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Investing in Your Business: Tips for Buying a Company Vehicle

As your small business grows, you might consider purchasing a vehicle to use for business purposes. If you or an employee are often using your personal vehicle to drive to multiple job sites or transport clients, a company vehicle can make good sense.

Note: Any car, owned by an individual or a business, which is used for business purposes should be covered by a commercial auto policy. Personal auto policies will not cover business use. Please consult your insurance agent if you have any questions about whether or not your usage is considered “business use.”

Some pros and cons of the company vehicle

Buying a company car has several pros and cons. On the pro side, it’s one way to reinvest profits in your business, and you can often take advantage of tax benefits. A company car can be an asset, as well as a perk for you or your employees.

You may find that a company car can help you project a professional image and provide reliable transportation. And a company vehicle can even provide advertising opportunities if you choose to add a sign or professional wrap to it.

On the con side, buying a company car can be a sizeable expense. Not only does it cost money to buy in the first place, you’ll also have additional costs to register and maintain the vehicle. With a dedicated company car available, you or your employees may find yourselves on the road more often, thus exposing your business to more liability should you be in an accident.

Tips for choosing a company vehicle

If you decide buying a company vehicle is right for you, just as you would when buying a car for personal use, take time to think through your needs, research potential vehicles, and determine your budget. Some questions to consider include:

Does it make more sense to lease or own?

Should you buy new or used? New usually costs more up front, but a used vehicle may have higher maintenance costs.

What type of vehicle will be best for your needs: sedan, SUV, van, or truck?

How will the vehicle be used? Making deliveries, driving between work locations, transporting clients?

Who will drive it?

How often will it be used?

What features are important to you, such as comfort, fuel economy, safety features, or a warranty?

What type of image does your business wants to project?

What will be the ongoing costs of owning and maintaining each possible company vehicle?

Tip: While you’re in the research stage, call your insurance agent to see how much commercial car insurance will cost for the vehicles you’re interested in. Some makes and models are expensive or hard to insure—don’t wait until you’ve bought the vehicle to find this out!

Call L & M Insurance Group for your commercial auto needs

Once you’ve decided on a vehicle, make sure you protect your investment with commercial auto insurance. Just like personal auto policies, commercial auto policies can cover liability, property damage, comprehensive and collision, coverage for injuries, and coverage for uninsured motorists. The policies do differ in some technical respects, so consult with an experienced insurance agent to discuss your options.

An independent insurance agency like L & M Insurance Group is a great place to start your search for the best commercial auto policy. We write with multiple commercial auto carriers and can help you compare rates and coverage options to suit your business needs. Please call one of our agents at 813-672-4100 or click here for an online quote. Our office is located in Riverview, and we also serve clients in Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, and surrounding communities.

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L & M Insurance Group Is Your Source for Affordable Commercial Auto Insurance in Florida

Of all the many decisions Florida business owners have, choosing the right commercial insurance coverage is one of the most important. Without proper insurance protection, you could easily find yourself in serious financial trouble—you might even lose your business. L & M Insurance Group can help you with all your commercial insurance needs, but today we’re going to highlight commercial auto insurance.

Who needs commercial auto insurance?

Anyone who operates one or more vehicles in the course of doing business, or who owns or leases a vehicle for business use needs commercial auto insurance (also known as business auto insurance). All kinds of businesses need commercial auto insurance, including trucking and hauling services, taxi or limo services, moving companies, delivery services, repair services, locksmiths, landscaping companies, and day care or van services. You need a commercial auto policy if:

  • The vehicle is registered in the name of the business
  • You have permanently attached equipment or pull a trailer in relation to your work
  • You have a commercial license plate
  • You have a sign or advertising for the business on your vehicle
  • Employees drive the vehicle, or drive their own vehicles while working for your business
  • The vehicle is used to deliver packages or food
  • The vehicle is used to transport clients or other employees
  • You transport people for a fee, such as driving for Uber or Lyft

Don’t expect your personal auto policy to cover business use. Business use is almost always excluded under personal auto policies, and your insurance company could deny claims if they find you’re using your vehicle in your business. (If you still have questions about whether your usage qualifies as business use, please consult a commercial auto agent.)

