Commercial vehicle insurance: what you need to know


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The commercial vehicle is a great indispensable in many trades. Insurance for this work tool in its own right is therefore important for professionals. In this article, we'll take a look at thecompulsory coverages for commercial vehicle insurance.
You'll also discover some unavoidable options, which can notably help protect the goods and equipment being transported. Our team also gives you its best advice, to find cheap utility insurance. Low prices don't have to mean sacrificing coverage.

What is commercial vehicle insurance?

First and foremost, it's important to define what a commercial vehicle is. It's a vehicle whose primary role must be to transport goods. Most of the time, these are cars with just two seats in the front, and storage space in the rear. There is no particular vehicle category, although commercial vehicles are often small vans.
Agricultural vehicles such as tractors or even trailers are also considered commercial vehicles.
Beware, the commercial vehicle should not be confused with the passenger vehicle. The latter is used to transport people. In other words, a company owning coaches to transport passengers cannot treat them as a commercial vehicle.

Commercial vehicle insurance: what cover should you choose?

In Switzerland, not all cover is compulsory when it comes to commercial vehicle insurance. On the other hand, it's generally preferable to take out certain options, to protect your work vehicle.

Torque liability: insufficient cover for pros

Torque liability is the compulsory cover for any vehicle insurance in Switzerland. So if you want to insure a commercial vehicle, you'll need to take it out. In short, in the event of an accident for which the insured party is at fault, the insurance company will pay for any material damage or bodily injury sustained.
On the other hand, with a policy that includes only third-party liability, the vehicle owner is not covered for any damage caused by an external cause that is not the fault of another driver. There is therefore no cover in the event of theft or damage to the vehicle due to bad weather.

Full comprehensive to insure your work vehicle

For commercial vehicle insurance, car insurance can be combined with what is known as partial comprehensive and collision comprehensive. The combination of these two types of cover is known as full comprehensive.
Partial comprehensive provides cover, when the vehicle or driver suffers damage from external elements such as:
  • Weather,
  • Collision with an animal,
  • Breakage of glass,
  • Theft or vandalism.
Collision cover, on the other hand, is used to insure the commercial vehicle, when the owner of the vehicle is responsible for a collision. This is the case of an at-fault accident, where the collision is caused by the insured. Civil liability will compensate the other driver. However, it's collision coverage that reimburses the owner of the at-fault vehicle.

Occupant insurance: indispensable in transport

Occupant insurance is another level of coverage. It providesguarantee for vehicle occupants other than the driver, against bodily injury and property damage. When the commercial vehicle is only used to transport Swiss nationals, this coverage is not necessary.
On the other hand, for a company likely to transport cross-border workers, this is essential coverage. Even if the commercial vehicle's primary purpose is not to transport people, they may be used to transport company employees. It is therefore useful to be covered, should anything happen to them.

Useful options when insuring a company vehicle

Beyond the levels of cover, certain options are unavoidable when you want to take out car insurance for a commercial vehicle.

Assistance and breakdown assistance

First of all, not all insurance contracts include assistance and breakdown assistance in the event of an accident or breakdown. To avoid having to pay for the tow truck that picks up the vehicle to take it to a garage, the option can be interesting.
Some contracts provide for a radius within which assistance operates around the vehicle's place of domicile. You must ensure that this is consistent with the journeys you make.

The loan of a replacement vehicle

The commercial vehicle is often the support for the professional's activity. It is therefore absolutely crucial to take out a guarantee whereby a loan vehicle is offered in the event of the commercial vehicle being immobilized. This will ensure that the professional does not have to interrupt his or her business in the event of a claim.

Fast claim settlement

Some insurers commit to claims processing times. This can be an interesting option for professionals, who generally need to be responsive when it comes to their work vehicle.
For example, in the event of total damage, reimbursement will be made quickly, to enable the professional to buy a new van.

Cover for items transported

Finally, insurers may offer cover for items transported. The latter is highly relevant, for professionals who transport their work equipmentor even materials.
For example, in the event of theft of a construction professional's utility vehicle, the insurer will cover reimbursements concerning the vehicle, but also everything that was being transported at the time of the theft.
When transporting certain expensive equipment, coverage for items transported is absolutely essential. Beware, some insurers may ask for invoices for the material or equipment to be reimbursed.

How much does commercial vehicle insurance cost?

Like any car insurance, commercial vehicle insurance is calculated according to:
  • The insured person,
  • His or her experience on the road,
  • A possible bonus or malus,
  • The type of vehicle, taking into account its value, make or power.
The price of utility insurance can therefore be similar to that of a car of equivalent power and value. What will make the rate vary significantly are the levels of cover chosen. Taking out special options, such as coverage for transported objects, can also add to the premium.

How to find cheap commercial vehicle insurance?

There are a few tricks you need to know to find cheap commercial vehicle insurance.

The commercial vehicle insurance comparator

First of all, online commercial vehicle insurance comparators have become a must. By entering vehicle details in just a few clicks, you can obtain rates from several insurers. This saves you precious time in comparing the offers available to you.
Beyond the initial subscription, comparing insurers can help you negotiate your contract. Don't hesitate to change your commercial vehicle insurance regularly, to get the cheapest rates. There are usually special offers for new customers.

Compare policies with equal coverage and options

When comparing two insurance policies, always compare them with equal coverage. Indeed, one of the most common mistakes is to look only at the price of the insurance.
The absence of assistance or even high deductibles can explain a very attractive rate. It is therefore crucial to carefully analyze the contents of the contract before committing yourself.

Our selection of the best utility insurance

To help you make your choice of utility insurance, we have chosen to compare some of the most emblematic companies in Switzerland.

Axa for comprehensive utility insurance

AXA is among the most prominent Swiss insurance companies, when it comes to utility insurance. Indeed, the company offers absolutely unbeatable value for money.
Furthermore, we note the presence of some interesting options, such as bonus protection, for policyholders with no more than one claim per year. Protection for gross negligence is also included, as well as a 0-franc deductible for damage caused.

Helvetica: cheap insurance

Helvetica is also among the cheap car insurance, which may be suitable for professionals. We find very similar services to those offered by Axa. We underline the fact that an online subscription allows you to benefit from a significant discount on premiums.

Generali and its customized formulas

If Generali's rates are not the most attractive on the market, the options offered are perfectly compatible with commercial vehicle insurance. Indeed, this company offers formulas specifically adapted to professionals. You can find the famous insurance concerning transported objects.

Online insurance with Smile

It was also crucial to mention the insurance offered by the Smile group. With formulas 100% online, you can get the best level of cover at an attractive rate.

TCS: insurance that thinks of the planet

Finally, for very small budgets, TCS undoubtedly offers the most attractive rates on the market. On the other hand, it's important to bear in mind that the company applies a franchise of 500 francs, when it comes to making third-party liability work. The solution can therefore be economical, provided you have no at-fault claims.
Antoine Léger
Updated on: 30.01.2024Written by Antoine LégerHead of non-life insurance department at Comparea.
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