Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance
for Architects, Engineers, and Design Professionals

Contrary to popular belief, most architects, engineers, and design professionals do no spend their days locked in an office. Many travel to job sites to oversee construction, visit a client's factory to tour the premises, or meet with a colleague to discuss a project.

And then, of course, there are daily errands: running to the bank, grabbing coffee for the office, dashing to the convenience store when all the pens in the building mysteriously disappear.

This is all to say that you and your employees probably do a fair amount of business driving — and you may want to consider adding a Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance to your small business insurance plan.

Did you know that motor-vehicle incidents are routinely the leading cause of work-related fatalities? That's what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Motor Vehicle Safety site says. It estimates that work-related vehicle crash injuries cost employers nearly $60 million annually.

It's not something we like to think about — especially when we consider ourselves good drivers. But you and your employees take a risk every time you turn on the car. Accidents do happen — and when texting, drunk, or other impaired drivers are on the road, these accidents can't always be prevented.

That's why Commercial Auto Insurance and Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance are available to small-business owners like you. Keep reading to learn which policy best suits your architectural, engineering, or design business.

Commercial Auto vs. Hired & Non-Owned Auto

Architects, Engineers, and Design Professionals: Commercial Auto Insurance vs. Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance

As an architect, engineer, or design professional, you'll need to decide whether Commercial Auto Insurance, Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance, or both will most benefit your business.

Read on to learn the differences between the two policies so you can make the best addition to your small business insurance plan.

Commercial Auto Insurance for Architects, Engineers, and Design Professionals

As an architect, engineer, or design professional, you are required to carry Commercial Auto Insurance for every vehicle your business owns — just as you carry a Personal Auto Insurance policy for your personal car. This includes owned vehicles that…

  • You drive.
  • Your employees drive.

That's right: if you lend a company car to an employee, you must carry coverage for it. It's illegal for business owners to make employees carry their own coverage for company-owned cars.

However, it's important to realize that if you are an independent (1099) contractor and you use your personal car for work-related purposes, you'll need to purchase your own Commercial Auto Insurance policy. This is because most Personal Auto Insurance policies exclude coverage for work-related driving. If you got into an accident while driving to meet a client for lunch, for example, your Personal Auto Insurance provider may be able to legally deny your claim.

Commercial Auto Insurance is for owned vehicles — whether they are strictly for business use or you use them for business and pleasure.

Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance for Architectural, Engineering, and Design Firms

There are two major reasons why an architectural, engineering, or design firm would opt to add Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance to their business insurance plan:

  • You rent cars. This includes cars that you rent while on a business trip, vehicles you may hire to pick clients up, or any car-sharing services you may use. The "Hired" portion of the policy protects vehicles in these situations.
  • You have employees that drive personal cars for work. The "Non-Owned" portion of the policy can help you protect employees from the high costs of traffic accidents when that happen in personal vehicles being driven for work — e.g., when someone runs out for more pens. Remember, your employees' Personal Auto policies may be able to legally deny coverage if they get into an accident in their personal car while on a work-related errands.

Hired & Non-Owed Auto Insurance is a common option for smaller architectural, engineering, and design firms because they are less likely to own commercial vehicles. It's also a great way to save money — you won't have to pay extra car insurance fees when you sign your car rental agreement.

It's also good for supplementing insurance that may be offered through a rental service. Car-sharing programs are popular in bigger cities because they offer a cost-effective solution or traditional rental services and public transportation. Often, everything is included — even car insurance.

But this New York Times article warns that the "free" car insurance included in car-sharing agreements may not be enough. According to an article, a typical car-sharing service:

  • Caps insurance benefits. The car-sharing service profiled in the article caps its insurance ay $300,000 per incident — even if several people are involved. Other services offer less insurance.
  • Offers insignificant bodily injury coverage. Many car-sharing services offer bodily injury coverage that only meets state-mandated minimum requirements — which is often not sufficient to completely cover traffic-accident injuries.

If your business owns and rents vehicles, you may consider adding both types of coverage to your insurance plan.

How Commercial Auto Protects You

Architects, Engineers, and Design Professionals: How Commercial Auto or Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance Protects You

Both Commercial Auto Insurance and Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance are designed to protect architects, engineers, and design professionals from the costs associated with traffic accidents and other vehicle-related damages. This can include compensation for:

  • Vehicle damage. Whether you hit another vehicle or an employee accidently backs into a light pole, most Auto Insurance policies help pay for physical damage — both yours and the other party's.
  • Medical bills. When injuries result from traffic crashes, the costs can be high. Luckily, Auto Insurance helps you subsidize those expenses.
  • Legal expenses. If you or an employee gets into an accident that injures another party, they have the legal right to sue your business. Auto Insurance can help you pay for the fallout: legal defense, settlements, judgments, and other court-related fees.
  • Theft and vandalism. Some Auto policies can cover more than just car-on-car collisions. Check to see if yours can cover damages due to theft and vandalism.

When one of the above affects your business vehicle, your Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance steps in to help you pay for the expenses up to your policy's stated limits.

You can also get additional protection through an Umbrella Insurance policy, which offers additional protection to certain policies that have reached their coverage limits.

Receive a Quote Today!

Architects, Engineers, and Design Professionals: Receive a Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance Quote Today!

To learn more about Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance, contact an insureon agent. They'll be able to explain your options and even give you insurance quotes over the phone. You can also fill out our electronic application to have free quotes sent to you by email.

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