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Auto, home, renters, commercial, motorcycle insurance and more...

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We are independently owned and locally operated, to ensure that the needs of our community are being met.  We work hard to ensure that our clients in Long BeachLakewoodSignal HillBellflowerCerritosNorwalkArtesiaDowney and other Southern California surrounding cities are able to have the most affordable and reliable insurance choices available. 

We will work with you to ensure that your insurance coverage is tailored to meet your particular needs.  We recognize that each of our clients are unique and that their insurance plans should also be unique. You can count on us to find you the right amount of coverage paired with the best price. 

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Long BeachCA90808, 4195 N Viking Way Suite G USA

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Long Beach CA Insurance News

The Mature Driver Discount

We all age differently. Over time, we all have physical changes which can impact our driving. Statistically, drivers over age 65, along with new teenage drivers, have more accidents for each mile they driver than any other age group. As a result, insurance rates do increase for this... read more »

Insurance 101: Business Car Insurance in California

If you are renting cars or your employees are using their own vehicles, you should have the proper business insurance coverage. You will need an insurance policy that will cover liabilities unique to this situation. Talk with one of our insurance specialists today to see if you can add this coverage to your general liability policy. The cost to you may be minimal, but the added coverage can be significant. Take a minute out of your day to request a commercial insurance quote online or discover your Business Insurance options. If you would rather sit down and talk with us, feel free to visit us. We are located at 4195 N Viking Way Suite G, Long Beach, CA 90808.

At Neighbors Plus Insurance, Our Focus Is YOU! If you're in the Bellflower, CA or Southern California area, you can count on Neighbors Plus to tackle all your insurance needs. Here are a few of the many insurance services we offer:

We realize that because each Bellflower, CA customer is UNIQUE, they each need a unique insurance plan. Neighbors Plus is ready to give you the undivided attention and personalized care you deserve. Being located in Long Beach, we are eagar to serve the insurance needs of our neighbors and friends in the community. Our goal is to offer you powerful insurance coverage at the most affordable price possible.

Being an independent insurance agency means good news for you! At Neighbors Plus, we only work with insurance companies who have a tested track record of being financially rock solid and reliable. We are focused on your best interests, not the insurance company's! We can't wait to show you our wide variety of options in order to tailor the perfect plan for you.

Don't be confused or intimidated by insurance options. No one likes to worry about insurance coverage. Whether you need home insurance, auto insurance, or multiple insurance coverage, let the Bellflower, CA insurance experts take the insurance load off your mind. Come experience our high level of customer service. Call or come in to our Long Beach office today and let us start working for you!

Bellflower, CA Auto Insurance

Auto insurance in Bellflower, CA is a great way to secure your assets, your health and your car. When you sign up for an auto insurance policy, you should be sure that you have a policy that meets your needs. At Neighbors Plus Insurance we are devoted to finding the Bellflower, CA auto insurance policy that is going to fit our customer's specific needs.

If you have questions about your current auto insurance policy or if you want to make changes or sign up for a new policy, come visit us. You can talk with a real person and benefit from face-to-face interaction.

We are located at 4195 N Viking Way Suite G, Long Beach, CA 90808 and we look forward to meeting you!

Your auto insurance policy will be a contract between yourself and the insurance company. As long as you are paying the agreed upon premium, your insurance company will provide you with the agreed upon coverage.

Available Coverage

There are various categories of auto insurance, and you should find the type of auto insurance that is going to best fit your needs. It is necessary to have liability insurance if you are going to register your car in Bellflower, CA, California.

If you have put your car up as collateral for a loan, the financial institution that you are working with may require you to carry comprehensive and collision coverage. This way, they know that your car is going to retain value.

As you look around for the auto insurance that is right for you, you will want to be able to recognize and understand what these auto insurance terms mean...

