Owning a vehicle for your business means investing in the operation. Your vehicle will function as an extension of the company. Losses, therefore, will also reflect on your bottom line. You can minimize those losses by taking a few maintenance steps. These include both clerical and physical security for the vehicle. Let’s discuss some of the ways you can approach this process.
Safeguarding your vehicle will prove beneficial as long as you do it correctly. For every business owner, this will involve a unique process. All businesses should take the following steps as a basic approach to protection.
Step One: Register the Vehicle
Buying a commercial vehicle means the company assumes responsibility for its ownership. Therefore, most will name the business as the owner in the deal. You’ll need to make sure that all titles and other paperwork reflect the business’s stake in vehicle.
All drivers will also need to obtain vehicle registration and appropriate tags. In some cases, commercial vehicles require special registration. Ask the dealer or your local license plate office about this process. Don’t drive the vehicle on official business without appropriate paperwork. Leave required documentation in the vehicle.
Step Two: Hire and Monitor Drivers
Company vehicles will need people to drive them. Some people might drive as a primary work duty. Others might only drive company cars infrequently. Regardless of how often you use the car, make sure anyone behind the wheel can operate safely.
All drivers should hold appropriate credentials to drive. This should include a valid license, along with any special endorsements as needed. Businesses should review drivers periodically to make sure they still have credentials in good standing. For example, if a driver has gotten points on their license recently, they might no longer qualify to drive.
Step Three: Get Auto Insurance
Almost every state requires drivers to carry minimum levels of car insurance. Businesses should heed this warning with extra precaution. This will involve getting commercial auto insurance.
Commercial car insurance will pay for damage that drivers, vehicles, other assets or third parties sustain in accidents or other mishaps. Some of the coverage you might need includes
- Liability coverage: This coverage pays for the damage you cause to third parties. It can help you pay for their injuries or property damage that were your fault. California requires you to carry this coverage, with limits valued, at minimum
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
- $5,000 for damage to property
- Collision insurance: Pays for damage your company vehicle might sustain in an accident.
- Comprehensive protection: Cars can sustain damage from more than just wrecks. This coverage pays for damage from non-accident hazards like fire, theft or weather.
- Uninsured/underinsured coverage: In certain cases, your vehicle might collide with an at-fault driver who does not carry appropriate liability insurance (or any at all). This coverage can help you pay for your losses using your own policy.
- Personal Injury Protection: Regardless of who causes a wreck, this coverage can help pay for your medical bills and related costs
Each of these coverage elements will pay based on limits you select when you enroll in coverage. You’ll need to select enough coverage to protect your company’s full financial investment in the car. This should include the value of the vehicle, plus ample liability coverage in case the business faces legal action because of at-fault accidents. Your insurance agent can help you determine the appropriate levels for your operation. Be frank and open with them about your needs.
As a final piece of advice, do not attempt to insure a business vehicle with standard car insurance. Commercial coverage protects the business’s interest in the vehicle. Standard coverage, on the other hand, usually does not. Therefore, you’ll benefit more securely from commercial protection.
Step Four: Protect and Maintain the Vehicle
Once you buy a company vehicle, you need to keep it in good shape. After all, losing it is a lot of money gone. The better care you take of the vehicle, the more secure you make the company’s outlook.
Your vehicle should receive periodic, but regular maintenance. This should include regular visits to a trusted mechanical service. During these visits, your vehicle should receive
- Oil changes
- Tire checks and rotations
- Engine inspections
- Air filter checks
- Battery tests
- Lighting tests
- Any other repairs for developing problems
Not only that, there are other steps to vehicle maintenance.
- The vehicle should have a comprehensive security system. Specialty items, like GPS and speed trackers, might help the company better track the car’s use.
- Renew and adjust the car’s auto insurance regularly. Never go without coverage, as this could lead to higher policy rates in the future. Change your coverage, as advised, to better suit your financial needs.
- Have the vehicle inspected, and renew your registration at regular intervals.
To get started obtaining commercial auto insurance, you can turn to one of our agents at 310-698-0140. We’re here to help you get the appropriate protection. However, your vehicle’s security plan should include more than insurance. You’ll need to take a multi-faceted approach to securing the vehicle.