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What Is Commercial Auto Insurance?

Commercial auto insurance (also called commercial car insurance, business auto insurance, or commercial vehicle insurance) is coverage intended to pay for losses involving cars, trucks, vans, and other vehicles that operate while doing business.

In Massachusetts, commercial liability vehicle insurance is mandatory. You cannot drive your business vehicle (or get it registered, for that matter) without maintaining the required levels of protection.

White compact popular cargo mini van for local deliveries and business standing on the warehouse parking lot
Do I Need Commercial Auto Insurance?

If you own, lease, or rent a vehicle that you use for business purposes, then yes, you need commercial auto insurance in Massachusetts. However, as is often the case when it comes to insurance, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, leased or rented vehicles require a special type of commercial auto coverage; more on this below.

Sewage Tank truck. Sewer Pumping machine. Septic truck

What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?

Commercial auto insurance mainly covers expenses from a few main types of loss events. These aren’t technical terms, but to keep things simple let’s just say:


  • At-fault collisions that hurt other people or their property
  • At-fault collisions that hurt you, your employees, or your company property
  • Non-fault collisions that result in damage or injury, caused by uninsured and underinsured drivers. (Did you know that an estimated 3.5% of Massachusetts drivers carry NO insurance? And many more carry insufficient amounts.)
  • Physical damage or property loss not caused by an auto collision (by nature, theft, vandalism, other)
  • Personal medical expenses from an accident
  • Finally, commercial auto insurance is there to address a broad category of “other” damaging events. Extreme weather, for instance, can damage commercial fleets in the form of downed trees, hailstones, rising floodwater, etc. A family of mice could chew through the wiring of your vehicle over the winter months. In these cases — and many more — it’s good to know you have comprehensive coverage on your business vehicles.

What Does Commercial Auto

Insurance NOT Cover?

Over the years, we’ve heard some common misconceptions about commercial auto policies. So, here’s a quick list (by no means exhaustive) of some loss events that standard commercial auto probably would not cover — and would require a separate policy or endorsement:

  • Damage caused by employee-owned vehicles. (You would need to add Hired and Non-Owned coverage to address your auto liability in these cases.)
  • Damage or injury caused by equipment attached to a covered auto — for example, a snow plow newly attached to your company truck that the insurance company isn’t aware of could create the opportunity for an unpaid claim. Insurance company needs to know how the company vehicle is being used. (Any machinery attached to a vehicle often requires a conversation with your insurance agent.)
  • Very expensive claims or lawsuits that exceed the limits of your policy. (This is why it often makes sense to carry business umbrella coverage on top of commercial auto.)
  • Mechanical breakdown during the course of a job. (If your pickup truck has a mechanical breakdown, that’s usually the responsibility of the manufacturer or warranty.)

Other items to ask about, which may or may not be included in your commercial auto policy:

  • Temporary rental vehicle/equipment coverage
  • Gap coverage (to address the difference between what you owe on a vehicle with a loan and what your insurer will pay in replacement value)
  • Personal property coverage (for items inside a company vehicle that is totaled or stolen)
  • Hired and non-owned liability

What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cost?


It would be impossible to offer any specific numbers without getting information about your business and its vehicles. But we can tell you about the different factors that go into commercial vehicle insurance rates:

  • Number, age, and type of vehicles on the policy
  • Types of risk involved (e.g., transporting students versus hauling hazardous waste)
  • Company history of loss events
  • Driver screening process (DMV records)
  • Technology monitoring like dashcams or GPS systems
  • Driving range (local, intermediate, long-haul)
  • Your coverage limits (i.e., opting for $1 million in auto liability versus $500,000)

Some of these factors are outside your control. But others — including your company’s track record for accidents and the quality of the drivers you hire — are variables you can proactively manage. A quality insurance partner will assist you in improving factors like fleet safety and driver hiring/training. If you aren’t getting any help in these areas now, it may be time to explore other commercial auto agents.

What Are the Required Commercial Auto Insurance Limits in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts requires commercial vehicles to carry the same limits of coverage as personal autos.