  • Bodily Injury Liability — this coverage will cover injuries that the insured driver causes to someone else. If you have substantial assets to protect a higher limit may be a wise decision.
  • Property Damage Liability — this coverage ensures that the cost of repairing another's damaged property will be taken care of. This includes damage to another's vehicle, home, buildings, fences, trees, etc.
  • Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury — this coverage will cover any lost wages, medical expenses or the cost of general damage that is a result of the policyholders, authorized drivers or even passengers being in an an accident that was caused by a driver that does not have enough coverage for the damage or does not have auto insurance.
  • Medical Expense — this coverage ensures that the treatment of injures to the insured driver and his/her passengers are covered, regardless of who is at fault. When treatment is needed that is not covered under your health insurance, this coverage can cover the treatments required.
  • Comprehensive, also known as Other Than Collision — this coverage will pay for the policyholder's car to be repaired when it is damaged without having been in a collision with another car. The covered damage could be a result of fire, theft, falling objects, missiles, flood, riot or even explosion.
  • Collision — this coverage ensures that the policy holder's car is covered when it collides with another car or another object.
  • Rental Car — this coverage will ensure that the cost of renting a car is taken care of during the time that the insured car is being repaired after a covered instance of damage occurs.
  • Auto Loan/Lease Coverage, also known as Gap Coverage — this coverage will pay the difference between the actual cash value of the covered car and the outstanding balance of the lease or loan on the same car.

Available Discounts

There are various discounts that are available with a variety of insurance companies.  While you decide what insurance policy you want to go with, you should discuss the potential for discounts.  Some common discounts you may want to discuss are...

  • California good driver — a discount that is applied to your insurance when you drive for three years and do not receive more than one point on your record that comes as a result of property damage accident or a moving violation. If you have been convicted of a DUI or vehicular manslaughter in the past 10 years, you are not eligible for this discount.
  • Good Student — if you are a single driver under the age of 24, a full-time student and you keep a "B" or better grade point average, you may be eligible for this discount.
  • Anti-theft Devices — if you have equipped your car with a passive or an active anti-theft device, you may be eligible for a discount.
  • Professional or Group Discounts — There are many diverse professional groups that are eligible. Talk about your career and discuss any discounts that may be available for you.
  • Multi-policy — having multiple policies with the same insurance company may make you eligible for a discount.
  • Mature Driver —If you are 55 or older, you can take a driver improvement course at your local DMV and you may qualify for a discount.

Whether you are looking for ways to save on your current auto insurance policy in Bellflower, CA, you are signing up for auto insurance for the first time or you want to find ways to save on your auto insurance policy, we can help you.

Stop by our office today. We are conveniently located at 4195 N Viking Way Suite G, Long Beach, CA 90808. You can also e-mail or call us today, and we will make sure that we are in touch as soon as possible.

Want to find out more about your Auto Insurance options?

Bellflower, CA Homeowners Insurance

When it comes to Homeowners Insurance, you want to choose the right policy to safeguard you and your home. As a home owner, you put your heart into your home. Your home is part of you and your life, and you should have an excellent Homeowners Insurance policy to cover your personal property.

At Neighbors Plus Insurance, you can count on finding the Homeowners Policy you need for your home and property. At Home Owners Insurance Bellflower, CA, you can be sure that you are getting the most fitting policy in the area. Not only can you be protected from damage to your dwelling or your home, but you can get personal property coverage, as well. This includes valuable items that you travel with, or you take outside of your home.

Neighbors Plus Insurance knows how to find you those discounts that you can't find on your own. Finally, with Homeowners Insurance Long Beach, 90808, you can have an affordable Homeowners Insurance Policy that provides more than enough coverage for your needs.

At Neighbors Plus Insurance, we believe that you should know the insurance basics, your insurance coverage, and your insurance policy. A lot of people don't understand their policy, and they never know what coverage they are purchasing. At Neighbors Plus, we will explain the insurance basics to you, without making it too boring or long.

If you are in the market for new homeowners insurance, or looking to upgrade your current policy, come see us today! Stop by our office.

Want to find out more about your Homeowner Insurance options?

Bellflower, CA Renters Insurance

No matter what kind of home you are renting, renters insurance can be a great way to cover your temporary property.  Stop by our office at 4195 N. Viking Way, Long Beach, CA 90808 and we can discuss the renters insurance policies that are available in Bellflower, CA.

One common misconception among many people who rent their homes is that they are covered under their landlord's insurance in case of an burglary, accident, or other disaster. Let me dispel that myth and a few others as well. The truth is:

  • Landlords typically only insure the building and any fixtures they own within it, so renters are responsible for any lost or damaged possessions.
  • If someone has an accident in your apartment -- or even gets bitten by your dog -- you're the potentially liable party.
  • Your roommates must have their individual policies or be named on yours; otherwise their possessions and liability are not covered.

Given this level of risk exposure, it's surprising more tenants aren't insured; by some guestimates, up to two-thirds go without coverage. That tide is beginning to change, however, as more and more landlords now require rental insurance.

