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Best Commercial Auto Insurance in Central New York: 5 Carriers to Consider in 2024

February 7th, 2024 | 8 min read

By Daniel J. Middleton

The Top 5 Commercial Auto Insurance Carriers in Central New York

Running a business in Central New York means you’re used to tackling challenges head-on. From unpredictable weather to navigating a competitive market, you wear many hats. But when it comes to protecting your commercial vehicles, are you settling for just enough?

We get it. You need affordable, reliable insurance that keeps your fleet or just that one pickup moving, no matter the job. But sifting through endless policies and navigating confusing jargon can feel like an uphill battle.

What if you could find an insurance partner who understands the unique requirements of Central New York businesses? A partner who doesn’t just offer cookie-cutter coverage, but one that customizes protection to fit your specific fleet and industry.

That’s where Horan comes in. We’re your local experts in commercial auto insurance, built on a foundation of trust and deep understanding of the CNY landscape. We won’t waste your time with generic solutions. We’ll roll up our sleeves, analyze your business, and craft a policy that’s as tough and adaptable as you are.

Keep reading to uncover the top five commercial auto insurance carriers in Central New York. We’ll compare the big players, uncover hidden gems, and reveal the secrets to finding the perfect fit for your fleet.

1. Erie Insurance

Erie Insurance is the clear winner when it comes to commercial auto insurance in Central New York. They offer competitive rates, fast and efficient policy service, and make it easy to add or drop vehicles. 

Ideal for Contracting Professionals

Whether you have one vehicle or a fleet of them, Erie can handle your changes with ease. They’re especially good for contractors, landscapers, snow plow operators, cleaning companies, and similar professionals who often have multiple vehicles and need to make frequent policy changes. 

Erie is not just affordable, but also reliable and adaptable. You also need an effective agent who can work with Erie and make the policy changes quickly and accurately. An effective agent can save you time and money by avoiding errors and delays. 

Open to a Wide Range of Commercial Vehicles

Erie also has a lot of flexibility in terms of what kinds of commercial vehicles they will cover. They don't have too much of a concern about what kind of business you're in, as long as it's related to commercial auto. 

For example, they’ll cover the trucks and vans of painters, even though for us New Yorkers they won't write the general liability for them. Some contractors, like painters, pose a height risk due to their reliance on ladders, scaffolding, and the like. But with commercial auto policies, Erie doesn't have to worry about the general liability

Flexible Payment Plans

Erie also offers flexible payment plans for commercial auto insurance. You can choose to pay monthly by electronic funds transfer (EFT), or pay in full. Either way, you won't get a discount for paying in full, but you’ll get a low rate and a high quality service. 

Erie is one of the least expensive and most efficient commercial auto insurers in CNY.

Read our comprehensive review of Erie Insurance.

2. Progressive Insurance

Progressive Insurance - One of the best commercial auto insurance carriers in Central New YorkProgressive is a well-established name in the commercial auto insurance arena, and for good reason. They offer comprehensive coverage for a range of vehicles, including trucks. While they might not be the absolute cheapest option out there, their rates are still competitive, especially when considering their other strengths.

A Solid Choice for Trucking (and More)

Here's what makes Progressive a solid choice for trucking:

  • Experienced and Reliable: They have a long track record in the trucking industry, meaning they understand the specific risks and needs of truckers.
  • Comprehensive Coverage Options: Choose from a variety of coverage levels to fit your specific needs, whether you're a small owner-operator or a large fleet manager.
  • Additional Services: They offer a range of additional services that can benefit truckers, such as roadside assistance and safety programs.

