Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Commercial signage on cars

It sounds like a good idea: put a vinyl sign on your car advertising your business or website. It works if you have a short and snappy url, business name, or phone number and your car is exposed to lots of other cars or pedestrians. Of course if you don't drive much and your car stays in your driveway or garage it's not going to get a lot of visibility.

There is a hidden problem with placing advertising on your vehicle. Some states will classify your car as a commercial vehicle if it has signage on it. Car insurance for commercial vehicles can be much higher than for private use vehicles. There are also ramifications if you get in an accident with the car, your business could be liable for any damages as well as you personally.

Complete auto insurance coverage is important, whether you use your car in your business or not, but it's vitally important if you do. There can be a fine line between using a private vehicle to conduct business and a commercial vehicle. For example you may use your car to get to your place of business and perhaps conduct errands such as picking up office supplies, but that doesn't necessarily make it a commercial vehicle. If your car is an integral part of your business, you make deliveries, pick up clients, or provide transportation then it would be considered a commercial vehicle.

Ignorance is not bliss in this case. If you're in an car accident and the determination is made that your vehicle was not properly insured as a commercial vehicle you may not be covered at all. Your home, savings, any assets, even your business could be at risk. Check your state regulations and talk with an insurance agent. If you would prefer to acquire insurance without an agent you can still do that.

Shop around for the coverage you require. You might be more comfortable with higher deductibles for damages but lower premiums. Your driving record, credit rating, make of the car and how many miles you drive each month all affect your premiums.

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