A commercial auto insurance policy offers the same types of coverages as a personal auto policy, including liability (property damage, bodily injury, uninsured motorist) and comprehensive and collision. Commercial auto policies are designed to address the needs of the business owner, and whatever situations might arise from business use of a vehicle. The good news is that the cost of commercial insurance is often quite reasonable—and not always more expensive than a personal auto policy. The best thing to do is to discuss the types of coverage and limits you need with a commercial auto insurance agent, like one of the professionals at L & M Insurance Group.

How to get a commercial auto insurance quote

It’s simple! Just give L & M Insurance Group a call at 813-672-4100, or click here to contact us online. Our experienced agents will help you choose a commercial auto policy that suits your needs. Some info that will help us give you the most accurate quote includes:

  • How many vehicles you need to have insured
  • Who the drivers will be, and as much of their driving history as you know
  • How the vehicles are used
  • Whether or not you transport cargo or people
  • How many miles will be driven each year

Protect your business with a commercial auto policy

A commercial auto policy will help to protect your business—and you, personally—from financial loss stemming from the cost of an accident if you or one of your employees is at fault. L & M Insurance Group writes commercial auto insurance for both large and small businesses. We have more than 30 years’ experience serving the insurance needs of Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Tampa, and surrounding communities. Please give us the chance to help you protect your business!

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Make These Insurance Resolutions for the New Year

At the start of a new year, many people resolve to get their finances in order. L & M Insurance Group would like to remind you that appropriate insurance coverage is one of the best ways you can protect yourself from financial disaster. Insurance can protect your most valuable assets, like your home and your vehicle, protect you from lawsuits, and even care for your family after you’re gone.

Here are a few things you can resolve to do now to make sure you have the financial protection you need—for the lowest possible insurance premiums.

Review your life changes. Was 2021 was an eventful year for you? Did you experience any major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child? Did you renovate your house, buy a new vehicle, turn 55, or start a business? Become an empty nester? Even if you already notified your insurance agent about these changes, now is a good time to do a more thorough review of your insurance coverage to make sure you’re properly protected.

Review your coverage. Once you’ve reviewed your personal situation, you’ll want to see how it lines up with your insurance coverage. Insurance is meant to protect your financial assets in case of accident, crime, or disaster, including providing liability protection in case someone sues you. Some common areas of concern we see frequently include:

For auto insurance, do you carry bodily injury in high enough limits? (Insurance experts recommend 100,000/300,000 for most situations, even though Florida state requirements are much lower.) Do you carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage? (In Florida, we have many un- or under-insured drivers on the roads, so we recommend carrying UM coverage.)

For home insurance, does your policy provide replacement cost coverage? Your home should be insured for enough to rebuild, repair, or replace it and your personal possessions with comparable quality—not just for how much you owe on your mortgage or the home’s market value.

And speaking of personal possessions, did you buy or receive any expensive items in 2021—such as jewelry, art, or home electronics? High value items may need special coverage, over and above what is covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy.

Consider your life insurance needs. Do you have life insurance? Do you need it? If you do have life insurance, be sure that your policy is up to date with the correct beneficiary, and any other details that may have changed. Life insurance is surprisingly affordable, especially for younger people who are most in need of it to help safeguard their families’ futures. If you don’t have life insurance but would like to explore your options, please call 813-672-4100, or click here for an online quote.

Keep your driving record clean. Still one of the most basic things you can do to keep your auto insurance rates down!

Maintain or improve your credit record. Many insurance companies look at your credit when calculating insurance premiums. Boosting your credit record can result in cheaper insurance rates and more policy options to choose from. (Even if your credit is not great, L & M Insurance Group can still help. Give us a call at 813-672-4100.)