Progressive offers three types of trucking insurance: owner operator insurance, motor carrier insurance, and private carrier insurance. These are designed to meet the specific needs of different trucking operations. Here is a brief overview of each one:

  1. Owner Operator Insurance: This is for truck drivers who own and operate their own trucks, either under their own authority or through a permanent lease with a motor carrier. Owner operators need to have primary liability coverage, which covers damage or injury to others caused by their truck. They may also need physical damage coverage, which covers damage to their own truck, and other coverages such as cargo, non-trucking liability, and occupational accident.
  2. Motor Carrier Insurance: This is for trucking companies that hire owner operators or employ drivers to operate their trucks. Motor carriers need to have primary liability coverage, which covers damage or injury to others caused by their trucks. They may also need physical damage coverage, which covers damage to their own trucks, and other coverages such as cargo, general liability, and workers’ compensation.
  3. Private Carrier Insurance: This is for businesses that use trucks to transport their own goods or materials, such as retailers, manufacturers, or contractors. Private carriers need to have primary liability coverage, which covers damage or injury to others caused by their trucks. They may also need physical damage coverage, which covers damage to their own trucks, and other coverages such as cargo, general liability, and property.

All in all, Progressive is a strong contender in the commercial auto space but they’re nearly unrivaled in terms of trucking insurance. Their combination of experience, comprehensive coverage, and competitive rates makes them a great choice for many trucking businesses.

Read our comprehensive review of Progressive Insurance.

3. Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual - One of the best commercial auto insurance carriers in Central New YorkLiberty Mutual offers quality commercial auto insurance policies.  They have a broad and flexible range of coverage options for various types of vehicles and businesses. As one of the largest property and casualty insurers in the country, they have built widespread brand recognition. 

Liberty Mutual has invested heavily in national advertising campaigns to boost familiarity. This strong brand likely offers some comfort to business owners choosing an insurer.

In terms of commercial auto offerings, Liberty Mutual provides standard coverage options. Their base policies match up closely with competitors, so Liberty Mutual doesn’t necessarily stand out for unique or innovative commercial auto features.

However, their baseline coverages still provide substantial protection at competitive rates. Liberty Mutual employs over 350 risk control specialists across the country. 

These local experts help companies identify vulnerabilities and reduce fleet safety risks. Liberty Mutual offers solid commercial auto insurance that responsibly balances cost and protective value.

Liberty Mutual’s Strengths

Among Liberty Mutual’s strengths are:

  • Stability: Founded in 1912, Liberty Mutual boasts a long history of financial stability and customer trust. This legacy provides assurance that you’re partnering with a company capable of handling even the most complex claims.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: From liability and physical damage to cargo and business interruption insurance, Liberty Mutual offers a full spectrum of coverage options to tailor a plan that fits your specific needs, depending on your type of business, vehicle, cargo, and policy. Whether you operate a single truck or manage a large fleet, they may have the solutions you need.
  • Streamlined Claims Process: Liberty Mutual prioritizes a smooth and efficient claims experience. Their network of dedicated claims adjusters is available 24/7 to guide you through the process, minimizing downtime and ensuring prompt resolutions.
  • National Presence: With an extensive network of repair shops and service providers across the country, Liberty Mutual ensures easy access to quality repairs wherever your vehicles operate. This eliminates the hassle of finding reliable vendors in unfamiliar locations.
  • Focus on Customer Service: Liberty Mutual prioritizes clear communication and responsive service. Their dedicated account managers are readily available to answer questions, address concerns, and provide ongoing support.

While there may be flashier options in the market, Liberty Mutual’s focus on dependable coverage, efficient claims handling, and long-term customer service makes them a sound choice for businesses seeking a reliable insurance partner. Their national scale and financial strength also offer stability and reliability. So Liberty Mutual remains a strong contender for commercial auto coverage.

4. biBERK Business Insurance

BIBERK - One of the best commercial auto insurance carriers in Central New York

Another quality option for commercial auto coverage is biBERK. As a GEICO affiliate and Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, biBERK shares deep financial backing. This supports their ability to pay out substantial claims. biBERK offers strong baseline policies for commercial fleets.

Get Easy Online Quotes

A key advantage of biBERK is their easy online quote system. Business owners can get fast rate estimates through the company website. However, biBERK does ask more detailed questions than some competitors. 

Their quotes account for specific vehicle types, uses, modifications, and risk classifications. So having your fleet details handy is important for accurate pricing.

For example, if you have a Ford F-250, you need to know what kind of modifications it has. Is it 

  1. a dump truck
  2. a standard pickup, or 
  3. a towing vehicle?

Once insured with biBERK, convenience may decline slightly. That’s because biBERK doesn’t use local agents. You may also find it less convenient to make changes to your policy or request certificates of insurance.

