CBIZ Sattler Adventure Sports Blog

Insights and tips on how to protect your adventure sports business, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
/ Categories: BLOG Articles

The Road to Coverage: Commercial Auto Insurance 101

Jeep on an expedition in the desert

When it comes to running an outfitter business, vehicles — whether leased, rented or owned — are crucial to your success. Whether transporting materials and tools, hauling gear like rafts or driving adventurers to and from destinations, outfitters of all kinds rely on safe and functioning vehicles to serve customers and generate profits.

It’s important to protect your drivers and vehicles with adequate insurance coverage. That’s why many organizations turn to commercial auto insurance, which can provide the following benefits:

  • Liability coverage: Collisions don’t just impact vehicles; they can cause expensive damage to nearby property and valuables. In these instances, commercial auto insurance can provide a range of protection if and when you damage another person’s vehicle or property.
  • Physical damage & collision protection: Following an accident, you or your employees may need to pay for vehicle repairs — both for your business vehicle and any vehicles that were hit. Commercial auto insurance can reimburse policyholders for the vehicle repair costs, regardless of who is at fault. Many policies even provide coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists, providing an extra layer of protection.
Interested in more insights on insurance for your business?  Download our Ultimate Adventure Sports Insurance Guide.
  • Medical payment & lawsuit coverage: Collisions often result in bodily harm and expensive medical costs for you and other involved parties. Commercial auto insurance policies offer some protection for these expenses and can cover medical costs, lost wages and even legal expenses should a lawsuit be brought against you.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Collisions aren’t the only source of vehicle damage your business needs to consider.  Commercial auto insurance  can provide comprehensive protection for damages unrelated to an accident (e.g., losses related to theft, floods, vandalism, fires).
  • Protection beyond personal auto insurance policies: Simply put, personal auto insurance doesn’t provide adequate coverage for any accidents that occur while policyholders are driving for business purposes. In the absence of commercial auto coverage, companies would have to pay out of pocket should employees get in an accident while using a vehicle for essential business functions.

Adding Drivers to Your Policy

Listing all employees who may be driving company vehicles is crucial for an accurate and well-assessed policy. Failing to add a driver to the policy could leave you exposed to financial losses. It's highly recommended to conduct a comprehensive driving history check on all drivers. This allows you to assess potential risks associated with their driving behavior. Drivers with a history of traffic violations or accidents may  significantly impact your insurance rates,  as insurance carriers consider them higher-risk individuals.

As we anticipate the ongoing premium increases in 2024, download the  CBIZ 2024 Property & Casualty Market Outlook  for further insights into this year’s predictions to help guide your business strategy.

Vehicle Storage Tips

If your outfitter is seasonal, it’s wise to safely store your recreational vehicle — or any other vehicle that won’t be in use — during the off-season to prevent damage and theft. Utilize the following guidance to properly prepare and store your vehicle when not in use.

  • Select a safe storage location. First and foremost, it’s important to find a safe and secure place to store your vehicle. An indoor location with concrete flooring (e.g., garage, shed, local storage facility) is the most effective option as outdoor options or locations with dirt flooring could expose your vehicle to excess moisture and contribute to significant rust problems. If you must keep your vehicle outdoors, be sure to protect it with a breathable, weatherproof cover.
  • Keep it clean. Make sure you thoroughly clean both the inside and outside of your vehicle before storing it. Start by removing any trash and using a vacuum to get rid of crumbs or dirt to deter unwanted pests. Next, wash and dry your vehicle. Consider polishing and waxing it as well to reduce the risk of corrosion or rust formation.
  • Take care of vehicle fluids. Having clean oil, adequate brake fluid and a full tank of gasoline will protect your vehicle and help it run smoother when you bring it out of storage. In addition, use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the gasoline from deteriorating in your tank or causing engine blockages.
  • Check the tires and brakes. Inflate your vehicle’s tires to their maximum air pressure so they can slowly deflate as the temperature drops. Also, don’t engage your parking brake, as it may freeze. Instead, use chocks (wedges placed under the tires) to ensure your vehicle doesn’t move around or roll away.
  • Start it up. While in storage, try to start the vehicle periodically for 10-15 minutes to get the proper oils and coolants running through it. If your vehicle has a cover on it, remove it and roll down the windows before running the engine. If it’s stored indoors, ensure a door and any windows to the outside are left open for proper ventilation before starting the engine.

Keep in mind that most insurance policies will not cover vehicles that are in storage during off-seasons.

Drive Your Business Forward with CBIZ Adventure Sports Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial auto insurance isn’t just for large fleets. Any car, truck, van or similar vehicle used as part of your operations needs to be covered. For additional risk management guidance and insurance solutions for your business,  request a free CBIZ Adventure Sport Insurance quote  today.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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CBIZ Sattler Adventure Sports Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., is the largest insurer of adventure sports businesses in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we developed a policy coverage to meet the needs for those in the recreation and outfitting industries. Our policy is underwritten by an A.M. Best Rated A++ (Superior) company.