Commercial auto insurance is very similar to personal auto insurance. It provides both liability coverage and, optionally, coverage for physical damage (comprehensive and collision).

Virginia has a financial responsibility law which requires you to show that you have insurance or enough money to pay for losses resulting from motor vehicles you own or operate in connection with your business.  One way of satisfying Virginia's financial responsibility law is through insurance.  If you buy insurance, your policy must contain the following coverages:

(1)    Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability.  This coverage provides protection in case you or drivers of your car are responsible for causing injury or death to other people or damage to property of others.

(2)    Uninsured Motorist.  This provides bodily injury and property damage protection to you if you are in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist or a "hit-and-run" driver.  Every policy which offers motor vehicle liability coverage must include this coverage. 

Virginia law requires you to carry the following minimum limits of automobile liability applicable to each occurrence:

        $25,000 for injury or death of one person;
        $50,000 for injury or death of two or more people;
        $20,000 for property damage.

Most insurance companies sell an auto policy that contains a single limit of bodily injury and property damage liability instead of separate limits.  This means that the maximum an insurer will pay per person or per accident is contained in a single limit.  This single limit must be at least $70,000 to satisfy Virginia's financial responsibility law.

As a business owner, you should consider purchasing limits higher than the minimum limits required by law.  Also, if you carry passengers or property and are subject to registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles, you will be required to carry more than these minimum limits of liability.  You should check with your insurance agent to determine what types of coverage you need to operate commercial vehicles.  You should also contact your city, county, and other state government agencies as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Interstate Commerce Commission to check for any other insurance requirements.

If you cannot obtain motor vehicle insurance from any company, you can apply through your agent for coverage through the Virginia Automobile Insurance Plan (VAIP)  which is Virginia's assigned risk plan for motor vehicle insurance.  Your insurance agent can give you more information on the VAIP.

What Type of Motor Vehicle Policy Should I Buy?

Most businesses are eligible for the Business Auto Policy.  However, certain auto-related businesses such as auto dealers, service stations, and trucking firms are not eligible for this policy.  Garage policies and truckers policies are available to meet the insurance needs of these types of businesses.  Ask us which policy is best suited for your business.



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