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Commercial Auto Insurance Minimum Requirements

Most states require that all registered vehicles be covered by liability insurance. Some states even require you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage and no-fault car insurance. Your commercial vehicle is no exception to the rule.

Most states require at least the same minimum insurance requirements that apply to passenger cars for commercial vehicles.

Who Needs Commercial Car Insurance?

If you are operating a vehicle for any business-related purposes, you will need commercial car insurance.

For example, you would need commercial insurance to operate a vehicle for:

  • Pickup or delivery of goods including:
    • Materials.
    • Newspapers.
    • Pizza or other food delivery.
  • Messenger services.
  • Taxi services.
  • Limousine services.

Additionally, you may need commercial insurance if your vehicle is:

  • Registered or titled to a:
    • Business.
    • Corporation.
    • Partnership.
  • Rented or leased by others.
  • Equipped with:
    • Snowplowing equipment.
    • Cooking or catering equipment.
    • Bathrooms.
    • Altered suspensions.
    • Hydraulic lifts.
    • Racing equipment.
  • Consistently driven by you or your employees for both business and personal use.

If you are operating a vehicle for any business-related purposes, you will need commercial car insurance.

Commercial vs. Personal Car Insurance

Car insurance companies view commercial insurance and personal insurance as two completely different things. This is mainly because businesses typically face more risks in the daily operation of vehicles than a private citizen would.

If you carry a personal car insurance policy and you file a claim for an incident that occurred while driving for business purposes, you may find that your car insurance company will not pay on that claim.

However, if you have the appropriate commercial car insurance policy, you will be covered.


As stated above, most states require at least the same minimum coverage limits for commercial vehicles as they do for personal vehicles.

Additional requirements may apply, especially for vehicles that are used to:

  • Transport passengers (e.g., taxis, limousines).
  • Transport hazardous materials.

When you get your commercial auto insurance quotes, don't forget to ask about local laws that apply to you.

Limits and Risk

When you shop for commercial car insurance, you may find that companies will only sell you policies that include coverage limits that are much higher than the state's minimum requirements for personal vehicles.

Why? It relates to risk. When a car insurance company provides coverage to commercial vehicles, it takes on increased risk.

Combined Single Limits

Limits in commercial car insurance policies typically differ from personal auto insurance limits in one major way.

Standard liability insurance policies usually break limits out into categories of property damage and personal injury. However, a commercial car insurance policy generally has a combined single limit.

This means that claims under your commercial car insurance policy will be covered under one limit.

You can expect to see coverage limits ranging from $500,000 into the millions.

Types of Commercial Car Insurance

Because there are so many different types of commercial vehicles and different hazards and scenarios these vehicles face compared to the typical personal vehicle, there are several different types of commercial car insurance and coverages.

Types of commercial auto insurance include:

  • Business auto insurance.
  • Truck insurance.
  • Cargo insurance.
  • Pickup truck insurance.
  • Tow truck insurance.
  • Van insurance.
  • Dump truck insurance.
  • Non-owned/hired liability insurance.

Federal Regulations

Federal law dictates strict commercial auto insurance requirements for certain types of businesses who use vehicles to transport goods and passengers from state to state.

These requirements will differ depending on what it is you transport.

As part of these requirements, your commercial insurance provider must submit insurance filings to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). These filings verify that you meet applicable insurance requirements.

These filings are a type of proof of insurance, certifying that you meet any insurance requirements that apply to you.

You can read our Federal Motor Carrier Insurance page for more detailed information on these requirements.

Intrastate Filings

If your business does not cross state lines, you may still be required to submit insurance filings with state officials. Similar to federal filings, these filings verify that you have met your state's insurance requirements.

They also certify that you meet any commercial auto insurance requirements that apply to you.

Visit our State Commercial Insurance Filings page for more information.

Shopping for Commercial Car Insurance

Depending on the nature of your business and how your vehicles are used, rates will vary for commercial car insurance policies.

One simple way to start your shopping is by getting commercial auto insurance quotes online. Getting multiple quotes will help you compare rates across different commercial car insurance providers.

Talking to an agent or company representative will also be very helpful in getting you the best policy that fits with your business needs.

Remember, your commercial car insurance policy will be highly customizable.

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