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We are individually owned and locally operated, to make certian that the needs of our neighborhood are being met.  We work hard to make certian that our clients in Long BeachLakewoodSignal HillBellflowerCerritosNorwalkArtesiaDowney and other Southern California surrounding cities are able to have the most reliable and affordable insurance options at hand. 

We will work with you to make certian that your insurance coverage is tailored to meet your exact needs.  We understand that each of our clients are unique and that their insurance plans should also be unique. You can trust us to find you the right amount of coverage paired with the right 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 affect 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 Auto Insurance in California

If your employees are using their own vehicles or if you are renting cars, you should have the appropriate business insurance coverage. You will need an insurance policy that will cover liabilities unique to this situation. Talk with one of our insurance experts today to see if you can add this coverage to your general liability policy. The expence to you may be minimal, but the added coverage can be significant. Take a minute out of your day to discover your Business Insurance options or request a commercial insurance quote online. If you would rather sit down and talk with us, feel free to stop in. 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 Cerritos, CA or Southern California area, you can trust Neighbors Plus to tackle all your insurance needs. Here are a few of the many insurance services we offer:

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

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

Don't be intimidated or confused by insurance choices. No one likes to agonize about insurance coverage. Whether you need homeowners insurance, car insurance, or multiple insurance coverage, let the Cerritos, 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!

Cerritos, CA Auto Insurance

Auto insurance in Cerritos, CA is a great way to safeguard 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 committed to finding the Cerritos, CA auto insurance policy that is going to fit our customer's precise 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 some classes 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 Cerritos, 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 collision and comprehensive coverage. This way, they know that your car is going to retain value.

As you shop for the auto insurance that is right for you, you will want to be able to identify and see 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 secure a higher limit may be a wise decision.
  • Property Damage Liability — this coverage makes sure that the cost of repairing another's damaged property will be taken care of. This includes damage to another's vehicle, buildings, home, fences, trees, etc.
  • Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury — this coverage will cover any medical expenses, lost wages or the cost of general damage that is a result of the policyholders, authorized drivers or even passengers being in an a collision that was caused by a driver that does not have auto insurance or does not have enough coverage for the damage.
  • Medical Expense — this coverage makes sure that the treatment of injures to the insured driver and his/her passengers are covered, regardless of who is at fault. When treatment is required that is not covered under your health insurance, this coverage can cover the treatments needed.
  • 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 theft, fire, falling objects, missiles, flood, riot or even explosion.
  • Collision — this coverage makes sure that the policy holder's car is covered when it collides with another object or another car.
  • Rental Car — this coverage will make certian 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 loan or lease on the same car.

Available Discounts

There are some 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 a moving violation or property damage accident. If you have been convicted of a vehicular manslaughter or DUI 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 different expert groups that are eligible. Talk about your career and discuss any discounts that may be available for you.
  • Multi-policy — having more than one policy 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 Cerritos, CA, you want to find ways to save on your auto insurance policy or you are signing up for auto insurance for the first time, 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 choices?

Cerritos, CA Homeowners Insurance

When it comes to Homeowners Insurance, you want to select the most fitting policy to cover 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 protect your personal property.

At Neighbors Plus Insurance, you can count on finding the Homeowners Policy you need for your property and home. At Home Owners Insurance Cerritos, CA, you can be sure that you are getting the correct policy in the area. Not only can you be protected from damage to your home, or your dwelling, but you can get personal property coverage, as well. This includes precious 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 accommodates more than enough coverage for your needs.

At Neighbors Plus Insurance, we believe that you should know the insurance fundamentals, your insurance coverage, and your insurance policy. A lot of people don't understand their policy, and they never know what coverage they are buying. At Neighbors Plus, we will go over the insurance basics with 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 choices?

Cerritos, CA Renters Insurance

No matter what kind of residents 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 talk about the renters insurance policies that are available in Cerritos, CA.

One common fallacy among many people who rent their homes is that they are covered under their landlord's insurance in case of an accident, burglary, or other disaster. Let me eliminate 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 accountable for any lost or damaged belongings.
  • 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 own policies or be named on yours; otherwise their belongings and liability are not covered.

