Personal vs. Commercial Auto Insurance

You are most likely accustomed to maintaining personal auto insurance. This coverage is state mandated and necessary in order to provide financial protection for you and your family. What about commercial auto insurance? You may think this type of coverage is only for large companies with fleets of vehicles, such as FedEx or UPS. However, commercial auto insurance is a necessary coverage for any small or large business using vehicles. In fact, if you own your own business and use your personal vehicles for a business purpose, then your personal auto insurance policy may not respond in the event of an accident.

So, how do you know if you need a commercial auto insurance policy?

If you own a business that owns vehicles or uses vehicles you own, then most likely you need a commercial auto policy to protect your business. Your business may use its vehicles for any number of different purposes, such as visiting clients, going to job sites, delivering products, transporting people or goods, etc. All of these uses represent a business automobile exposure with coverage only under a commercial auto policy.

Maintain Accurate Schedule of Autos 

Once you have a commercial auto policy, it is equally important that you maintain an accurate schedule of all vehicles. Larger vehicles inherently pose more risk than smaller vehicles, so premiums for commercial auto policies may vary significantly from one vehicle to the next. For example, the premium for a passenger vehicle used to visit clients is less than the premium for a dump truck used in the business. Businesses may buy, sell or lease these vehicles on a regular basis, as business needs change. Therefore, in order to ensure all vehicles maintain coverage, the you must notify the insurance company each time the business adds a vehicle to its inventory.  

Driver List


            The premium for a commercial auto policy also depends on the number of authorized drivers and their loss history. The business needs to maintain a list of each employee authorized to drive a vehicle for the business. In order to minimize premiums, businesses can run motor vehicle reports periodically on their drivers in order to ensure a healthy driving history for the business auto exposure.

Key Differences Between Personal and Commercial Auto Insurance

Businesses typically have more potential liability risk than an individual does; therefore, a commercial auto liability insurance policy usually has a higher limit and premium than personal auto policy, along with specific coverages. The list below identifies those commercial coverages not commonly found in a standard personal auto policy.

  • Property and liability trailer exposure
  • Equipment used with or attached to the vehicle
  • Additional insured requirements
  • Loading and unloading exposure
  • Hired-vehicle coverage
  • Non-owned vehicle coverage 

Sustaining an auto loss that your personal auto insurer denies, could be devastating to your business. So, knowing when to purchase commercial auto insurance is important. Our team is ready and available to discuss your business’ auto insurance needs and give you our recommendations to make sure your auto insurance coverage is adequate. As a Trusted Choice Independent Agency, the Oswego-based FitzGibbons Agency is here to help you maintain the proper personal and commercial auto insurance.  

Have further Questions? Just Ask Fitz!

John FitzGibbons

FitzGibbons Agency

44 East Bridge Street

Oswego, New York 13126

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