6 Best Commercial Auto Insurance Companies in California

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

In California, you must have commercial automobile insurance if you drive your car or truck primarily for business or if your company owns a fleet of vehicles. Finding the right provider for this coverage can be challenging. Check out our top five companies providing commercial auto insurance in California, along with the information you need to get the right coverage for your company at a fair price.

The 6 best commercial auto insurance companies in California

We research more than 20 companies offering commercial car insurance in California and here are our recommendations of the top 6 providers for your consideration.

  • Progressive: The best overall provider of commercial auto insurance in California
  • Simply Business: Best for comparing several online quotes
  • Travelers: Best for businesses looking for a stable and solid insurance provider
  • Allstate: Best for businesses looking for great customer experience
  • biBERK: Best for low-cost coverage from a reputable carrier
  • Smart Financial: Best for knowledgeable agents

Progressive: The best overall provider of commercial auto insurance in California

Progressive may seem like a less-than-serious company because of its ongoing series of commercials featuring Flo.

The truth: It’s a reputable company that’s been offering auto insurance for more than 80 years and business-related coverage for a half century. Progressive provides not just a complete range of commercial auto insurance products, it can also supply all the coverage your business needs. The company is known for its flexibility, great rates and top-tier service.

Progressive offers the following types of commercial vehicle insurance:

  • Commercial auto and truck
  • Tow, dump and food truck.

Two types of Progressive insurance covers specialized vehicles:

  • Landscaper 
  • Contractor.

It also offers business insurance policies, so you can bundle all your coverage with Progressive:

  • Business Owner Policies (BOPs)
  • General liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Professional liability insurance.

Progressive is known for its discounts, which could help you save on your commercial vehicle insurance and all your business coverage.

Tip: Progressive is a leading provider of insurance for delivery drivers and people who offer ride share services. It covers gaps between a personal auto policy and the coverage the delivery company or ride share service offers. It’s definitely something to look into if you do this kind of work. 

Progressive is also known for offering several discounts that can help you lower your premiums. Below are some discount programs that Progressive offers. You should definitely get their discounts if you are qualified to reduce your premiums.

  • Paid-in-full discount. You earn money off if you pay your annual premium in full and on time.
  • Multi-policy discount. You’ll save money if you have other qualifying policies with Auto-Owners Insurance.
  • Life multi-policy discount. You’ll save if you have a qualifying life insurance policy with the firm.
  • Group discount. You qualify for the discount when your business is affiliated with certain organizations, including chambers of commerce, credit unions and trade associations.
  • Fleet monitoring discount. If you agree to have telematics devices installed and actively monitoring the vehicles in your fleet, you become eligible for this discount if your employees consistently demonstrate safe driving habits.
  • Farm use seasonal discount. You may qualify for this if you insure certain vehicles used for farming.
  • Deductible-related cost reduction. If you choose a higher deductible, it may lower your policy premium.
  • Favorable loss history. You may qualify for a lower premium if you haven’t made many claims on your commercial auto policy.

>>MORE: Best Commercial Truck Insurance Companies

Simply Business: Best for comparing several online quotes

If you want to compare several commercial auto insurance quotes to find the cheapest one for you and your company, you may want to start with Simply Business. They are a digital broker and work with several commercial auto insurance companies. They are able to pull quotes from these companies so that you can compare and select the best and cheapest one in one place.

Another benefit of working with Simply Business is that after buying a policy through them, you will have access to their digital dashboard to manage all of your business insurance policies in one place. The dashboard also offers useful features such as downloading the certificate of insurance, filing a claim, and renewing a policy.

Simply Business earns a good customer satisfaction rating of 4.1 out of 5 on Trustpilot, a much higher than the average rating of their insurance provider peers.

Travelers: Best for businesses looking for a stable and solid insurance provider

Travelers has one of the most flexible commercial auto insurance programs available. A policy can provide:

  • Liability coverage with limits of up to $1 million
  • Physical damage coverage with industry-leading protection against accidental loss or damage
  • Collision coverage including top tier protection if your covered auto strikes another vehicle or object
  • Comprehensive coverage with animal or bird collision protection if this is a risk you face.

In addition to these flexible basic coverages, Travelers makes it easy and affordable to add 13 coverage additions through its Select Auto CoveragePlus® Endorsement. Highlights include:

  • Auto lease gap coverage which kicks in when there is a total loss of a vehicle. It covers the difference between the outstanding loan amount and the vehicle’s actual cash value, so you don’t have to pay off the difference out of pocket.
  • Employee hired auto coverage which provides hired liability and physical damage coverage to employees who rent vehicles under their own name while on company business.
  • Blanket additional insured coverage which eliminates the tedious requirement to list each person or company you are in contract with as an additional insured entity.

