Non-emergency medical vehicles serve important purposes. They help those with medical needs receive transportation. Because they are vehicles, they need insurance. However, not all auto insurance will work. Most non-emergency medical vehicles need commercial auto insurance for most of their needs. How can you get this coverage for your fleet? How can you tailor it to the specific risks these vehicles present?
Obtaining Commercial Auto Insurance
Non-emergency medical vehicles run a gamut of services. They might carry patients between home and their doctors office. They might transport people with disabilities who need a ride to the grocery store. Some come equipped with special seating arrangements. Others come stocked with high-tech medical equipment. They all have diverse purposes for clients in need.
The type of commercial auto insurance these vehicles need will vary. To determine which coverage is best for your vehicle, consider factors like:
- The vehicle’s overall value. These vehicles might have customizations and specific equipment. As a result, they usually have a high value attached.
- Certain vehicle modifications. These might require specific policy riders or conditions to cover their values.
- High-risk passengers. Certain individuals might increase the need for comprehensive medical payments or liability coverage.
- Tell your insurance agent about the exact nature of your operations. They’ll also need to know the type and value of your vehicle. These factors will help your agent determine the appropriate policy for you.
Often, these policies will have higher coverage limits compared to standard auto insurance. Indeed, it is impossible to insure a vehicle used for business with personal coverage. You must get commercial coverage to have protection at all.
Your Coverage Requirements
This need for commercial auto coverage comes from more than just your business risks. It also comes from the laws of your state. Most states require all drivers to carry minimum levels of auto insurance. Commercial drivers are no exception.
Georgia’s required coverage is liability insurance. This protection extends to the risks you cause to others on the road while you drive. If you cause an accident, then you likely have a responsibility to pay for another driver’s losses. Most or all those losses will have coverage under this liability protection. The state requires minimum coverage to start at:
- Bodily injury coverage: $25,000 per person injured
- Bodily injury coverage: $50,000 per accident, total
- Property damage liability coverage: $25,000 per accident
Because you operate as a business, you’ll likely need much more coverage than these levels. Indeed, many commercial auto policies will automatically come with higher minimum limits anyway. Therefore, talk to your insurance agent about getting higher liability limits. You’ll likely find the extra coverage necessary in case you face any damage claims or legal options.
Additional Coverage Options
Do not approach the process of getting insurance in a disinterested manner. Beyond liability coverage, you can enjoy many extra options your policy may provide. Indeed, you’ll often find this coverage critical in case you, your vehicle or passengers face losses.
- Collision insurance helps pay for vehicle repairs following an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage will pay for non-accident vehicle damage. For example, if a severe thunderstorm causes a tree to fall on the van, you can get repairs under this protection.
- Medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP) can extend to the injuries you and your passengers receive. Given that you may transport people with medical risks, this coverage may prove critical.
- Uninsured/underinsured protection can cover the vehicle if you need to file a claim involving another at-fault driver who cannot cover your liability losses. You can therefore use your own policy to cover losses that were not your fault.
- Other options like roadside assistance or towing protection might also come in handy.
Still, your policy won't cover everything. First, you will face limits and deductibles that impact the amount of money you can receive.
Otherwise, additional commercial insurance can extend to certain risks in your vehicle. For example, your auto policy may not cover certain passenger belongings, like wheelchairs. Instead, general liability coverage can often cover the property damage of your customers. Additional property coverage or inland marine insurance protection might extend to business equipment in the vehicle. Thus, think of your commercial auto coverage as a cog in the machine of your insurance portfolio.
A Note About Commercial Vehicle Safety
Medical transport operators must drive with extreme care. After all, they carry precious, sensitive cargo. It’s up to every driver to adhere to the strictest codes of conduct. At minimum, these precautions should include:
- Obeying the rules of the road, not speeding and sticking to assigned transports.
- Ensuring the safety and comfort of all passengers.
- Safeguarding cargo such as equipment and hazardous materials.
- Making sure all drivers under your supervision have the qualifications to drive.
- Carrying all licensing and certifications required by local law.
- Tracking and monitoring the use of vehicles.
Your transport service will require a lot more care than certain other operations. Therefore, your safety precautions, combined with your auto insurance, will create a better foundation on which to operate.