Commercial Auto / Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance
for Real Estate Professionals
Real estate and title professionals drive every day for work, whether it's meeting with clients, scouting properties, or driving prospective buyers to showings. But the Commercial Auto Insurance and Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance needs of a real estate agent or title professional are not always clear.
That's because many agents are technically self-employed contractors who use their personal vehicle for work. At first, it can be a bit tricky to understand whether a Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy is a necessary addition to your small business insurance plan.
What isn't tricky to understand is the large risk that business driving imposes on small-business owners. Traffic accidents are the number-one cause of accident-related deaths in the country. Over 30,000 auto crashes happen each day, and small-business owners need to be prepared for their often expensive consequences.
According to the National Safety Council's 2011 Injury Facts [PDF] book, work-related motor-vehicle accidents cost employers $20.5 billion every year. Commercial Auto Insurance and Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance can help real estate and title professionals offset the cost of these expensive traffic accidents.
What do Real Estate Professionals Need?
Do Real Estate Agents and Title Professionals Need Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance?
As we mentioned before, not all real estate agents and title professionals require a Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy. It all depends on what type of car you drive and how you drive it.
But it's important for all small-business owners to consider the benefits of Auto Insurance policies. They might find coverage gaps they didn't know existed.
Real Estate & Title Professionals: Commercial Auto Insurance vs. Your Personal Auto Insurance Policy
When it comes to Commercial Auto Insurance, the biggest question for real estate and title professionals is: "Does my Personal Auto Insurance Policy cover my business driving?"
The short answer? Maybe.
You may have noticed that your Personal Auto Insurance excludes coverage for "business use," which is worrisome when you think about how much time you spend in the car. However, many personal policies include clauses designed for agents and consultants of your ilk that allow coverage for business driving that consists primarily of commuting to and from work or meeting with clients.
Unfortunately, not all Personal Auto policies cover "business use" this well. Here are a few things to consider when examining your Personal Auto Insurance policy:
- What kind of vehicle do you drive? Many Personal Auto policies state that business driving with a standard passenger vehicle, pickup truck, or van is covered. However, some policies have exclusions for vans and trucks — so always be sure to double check your policy before driving a van or truck for work.
- Do you drive your vehicle for work "regularly"? All Personal Auto policies define "regular business use" differently, and many put restrictions on how often you can drive your personal vehicle for work. If you drive your car more often than the policy allows, you'll need a Commercial Auto Insurance policy.
- Do you carry passengers or have other drivers? Sometimes, personal policies won't cover business driving if you regularly transport passengers. Since many real estate agents drive their clients to showings, this is a particularly important part of your policy. Other personal policies won't allow for employees to have regular access to your personal vehicle.
If any of the above describes your business-driving habits, you may be operating with a gap in your Auto Insurance coverage. In order to be sure, always consult with your insurance agent.
And of course, if you own a real estate agency or a title company and have registered vehicles in that business's name, you definitely need a Commercial Auto Insurance policy. It's essentially the same as a Personal Auto policy, although Commercial Auto policies usually come with higher limits, since work-related driving comes with higher risks.
Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance for Real Estate and Title Professionals
Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance is for real estate and title professionals who regularly drive cars that are neither registered in their name nor in the name of their business, such as those whose business involves:
- Renting or hiring cars. Say you attend a conference in another city and need to rent a car to get around. With Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance, you don't have to pay the rental company's extra insurance fees. Or say you live and work in a bigger city and car-sharing services are convenient for driving around clients. Even though car-sharing services say their rates are "all inclusive," the Auto coverage does have its limits — on average, about $300,000 or less per accident. If you were liable for a car accident with multiple injuries, that money could easily be used up.
- Driving employee-owned vehicles. If you own a business where employees regularly drive their own vehicles to do work, make sure you have a Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy. If an employee were to get into an accident on the job, your business could be held liable. This is an often-overlooked coverage gap for small-business owners.
Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policies tend to be inexpensive. Be sure to ask your insurance agent if you can package yours with either your General Liability Insurance or your Business Owner's Policy.
Auto Policies Protect
How Does Commercial Auto and Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance Protect Real Estate & Title Professionals?
Commercial Auto and Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance help pay for the cost of work-related auto accidents so real estate and title professionals don't have to sacrifice their business assets.
Even minor vehicle crashes can put a dent in the wallet of a small-business owner. Those accidents that involve multiple cars and injuries can easily spiral out of control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that work-related traffic crashes cost business owners a whopping $128,178 per injury.
In the event that your business is found liable for a traffic accident or collision, your Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance can help you pay for:
- Property Damage. This includes vehicle damage and non-vehicle damage, should the accident involve colliding with another object. Some policies may cover the damage that results from vandalism and theft.
- Liability Protection. The liability portion of your Auto Insurance helps you pay for medical expenses in the event of injuries and legal expenses in the event of a lawsuit.
Your Auto Insurance coverage provides benefits up to the stated limits of your policy. If you're interested in increasing your coverage limits, look into adding Umbrella Insurance to your small-business protection plan.
Get Auto Quotes
Real Estate & Title Professionals: Get Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance Quotes
Are you ready to collect Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance quotes for your real estate or title business? Contact an insureon agent who specializes in obtaining coverage for real estate and title professionals. You can also complete an online application, and an agent will send quotes straight to your email inbox.