As a professional bus driver, you spend a considerable number of your waking hours behind the wheel.
Whether you’re transporting yourself or others for personal or professional reasons, more road time means more opportunities for something to go wrong. In fact, research shows there are roughly 14,000 bus accidents per year.
Driving without car insurance is a risk that no motorist can afford to take, least of all one who drives for a living.
When driving for your job, you are most likely covered by your company’s auto insurance policy. The same is true if you are driving on behalf of your own commercial bus business.
Just like personal car insurance policies, bus driver policies come in a variety of types. The kind of coverage and amount you company needs depends on a number of factors including the size of the buses, the driving experience of their employees and the company budget.
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- Liability insurance – Liability coverage is the most important provision to have on a commercial bus insurance policy.
- Bodily injury – This portion of the liability policy covers the costs of medical care for a driver or passengers in another vehicle involved in the accident. There is also a property damage provision that pays for vehicle and other property damage that results from an accident
- Collision coverage – This coverage pays for repairs to your bus and is effective even if you were at fault for the accident.
Some types of bus services can put you at higher risk for lawsuits. For example, if your passengers are mainly the elderly or children, you could potentially face allegations of neglect or abuse.
If for any reason you feel your business is at high risk for litigation, it is a good idea to bulk up your liability coverage. A provision called umbrella coverage can add a greater level of protection, especially in the event of a lawsuit.
- Medical payments coverage – Also known as MedPay, this coverage pays for your injuries and the injuries of anyone on the bus with you at the time of the accident. According to research, about 50 bus passengers a year die in bus accidents. If someone gets injured on your bus, they’re covered too under MedPay.
- Comprehensive coverage – There are ways your bus can be damaged without every colliding with another vehicle. These include fire, burglary, damage from hail or fallen trees, lightning and more. Comprehensive coverage takes care of these damages and all other non-vehicular collision events.
- Business interruption – This type of insurance covers bus driving businesses when an accident or disaster interrupts the regular course of business. According to the American Insurance Association, it is normally part of a business owner’s or commercial property policy and is effective until the business is able to get up and running again.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage – In cases where a driver hits you and flees the scene, or hits you and doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay for damage, uninsured motorist coverage can help.
Generally speaking, bus driving companies need a high amount of coverage for the simple fact that buses are large vehicles that can easily rack up thousands of dollars’ worth of damages if there’s an accident.
Recommended coverage amounts vary depending on the bus company’s unique needs.
Rates correspond directly with risk. Therefore, if your risk is high, you’ll need a high amount of coverage.
Risk can go up or down depending on the age and condition of your bus, the passengers you carry, route hazards, the kinds of weather in your area, and your level of experience and skill.
If you own the company you drive for, consult with your insurance agent to discuss how much coverage your business needs and how much it will cost.
Personal Coverage for Bus Drivers
When you aren’t working, you will, of course, need coverage to legally drive your personal vehicle. While there are no special types of car insurance for bus drivers, some professions make drivers eligible for special discounts.
Certain professionals such as librarians, scientists, and pilots enjoy the lowest car insurance rates. This is probably because people in these professions have proven to be statistically less likely to be involved in a car accident.
It is possible, however, the get discounts even if you aren’t in one of these professions. Demonstrating strong driving experience can lower your perceived risk to the insurer and thereby lower your premiums.
As a professional driver, demonstrating experience should not be a problem. According to NAIC, you can get discounts for a number of other things too, such as:
- being over age 50
- taking a driver’s education course
- getting anti-theft devices installed on your vehicle
Circumstances can change over time, and coverage needs will change with them. For a bus company, premiums can be influenced by changes to the bus fleet, route alterations, policy changes and workforce turnover.
Stay abreast of changes to your employer’s insurance policy. Learn how they affect you and what the changes mean for your job and your passengers.
Personal insurance needs can change as well, especially if you get a new vehicle, make changes to your driving habits, add or remove family members from your policy, etc.
Eliminate Insurance Redundancies
Review your own policy with your agent to determine what changes, if any, should be made to fit your insurance needs.
The NAIC recommends checking your health insurance and homeowner’s insurance policies to see if there are any overlaps with your car insurance coverage. If so, you can streamline your car insurance policy and save money.
Compare car insurance options today to find the coverage you need at the right price.