Commercial Vehicle Car Insurance Laws in California

Posted on: 15Jan,2016

Whether you own a business and employ licensed drivers or you drive a commercial truck or other type of vehicle, it’s important to understand the California car insurance laws that apply to you and your business. In addition to the state’s laws, commercial vehicle drivers must also adhere to and obey federal laws as well. The key difference between federal and state insurance laws is that federal commercial vehicle insurance laws are fairly universal whereas the state laws will vary.

Although each state sets its own requirements where commercial vehicle insurance is the issue, they typically cover specific matters such as bodily injury and property damage liability coverage limits. Every state has minimum liability requirements, but some of them also require additional coverages. However, regardless of where they are located, must meet all of the federal requirements. Federal laws govern specific issues such as:

• driver licensing
• hazardous materials transportation
• minimum age limits
• physical fitness
• skills and written tests
• traffic violations

If you are currently shopping for commercial vehicle insurance in California, keep in mind that if your driving record is clean, every insurance company that you talk to must offer you some type of good driver discount. This is not an option – it is something they are ethically required to do.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance Coverages

The types of commercial vehicle drivers on the highways and roads of California is a very diverse group of individuals and include:

• business owners
• couriers
• pizza delivery persons
• sanitation truck drivers
• snow plow operators
• tow truck drivers
• truck (big rig) drivers

It follows then that many of the more common coverages available to non-commercial drivers also apply to commercial vehicle drivers. This includes coverages such as:

• bodily injury liability
• collision
• comprehensive
• medical payments
• PIP or personal injury protection
• property damage
• uninsured/underinsured driver

If you are a commercial vehicle driver or the owner of business-based commercial vehicles, you should find out from an insurance agent which of these of coverages you might be required to carry. Even if some coverages are not required, it is oftentimes record that you do carry them.

Whether you are a corporate CEO or an independent owner-operator, having the proper commercial vehicle insurance coverage can protect your from financial disaster. The following is a list of the different coverages that are currently available for commercial vehicle drivers in the state of California:

• Bodily injury coverage
• Box truck insurance
• Business auto insurance
• Comprehensive insurance
• Dump truck Insurance
• Liability insurance
• Medical payments coverage
• Personal injury Protection
• Physical damage insurance
• Pickup truck insurance
• Property damage coverage
• Snow plow insurance
• Tow truck insurance
• Underinsured motorist insurance
• Uninsured motorist insurance
• Van insurance

Regardless of the types of coverage that you need, you must always carry your insurance ID card with you and be able to show proof of insurance should you be pulled over and asked to do so.

California’s “Fault” System

California is what we commonly refer to as a “fault” insurance state. In other words, it follows a fault system (not the earthquake fault) as well as any remedies that apply after a vehicular accident has occurred. When you have been injured in a vehicular accident and are filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or are making an insurance claim, there are very few restrictions on the options that apply.

Whether you have incurred injuries as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian resulting from an accident, you can attempt to receive compensation by taking one or more of the following actions:

• file a claim with your own vehicle insurance provider
• file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver
• file a lawsuit for damages and personal injury against the at-fault driver

Just remember that California is a no-fault insurance state. This means that if you are involved in an accident, you must contact your insurance company for payment of lost wages, medical expenses, etc. whether you are at-fault or not.

The remedies against the person who is at-fault or the company that insures them are somewhat limited. However, those remedies do not apply to California Drivers. If you need more information regarding commercial vehicle insurance, you can speak to an insurance agent regarding the different types of commercial vehicle coverage. You can also visit the California Department of Insurance website.