How & Where To Get Roadside Assistance Business Insurance
Commercial Auto, General Liability & On Hook Coverage
If you are in the market to start a roadside assistance business then you need to be insured to safeguard your assets and your customers assets in case of accidents. Without business insurance, any accidents you have while you are working may not be covered and you may be out of pocket for damages. The two main types of insurance you should carry are: a commercial auto policy to cover accidents and damage done to your commercial vehicle and general liability to cover any damage you cause to a customers property or vehicles. You may also be required to carry a garage keepers or on hook policy to cover vehicles that are being transported.
You may think that your normal auto policy can cover your vehicle in case of accidents while you are working, but you are wrong. Once you use a vehicle for commercial or work purpose, it is no longer covered by your normal everyday auto policy. In fact, if you were to get hit or cause an accident and your insurance finds out that you were using your vehicle for work purpose at the time, they may refuse to pay for any damages. This is why you need a commercial auto policy when you are working out of your everyday vehicle, It will cover you and your vehicle while you use it for business purposes.
General Liability insurance covers you in case you cause damage or your repairs cause damage to your customers property. This is not a commercial auto policy as it does not cover your vehicle. However, it does cover any work on a customers vehicle you do while conducting business. This policy will pay for scratches, wrecks, property damage, and any incident that is caused to your customer due to work performed.
Lastly, on hook coverage is used to insure any damage done to vehicles or property that is being transported, towing, transportation, & restoration services may use this policy. If you are just doing roadside assistance and no towing you probably wont need this policy. If you are looking to get insured, I suggest you consult you insurance agent and only use this blog as a reference.
Roadside Assistance Business Insurance Requirements
In the roadside assistance business, insurance is the hardest things to attain and one of the most important things for your business to have. Having the correct insurance will save you from any unwanted accidents & lawsuits, it will also enable you to attain more contracts, as many contracts have a minimum insurance requirement.
Some contract requirements are in the 300,000 - 1,000,000 range for insurance. I personally have a 1,000,000 commercial auto policy and a 1,000,000 general liability policy. These coverage amounts allow me to do business with all insurance companies under the sun. If you are looking to get contracted with insurance companies like me, check out the full list of roadside assistance contracts here.
As stated before, there are 3 types of insurance you may be expected to have, based on the contracts you hold and the services you offer.
1. General Liability - 1,000,000-5,000,000 - to cover damage done to customer vehicles as a result of your work.
2. Garage Keepers/on Hook - 50,000 - 500,000 (Towing Only) - to cover vehicles and cargo that is being transported and towed.
3. Commercial Auto Insurance - 300,000 - 1,000,000 - To cover your work vehicle in case of accidents, theft, and other liability.
What criteria is used to determine your business insurance rates?
Agents & underwriters decide what you pay based on 4 criteria. Knowing the criteria will give you the best shot at attaining affordable insurance.
1. Driving Record - how long you've been driving and how many points you have on record if any.
2. Experience in Business – Prior Exp, past jobs, background, etc.
3. Projected Revenues – How much you expect to make.
4. Criminal Background - Arrests, and past criminal activity on record.
Your Driving Record
A bad driving record means that you will most likely be a liability to an insurance company, so make sure to have a good driving record and if you don’t, get it right before you apply. A few instances such as a speeding ticket can mean the difference in paying $100 per month vs $200-500 per month. Vehicle accidents may also play a factor in how much you pay so be sure to drive carefully if you want to be insured at a good rate.
Experience is also a factor. If a 10-year truck driver who worked for X company for 10+ years now wants to enter business themselves, many underwriters won’t have an issue writing the policy as long as a good driving record is attained. Now, you put someone that has 3 months Exp and wants to do the same, an underwriter may consider higher premiums or may not be willing to write the policy at all, due to lack of experience.
Your Projected Revenues
Revenue is another factor. If you expect to make 200,000 in your first year you can expect your insurance to be higher than if you expect to make 50k your first year etc. Vice Versa.
How Underwriters Collect Info
Underwriters will typically send you information packets where you will provide this information along with other personal info. Be wary of your answers and always be truthful. Any deception can void a claim if the insurance company decides to audit, avoid this at all costs.
Where to Attain Coverage
Once you know that you have the best odds of getting a low premium. You will want to know where to get insurance. If you don’t have commercial insurance already, be sure to call your current insurance agent and tell him you want to ensure a commercial vehicle used for business, and they will do a good job of giving you some options.
Be sure to shop around and get several quotes before you make your decisions, as premiums from company to company can differ drastically. For general liability and garage keeper’s insurance you can also ask your agent but if he leads you astray, you can visit these links, enter your zip code and ask about their commercial insurance policies.
If none of these insurance companies are underwriting at the time, try in a month or so after. Insurance companies like to "mitigate risk". This means that they have limits on how much risk they are willing to undertake during a certain time period. Risk is mitigated all the time. This means that one month, a company may be able to offer you a quote but next month that same company won’t. Use this to your advantage and know that just because one company said no doesn’t mean the next will.