Commercial Auto Insurance
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Mobile equipment endorsement

A mobile equipment endorsement extends your auto insurance coverage to include “non-auto” mobile equipment, such as a tractor or forklift, while it’s driven on a public road.

What is a mobile equipment endorsement?

A mobile equipment endorsement is liability insurance you can add to a business auto policy, in case of an accident involving your business’s heavy machinery or earthmoving equipment on a public road.

A business auto policy is similar to commercial auto insurance, but allows for more extensive coverage and greater flexibility for vehicles used and owned by your business.

What is considered mobile equipment?

Mobile equipment refers to machinery and earthmoving gear that can be driven, but is primarily designed for use off of public roads. It’s common in the construction, farming, and landscaping industries.

Examples of such equipment include bulldozers, tractors, farm machinery, diggers, forklifts, loaders, resurfacing equipment, and dump trucks. Even if they’re self-propelled, these types of machinery aren’t classified as automobiles unless they’re subject to a motor vehicle insurance requirement under the laws in your state.

Vehicles primarily used for travel on public roads are considered automobiles. Vehicles that are mainly used away from public roads are considered mobile equipment and not covered by your commercial auto insurance policy.

In addition to the machinery mentioned above, mobile equipment can also include:

  • Vehicles kept on your premises, such as a maintenance truck
  • Vehicles that use crawler treads, such as excavators
  • Self-propelled vehicles used to carry other types of equipment, such as road construction and earthmoving gear
  • Vehicles that aren’t self-propelled and carry permanently attached equipment, such as air compressors, pumps, generators, and cherry pickers

Is a trailer considered mobile equipment?

Some trailers used for business will not be considered mobile equipment and can be covered by commercial auto insurance, provided that the trailer is being pulled an insured vehicle.

However, this qualification may depend on your industry, the type of trailer, how large it is, and for what purpose it is being used.

Contact an insurance agent to see if your trailer can be covered under your auto insurance policy.

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Why do businesses need a mobile equipment endorsement?

The motor vehicle insurance laws in most states require liability insurance for any land vehicles that use public roads. Many of them also require insurance for any machinery that uses public roads, such as a backhoe driven to a jobsite, or a tractor that hops on a road to cross to another field.

Even if not required in your state, it’s a good idea to insure your off-road machinery for the same reason you’d insure your road vehicles and your business itself—in case of an accident.

States that don’t require motorists to carry insurance still have financial responsibility laws requiring anyone at fault in an accident to account for any property damage or bodily injury they cause other people.

If you damaged another vehicle while driving a piece of heavy equipment to a jobsite, your business would be liable for any damage. This would be covered by a mobile equipment endorsement.

Heavy equipment is often larger and less maneuverable than other vehicles on the road, which offers its own set of risks compared to cars, trucks, and SUVs.

What if I have subcontractors?

If you have subcontractors, you might be able to include them as an additional insured on your mobile equipment insurance. Just notify your insurance company that as the named insured, you want to extend this coverage to a subcontractor as well.

You may have to fill out an additional business auto coverage form, and your insurance provider will likely adjust your premium.

What's the difference between a mobile equipment endorsement and commercial auto insurance?

There are a few different types of business auto insurance, each designed for a specific purpose.

A commercial auto policy covers the cost of an accident involving a business-owned vehicle. This type of insurance covers medical payments and damage to other vehicles or property, and can also include physical damage coverage.

A business auto policy extends this coverage to vehicles used but not owned by your business, such as an employee’s personal vehicle. Hired and non-owned auto insurance (HNOA) provides liability coverage for non-owned vehicles as well.

A mobile equipment endorsement is coverage you can add to your business auto policy to insure equipment that’s excluded by other auto policies, because it’s not considered a road vehicle under the law. It provides liability coverage for your equipment in the event of an accident on a public road.

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Does commercial general liability insurance cover mobile equipment?

General liability insurance covers your off-road use of mobile equipment at your own business or a jobsite.

If your excavator accidentally damaged someone else’s vehicle at a jobsite, this would be covered by your general liability policy.

If you damaged someone’s car on the road, while driving to the jobsite, it wouldn’t be included in your general liability coverage. When your equipment is on a public roadway, you need a mobile equipment endorsement to cover any damage claims.

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Complete Insureon’s easy online application today to get commercial car insurance quotes from top-rated U.S. carriers. You can also consult with an insurance agent on your business insurance needs. Once you find the right policy for your small business, you can begin coverage and receive your certificate of insurance in less than 24 hours.

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Updated: February 20, 2024
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