  • Bodily injury to others: $20,000 per person; $40,000 per accident
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): $8,000 per person
  • Bodily injury caused by an uninsured auto: $20,000 per person; $40,000 per accident
  • Damage to someone else’s property: $5,000 per accident

These limits aren’t very high, in relation to the average cost of a serious collision, and we recommend any company insuring a business auto start with at least $1,000,000 in liability.

Male arm in suit offer insurance form clipped to pad
What Are Some Common Industries Covered?
Although every business regardless of industry can be covered, here are a few industries that we frequently assist with commercial vehicle coverage:

    Delivery vehicles: If there is damage done to third-party property during unloading or loading, it’s covered by commercial liability vehicle insurance.

    Learn More

    Cranes or lifts on trucks: These are covered if the vehicle is driving and gets into an accident. If the vehicle is parked and is in an accident (someone hits your parked truck), that would be collision coverage under auto insurance (if carried).

    Learn More

    Landscaper vehicles: Landscapers often transport equipment in rented, leased, or owned vehicles, which should all be covered under commercial auto insurance.

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    Vehicles with forklifts: Generally, under the auto policy if damage occurs involving a forklift or similar equipment attached to a vehicle the damage is covered. If the piece of equipment is stand-alone or not attached to a vehicle, the damage would fall under general liability.

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How Is Commercial Auto Insurance Different from Commercial Truck Insurance?

Coverage of commercial auto insurance and commercial truck insurance depend on a variety of factors such as the weight and use of the vehicle. A contractor using a truck to carry equipment to local job sites is different scenario than using a truck for long-distance delivery. Your insurance agent will be able to assist and determine the right coverage for your operations.

Day cab white big rig semi truck with chrome fenders transporting cargo in dry van semi trailer running in convoy behind another semi truck driving on the interstate highway road

We provide complete coverage for your commercial auto insurance needs so you can keep your mind on your business knowing you’re covered. You can speak with an agent about your coverage at any of the following locations:

Why Choose C&S For Help with Commercial Auto Insurance?

There are a few major reasons why it makes sense to contact C&S when exploring commercial auto insurance options:

Carrier Access
We have relationships with dozens of commercial insurance carriers, which means we can often supply more quotes and policy terms than the average local agency. We have access to nation-wide carriers that can cover businesses with one vehicle, fleets with hundreds of vehicles, and everything in between.

Local Expertise
As you probably know, Massachusetts does things differently than other states when it comes to insuring commercial trucks, trailers, and equipment. it’s not uncommon for the rules to change or for MA RMV directives to arise that require your immediate attention. We stay on top of what’s happening in Massachusetts, so our commercial auto clients are always prepared and fully covered. We also share important commercial auto news via our newsletter and blog.

Cost-Control Services
As noted above, we believe in helping our clients premium savings. We do this by offering support in the creation of driver safety manuals, providing onsite trainings and training videos, and sharing best practices in recruiting and retaining responsible drivers.

In-House Registry & RMV Runner Services
For our commercial clients with large fleets, we’re able to execute RMV errands on your behalf. Our ability to complete many commercial plate transactions in-house is another plus point for busy owners and their teams.

Glass and Windshield Claims Services
You can call one number to schedule your repair and file the claim.

There’s plenty more to say about commercial auto policies in MA — and we’d love to walk you through it when you’re ready. If you need commercial car insurance, truck insurance or any time of commercial vehicle insurance, give us a call at 508-594-3936 or complete the form on this webpage for any additional answers you may need.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is commercial auto insurance?

Commercial auto insurance is a type of coverage intended to pay for losses involving cars, trucks, vans, and other vehicles that operate while doing business.

Read More
Do I need commercial auto insurance?

That depends on what state your business is based. In Massachusetts, commercial liability vehicle insurance is required.

Read More
What does commercial auto insurance cover?

Commercial auto insurance can cover damages due to collisions, accidents, property damage involving a covered vehicle.

Read More