Travelers has been in business for more than 165 years and is the only insurer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It has a solid reputation as a leading property casualty insurer. Despite its long history, the company is known as an innovator in all aspects of its business.

If strength and stability are important to you, you should consider Travelers for your commercial auto and other business insurance needs.

Allstate: Best for businesses looking for great customer experience

Allstate is the third largest auto insurer in the United States, and another leading insurance provider that made our list of top commercial vehicle insurers in California. It’s a financially stable company with plenty of cash reserves available to pay out claims. Plus it has a remarkably high rating for its operations, customer service and satisfaction with the Better Business Bureau.

The only limitations that come with insuring your business vehicles with Allstate is that it does not have as many coverage options as other providers, doesn’t offer truck-specific coverage and in certain situations, is more expensive. This is balanced by their willingness to customize their coverage and they have a streamlined claims process that’s second to none.

biBERK: Best for low-cost coverage from a reputable carrier

biBERK is a direct-to-customer insurance carrier specializing in serving small businesses. They offer an excellent digital experience. You can get quotes and buy a policy online in less than 10 minutes. The whole experience is such a delight: simple, straightforward, and fast.

On top of that, biBERK offers very competitive rates. They claim that they can help their customers save at least 20% on premiums.

Their operation is focused on delivering the ultimate online insurance experience. Because of this, you’re able to purchase a policy, file a claim or get an auto insurance card, any time, 365 days a year. Even though biBERK is an online insurer, you can get expert help over the phone when you need it. The firm is also known for being able to make most claims decisions within 48 hours.

Despite the fact that biBERK is a relatively new and innovative company, you can rest assured knowing it has an excellent rating from A.M. because they are a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the parent company of Geico.  

Smart Financial: Best for knowledgeable agents

If you prefer working with agents who specialize in your business niche and are very experienced in providing commercial auto insurance to a variety of businesses in different industries, you may want to work with Smart Financial. They are a national broker specializing in small business insurance. They partner with an intensive network of hundreds of agents across the country who are very knowledgeable and experienced in providing commercial auto insurance to small businesses in all industries.

However unique and niche your industry is, you can count on Smart Financial to connect you with an agent who is the most knowledgeable about the specifics of your business so that they can find you the best coverages at the most affordable prices.

What you need to know about commercial auto insurance in California

Use this information from our experts to get the right commercial autoinsurance for your business.

What is California commercial auto insurance?

Commercial vehicle policies cover damage to vehicles used for business if they’re involved in an accident or theft. Commercial auto insurance handles the following types of situations:

  • You hit a vehicle or pedestrian while heading to a business meeting
  • An employee runs off the road and hits a fence while running an errand for work
  • Your employee is in an accident while making a delivery and someone is seriously injured, resulting in significant medical bills.

These are just a few scenarios that demonstrate the value of commercial vehicle insurance. 

What does commercial auto insurance cover in California?

Most commercial vehicle insurance policies include the following coverages:

  • Bodily injury: This is required coverage in California and pays medical costs for anyone else involved in an accident caused by you or someone working for you. 
  • Property damage liability: This pays for damage to other people’s property caused by you because of an accident.
  • Collision coverage: This covers your damages if you’re in an accident, whether it’s your fault or not.
  • Comprehensive coverage: This takes care of damages that aren’t related to an accident, such as ones from theft or vandalism.
  • Medical coverage: This is a separate insurance policy that pays your accident-related medical bills if they aren’t covered by another policy.
  • Uninsured/underinsured coverage: This insurance pays accident-related costs if the other driver doesn’t have insurance.

Only bodily injury and property damage liability insurance is required in California. However, it’s important to speak with an insurance expert to find out which coverages you need. It could prevent you from having to pay accident-related expenses that could have a big impact on your bottom line.

>>MORE: Why do We Need Commercial Auto Insurance?

Commercial auto insurance coverage requirements in California

While there are different levels of insurance required for commercial vehicles in California, the state does start with a certain set of minimum coverage for all vehicles. California’s commercial auto insurance requirements begin at:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury
  • $30,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 in property damage coverage per accident

This level of insurance coverage is usually applied to company vehicles, such as sedans used by accountants or lawyers employed by a firm.

