Commercial Auto Insurance Minimum Requirements in Indiana
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The rules are clear: It's illegal to drive within the Hoosier State without covering your vehicle with a valid vehicle liability policy that meets the state's requirements. This applies to vehicles used for personal or business uses.
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) realizes how costly accidents can be; that's why this safeguard is in place.
Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility
Purchasing a vehicle liability policy is the only way to comply with the state's financial responsibility rules.
It's often difficult to figure out if your personal auto policy contains broad enough coverage to protect your commercial driving activities. But, answering the following questions might give you a better grasp on the matter:
- How many vehicles need to be insured?
- What kind of vehicles are they?
- How will they be used?
- Who drives the vehicles?
- Who owns the vehicles?
Usually, business-owned vehicles need commercial coverage; beyond that, the situation gets murkier. Even teenagers and senior citizens acting as independent contractors who use their own vehicles to deliver pizzas or flowers, or transport passengers for a fee, might need commercial coverage.
If you drive a vehicle for your company, it's possible your employer will take care of the insurance for you. However, if you're self-employed or a sole proprietor, the burden of coverage shifts to you.
Keep in mind that if you merely use your vehicle for business trips (and personal excursions), your private insurance policy might offer enough protection.
See if any of the following applies to you; if so, the likelihood you'll need commercial insurance increases:
- You can't remove your business equipment from your vehicle.
- Your employees use your vehicles for work purposes.
- You can't find high enough coverage limits with a private liability policy.
In the end, you might need to partner with both the BMV and an insurance carrier to make the right decision. The former can advise you on the legal requirements for your business; the latter can advise you on the amounts and types of coverage you need to protect your assets.
Should you decide that a commercial policy is the right solution for you, be prepared to talk to your agent or an insurance company representative about matters such as:
- Who owns the vehicles
- How much they're worth
- How they're used
Depending on your situation, you might also need to discuss what sort of cargo they carry, what types of special business equipment are installed, and related issues.
But, don't lose track of the state's minimum liability requirements:
- $25,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or death occurring to one person in an accident.
- $50,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or deaths occurring to more than one person in an accident.
- $10,000 of property damage coverage per accident.
If you still need help figuring out how much coverage you need, contact the BMV.
Determining whether you need commercial insurance can involve a lot of thought, and so can finding the best policy. Many carriers offer commercial coverage; for some, that's all they offer. Shop around online―or by phone―to find the best rates and widest coverages.
But, don't forget about your current providers. Many insurers offer a break on premiums if you carry multiple policies with them.
You might need to provide your proof of insurance if you're involved in a major accident, or stopped for a traffic violation; showing your valid insurance identification card or SR-22 form will suffice.
What happens if you have no proof of insurance because your policy lapsed?
You could lose your license for 90 days (or 12 months if this a repeat offense within the past three years). You'll then have to provide proof of current insurance and pay a reinstatement fee between $150-$300 to regain your driving privileges.
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