With the price of vehicles close to astronomical, it only makes sure that you want to find the best California fleet auto insurance rates possible. Whether you use 3 vehicles or a few hundred, you and your employees deserve to have the right commercial fleet auto insurance in place for protection.
While CSIA is a California-based company, we can services companies in other states as well.
Why Fleet Auto Insurance Rates Can Vary in California and Other States
All vehicles used for your business need adequate coverage for general liability, property damage and bodily injury.
But fleet insurance can also be costly in today’s commercial marketplace. There are many reasons that rates increase outside of inflation.
Here are a few examples of why fleet auto insurance rates may increase or vary:
Nuclear Verdict Insurance Settlements
Nuclear verdicts are defined as a settlement exceeding $10,000,000. They have been awarded in an unprecedented number of commercial auto lawsuits as of late (CNBC.com “Rise in ‘nuclear verdicts’ in lawsuits threatens trucking industry”).
Jury verdicts of $30,000,000 are commonplace. For example, consider the $39,000,000 award caused by a driver unprepared for icy conditions or the $54,000,000 verdict resulting from the desperate hire of a commercial auto driver with a history of major driving violations.
Distracted Fleet Drivers Cause Higher Rates
Distracted driving has become a cultural norm. Rather than working to prevent accidents, too many people believe that “accidents just happen.” Courts have little tolerance for operators of commercial vehicles who drive distracted and cause damage and injury to others. This intolerance shows up as large verdicts, awards, and settlements.
Inexperienced Commercial Drives Cause Rate Increases
Inexperienced drivers are being hired in many areas experiencing a driver shortage. As a result, drivers short of practice on the road in commercial vehicles or those with a poor driving record are hired to operate business vehicles in desperation.
Lack of driving experience and knowledge often results in bad decision-making and leads to dangerous commercial driving situations. Newer drivers can have an unrealistic perception of their own driving abilities and an inability to evaluate risk accurately.
Planning Your Fleet Coverage
Now that you know what you are up against, you need to carefully consider your coverage options. The best policy will provide business owners with:
- Liability for bodily injury or damage to others
- Damage to the vehicles used
- Extra costs associated with an accident related to any covered vehicle.
Every state has minimum values required for each type of coverage and if the vehicles are not owned outright, lenders have additional requirements.
In the end, it is best for businesses to carry insurance limits that are much higher than the required minimums for the protection of their company.
Talking with an experienced insurance agent who is well-versed in California insurance rules and fleet auto insurance for commercial accounts will help you get the coverage you need at the best price.
Breakdown of Fleet Auto Insurance Coverage Options
- Bodily injury liability coverage (BI) – pays for bodily injury or death resulting from an accident for which you are at fault and in most cases provides you with a legal defense.
- Property damage liability coverage (PD) – provides you with protection if your vehicle accidently damages another person’s property and in most cases provides you with a legal defense.
- Combined single limit (CSL) – Liability policies typically offer separate limits that apply to bodily injury claims for property damage. A combined single limits policy has the same dollar amount of coverage per covered occurrence whether bodily injury or property damage, one person or several.
- Medical payments – usually pays for the medical expenses of the driver and passengers in your vehicle incurred as a result of a covered accident regardless of fault.
- Uninsured motorist coverage – pays for your injuries and, in some circumstances, certain property damage caused by an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver. In some cases, underinsured motorist coverage is also included. Underinsured motorist coverage is designed to provide the injured party with compensation above the limit of the at-fault party’s policy.
- Comprehensive physical damage coverage (PD) – pays for damage to your vehicle from theft, vandalism, flood, fire, and other covered perils.
- Collision coverage – pays for damage to your vehicle when it hits or is hit by another object.
- Non-Owned Autos –Under a commercial auto policy, vehicles your company uses but doesn’t own, hire, borrow or lease are called non-owned autos. Non-owned autos include vehicles owned by your employees but used in your business.
When Fleet Auto Insurance is Required
Keep in mind that your company needs commercial auto insurance coverage if you or other employees drive a personal auto or any other personal vehicle for business (called ‘non-owned’ insurance).
This often occurs in small businesses where the owner or an employee uses a personal auto for business purposes. The problem becomes a real issue when they wrongly assume that a personal auto insurance policy provides coverage options to pay claims from an accident occurring while conducting business activities.
Fleet Insurance Options for California and Other States
There are also other coverage options that can be added to the policy:
- Roadside assistance
- Higher liability
- Coverage for uninsured motorists
- Loading and unloading protection
- Medical cost protection
- Towing and labor services
- Comprehensive coverage to protect against vandalism, stealing, etc
The main benefit of having fleet auto insurance is peace of mind. But know that you can also save costs when insuring multiple vehicles.
Fleet insurance distributes the risk of all the vehicles evenly so the company does not have to pay more for each registered vehicle risk. Finally, be sure to check for incentives and rebates specific to fleet owners.
If you are ready to start or update your fleet insurance policy, please be sure to reach out to us at California Southwestern Insurance Agency. We are here to provide you with the best service for your needs. Call us now at (800) 352-0393 or reach out through our contact form.