Skip to main content
woman at work looking at a laptop

Understanding commercial vehicle insurance

February 1, 2024

As a small business owner or fleet manager, shopping for and acquiring commercial vehicle insurance likely falls on your shoulders. When browsing for coverage, there are plenty of options available and variables to consider before choosing to ensure you’re receiving adequate coverage that meets the needs of your commercial vehicle fleet and business.

Here, we’ll discuss a few good-to-knows about commercial vehicle insurance, including important factors to think about, types of insurance coverage, and more.

What risks should commercial vehicle insurance provide coverage for?

Coverage options and features vary between insurance providers; however, there are a handful of risks that, no matter your chosen policy, should be covered:

  • Liability coverage: This covers bodily injury or property damage that your business may be held legally responsible for due to an accident involving one of your commercial fleet vehicles.
  • Collision coverage: In case of an accident on the road, whether with another vehicle or an object, this option helps cover any damage to the insured vehicle.
  • Comprehensive coverage: In most cases, comprehensive coverage protects against non-collision events, such as theft, vandalism, fire, or natural disasters.
  • Medical expenses coverage: If a driver or other party is injured due to a collision, most insurance policies provide coverage for medical expenses for the driver and passengers in the insured vehicle.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This type of coverage protects against damages caused by a driver who does not have insurance at all or has insufficient insurance coverage.

What is hired and non-owned auto insurance?

There are a few terms that are unique to commercial auto insurance that fleet managers should be aware of when shopping for coverage; most notably, hired and non-owned coverage. Here’s what each type of insurance is meant for:

  • Hired auto coverage: This type of policy provides liability coverage for vehicles that your business rents, leases, hires, or borrows for business purposes and typically covers liability for bodily injury and property damage.
  • Non-owned auto insurance: Provides liability coverage for vehicles that are not owned by the business but are used for business purposes. This could include vehicles owned by employees that are used for business purposes but are not owned by your company.

Whether your fleet requires either of these coverage options depends on if you own your vehicles. Speaking with an insurance provider can help you understand what’s required for your business.

Additional types of commercial coverage

Among hired and non-owned commercial insurance, organizations may require additional, specialty coverage depending on the nature of their business.

You may be required to purchase additional insurance coverage for your commercial fleet if your drivers:

  • Transport hazardous goods or materials.
  • Transport passengers.
  • Deliver food.
  • Truck freight.
  • Tow other vehicles.

Commercial vehicle insurance by state

Commercial vehicle insurance requirements differ between states in the U.S. For example, insurance coverage for commercial vehicles is not required by law in New Hampshire and Virginia; however, businesses with fleets operating in these states can still be held liable for damages—so it’s still a smart choice to purchase adequate coverage.

Additionally, each state has its own set of minimum coverage requirements. Businesses can either purchase the minimum amount or opt for more protection if they wish to make higher claims on the policy.

Cost considerations when shopping for a commercial auto policy

Another major factor in determining which commercial vehicle insurance policy to purchase is price. Just like personal policies, premium amounts for commercial options vary based on several circumstances, such as:

  • Your coverage limits and deductibles.
  • The size of your business.
  • The number and types of vehicles being insured.
  • Business and driving risks your drivers may be exposed to.
  • Your claims history.

A to-do list when shopping for insurance

Shopping for commercial vehicle insurance can be challenging. Rest assured there are best practices that can help make the task easier for you. When shopping around, ensure that you:

  • Purchase enough coverage. Covering all of your bases when it comes to commercial insurance is important. Ensure your chosen plan provides adequate coverage or, at the very least, meets your state’s minimum requirements.
  • Discuss options with an agent. Insurance brokers can help you understand your options better. Before making a decision, talk to a provider.
  • Compare insurance providers. Premiums, rates, and coverage options vary between providers. Compare insurance companies to ensure you’re getting the best price possible.

Augmenting fleet management with the WEX fuel card

Choosing the right commercial insurance policy can help your business save money in the long term. Likewise, implementing a fuel card that can track payments, mitigate fraud, and earn rebates brings even more benefits to your business.

WEX offers fleet solutions for small businesses, trucking fleets, and everything in between. Get automatic expense tracking and accounting, robust data analytics, premium GPS options, and more.

To view options or apply for a card, visit the fuel cards page.

Apply for a fleet card today!

Stay connected

Subscribe to our fleet blog and follow us on social media to receive all our fuel and energy industry insights. 

"*" indicates required fields

Learn how WEX can help with your energy transition