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

For the peace of mind it brings, renters insurance is surprisingly inexpensive. It most often 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 suppose a fire or burst pipe ruined your belongings: Think of the expense to replace everything -- not to mention pay for alternate housing during repairs.

Available Coverages

  • Personal Property - applies to the policyholder's personal property anywhere thoughout the world. This includes items that the policyholder owns or uses. There are restrictions to theft of certain classes 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 premises 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 property damage or bodily injury 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 default.

Want to find out more about your Renters Insurance choices?

Cerritos, CA Condo Insurance

Most likely part of your HOA 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 loss within your dwelling unit. This often leaves condo owners feeling vulnerable. You may even find that to obtain a condo within a specific community you are needed to purchase a "walls-in" insurance policy before you are allowed to live within the community. 

Luckily, condo insurance coverage is not costly and the coverage choices are vast. You may even find that you are able to get a discount on your auto insurance policy if you purchase this condo coverage with the same insurance company. 

As you are shopping through numerous condo coverage choices, be sure that you understand what these condo coverage terms mean...

Coverage choices

  • Personal Property - will cover the policy holder's personal property, no matter where they are thoughout the world. Specific limitations as to the classes of items covered and the types of loss covered will apply. 
  • Dwelling or Improvements - applies to improvements and fixtures within your condo. For example, if you improve or fix 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 repairing or improving 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 bodily injury or property damage, 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 actions or property. 
  • 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 liability and contents coverage.

Want to find out more about your Condo Insurance choices?

Cerritos, CA Motorcycle Insurance

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

In order to find out what coverage is correct for you, it is important to understand all the options available.


    Liability insurance covers property damage and bodily injury that you may cause to other people involved in a collision. It doesn't cover your motorcycle or you. 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 determined on the laws of your state and the company issuing the policy.


    Collision insurance covers damage to your motorcycle if you are involved in a collision. Your insurance company pays for damages, minus your deductible, caused when you collide with another object or vehicle. Collision insurance usually 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 vandalism, fire or theft. However, just like collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for damages, minus your deductible, and will cover only the book value of the motorcycle.

    Keep in mind most collision and comprehensive coverages will only cover the factory standard parts on your motorcycle. If you decide to add on any optional accessories such as chrome parts, a custom paint job, 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 most often pays for medical treatment, lost wages 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 agent to see if property damage is included or needs to be purchased separately.


Many aspects can play a role in determining what your insurance expenses will be such as your age, your driving record, 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, normally 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 decreaseyour premiums.
  • In many northern states, riders may save money by purchasing a "lay-up" policy. With a lay-up policy, all coverage except comprehensive is suspended during winter months.
  • Find out what discounts your insurance agent 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 the insurance company and your state. Availability and qualifications for discounts vary from company to company and state to state.
  • Keep in mind that the type, style (such as a cruiser vs. a sports bike) and age of the motorcycle, as well as the number of miles you drive a year and where you store your bike may also prevail over how much you pay for your premium.

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

Courtesy of Insurance Information Institute

Want to find out more about your Motorcycle Insurance choices?

Cerritos, CA Boat Insurance

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

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

For damage or physical loss, coverage includes the hull, furnishings, fittings, machinery and permanently attached equipment as part of either on an agreed amount value basis or an actual cash value policy. These policies also provide broader liability protection than a homeowners policy. But there are distinct differences between the two varieties 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 estimated 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 insurance companies offer liability limits that start at $15,000 and can be increased to $300,000. Typical 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 obtained for trailers and other accessories. Boat owners may also ponder purchasing an umbrella liability policy which will add additional protection for their boat, home and car.

Boaters should also ask 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 ask 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 auto, 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 collisions per year. Contributing factors to these collisions include traveling too fast for water or weather conditions, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, failing to follow boating rules and regulations, carelessness and inexperience.

To prevent boating collisions, 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, electrical, steering and fuel systems, especially for exhaust-system leaks.
  4. Carry one or more fire extinguishers, matched to the size and kind of boat. Keep them readily available and in condition for immediate use.
  5. Equip the vessel with needed navigation lights and with a horn, whistle or bell.
  6. Consider additional safety devices, such as a oars or paddles, a first-aid kit, a supply of fresh water, a tool kit and spare parts, a flashlight, flares and a radio.

