people or deliver goods to other businesses pay the most.
The type of vehicle: Passenger cars are less expensive to insure than vans and SUVs. Likewise, trucks have a range of policy costs depending on the class they fall into. The three classes of trucks are light, medium and heavy duty trucks. Light duty trucks are generally under 10,000 pounds and include full-sized vans, flatbed trucks and pick-up trucks. Medium trucks weigh between 10,000 and 20,000 pounds and include box-trucks and mid-sized refrigerated trucks. Heavy duty trucks exceed 20,000 pounds and include beverage trucks, tractor-trailers and most construction vehicles.
Your chosen policy options: The more comprehensive your policy, the more it will cost. However, more comprehensive policies may save you from a major loss in the event of a serious accident.
Tips for Maintaining a Safe Fleet of Vehicles
Accidents happen, even to the best drivers. However, because many accidents are the result of mechanical failures or driver inexperience and inattention, taking a few simple precautions can reduce your risk of liability in a commercial fleet collision and may even earn you discounts on your fleet insurance. Here are some tips to consider:
Be aware of and stay compliant with all provincial and federal fleet safety regulations
Choose qualified drivers and be sure to review their driving records annually
Provide your drivers with adequate training and periodic reviews of safety procedure protocols
Train drivers to conduct quick routine vehicle inspections prior to driving them
Reward safe drivers with awards and incentives; research has shown that this is an effective way to reduce accidents, injuries and workers compensation claims
Pay attention to what your drivers are doing when on the road; conduct periodic checks to ensure that they are using the company vehicles safely
Keep your vehicles well-maintained, being sure to retain records of all maintenance work you have done
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