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More and more people are starting side hustles, whether to make a little extra money to cover their bills, or to start their dream business. If you’re one of those people, you should consider buying a commercial auto insurance policy. It’s not just big businesses with multiple vehicles that need this coverage—it’s anyone who uses his or her vehicle for business reasons on a regular basis.
Personal auto policies almost always exclude business use, and if you’re in an accident, your claim could be denied. Be honest with your agent about the nature and extent of your business use of your vehicle so he or she can help you find the best deal on coverage you need.
Here are a few situations that call for a discussion with your agent about a commercial auto policy:
- Do you use your vehicle to pick up or deliver goods such as newspapers, pizza, or other goods, or do you provide messenger services?
- Is your vehicle registered or titled in the name of a corporation or partnership?
- Do you have employees who drive your vehicle for business purposes on an occasional or regular basis?
- Does your vehicle have special equipment permanently installed, such as ladder racks or permanent toolboxes that are used in your business?
- Do you regularly drive to job sites or to meet clients, or sometimes transport clients from one location to another?
Bottom line: If you’re using your vehicle for business purposes, you need commercial auto insurance.
Commercial auto policies are designed to protect you and your business from financial harm if you’re in an accident. Though there are many factors that must be considered when rating a commercial auto policy, since the major coverages are basically the same, commercial auto insurance doesn’t always cost more than a personal auto policy.
L & M Insurance Group is a local independent insurance agency with the expertise to help you make sure your insurance coverage will protect your business and you personally from claims, even unwarranted ones. We have been serving the car insurance and commercial auto insurance needs of Riverview and surrounding communities for more than 10 years. Call 813-672-4100 for more information about commercial auto insurance (or car insurance in general), or click here to contact us by email.
Florida Commercial Auto Insurance Policies
Including Brandon, Tampa, and Riverview, Florida
Do I need commercial insurance on my truck or can I leave it on my personal auto policy?
That’s a great question and one that I hear a lot. There are many issues to consider before a question like that can be answered, and a good agent will know what to ask. Here are a few questions I like to ask before I can make a recommendation:
- Is the vehicle owned by an individual, corporation, LLC or some other entity?
- How many people drive the vehicle? Just you, or do you have employees that drive occasionally?
- What mileage radius does your business operate in?
- How many job sites a day do you visit?
- Do you have any signage or advertising on your vehicle?
- Do you transport goods or people for a fee? In other words, what is your business, or what do you do?
- Do you have ladder racks or permanent tool boxes attached to your vehicle?
- Do you tow a trailer in relation to your work?
- Are your employees, if you have them, likely to be driving their own cars for your business?
Once I have a firm grasp of what your business does and how you do it, I am able to make a recommendation. I do have companies that will allow one vehicle on the personal auto policy to be used for business, with a small business use surcharge.
However, we have to be very careful because 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. We need to make sure we write your policy properly so that if you file a claim, it’s paid. You don’t want your car insurance company to deny your claim simply because your particular business use violated the terms of your personal car insurance policy.
It’s important to know that commercial insurance is not always more costly than a personal auto policy. Many times when I write a commercial policy the premium is lower than what it was on a personal auto policy. So, PLEASE don’t try and second guess your agent. Countless times I have gone around and around with a client, convinced the vehicle was being used for commercial purposes. But the client, believing he/she will save money by not providing me all the info I need to help them, flat out hides the fact that the vehicle is used commercially. When they finally relent and work with me, they are almost always surprised by how reasonable the cost is. Remember, I am your insurance advocate–I work for you. Getting you the insurance you need at the lowest premium is my goal.
Still not sure? No problem. L&M Insurance Group can help you determine the coverage you need based on how your vehicles are used in conducting your business and who will be driving your vehicles. L&M Insurance Group has been serving the car insurance and commercial auto insurance needs of Riverview and surrounding communities for more than 10 years. Call 813-672-4100 for more information about commercial auto insurance (or car insurance in general), or click here to contact me by email.
We would like to extend our congratulations to Kristin Gott, who is now a fully licensed Registered Customer Service Representative. Because she completed the required online college classes to get the designation, she was able to successfully obtain her Florida 4-40 customer service representative license to sell and service insurance.
If you talk to her be sure to congratulate her on this accomplishment.
Well done, Kristin.
Can I save money with a multi-policy discount?