For the peace of mind it brings, renters insurance is surprisingly economical. It typically costs about $150 to $300 a year for basic coverage -- like ordering a pizza once a month. You may feel your belongings aren't valuable enough to insure, but imagine an electrical fire or burst water pipe ruined your possessions: Think how much it would cost to replace everything -- not to mention pay for alternate housing during repairs.

Available Coverages

  • Personal Property - applies to the policyholder's personal property anywhere in the world. This includes items that the policyholder owns or uses. There are drawbacks to theft of certain categories of items, such as jewelry, furs, silverware, goldware, firearms, etc.
  • Loss of Use (Additional Living Expenses) - applies to the policyholder's exposure to financial loss, apart from the property damage itself, if the residence place where the insured resides is damaged so badly that is not fit to live in.
  • Personal Liability - Coverage is provided if a claim or a suit is brought against and insured because of bodily injury or property damage allegedly caused by the insured. Coverage includes defense costs.
  • Medical Payments to Others - covers the necessary medical expenses incurred by others (not an insured). Coverage does not imply negligence.

Want to find out more about your Renters Insurance options?

Bellflower, CA Condo Insurance

More than likely part of your Homeowners Association fee goes to the insurance coverage that your condo association has purchased for your unit's building and common areas within your condo community. But, you are left to your own devices when it comes to damage within your dwelling unit. This often leaves condo owners feeling defencesless. You may even find that to purchase a condo within a particular community you are required to purchase a "walls-in" insurance policy before you are allowed to live within the community. 

Fortunately, condo insurance coverage is not expensive and the coverage options are boundless. You may even find that you are able to get a discount on your auto insurance policy if you buy this condo coverage with the same company. 

As you are shopping through several condo coverage options, be sure that you recognize what these condo coverage terms mean...

Coverage options

  • Personal Property - will cover the policy holder's personal property, no matter where they are in the world. Specific limitations as to the categories of items covered and the classes of loss covered will apply. 
  • Dwelling or Improvements - applies to fixtures and improvements within your condo. For example, if you fix or improved your cabinets lighting or any free standing fixture this coverage may apply. 
  • Loss Assessment - if your condo association should levy an assessment on your condo as a means of improving or repairing common areas, this coverage will apply. 
  • Loss of Use (Additional Living Expenses) - should your condo become uninhabitable as the result of a covered loss, this insurance coverage will pay for your living expenses while you cannot live in your home. 
  • Personal Liability - Should a claim or a suit be brought against you as a result of property damage or bodily injury, this coverage will come into play.  It will also cover defense costs. 
  • Medical Payments to Others - will pay for the medical expenses that someone incurs as a result of the insured's property or actions. 
  • Workers' Compensation - Should a personal, part-time employee be injured on the job, this insurance will pay their medical expenses. 
  • Condos Rented to Others -if you should rent your condo to another person, this coverage will provide you with contents and liability coverage.

Want to find out more about your Condo Insurance options?

Bellflower, CA Motorcycle Insurance

Choosing the right insurance policy is much like choosing the right motorcycle. You want it to fit your needs and lifestyle, but at the same time be within your budget. Although most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, other types of coverage are usually optional. Always ask your company representative or insurance agent which laws apply in your state.

In order to find out what coverage is most fitting for you, it is important to recognize all the options available.


    Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people involved in an accident. It doesn't cover you or your motorcycle. Find out if your coverage includes Guest Passenger Liability, which provides protection in the event that a passenger is injured on the motorcycle. Whether or not this is included is hinged on the laws of your state and the company issuing the policy.


    Collision insurance covers damage to your motorcycle if you are involved in an accident. Your insurance company pays for damages, less your deductible, caused when you collide with another vehicle or object. Collision insurance most often covers the book value of the motorcycle before the loss occurred.


    Comprehensive coverage pays for damages caused by an event other than a collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism. However, just like collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for damages, less your deductible, and will cover only the book value of the motorcycle.

    Keep in mind most comprehensive and collision coverages will only cover the factory standard parts on your motorcycle. If you decide to add on any optional accessories such as a custom paint job, chrome parts, trailers or sidecars, you should look into obtaining additional or optional equipment coverage.


    Uninsured/underinsured Motorist Coverage covers damages to you and your property caused by another driver who either doesn't have insurance (uninsured) or doesn't have adequate insurance (underinsured) to cover your damages.

