Car Insurance for a Commercial Driver’s License: Is it necessary?

CDL car insurance is necessary whenever you're driving a vehicle for business purposes. The average rates for commercial car insurance are $304.83/mo in the US.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 17, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If you’re driving a commercial vehicle, you need a CDL license
  • You also need commercial insurance for when you’re driving a commercial vehicle
  • Make sure you carry enough insurance to protect yourself financially if you cause an accident
  • The average rates for U.S. commercial car insurance are $304.83/mo

If you’re wondering whether CDL car insurance is necessary for your car, the answer depends on who owns the car and what it is used for. It’s safe to say that you don’t need such insurance if your car is simply for your own private use.

This includes driving to and from work, going shopping, going to and from church services, etc. If transporting other individuals in a large vehicle is normal for you, you may need a CDL.

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To properly apply the law in your situation we must first define “CDL.” CDL is an acronym that stands for “commercial driver’s license.”

It is a type of license which is required by those who drive professionally. Examples are:

  • truck drivers
  • school bus drivers
  • taxi bus operators

It is reasonable to say that any vehicle used by a commercial driver for the purposes of his work will have to be insured under a CDL policy.

Do CDL regulations ever affect my personal vehicle?

In most circumstances your personal vehicle does not fall within the scope of CDL regulations. That’s because you use it as your own mode of transportation for your own private purposes.

Your circumstances could change, however, if you do certain things with your personal car.

For example, if you operate a home daycare which involves transporting students to and from your house, you may be required by your state to carry CDL insurance, also known as commercial car insurance.

Another possible scenario is using your personal vehicle to transport disadvantaged children to and from church services on a regular basis.

While this type of scenario is harder to litigate in court, it is still possible that a judge could determine your vehicle is being used for commercial purposes, thus requiring you to have CDL insurance.

Obviously, there’s no question about trucks, buses, and delivery vehicles. They must all be covered under a CDL policy.

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What drivers are covered under CDL car insurance?

Like any car insurance policy, there are limits regarding who will be covered in case of an accident. The first requirement is obviously that any driver operating the vehicle have a CDL license.

That license must also be free of suspension or revocation. Generally speaking, if you had two or three regular employees who used a company car for delivery service, they would be covered by your insurance as long as they had CDL licenses.

One of the things that needs to be carefully considered is allowing non-employees or family members to drive your CDL vehicles, even if they are properly licensed. Some car insurance companies will only cover people specifically employed by, or related to you.

One exception would include temporary employees who might be working on a per-assignment basis.

If you have any questions about non-employees operating your CDL vehicle, make sure to check with your insurance provider before allowing such operation.

How much CDL car insurance should I carry?

It is important to remember that if one of your employees is in an accident, there is the possibility that there could be many expenses associated with the incident.

For example, there could be damage to:

  • the work vehicle
  • the other vehicle
  • the drivers
  • personal property
  • any materials or supplies

CDL insurance must also cover the expenses associated with any medical bills for people involved in the accident, as well as any lost wages. Both of these can result in very large amounts of money, so it is important to ensure that you have enough coverage.

It is best to speak to your insurance agent or insurance company to discuss your needs and how to meet them.

What if I don’t carry CDL insurance?

If you are engaging in commercial activity that requires a CDL insurance, and you fail to cover your vehicle with such insurance, you probably will have no basis for claims in the event of an accident.

Not only could you be personally liable for any financial loss, you may also be criminally liable depending on the jurisdiction in which you reside.

CDL regulations are designed to protect individuals involved in accidents with commercial vehicles.

Failing to obey CDL regulations puts others at risk and could make big problems for you.

It’s not uncommon for small business owners to fail to report to their insurance company the fact that they are using vehicles for business purposes.

They do this to keep their insurance rates as low as possible, considering the risk to be worth the withholding of information.

This is not a wise idea. As much as CDL insurance can be costly, it’s the only way to protect yourself if your vehicle is involved in an accident during work-related driving.

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Are there different kinds of CDL car insurance?

Fortunately, there are a variety of different types of CDL insurance based on your line of work.

It’s always wise to check with your car insurance provider before engaging personal vehicles in business. They will be able to tell you how much coverage you need and give you a fair price.

Car insurance rates for your CDL vehicle can be had instantly by entering your ZIP code below!

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