Auto insurance an important piece of the pie for pizza delivery vehicles

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Amy Higgins

  Picture this: You're delivering pizzas on a cold and rainy night. Like many pizza delivery drivers, you're using your own car. Over time, the wet roads become icy. You're on your way to make another delivery when you lose control of your car on a stretch of black ice and slam into a nearby vehicle. Are you covered?

Your personal auto insurance policy may exclude business use. This means that if you get in an accident while using your car for business, you may not be covered, according to Progressive Insurance.

Much like personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance is designed to protect policyholders from unforeseeable incidents involving their vehicles. Differences between commercial and personal auto insurance policies may include eligibility, definitions, coverage, exclusions and limits, according to GEICO. Commercial auto insurance policies vary, but options available generally include liability coverage, medical payment coverage, and uninsured motorist, collision and comprehensive coverage.

Are you covered?

    • Pizza delivery drivers

Your pizza delivery company probably compensates you for gas consumption while you're working, but it might not reimburse you if you 're involved in an accident. Ask your employer whether you're covered by the business's commercial auto insurance and, if so, to what extent. Does your employer's coverage apply only when you are not at fault, or will you be covered if you cause an accident? If you aren't covered through your employer, check with your own auto insurance company to find out whether your policy covers you sufficiently while you're on the job.

    • Pizza delivery owners

Before hiring pizza delivery drivers, be sure they have clean driving records and sufficient auto insurance. Enlighten them about their personal auto insurance and urge them to check with their insurance providers about their policies.

If your employees will be driving vehicles provided by your business, it's vital that you buy commercial auto insurance. Without this coverage, your company could face hefty out-of-pocket costs if anyone, including an employee, files a claim against your business after a work-related accident involving a company vehicle.

Only 48 percent of small businesses carry commercial auto insurance, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said in 2008. The others apparently rely on their employees' personal auto insurance, the association concluded. While your employees' coverage might be enough to insure their vehicles, your company ultimately could be held responsible for auto accidents they cause while on the job.

Businesses that rely on employees using personal vehicles for deliveries might consider non-owned auto insurance. If an employee gets into an auto accident involving his personal vehicle while working, this coverage typically provides liability protection for your business for injuries or damages caused by the accident, according to Allstate.

Your piece of the pie: commercial auto insurance

Some personal auto insurance policies have a "no pizza delivery" clause because delivery drivers are considered risky to insure, according to, a website for the food industry. A vehicle's high annual mileage means more time on the road and more exposure to accidents. Also, many pizza delivery drivers are teenagers or college students; according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teen drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group.

When it comes to buying commercial auto insurance, both of these factors almost certainly will translate into higher premiums. Whether you own a pizza delivery company or drive for one, it's likely you'll pay more for your commercial auto insurance. But, no matter how you slice it, failing to insure your pizza delivery vehicles ultimately could deliver major debt.

See how much you could save today on your car insurance. Get your free commercial auto insurance quotes today!