    This coverage typically pays for lost wages, medical treatment and other damages. If your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage includes property damage, then your motorcycle would also be covered under the same circumstances. Check with your insurance specialist to see if property damage is included or needs to be bought separately.


Many circumstances can play a role in deciding what your insurance costs will be such as your driving record, your age, where you live and the type of motorcycle you own, or being a graduate of a rider-training course.

  • Many companies offer discounts from 10 to 15 percent on motorcycle insurance for graduates of training courses, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course. Riders under the age of 25, usually considered a higher risk, may see some savings by taking this course. It’s also a good idea for cyclists who have already had accidents.
  • Maintaining a good driving record with no violations will also help loweryour premiums.
  • In many northern states, riders may save money by buying a "lay-up" policy. With a lay-up policy, all coverage but comprehensive is suspended during winter months.
  • Find out what discounts your insurance representative offers. Multibike discounts for those insuring more than one bike, organization discounts, if you’re a member of a motorcycle association, and mature rider discounts for experienced riders, are just a few possibilities. Discounts can range anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent, depending on your state and the insurance company. Availability and qualifications for discounts vary from company to company and state to state.
  • Keep in mind that the type, style (such as a sports bike vs. a cruiser) and age of the motorcycle, as well as the amount of miles you drive a year and where you store your bike may also affect how much you pay for your premium.

Choose the insurance company or agent that's right for you. If you already have auto insurance, you can contact the same insurer. Otherwise, ask friends, relatives and co-workers where they bought their motorcycle or auto insurance. Your local motorcycle shop may have a company they refer customers to. Or you can check local motorcycle magazines and newspapers for insurance professionals advertising motorcycle insurance.

Courtesy of Insurance Information Institute

Want to find out more about your Motorcycle Insurance options?

Bellflower, CA Boat Insurance

Most companies provide limited coverage for property damage for small boats such as small power boats and canoes or small sail boats with less than 25 mile per hour horse power under a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Coverage is generally about $1,000 or 10 percent of the home's property value and generally includes the boat, motor and trailer combined. Liability coverage is most often not included–but it can be added as an endorsement to a homeowners policy. Check with your insurance representative to find out if your boat is covered and what the limits are.

Faster and larger boats such as yachts, and personal watercraft such as jet skis and wave runners require a separate boat insurance policy. The type, size and value of the craft and the water in which you use it factor into how much you will pay for insurance coverage.

For physical loss or damage, coverage includes the hull, furnishings, machinery, fittings and permanently attached equipment as part of either an actual cash value policy or on an agreed amount value basis. These policies also provide broader liability protection than a homeowners policy. But there are apparent differences between the two types of policies.

Actual Cash Value policies pay for replacement costs less depreciation at the time of the loss. In the event of a total loss, used boat pricing guides and other resources are used to determine the vessel’s approximate market value. Partial losses are settled by taking the total cost of the repair less a percentage for depreciation.

Agreed Amount Value basis policies mean that you and your insurer have agreed on the value of your vessel and in the event of a total loss you will be paid that amount. Agreed Amount Value policies also replace old items for new in the event of a partial loss, without any deduction for depreciation.

Boat insurance also covers:

  • Bodily injury—for injuries caused to another person
  • Property damage—for damage caused to someone else’s property
  • Guest passenger liability—for any legal expenses incurred by someone using the boat with the owner’s permission
  • Medical payments—for injuries to the boat owner and other passengers
  • Theft

Most all companies offer liability limits that start at $15,000 and can be increased to $300,000. Most often policies include deductibles of $250 for property damage, $500 for theft and $1000 for medical payments. Higher limits may be available. Additional coverage can be purchased for trailers and other accessories. Boat owners may also consider purchasing an umbrella liability policy which will provide additional protection for their boat, home and auto.

Boaters should also inquire about special equipment kept on the boat, such as fishing gear, to make sure it is covered and verify that towing coverage is included in the policy.

Boat owners should also inquire about discounts for the following:

  • Diesel powered craft, which are less hazardous than gasoline powered boats as they are less likely to explode
  • Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers
  • Ship-to-shore radios
  • Two years of claims-free experience
  • Multi-policies with the same insurer, such as a car, home or umbrella policy
  • Safety education courses, such as those offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S.
  • Power Squadrons, or the American Red Cross.

Boat Safety

There are thousands of recreational boating accidents per year. Contributing factors to these accidents include traveling too fast for weather or water conditions, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to follow boating rules and regulations, inexperience and carelessness.