Work with an independent agency. Independent agencies, like L & M Insurance Group, represent multiple insurance carriers instead of just one. This means we have more flexibility to shop for the best policy and insurance company for your individual situation. We can also write just about any type of insurance you need, including personal and commercial auto, home, life, renters, and business insurance. And OUR number one new year’s resolution is to help YOU find the best insurance deal! Give us a call at 813-672-4100, or contact us online for all your insurance needs.

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Commercial Auto Insurance Policies for Every Type of Business

If you own a business that doesn’t involve making deliveries or transporting clients, you may not think you need a commercial auto insurance policy. But if your vehicle is registered in a company name, you have employees who sometimes drive it, or if it is outfitted with permanent equipment used in a business and you don’t have a commercial auto policy, you risk having a claim denied because the vehicle is used for business purposes.

In fact, if you or an employee use a vehicle for business purposes, even just now and then, you really should protect yourself financially by purchasing a commercial auto policy.

Policies for small businesses and beyond

L & M Insurance Group can write commercial auto policies to cover all sorts of businesses, including lawn care companies, transportation services (for goods or people), real estate agents who take clients to see properties, construction companies, and housecleaner or janitorial services to name just a few. We can also write coverage for all types of vehicles—sedans, pickup trucks, box trucks, and more.

Terms and available coverage vary among companies, but the most common coverage options are: property damage liability; liability for bodily injuries to others; personal injury coverage for you, employees who drive the vehicle(s) and your passengers; collision (coverage for your vehicle in an accident, regardless of who is at fault); comprehensive (coverage for damage to your vehicle other than collision); and uninsured and underinsured motorist, medical payments, loss of use/rental reimbursement, and emergency roadside assistance. Your insurance agent can help you sort through what your individual needs are.


Need a commercial auto quote?

Call us at 813-672-4100

Or contact us online today!


Do commercial policies cost more?

You’ll be happy to know that commercial auto policies are often no more expensive to buy than personal auto policies. Factors that influence the cost are much the same as factors that matter for a personal auto policy. They include the amount of driving involved, the radius of operation (do you cross state boundary lines?), the types and number of vehicles to be insured, the driving records of those who will be on the policy, proof of prior insurance, and the amount of coverage you need to carry.

As independent agents, L & M Insurance Group will work with you to find the insurance policy that best meets your needs by comparing rates among the multiple companies we represent. We provide you with coverage for everything from a single vehicle to a fleet of vehicles, from a sedan to a semi. And since we’re local, you can reach us by phone, email, or even by visiting our office (COVID-19 protocols apply). We’ve been serving the insurance needs of Brandon, Valrico, Riverview and surrounding communities for more than 10 years, and we’d love to serve YOU!

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Commercial Auto Insurance Options for Small Businesses to Fleet Vehicles

The start of a new year has many of us thinking of new goals. Maybe one of yours is to start or expand a business. If that’s so, remember that an important protection is the right insurance. Commercial auto insurance is not just for businesses with a fleet of vehicles. It’s also a crucial financial protection for small businesses and individuals who use their vehicles for business purposes. L & M Insurance Group, an independent insurance agency, writes with many different insurance companies to find you the most affordable coverage, as well as a policy tailored to meet your specific needs.

Don’t take the chance of having a claim denied because you have a personal auto policy but are using your vehicle for business purposes. A commercial auto policy is not always more expensive than a personal auto policy; it might even cost less! That’s just one reason why you should not try to hide business use of your vehicle from your agent.

Do you need commercial auto insurance?

Commercial auto insurance, also known as business auto, is intended to protect you financially if you or a company employee driving a company car is at fault in an accident, and injures someone or damages property. A commercial auto policy will cover the cost of the claim up to the policy limits. You need some form of commercial auto insurance if you use your vehicle for work purposes other than driving back and forth to your job. This might include:

  • Delivering packages or food
  • Transporting people, such as driving for Uber or Lyft
  • Driving to job sites or transporting clients or other employees
  • Transporting tools and equipment to a construction site
  • Vehicles registered in a business name or bearing a commercial license plate
  • Pulling a trailer in relation to your work

Several types of commercial auto policies are available for several different scenarios, including:

  • Occasional business use—a policy that covers one main driver, and often his or her spouse, who uses a vehicle occasionally for work.
  • Business use for multiple drivers—a policy that covers business use by multiple drivers.

