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4 Must-Have Endorsements for a Commercial Auto Policy in CNY

March 22nd, 2024 | 4 min read

By Daniel J. Middleton

4-Must have commercial auto endorsements

Running a business in Central New York comes with its own set of challenges, like keeping your operations running smoothly. But what happens when an essential vehicle, even one not owned by your company, breaks down or gets into an accident? 

Unexpected downtime and repair costs can disrupt your workflow and impact your bottom line.

At Horan, we understand the unique needs of businesses in Central New York. Since 2009, we’ve been offering a variety of commercial auto insurance endorsements to help CNY business owners protect their operations, even when vehicles aren't owned by the company.

In this article, we’ll explore four must-have endorsements that can provide composure and financial protection, even if your employees use their own cars for business purposes.

Must-have endorsement #1 - towing and labor

Must-Have Endorsement #1: Towing and Labor

Towing and labor is one of the few endorsements you can add to your commercial auto policy. It covers the cost of towing and repairing your vehicle if it breaks down on the road. This is especially important if you have a large vehicle or you're out on a job or delivering something.

Without towing and labor, you could be stuck in a bad situation unless you have someone to call for help. That's why we think towing and labor is a must-have endorsement. 

Not all insurance carriers offer it, so if yours does, you should take advantage of it.

Must-have endorsement #2 - transportation expenseMust-Have Endorsement #2: Transportation Expense

Transportation expense is another endorsement you can add to your commercial auto policy. Much like rental car reimbursement coverage on the personal side, it pays for a rental car or a similar vehicle if your commercial vehicle is damaged in an accident. But it has its limits. 

For example, if you have a commercial auto policy for a tractor trailer, it won't cover the cost of renting another tractor trailer. It only covers vehicles that are reasonable and comparable to yours. So you can expect to get a pickup truck, a passenger car, or maybe a medium-duty truck

But anything beyond that will likely be out of reach. That's why you should have more vehicles in your fleet that you can switch to in case of an emergency.

Must-have endorsement #3 - non-owned auto insuranceMust-Have Endorsement #3: Non-Owned Auto Insurance

Non-owned auto insurance is another endorsement you can add to your commercial auto policy. It covers your business if your employees use their own vehicles for work-related purposes. 

For example, if they drive to the post office, the bank, or a restaurant for you. While they're doing that, your commercial auto insurance follows them in their car. It protects your business from liability and property damage they cause to others.

That's why you want to have non-owned auto coverage. It doesn't matter if your employees don't usually drive your vehicles. It only takes one accident to put your business at risk. If your employees use your company-owned cars, you're covered anyway. But if they use their own vehicles, you need non-owned auto insurance.

When You Need Hired and Non-Owned Auto Coverage Even Without Commercial Vehicles

One thing to note here is that you don't need to have commercial vehicles to need non-owned auto insurance. You might have employees who use their own cars for occasional errands or tasks for your business. For example, they might go to the bank, the office supply store, or the grocery store for you. 

In that case, you might wonder if you need commercial auto insurance or not. The answer is no. Most business owners policies and commercial package policies include hired and non-owned auto coverage for this reason. So you're covered even if you don't have a commercial auto policy.

But there's a catch. Some types of businesses and professions have this coverage excluded from their policies. 

For instance, restaurants that offer fast food delivery. Most insurance carriers don't want to insure that risk, so they exclude the hired and non-owned auto coverage from the restaurant's policy. 

That way, the restaurant can't get away with having this coverage without paying for a commercial auto policy. If they want to have delivery drivers, they need to have a separate policy for that.

So, if you're a professional office, a dentist, a hair salon, or something similar, you probably have hired and non-owned auto coverage and you don't even know it. It's very unlikely that you'll use it often, and even if you do, it's still incidental and not a regular part of your business. 

And it doesn't matter if the same person drives to the bank every day or not. As long as they're doing it for your business, you're covered. That's why it's totally fine.

Must-have endorsement #4 - hired auto insurance

Must-Have Endorsement #4: Hired Auto Insurance

Hired auto insurance is another endorsement you can add to your commercial auto policy. It covers you when you rent a vehicle for your business because one of yours is in the shop or you need an extra one. 

Hired auto insurance does two things for you. 

  1. First, it extends your liability coverage to the rented vehicle. That means if you cause an accident or damage someone else's property with the rented vehicle, your policy will cover it. 
  2. Second, it covers the physical damage to the rented vehicle. That means if you dent, scratch, or total the rented vehicle, your policy will pay for the repairs or replacement. This way, you don't have to buy the insurance that the rental company offers you. They might try to sell you their insurance, but you don't need it if you have hired auto insurance.

Hired auto insurance also shares the deductibles that you have on your own vehicles. You can choose the amount of deductibles you want for your hired auto endorsement, or you can use the highest amount you have on your policy. 

You'll have deductibles for both comprehensive and collision coverage, which cover different types of damage to the rented vehicle. And you'll have liability coverage too, which covers the damage you cause to others.

The Cost of Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance

Hired auto insurance is not very expensive. Both hired and non-owned auto insurance together usually cost around $100 a year on a commercial auto policy. That's a bargain for the protection they offer. And, as stated, you might already have them on your policy and not even know it. They're often automatically included because they're so cheap.

Get Commercial Auto Endorsements Tailored to Your Business

Unexpected breakdowns and accidents are part of the road, and they can significantly disrupt your business operations, especially when they involve any vehicle essential to your day-to-day functions. 

The resulting downtime and potential liabilities can leave you scrambling for solutions and facing financial setbacks. We understand these challenges, and these endorsements offer a safety net to catch you when the unexpected arises.

Ignoring these crucial endorsements exposes you to the full burden of unexpected costs and potential liabilities, further compounding the disruption and potentially jeopardizing your business continuity. 

But by implementing these endorsements, you can navigate these challenges with composure and ensure your business keeps moving forward, even when the unexpected arises. 

We can help you to that end. Click the Get a Quote button below. One of our insurance specialists will discuss your commercial auto insurance options and ensure you have the comprehensive coverage you need, on the road and off.

Get a Quote

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.