To prevent boating accidents, we offer these safety suggestions:

Care and protection of vessel

  1. Check weather forecasts before heading out.
  2. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
  3. Check engine, fuel, steering and electrical systems, especially for exhaust-system leaks.
  4. Carry one or more fire extinguishers, matched to the size and type of boat. Keep them readily accessible and in condition for immediate use.
  5. Equip the vessel with required navigation lights and with a whistle, horn or bell.
  6. Consider additional safety devices, such as a paddles or oars, a first-aid kit, a supply of fresh water, a tool kit and spare parts, flares, a flashlight and a radio.

Care and protection of crew and guests

  • Make sure that every person on board the boat wears a life-jacket.
  • Know and obey marine traffic laws, the "Rules-of-the-Road." Learn various distress signals.
  • Keep an alert lookout for other watercraft, floating debris, swimmers and shallow waters.
  • Pay attention to loading. Don’t overload; distribute the load evenly; don’t stand up or shift weight suddenly in a small boat; and don’t permit riding on the bow, seatbacks or gunwales.
  • Don't operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Skippers can obtain free advice and boating-safety courses from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Upon request, the auxiliary will conduct a Courtesy Marine Examination (CME) on your boat, checking electrical and safety equipment and fuel hoses. Boats meeting safety standards are awarded the CME decal "Seal of Safety."

Courtesy of Insurance Information Institute

Want to find out more about your Boat Insurance options?

Bellflower, CA Umbrella Insurance

Could you be sued?

Although you may not have considered a Bellflower, CA Umbrella Insurance plan before, it may be the most beneficial way to protect your assets. If you would like to discuss your umbrella insurance options, do not be afraid to stop by 4195 N. Viking Way Suite G, Long Beach, CA 90808. We can help you understand what policy would be most beneficial to you.

Wealth. Lawsuits. It's easy to assume a relationship between the two. Unfortunately, that assumption is a common fallacy made by most people. Anyone can be sued, regardless of income level, for just about any reason - your dog accidentally injured your neighbor's child, an overgrown tree in your yard crashed through your neighbor's roof or the unthinkable happens and you severely injure someone in a car crash. Personal liability lawsuits can result in judgments amounting to six and seven figures.

If you're not covered by an umbrella policy, you could be risking everything - your auto, your home, the lifestyle to which you and your family are accustomed, and possibly your future income.

Typical auto, homeowners and other property insurance liability limits are not adequate to cover the large court judgments being awarded these days. If you ever have to pay such a judgment, an umbrella policy can provide extra protection and may help you safeguard your assets.

There are also some types of personal liability losses that your other policies do not cover, including libel, slander, defamation of character or invasion of privacy. An umbrella policy fills the gaps in your insurance policies by extending protection for these varieties of claims. Best of all, this vital insurance protection is relatively economical.

Want to find out more about your Umbrella Insurance options?

Bellflower, CA Mobile Home Insurance

Mobile home insurance policies provide two basic kinds of coverage: personal liability and physical damage coverage. Singling out the right insurance policy is much like selecting the right mobile home. You want it to fit your needs and lifestyle, but you also want the insurance coverage to fit within your budget.

These coverage options are available for rental mobile homes, commercial mobile homes, mobile homes that are used seasonally, or on private property or mobile homes located in a park. If you already have car or homeowners insurance, you can try contacting the same insurer to see if you are eligible for a discount.

Physical Damage

Physical damage coverage pays for accidental damage to your mobile home, belongings, or other structures (such as attached patios or decks, storage sheds or garages) resulting from hail, fire, wind, theft and vandalism, or falling objects. The amount and degree of coverage varies from one policy to another, so make sure to compare policies carefully.

Some policies only cover precise causes of loss (named peril policies). This is basic coverage and while the low premiums may seem like a bargain, it could cost you hundreds of dollars in the event of a claim, if the damage is not caused by one of the named perils.

Generally, coverage under a regular policy doesn’t apply while the mobile home is in transit. Also, like regular homeowners insurance, flood is not generally covered, so be sure to find out whether you are in a flood zone and can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Personal Liability Coverage

Damage to property isn’t the only peril of modern life. Liability insurance coverage applies when there is a claim or a lawsuit against you after someone is injured or their property is damaged because of your activities. That amount may be more than what comes standard with a mobile home insurance policy, so it may be wise to contemplate purchasing additional liability insurance. Claims might include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even property damage. However, liability coverage does not pay claims for injuries to you or the members of your household.