This means managing your account and making policy changes involves contacting random call center representatives. You lose out on building a relationship with one knowledgeable agent over time.

The online account tools also reflect biBERK’s direct-to-consumer focus. Adding or removing vehicles and drivers may prove more cumbersome than with an agent-focused provider. However, if you have a simple, stable commercial book of business, the digital access still provides serviceable functionality.

biBERK offers appealing commercial rates backed by renowned financial strength. The digital-first process brings simplicity upfront but less hand-holding down the line. If you’re a fleet manager, weighing these pros and cons allows you to determine if biBERK fits your commercial insurance priorities.

In the end, biBERK is a good option if you’re looking for a quick online quote and a reputable company, but you may have to sacrifice some personal service and flexibility.

Read a related article that discusses buying insurance using agents and brokers or direct from carriers.

5. Nationwide Insurance

Customized Coverage for Various Industries

Another quality option for business auto coverage is Nationwide. Nationwide stands out through their versatile commercial policies with extensive customizable endorsements. Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach, Nationwide can tailor enhanced protection specific to your industry and exposures.

For example, they offer add-ons that meet the specialized needs of commercial farms and agriculture. This includes coverage enhancements related to 

  1. crop transportation
  2. farm equipment operation, and 
  3. commodity hauling risks

Nationwide Insurance - One of the best commercial auto insurance carriers in Central New YorkTheir wide menu of endorsements provides more relevant safeguards that general commercial auto policies may lack.

However, with greater flexibility comes higher costs in many cases. While Nationwide’s base rates remain competitive, adding industry-specific endorsements raises premiums. You must determine if the extra protective value warrants the price increase for your fleet’s priorities.

Nationwide leverages partnerships and customized offerings to mitigate risks that matter most to policyholders. Their approach may make sense for operations with higher liability exposures or non-standard equipment usage. But if you’re a lower-risk business, you may find Nationwide’s endorsements unnecessary to pay for.

In either case, Nationwide stands ready to tailor coverage that goes beyond generic policies to appropriately insure complex commercial auto exposures. You should compare baseline rates plus desired add-ons relative to other carrier options when evaluating fit. With attentive underwriting and expansive endorsements, Nationwide serves diverse commercial auto customers with specificity other insurers can’t match.

If you’re looking for a carrier that can offer you the best coverage for your specific industry, Nationwide Insurance might be a good option for you.

Your CNY Business Deserves More Than Generic Commercial Auto Coverage

We’ve explored the commercial auto insurance landscape in Central New York, but the journey doesn’t end here. Choosing the right policy is like picking the perfect tool for the job. It’s about finding the fit that gives you confidence and control, not just a piece of paper to check a box.

Think about it this way: your commercial vehicles are the lifeblood of your business. They’re the workhorses that carry your dreams, your deadlines, and your livelihood. Skimping on insurance is like sending them out with a rusty toolbox and a half-empty tank. You might get by for a while, but one breakdown, one unexpected detour, can leave you stranded.

Yes, insurance can feel like another expense, another hurdle. But remember, it’s not about adding another weight to your already full plate. It’s about shedding the burden of worry, the constant what-ifs that gnaw at your focus. A well-crafted commercial auto policy acts like a shock absorber, smoothing out the bumps in the road and giving you the composure and security to steer your business forward.

So, don’t settle for generic coverage. Don’t let insurance companies dictate your path. Take the time to explore, to compare, to find the partner who understands your priorities. Choosing the right commercial auto insurance is an investment in your future, a proactive step toward securing your business against anything the road throws your way.

The Horan agency is your compass in this uncertain landscape. We’ll guide you through the options, translate the jargon, and craft a policy that gives you the composure and security you deserve. Let’s chart a course for smooth sailing together.

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Daniel J. Middleton

Daniel is an accomplished content creator. He has been working in publishing for almost two decades. Horan Companies hired Daniel as its content manager in November 2022. The agency entrusted its messaging to him. Since then, Daniel has written insurance articles, service and pillar pages, and more. All in an effort to educate CNY readers. He's helping them understand the world of insurance so they can make informed decisions.