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Auto haulers transport extremely high-value cargo, which exposes them to unique risks. If a car hauler is involved in an accident that damages its cargo, the costs can be significant. There is also a risk that your operations may hurt other people or cause property damage, or that property could be stolen. To protect your company from the financial consequences of these types of incidents, it’s crucial to purchase a range of business insurance designed for auto haulers.
What insurance coverage do I need for my auto hauling company?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to auto hauling companies:
If the driver of a company truck is at fault in an accident, commercial auto insurance will pay for any resulting third-party bodily injury, property damage, or pollution cleanup. Commercial auto insurance also covers the value of the vehicle itself if it’s damaged by a collision or another peril.
Since your business revolves around the vehicles you use to transport automobiles, commercial auto insurance is extremely important. Even if you hire the most highly skilled and experienced drivers, there’s still the possibility that an accident will occur. In addition, cargo carriers are legally required to carry auto liability coverage. This coverage may be known as motor liability coverage. Auto hauling businesses will likely acquire commercial auto insurance through a motor carriers coverage form—a form that includes a number of key coverages for cargo carriers, including commercial auto insurance.
- One of your drivers becomes fatigued and strays out of his lane, hitting another car. Your commercial auto insurance would cover damages and medical payments for the occupants of the other vehicle.
Under the motor carrier form, you can typically also obtain coverage for your trailers, including trailers you own and trailers leased from other companies. This coverage will pay for physical damage to your trailers from collisions or other perils.
Motor truck cargo insurance covers goods and property while they are being transported by a motor carrier. Since auto haulers carry high-value vehicles that could be damaged in transit, this is a crucial coverage to obtain, and most contracts will require you to have it. Auto haulers will typically need to purchase a policy with a high limit to ensure that the full value of their cargo is covered.
If the cars you are transporting are damaged by a covered peril, and your company is held liable, your motor truck cargo insurance will provide funds to cover the loss. Commonly covered perils include fire, collisions, water damage, and theft. Some insurance policies will also pay for additional costs that may be incurred as part of the loss, such as charges for removing debris or pollutants released by a crash, costs for taking action to prevent further damage to cargo, and legal defense costs.
- The cars on the top level of your auto hauling trailer are damaged by a severe hailstorm. Your motor truck cargo insurance would cover the damages.
It’s important to note that many cargo policies will not cover theft from trucks that have been left unattended. You may be able to add unattended truck coverage to your policy by endorsement to cover this situation.
In addition, vehicles that are damaged in transit may be reduced in value and can no longer be sold for their original price. Cargo insurance will cover the cost of repairing damaged vehicles, but you could still be held liable for the difference between the vehicle’s original sales price and its reduced value. You may be able to add auto hauler diminished value coverage to provide funds to bridge this gap.
Bobtail insurance is a liability policy that specifically covers situations where you or your employee causes an accident while driving a truck without a trailer or without cargo. This is an important coverage for instances where your drivers have already dropped off their cargo and are heading to another location or are driving home. Bobtail insurance covers third-party bodily injury and property damage, but it does not cover any damage that occurs to your own truck. It will cover medical fees, legal expenses, and settlements.
- While driving to a warehouse to have a trailer attached, your employee skids on ice and crashes into an office building, shattering its windows and damaging a wall. Your bobtail insurance would cover the damages.
Auto hauling drivers can be affected by a number of occupational injuries, including injuries sustained during loading and unloading, back and leg injuries caused by sitting for long periods of time, and injuries caused by auto collisions. Although you can enforce good driving and loading practices to reduce incidents, there’s still a possibility that injuries could occur. For these reasons, workers’ compensation coverage is a critical consideration for auto hauling companies.
Workers’ comp will provide funds for employees’ medical expenses and a portion of lost income if employees are injured or fall ill as a result of their work and are unable to earn their usual wages. Workers’ comp also provides financial benefits to surviving dependents if an employee dies in a work-related accident. Workers’ compensation is regulated by each state, so requirements and laws can differ. However, almost every state requires that you secure this coverage for your employees. Violating workers’ comp laws can lead to heavy fines and penalties.
- One of your drivers is involved in an auto accident and sustains injuries which leave him unable to work for six months. Workers’ compensation insurance would cover his medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and a portion of his lost income.
Commercial crime insurance provides financial protection from losses caused by theft, robbery, fraud, forgery, burglary, and other crimes. This coverage applies both to crimes committed by outside parties and crimes committed by your own employees. Because auto haulers transport high-value property and handle many large transactions and accounts, there is a risk of crime or fraud. Commercial crime insurance can provide funds to reimburse you for these losses.
- You discover that one of your employees had been overcharging clients and pocketing the difference. Commercial crime insurance would provide funds for the loss.
General liability insurance covers unintentional third-party bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury. If someone else’s property is damaged or they suffer an injury on your business premises, general liability insurance can cover legal fees, damages, and medical payments in the case of an injury. This is an important coverage to secure if you have customers, vendors, or other members of the public visit your offices.
- A customer slips on a patch of ice in your trucking company’s parking lot, breaking her leg. Your insurer would cover her medical fees and legal expenses if she sues.
Commercial property insurance protects the value of your business property. This could include rented or owned office space, furniture, office supplies, and computer equipment. If your company maintains and refuels its vehicles onsite, you will have an increased risk of property damage because of the additional fire hazards involved. Commercial property insurance covers many common perils including storms, hail, fire, vandalism, and water damage.
Commercial property insurance covers the following:
- Buildings belonging to or leased by your company
- Contents of the building, including tools, equipment, and inventory
- Property of others while it is under your care, custody, or control
- A severe storm damages the roof of your headquarters. Computers, furniture, and other items suffer water damage. Your commercial property insurance would pay to replace items and repair your roof.
- Non-trucking liability insurance provides liability insurance coverage if an accident occurs while you’re driving a truck for non-business purposes. Motor liability coverage typically only covers incidents that occur while you’re driving for work purposes, so you will need non-trucking liability insurance if you ever drive a truck for personal reasons, like running an errand.
- Pollution liability insurance covers third-party bodily injury, property damage, cleanup costs, and legal defense costs that result from pollutants released by your company. This coverage is necessary for auto hauling companies with fueling and repair operations, as there is a risk of contamination from fuel, oil, and other pollutants.
- Business income coverage will reimburse you for lost income and operating expenses if your business is unable to operate due to a covered reason, such as fire, storm damage, or other property damage.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for business insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a car hauler with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for auto hauling businesses:
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
There are many significant risks that could affect your auto hauling business, from traffic collisions to stolen vehicles. It’s critical to protect your company by purchasing a broad range of insurance policies. With the right coverage, you’ll have the financial support you need to survive any unexpected incidents and continue to grow a thriving business.