Not all insurance companies offer mobile home insurance in all states. Check with your agent or insurance company representative to determine the availability of coverage in your state or contact your state insurance department.

Courtesy of Insurance Information Institute

Want to find out more about your Mobile Home Insurance options?

Bellflower, CA Business Insurance

When you own your own busines, a business owner's policy can be just as helpful to you as a homeowner's policy is to homeowners. The Business owner's policies were developed in the 1970s and many small to medium sized businesses have benefitted from this type of policy for the past forty years. 

A business owner's policy is a combination of many types of coverage to ensure that business owner's have the coverage that they need in one insurance package. Business owner's are able to get the coverage that they need without signing up for many some and smaller policies. This type of policy makes insurance for small business owners more efficient, simple and reasonable. 

The majority of coverage that is necessary for small to medium business owners is included in these plans. Simplifying your business' insurance plan and saving you money, business owner's policies can be a great decision. A typeical business owner's policy includes property coverage, liability coverage and more. If your company has unique insurance needs, you may be able to add additional coverage packages. 

Typical BOP policies includes

  • Property insurance - This part of your business owner's policy covers the buildings that your business owns or rents and the contents within the building. This often includes furniture, inventory, electronic equipment, office equipment or property that is in your business' care. 
  • Bodily Injury/Property Damage Liability- This part of your business owner's policy covers any legal responsibility you have for harm that is caused to another. This harm can come as a result of something that you or your employees do or do not do in your business operations. Your action or inaction may cause bodily injury or property damage and both are covered. Personal and Advertising Injury is a specialized type of coverage. It will cover instances of libel, slander and other damages that can come as a result of personal action or advertising. 
  • Business Income - This part of your business owner's policy covers the loss of income resulting from a fire or other catastrophe that disrupts the operation of the business. It can also include the extra expense of operating out of a temporary location. This coverage can be extended up to an additional year.
  • Medical Payments - covers the necessary medical expenses incurred by others (not an insured). Coverage does not imply negligence.
  • Equipment Breakdown - Pays for physical damage to equipment caused by mechanical and electrical breakdown. It can also cover business spoilage or income losses due to an equipment breakdown and your extra expenses to limit the equipment loss or speed repairs.

Want to find out more about your Business Insurance options?

Bellflower, CA Commercial Auto Insurance

What is Business Vehicle Insurance?

As a businessowner, you need some of the same insurance coverages for the trucks, cars, vans or other vehicles you use in your business as you do for vehicles used for personal travel.

Your Businessowners Policy (BOP) does not provide any coverage for vehicles, so you must have a separate policy.

Most states require you to obtain liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage that may result from a vehicle accident occurring while you or someone from your organization is driving on business. Many states also require you to have uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage and/or medical payments coverage (known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in some states). You can also obtain physical damage coverage for vehicles your business leases, hires or owns.

The Business Auto Coverage Form (BACF) is the most commonly used contract for providing business auto liability insurance. Though the form refers only to “autos,” autos are defined to include trucks, cars, trailers, vans or other vehicles designed for use on public roads.

Each vehicle you use in your business can be separately “scheduled,” or listed on your policy along with corresponding coverages. In other words, you can select different coverages, for your various vehicles, depending on the vehicle’s characteristics and the coverage you need for it.

Do I need a business auto policy?

Your insurance agent will ask in detail how you use vehicles in your business; who will be driving them; whether you own, rent or lease; and whether you and your employees are likely to be driving their own cars for your business. The answers to these questions will indicate the varieties of coverage you need.

In general, only a BACF can provide the level of liability protection—the recommended minimum is $500,000—that even a small business needs to cover the potential damages in a serious accident.

Commercial Auto Coverage

Will my personal auto policy cover business use?

Your personal auto policy provides coverage for some business use of your vehicle. Similarly, your employees’ personal auto policies cover some business use of their vehicles too.

A personal auto policy is unlikely to provide coverage, however, if the vehicle in question is used primarily in business. It will not provide coverage for any vehicle owned by a business. The personal auto policy, whether your employee’s or yours, may not have enough coverage to protect your business.

For example, imagine you are driving your car to a business meeting while having an intense conversation on your cell phone with one of your sales reps. By the time you notice a vehicle ahead of you has stopped to make a left turn, it’s too late to avoid a collision. The driver and five passengers are injured in the accident. They sue you and your company.