Care and protection of guests and crew

  • 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, swimmers, floating debris 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 allow riding on the bow, seatbacks or gunwales.
  • Don't operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Skippers can obtain free advice and boating-safety courses from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Upon request, the subordinate will conduct a Courtesy Marine Examination (CME) on your boat, checking safety equipment and electrical 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 choices?

Cerritos, CA Umbrella Insurance

Could you be sued?

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

Wealth. Lawsuits. It's easy to assume a relationship between the two. Unfortunately, that assumption is a general error 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 auto 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 car, 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 sufficient to cover the large court judgments being awarded these days. If you ever have to pay such a judgment, an umbrella policy can provide added protection and may help you safeguard your assets.

There are also some varieties 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 categories of claims. Best of all, this vital insurance protection is relatively inexpensive.

Want to find out more about your Umbrella Insurance choices?

Cerritos, CA Mobile Home Insurance

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

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

Physical Damage

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

Some policies only cover particular 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.

For the most part, 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 purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Personal Liability Coverage

Damage to property isn’t the only pitfall 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 think about purchasing additional liability insurance. Claims might include lost wages, medical expenses, 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 specialist to find out 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 choices?

Cerritos, CA Business Insurance

When you own your own busines, a business owner's policy can be just as valuable 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 varieties of coverage to make certian 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 several and smaller policies. This type of policy makes insurance for small business owners more efficient, simple and economical. 

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 paramount 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 optional coverage packages. 

Typical BOP policies includes

  • Property insurance - This part of your business owner's policy covers the buildings that your business rents or owns and the contents within the building. This often includes inventory, furniture, 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 inaction or action 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 added 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 electrical and mechanical breakdown. It can also cover business income or spoilage losses due to an equipment breakdown and your added expenses to limit the equipment loss or speed repairs.

Want to find out more about your Business Insurance choices?

Cerritos, CA Commercial Auto Insurance

What is Business Vehicle Insurance?

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

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

Most states require you to acquire liability insurance for property damage and bodily injury that may result from a vehicle collision occurring while someone from your organization or you are 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 acquire physical damage coverage for vehicles your business leases, owns or hires.

The Business Auto Coverage Form (BACF) is the most commonly used contract for providing business auto liability insurance. Even though the form refers only to “autos,” autos are defined to include cars, trucks, 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 pick various 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 professional will ask in detail how you use vehicles in your business; who will be driving them; whether you rent, own, 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 categories 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 collision.

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 yours or your employee’s, may not have enough coverage to secure 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 van 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 collision. 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 secure or pay damages on behalf of your business, however.

For a very serious collision or one with a number of injured people, your personal auto policy may not be enough to cover the damages. In that circumstance, 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 cover your business in the event of a serious auto collision.

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

What vehicles are covered?

The confines of coverage in the business auto policy can be either broad or narrow, depending on your choice of choices. 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 choices for which vehicles you opt for 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 protects 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 normally 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 categories 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 absorb the risk, that is, pay for any physical damage directly rather than by insurance.

Despite of how many vehicles your business has, it may be cost effective to maintain 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 binds the insurer to pay all damages the business is legally obligated to pay because of property damage or bodily injury 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 secure the business or settle the lawsuit. The resolve whether to contest or settle the case is solely at the insurer’s discretion.

The insurer’s duty to cover or settle ends when the insurance policy limits are exhausted. By way of example, imagine that three people are injured in a collision 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 reckless or drunk 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 affords.

What is a combined single limit (CSL)?

Unlike personal auto policies that have separate limits for property damage liability and bodily injury (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. Even though you can obtain 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 hired, owned 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 hire, lease, rent 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

Occasionaly executives or employees 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 collision for which an employee was at fault.

Sometimes businessowners don’t notice they have this exposure. Ponder 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 circumstances where a business can find itself liable for an auto collision with damages higher than the policy limit of the employee’s personal auto policy.

To safeguard 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 accountability 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 verify 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 a collision, 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 avert 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?

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

Agents 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