L & M Insurance Group—your partner in business

Independent insurance agencies like L & M Insurance Group are ideal places to purchase your commercial auto insurance. Why? Because we work for you. We’re knowledgeable about the options available to you, and can compare insurance rates among the multiple companies we represent. We’re also local—and available to discuss options, look for discounts, and customize an insurance policy to meet your needs. Please give us a call at 813-672-4100, or contact us online for a quote, or if you have any questions about a commercial auto policy.

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Commercial Insurance Spotlight: Long-Haul Trucking Insurance

The trucking industry keeps goods moving all over the United States, and long-haul trucking jobs are expected to grow six percent from 2016 to 2026. That’s a lot of trucks on the road—and sadly, accidents happen. And when a semi-truck is involved, the consequences can include severe property damage and injuries. That’s where long-haul trucking insurance comes in.

What is Long-Haul Trucking Insurance

Long-haul trucking insurance is just what it sounds like: specialty commercial truck insurance for individual owner-operators and businesses who haul cargo long distances, usually between states and/or in a radius of 300 miles or more.

Why you need Long-Haul Trucking Insurance

Long-haul trucking professionals need coverage to protect their cargo from damage or theft, as well as liability coverage in case a truck causes physical damage or injuries in an accident.  They may also need coverage for their own assets: the trucks or truck/tractor-trailers used in their business. (For more information on commercial truck insurance, click here.)

The Independent Insurance Agency Difference

As an independent agency, L & M Insurance Group represents a number of commercial insurance companies in addition to our personal lines carriers. Whether you’re an owner-operator or manage a fleet of trucks, we can provide competitive coverage and rates for your long-haul trucking insurance needs. Please call us at 813-672-4100.

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Protect Your Business With Commercial Auto Insurance

 

If you’re in an accident, the last thing you want to hear is, “I’m sorry, this isn’t covered under your personal auto policy.” That’s the risk you take when you don’t purchase a commercial auto policy for any vehicles you or your employees use in your business.

Commercial Auto Insurance for Businesses

Because a business has an increased liability in comparison to an individual, insurance companies exclude most business-related activity from personal auto policies. Commercial auto policies protect your business from financial losses resulting from an accident. They often include a broader range of coverages, such as physical damage (comprehensive and collision coverage), medical payments, uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection, loss of use/rental reimbursement coverage, and emergency roadside assistance. They can be tailored to suit your needs—and they don’t always cost more than a personal auto policy would.

 

Do I need a Commercial Auto Policy?

If you’re not sure if you need a commercial auto policy, think about how and if your vehicles are used in your business. Certain types of activities and situations definitely call for a commercial auto policy, including the following:

  • The vehicle is used for pick up or delivery of goods, or for a taxi or other livery service (Uber or Lyft drivers have special needs—see “Coverage Options for Uber and Lyft Drivers.”)
  • The vehicle is owned or registered to a partnership, business, corporation, or some other entity
  • The vehicle is driven on an occasional or regular basis by employees or non-listed drivers
  • The vehicle is leased or rented to someone else
  • The vehicle is outfitted with permanent equipment, such as a ladder rack or permanent tool box used in your business

 

Whether you’ve started a side hustle, you’re an owner/operator of a one-person business, or if you employ multiple people and have a fleet of vehicles, we can help you find a competitive commercial auto policy. 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. Please call us at 813-672-4100 to discuss your situation, and/or to get a free, no-obligation quote, or contact us online.

 

Starting a Side Hustle? You Might Need Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial Auto Policy

Photo by Dan Chung on Unsplash

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.