If you have only a personal auto policy, your insurer will probably defend you personally and pay the claim—up to the policy limit. Your personal auto policy insurer will not protect or pay damages on behalf of your business, however.

For a very serious accident or one with a number of injured people, your personal auto policy may not be enough to cover the damages. In that event, the injured parties would likely sue to collect damages from your business.

If you or your employees are driving personal vehicles on business and relying on your personal auto policies, be sure you and they have sufficient liability coverage to safeguard your business in the event of a serious auto accident.

Do not expect to rely on a personal umbrella policy for any claims that arise from business use of a vehicle. most often, the personal umbrella excludes all claims occurring in the course of a business endeavor.

What vehicles are covered?

The scope of coverage in the business auto policy can be either narrow, depending on your choice of options. It could, for example, be written to apply only to one specifically described auto. Or, as an example of very broad coverage, the policy could be written to apply to the named insured's liability exposures arising out of the use of any auto.

In general, you have three options for which vehicles you pick to cover.

  • Autos your business owns
  • All autos your business owns, hires or leases
  • All autos used for the business, including those that your business does not own, hire or lease

Most businesses should buy the third type, since that is the only coverage that covers the business from liability when an employee or owner is driving a personal vehicle on business.

Be sure the right insured is on the policy. An insurance contract usually requires that the owner of a vehicle be named in the policy "Declarations" as the “principal insured.” If you drive any of the same vehicles for both business and pleasure, make sure you tell your insurance agent who holds the vehicle’s title, you personally or your company. This will avoid problems if you need to file a claim or a claim is filed against you.

Physical damage coverage

The three varieties of physical damage coverage for motor vehicles are collision, comprehensive and specified perils.

  • Collision coverage is for losses that result from the collision of a covered vehicle with any object or from the vehicle overturning.
  • Comprehensive coverage is the broadest form of auto physical damage coverage, because it provides for losses from any cause except collision and overturn (insured under collision coverage) and a few policy exclusions, such as wear and tear, mechanical breakdown and acts of war. Among the causes of loss covered under comprehensive are flood, fire, theft, glass breakage, falling objects, explosion, earthquake or colliding with a wild bird or animal.
  • Specified perils coverage covers many of the same perils as comprehensive, but because it covers only “named” perils—those specifically named in the policy—it has a lower premium. It is sometimes referred to as “fire, theft and Combined Additional Coverage (CAC)”

If your businesses has a large fleet of vehicles, over time, it may be more costly to insure the fleet for physical damage than it is to save the risk, that is, pay for any physical damage directly rather than by insurance.

Regardless of how many vehicles your business has, it may be cost effective to carry physical damage coverage only on the newer or more valuable vehicles.

What will the insurer pay for physical damage?

The amount an insurer will pay on an auto physical damage or theft claim depends on the market value, known as Actual Cash Value (ACV), of the vehicle at the time of the loss. The most that will be paid is the lesser of the ACV or the cost to repair or replace the vehicle with one of like kind and quality. In the event of a total loss, the ACV is adjusted for depreciation and the vehicle’s physical condition. Thus, the older the vehicle and the worse its condition, the more its value has depreciated and the less the insurer will pay.

The insurance company may pay you the value of the loss in money or, at its choice, it may repair or replace the damaged or stolen vehicle. In case of a theft, it may return the stolen vehicle to you with payment for any damage caused by the theft.

Liability coverage

The liability portion of the BACF obligates the insurer to pay all damages the business is legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury or property damage caused by a covered vehicle, up to the policy limits.

When there is an auto liability lawsuit against the insured business, where the loss is covered by the policy, the insurer is obligated to protect the business or settle the lawsuit. The decision whether to contest or settle the case is entirely at the insurer’s discretion.

The insurer’s duty to defend or settle ends when the insurance policy limits are exhausted. By way of example, imagine that three people are injured in an accident in which you or one of your employees is at fault. The policy limit is exhausted in judgments or settlements for the first two claimants. That leaves your business liable to pay the award directly, should there be a judgment in favor of the third person.

Punitive damages may be awarded in cases of gross negligence, such as drunk or reckless driving. By law in a number of states, a BACF cannot cover any punitive damages for which you may be liable. Even in states where coverage for punitive damages is allowed, your policy may exclude them.

How much liability coverage does my business need?

Many insurers recommend a business auto coverage limit of $1,000,000, with $500,000 as the minimum. The higher limit does not add a great deal to the premium, considering the amount of additional protection it adds.

