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Personal vs. Commercial motor Insurance: What’s the Difference?

Posted on January 22, 2020 | by | Posted in Uncategorized

Personal vs. Commercial motor Insurance: What’s the Difference?

If you own a business within the motor trade industry, it can be difficult to differentiate what’s considered a personal vehicle versus a commercial vehicle. Often times, business owners and employees use their own vehicles to transport customers, deliver goods, and move equipment. The question is, should these multipurpose vehicles be covered by personal motor insurance? Or should they be covered by commercial motor insurance?
To find out the answer, we’ll take a closer look at these two types of motor trade insurance in Perth and help you understand the difference between them.

What is personal motor insurance?

As the name implies, personal motor insurance is only meant to cover accidents that occur when using your vehicle for personal reasons. Some examples include going to and from work, doing travel unrelated to your job, and even just going to the grocery store. In general, the policies insure the vehicle owner as well as their family members.

For sole proprietors, the liability coverage from a personal motor insurance is usually more than enough to protect you from financial losses. If you occasionally use your vehicle for business-related purposes, the insurer can customise your policy to include business uses. Just make sure to ask the insurer to confirm if you can have this type of flexibility for your personal motor insurance.

This type of motor insurance (which can be modified to a certain extent) is usually less expensive than a commercial motor insurance and is only recommended for people who use their vehicles for ride-sharing services or seasonal/part-time work.

What is commercial motor insurance?

Commercial motor insurance is meant to cover accidents that occur when you (or your employee) are using a vehicle for business-related purposes. This includes transporting clients, goods, making deliveries, and more. Typically, a commercial motor insurance insures all of the employees in your business along with additional insured parties, meaning that every employee with a valid driver’s license can operate a business vehicle.

If you or your employees use a vehicle regularly to perform these tasks, then commercial motor insurance is probably the best insurance for you.

  • Drive clients as part of a ride-sharing service (Uber)
  • Deliver goods to clients
  • Perform business-related services that require the use of a vehicle
  • Haul heavy loads (such as work equipment and machinery)
  • Towing a trailer used for your business

One thing you should be aware of is the commercial insurance requirements when operating heavy-duty vehicles. Since heavy-duty vehicles are larger, they can potentially cause more damage during an accident. Due to the higher liability risks, commercial vehicles that weigh more than five tons (or hauls one-ton loads) need special insurance coverage. Some examples of heavy-duty vehicles include semi-trucks, cement mixers, tow trucks, and mini-buses.

If you operate a business that uses heavy-duty vehicles on a regular basis, you should definitely opt for commercial motor insurance. In most cases, the liability limit will be high enough to cover for the extreme damages that heavy-duty vehicles can cause.

So, what’s the difference between personal and commercial motor insurance?

While both policies pay for repairs, medical bills, and such, the main difference between personal motor insurance and commercial motor insurance is the coverage amount. A business will always have more liability risks compared to an individual, meaning their liability limit will be higher as well. Commercial motor insurance can cover higher claims, a wide variety of vehicle types, and in some cases, deal with more complicated legal issues that personal motor insurance can’t.

Here are a few ways commercial motor insurance can protect your business:

  • Higher liability limits (up to $2 million)
  • Hired vehicle coverage
  • Non-owned vehicle coverage
  • Equipment used with and/or attached to the vehicle
  • Loading and unloading exposure
  • Property and liability trailer exposure

How much does commercial motor insurance cost?

There are a number of factors that determine the cost of commercial motor insurance. These factors are:

  • Vehicle price – Vehicles with higher MSRP usually cost more to insure than lower-priced ones.
  • Vehicle type – Heavy duty vehicles can add up to the cost of commercial motor insurance significantly compared to smaller, lighter vehicles.
  • Number of vehicles to ensure – The more vehicles you need to insure, the higher the price of the insurance will be.
  • Vehicle purpose – If the vehicles are constantly in use/transit, the cost for commercial motor insurance will go up. 
  • Coverage amount – This means the amount of coverage your business needs to fully insure all of your operating vehicles.
  • Risks – The insurance company will do a thorough background check on all the drivers. If they have a bad driving record, the cost of the insurance will go up.

As you can see, commercial motor insurance is far more complex than personal motor insurance. Again, the main reason for this is because businesses have much higher liability risks as opposed to a single person driving their own vehicle. Use this article to make an informed decision about the right motor insurance for your needs or alternatively speak with Matrix Insurance today who are a leading motor insurance company helping people throughout all of Australia.

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