Whether you're delivering pizzas, hauling materials or chauffeuring clients, you may need to use your vehicle daily as part of your job. What you may not realize is that this use of your car has an effect on your auto insurance policy. Your risk category is higher when you use a car for business purposes, meaning that your rates will be higher than if you drove for pleasure alone. Moreover, insurance companies may deny claims for accidents that happen when the car is used for business purposes.
How Risk Categories Affect Insurance Prices
Insurers determine how much to charge for a policy by assessing a driver's risk. As a rule, people who spend more time behind the wheel will pay more for insurance because they're exposed to the most possible crashes. This means that drivers who commute to work pay more for insurance than those who work from home, and people who use their cars for business pay more than those who don't.
For many business uses, a personal insurance policy will be insufficient. For example, if you're a delivery driver, your insurance company may deny an accident that occurs while making a delivery. This can put you and your employer at risk of costly lawsuits. Many employers do not provide ample insurance to cover your vehicle, so it's important to do your own research and purchase a policy that will handle your car's business usage.
Even more importantly, your insurance company may cancel your policy entirely if they realize that you're using the car for business purposes. This may occur between policy terms or after a claim has been filed. Once the policy has been cancelled, it will be harder to find an affordable carrier. It's much better to be up-front with your insurer and see what options are available for commercial coverage rather than taking the risk of losing insurance due to business use.
Buying Commercial Car Insurance
Many private insurers provide commercial auto policies for business vehicles. Your current carrier may even be able to convert your existing policy to a commercial account with minimal cost difference. Though you may be a high risk as a private driver, you'll be very low risk compared to other commercial customers, so you might qualify for fresh discounts. Be sure to review the coverages carefully and only get the protection that you need since not all coverages will apply to small-scale business usage.
Before buying a commercial policy, be sure to discuss your options with your current insurer. Your agent will be able to review your specific situation and decide whether you really need a business policy or not. If so, he or she can write a new policy or refer you to a company that can provide coverage. You can also comparison shop online for commercial auto insurance rates to find a new provider.
Mandi Mangleson lives and writes in London. She writes for www.carinsurance.org.uk where you can find more information on car insurance, trips, and tips for saving money when you drive.