What is a combined single limit (CSL)?

Unlike personal auto policies that have separate limits for bodily injury and property damage liability (split limits), the BACF commonly has a Combined Single Limit (CSL). This creates higher limits for both bodily injury and property damage coverages, including per occurrence limits. Though you can purchase other limits, the most common commercial automobile CSLs for a small business are $500,000 and $1,000,000.

Does a business umbrella policy cover autos?

If you have a business umbrella policy, it would provide protection for owned, hired and non-owned autos, if the umbrella shows the auto liability policy as an underlying policy for which it provides coverage.

What coverage do I need if my employees use company vehicles for personal business?

Some businesses let employees drive company vehicles home and use them for personal purposes in the evenings or on weekends. So long as these vehicles are scheduled on your business auto policy and the appropriate “coverage auto symbols” are shown on the "Declarations" page, you have coverage for owned autos taken home by employees.

Employees’ own personal auto policies will not cover their use of a company car unless the car has been specifically borrowed as a temporary replacement for the employee’s own car while it is unavailable. In addition, employees who rent, hire, lease or borrow autos for their personal use are not covered by their employer’s business auto policy.

When your business vehicle is also your personal vehicle

Now and again employees or executives of a company or other persons who are supplied with a vehicle owned by the company have only that vehicle. They do not own a personal vehicle nor do they obtain personal automobile coverage. The BACF does not cover personal use of the vehicle in this situation. To close this coverage gap, you need to add the Drive Other Car Coverage Endorsement to your BACF. This provides insurance while the named individual or a member of his or her family is driving a car borrowed from a third party.

What coverage do I need if employees drive their personal vehicles on business

If your employees drive their own cars for business purposes—to visit clients, for example—your business could wind up liable for property damage and bodily injuries resulting from a traffic accident for which an employee was at fault.

Sometimes businessowners don’t notice they have this exposure. Think about these scenarios:

  • Your office manager stops by the office supply store to pick up some items for work on her way back from lunch.
  • On the way home, a supervisor stops by a client’s office to leave a product sample.
  • While on vacation, a salesperson driving his personal vehicle makes a brief stop to visit a customer.

These are all cases where a business can find itself liable for an auto accident with damages higher than the policy limit of the employee’s personal auto policy.

To secure your business from these liability risks, you can add the Non-owned Auto Liability Endorsement to your BACF. It provides coverage when employees drive their own vehicles on business. This BACF coverage is excess over the limits provided by the employee’s personal auto coverage. If the employee’s limits are low—such as only to satisfy state financial responsibility limits—then it is critically important for the business to have this non-owned auto protection.

You are liable if you allow a bad driver on the road

You are legally liable when you allow someone to drive one of your vehicles. If you fail to take reasonable steps to determine that the driver is qualified to drive or if you allow someone to drive whom you know has a poor driving record and that person causes an accident, you could be liable for negligent entrustment. Any damages awarded for negligent entrustment would be on top of liability for the accident itself.

A case of negligent entrustment arises when someone allows another person to use a vehicle knowing or having reason to know that the use of the vehicle by that person creates a risk of harm to others.

Your organization is responsible for verifying a driver’s qualifications before entrusting him or her with a vehicle. Do not entrust a bad driver with a vehicle—not even for a quick errand.

Keeping premiums down

The best way to keep your BACF premiums down is to avoid accidents. Driving safety should be emphasized. Drivers should not be so pressured to produce that they feel compelled to drive unsafely. All vehicles should be well maintained.

Ask your agent whether your insurance company has business auto safety resources that you can use to help your organization be accident free. For more information on reducing the risk of auto accidents, click here.

Courtesy of Insurance Information Institute

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Do I need professional liability insurance?

Professionals that operate their own businesses need professional liability insurance in addition to an in-home business or businessowners policy. This secures them against financial losses from lawsuits filed against them by their clients.

Professionals are expected to have extensive technical knowledge or training in their particular area of expertise. They are also expected to perform the services for which they were hired, according to the standards of conduct in their profession. If they fail to use the degree of skill expected of them, they can be held responsible in a court of law for any harm they cause to another person or business. When liability is limited to acts of negligence, professional liability insurance may be called "errors and omissions" liability.

Professional liability insurance is a specialty coverage. Professional liability coverage is not provided under homeowners endorsements, in-home business policies or businessowners policies (BOPs).

Courtesy of Insurance Information Institute