Commercial auto insurance requirements for ridershare drivers in California

Rideshare drivers are also required to have increased coverage when they have switched on their app, but haven’t yet picked up a passenger. This may be fully or partially provided by the company you drive for, but it’s a good idea to make sure you are covered too. The minimum insurance coverage required for rideshare drivers in California before they pick up a passenger is as follows:

  • $50,000 bodily injury liability coverage
  • $100,000 of total bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $25,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident

After being paired with a passenger and driving them to a destination, the amount of coverage required increases to:

  • $1M for bodily injury and property damage
  • $1M uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage

Commercial vehicles that transport household goods are required to carry the following:

  • $250,000 for bodily injury
  • $500,000 for bodily injury per incident
  • $100,000 for property damage

Household goods carriers can opt to carry $600,000 of Combined Single Limit (CSL) coverage instead of the above requirements.

Other cargo trucks and property transport vehicles weighing more than $10,000 lbs. need to carry property damage and bodily injury coverage in a CSL of $750,000.

Cargo vehicles under 10,000 pounds GVWR must carry property damage and bodily injury coverage in a CSL of $300,000.

Commercial companies that transport petroleum products have slightly different requirements:

  • Bodily injury coverage: $500,000 for one person and $1M for two or more persons
  • Property damage: $200,000 for one single accident

These companies also have the option of obtaining a CSL policy instead for $1.2M.

Other cargo carriers who transport various hazardous materials are required to carry the following CSL coverages:

  • oil & oil waste products: $1M
  • hazardous waste: $1M
  • hazardous substances, i.e. compressed gas: $5M
  • explosives, poison, radioactive materials: $5M

How much does commercial auto insurance cost in California?

Costs vary. They’re based on:

  • The number of vehicles covered
  • The type and value of the vehicles
  • The features they come with
  • The type of business
  • The types and levels of coverage
  • Where the business is located and where its vehicles are used and parked.

Commercial vehicles are usually more costly to repair or replace, making insuring them more expensive than private ones. In addition, commercial policies usually cover more than one driver.

In our study, small business owners in California pay somewhere between $574 and $1,804 a year for commercial auto insurance. 

Be sure to compare several quotes by shopping with a few companies or a digital broker like commercialinsurance.net to select the cheapest one for you and/or your company:

How to find cheap commercial auto insurance in California?

Commercial auto insurance is required legally in California. Not having it might be a very bad idea. When accidents happen, your company might be bankrupt and you might be jailed as a result.

The good news is that it is possible to find cheap commercial auto insurance by following the tips below:

  • Always shop around with at least 3-5 providers or a digital broker such as as CoverWallet to compare several quotes before deciding on the final carrier
  • Maintain a good driving record and credit score, that will help decrease your commercial auto premiums
  • Maintaining your commercial auto insurance coverage steadily. If you have gaps in your commercial auto insurance coverage, your premiums might increase as a result
  • Lastly, if the carrier offers telematics monitoring to reduce the premium as a result of your good driving record, you might want to opt in that program.

>>MORE: How to Find Cheap Commercial Auto Insurance?

Who needs commercial auto coverage requirements in California?

If you live in California and drive a vehicle for business purposes, it’s likely you need to get commercial insurance. It’s unlikely your personal car insurance policy will cover you. An experienced insurance professional can let you know for sure.

Commercial vehicle insurance is typically required if:

  • Your business owns, rents or leases vehicles
  • You have employees who drive personal vehicles for business reasons
  • You have workers who drive company cars
  • You have staff members who lease, rent or own company vehicles.

It’s not worth risking your operation by not having the right insurance. Talk with an insurance expert to ensure you have the correct coverage.

Should delivery drivers carry commercial auto insurance in California?

If you use your personal vehicle for work as an independent delivery driver for companies like DoorDash, uberEat, or GrubHub, you definitely need to look into commercial auto insurance. You are expected to have your own commercial auto insurance since your personal auto insurance may not cover if you have accidents at work.

Although some companies, like DoorDash, PostMates, and UberEats, do provide a commercial auto insurance policy for drivers, these policies are typically ‘excess’ policies that only kick in when the driver’s personal auto insurance maxes out of its limits. Also, if you don’t carry personal insurance, the company’s auto insurance won’t cover you either.

More importantly, some delivery services such as GrubHub and Instacart don’t provide commercial auto insurance for their drivers. Make sure you get some additional auto insurance to protect yourself and your car as you are working. In such case, you would need to have your own commercial auto insurance or an attached rider to your personal auto insurance to cover your commercial use of your car. It is possible to find cheap commercial auto insurance by following our tips above. Not having commercial auto insurance as you are using your vehicle as the main means to work is a risk not worth taking. An accident without commercial auto insurance protection might put an end to your financial well-being or even in jail.

>>MORE: Best Delivery Driver Insurance Companies

Thang Truong

Thang Truong covers small business insurance and small business success at BravoPolicy. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent. Previously, he held product leadership positions at realtor.com, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

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