Why Bundling Insurance Might Cost You More
Another way I hear this question asked is; if I bundle my auto and home insurance with you, will I get a discount? It’s a great question, and there are companies out there that offer discounts if you purchase both your auto and homeowners insurance with them. However, it’s usually the captive agencies that offer it. Captive agents sell for just one company, generally one with a familiar name that has been built up with a tremendous amount of advertising, but in the end, you are just buying a brand. They will provide one quote from one company, and it may or may not include a multi-policy discount.
Your best rate will almost always come from an independent agency. An independent insurance agency like L&M Insurance Group will offer you the most choices in coverage options and prices. Independent agencies represent more than just one national brand–for instance L&M Insurance Group represents more than 40 different insurance carriers. We know it’s convenient for you to have all your insurance with one agency, and that’s why we work so hard to make sure we represent the best companies with the lowest rates for all types of insurance–your car insurance, home insurance, commercial insurance, renters insurance, and life insurance.
A couple of months back, I got a call from someone looking for a better rate on his homeowners insurance and a rental property he owned as well. He was insured with a national brand insurance company that you would recognize instantly. The individual believed he was getting a great rate because he was told he would get a “special” rate for bundling his insurance. When I finished quoting and writing his two properties, I was able to save him THOUSANDS of dollars–that’s how much he was overpaying. He was shocked and thrilled at the same time.
I have been licensed to write insurance for 24 years and during this time I can honestly say I rarely see where a policy could be lower in price bundled than if you quoted both out separately. I have found that the companies that bundle either offer a decent homeowner insurance rate and kill you on your auto premiums or offer decent auto premiums and have horrible home insurance rates. Think about it for a moment–if their rates are so great on both auto and home, why do they need to give a bundling discount? Because it’s a great marketing gimmick and they make more money!
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 U.S. National Auto Insurance Study found that customers who had auto and home insurance policies with two different companies were more satisfied with what they’re paying for auto insurance than customers who bundled their auto and home insurance policies.
Of course, we at L&M Insurance Group would love to write all your policies–and it’s convenient for you to have all your policies in one place. Our focus will not be on who will offer a bundled price, it will be on how can we write all your insurance for the lowest price, the best coverage and with the best carriers. We represent your interests as an independent agency–unlike a call center or direct writer that writes with just one national brand.
So the answer is no, I don’t believe you can save money taking advantage of a bundling discount. But you can save money if you shop with an independent agent like me. So give me a call–you will never find someone who will work harder to save you money and protect your interests. Click this link to send me an email or call me today at 813-672-4100
What is General Liability Insurance and Why Do I need It?
General Liability Insurance For Florida including Brandon, Tampa, Riverview and Hillsborough County
You’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into building your business, yet you could lose it all in the smallest of mishaps that could result in a large lawsuit. We live in a litigious society, and although it may be unlikely for you to face a claim, getting general liability insurance is a wise investment that doesn’t cost much. Most annual premiums range from between $550 to $2,000, depending of your type of business, coverage limit requirements, years of experience in your business and your company size. The premiums obviously can be higher if you own a large business.
Liability insurance (also known as Commercial General Business Liability) protects you from a variety of claims, including bodily injury, property damage, products and completed operations, and personal injury (libel, slander or advertising injury) that can arise from your day to day business operations. Liability insurance will typically cover the cost of your legal defense and any settlement should you be successfully sued, up to the limits of your policy.
It’s important to understand that general liability is not the same thing as a product warranty policy. For example, if a plumber installs a water pipe that leaks and causes property damage, the GL policy should cover the property damage during the time when converge was in force, but it would not pay for the defective pipe or bad workmanship.
- Additional risks not covered under a comprehensive general liability policy include:
- Workers compensation
- Automobile liability
- Directors and officers liability
- Errors and omissions or professional liability
- Non-performance of contracts
- Employment practices
- Damages or injuries resulting from intentional acts
General liability insurance can be purchased on it’s own, or in some cases, it is included as part of a Business Owners Policy (BOP) which combines the liability with property insurance at a cost effective rate.
All of us at L&M Insurance Group take your protection seriously and will work hard to help you evaluate all aspects of your business to ensure you have the general liability policy that’s right for your business. We have been serving the insurance needs of Brandon and East Hillsborough County for more than 10 years and have access to dozens of A-rated insurance companies, allowing us to provide the best coverage at the lowest rate. Call us today at 813-672-4100 or click this link to send us an email.