Commercial Auto Insurance / Hired & Non-Owned Auto for Consultants
Because independent consultants often have to travel for work, they often benefit from including a Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy in their business insurance plan.
If you work as a consultant, it would be pretty hard to serve your clients without traveling to their businesses and observing how they run. And while consultants can do a lot of their research from the office, you still need to meet with colleagues and clients.
Most small businesses would not be able to weather the financial burden of an expensive car accident, particularly when you consider that there could be legal and medical expenses involved.
A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report [PDF] found that in 2012, nearly 2.4 million people were injured and 33,561 died in traffic crashes.
The thing is, traffic accidents are common — even more common among people on the clock than those who aren't working. Experts say that each year, traffic accidents cost business owners almost $60 million.
The NHTSA estimates that one on-the-job traffic crash would cost an employer around $128,178 per injury. Could you write that check? If not, it's time to decide between Commercial Auto Insurance and Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance.
Commercial Auto vs. HNOA
Consultants: Commercial Auto Insurance vs. Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance
Before you can add a Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy to your consulting firm's protection plan, you'll need to decide which one will benefit you most. Depending on the needs of your business, you may even find that you could benefit from both types of coverage.
Commercial Auto Insurance for Consultants
Commercial Auto Insurance is for consultants who own the vehicles they drive. Typically, this means one of three things:
- You drive a vehicle for work only.
- You lend company cars to employees.
- You drive a personal vehicle for work.
There are a couple things to consider here. First, if your business owns a car and lets an employee drive that car, the business is always responsible for footing the insurance bill. It's actually illegal to make an employee carry their own coverage on the company car.
Second, most Personal Auto Insurance policies exclude coverage for accidents that happen while you are driving for work. That's why you need a Commercial Auto Insurance policy to supplement your protection. Otherwise, you may find yourself rear-ended in your client's parking lot with a Personal Auto Insurance policy that refuses to pay for the damage.
However, if your business frequently uses non-owned vehicles for business travel, a Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy might be a better fit.
Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance for Independent Consultants
As a consultant, you may benefit (and in some cases save money) from carrying a Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy for those times when…
- You rent a vehicle. Whether it's for you to drive after flying to another city for business or for picking up a client.
- Your employees drive their personal vehicles for work. Your employees' Personal Auto policies likely don't protect them from work-related accidents either. If they get into one in their personal car, then your Hired & Non-Owned Auto policy can cover the expenses that their policy denies.
- You use a car-sharing service. This is particularly common for consultants who live in bigger cities.
When you have a Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy, you don't need to pay the fees for temporary car insurance when you rent a vehicle. Those can add up fast — especially when you consider that this type of coverage is generally quite affordable. Many insurance providers will even let you bundle it with your General Liability Insurance policy.
Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance is also nice to have for worst-case scenarios. Most car-sharing services offer "free" insurance as part of your subscription or daily fee. But like any insurance policy, that coverage has a limit. According to this New York Times article, one popular car-sharing service caps its benefits at $300,000 per accident — no matter how many people are involved. One multi-car, multi-injury crash could easily break the limit, leaving you on the hook for the rest.
Not to mention that many of those policies don't include much coverage for bodily injuries. According to the article, offering only state-mandated minimum coverage is generally the norm.
Auto Insurance Protects You
Consultants: How Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance Protects You
When you add a Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy to your consulting firm's small business insurance plan, it helps you pay for the many costs associated with traffic crashes and other car-related incidents. For example, your coverage may include indemnity from:
- Traffic accident damage. Your coverage can be adjusted to include damages to both your vehicle and the other party's vehicle.
- Other collisions. Sometimes we accidently run into things, like animals, poles, fire hydrants, and guardrails.
- Medical bills. Many Auto Insurance policies will help you pay for your injuries and the injuries of others.
- Legal expenses. If a traffic accident is your fault, the victim has the legal right to sue. Your coverage can protect you for the cost of associated expenses — even if the suit is eventually dropped.
- Theft and vandalism. Not all car damage involves collisions. Many Auto Insurance policies include protection from malicious activities, too.
If one of the above tragedies should befall your consulting business, your Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance will kick in to help you pay — up to your policy's stated limits. If you want even more protection, you can use an Umbrella Insurance policy, which can pay for expenses that exceed the limits of Auto policies as well as some other liability policies.
It's important to note that specific benefits can vary from policy to policy, so be sure to talk with your insurance agent about which ones your prospective policy does and does not cover.
Get Free Quotes
Consultants: Receive Quotes for Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance
Consultants who are ready to move forward with their Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy should contact an insureon agent today. Your agent will be able to work with many insurance providers to find you a variety of competitive rates. Or, you can fill out our online application to receive your insurance quotes electronically.