What to Know About Insuring Cargo Vans for Commercial Use

Cargo Vans & Sprinters

Last Modified: July 9, 2024

What to Know About Insuring Cargo Vans for Commercial Use

Are you an Owner Operator of a Cargo Van or Sprinter Van hauling freight for hire? Understanding the intricacies of commercial insurance is crucial to your business. In this blog, you’ll learn everything you need to know about insuring your vehicle, from the types of coverage required to the factors that affect your premiums. Let’s get started.

What Kind of Insurance Do You Need to Haul Freight for Hire in a Cargo Van or Sprinter?

When you’re using your van for any commercial purpose your insurance will be different than standard auto insurance.

Here’s what you’ll need to consider:

  • Commercial Auto Liability Insurance: This covers bodily injury and property damage caused by your vehicle. This is required coverage to legally operate your Cargo Van or Sprinter hauling freight for hire.
  • Physical Damage Insurance: This provides coverage for damage to your van for Comprehensive and Collision losses.
  • Motor Truck Cargo Insurance: This covers the goods you’re transporting for your customer.
  • General Liability Insurance: This protects against risks not directly related to the operation of your vehicle but associated with your business activities. General Liability is not required by FMCSA or your state, but your customer contracts may require it.

Your professional Trucking Insurance Broker will design a comprehensive policy including one or all of these coverage options as needed.

She will also provide proof of your insurance to brokers and customers using the standard Acord Form.

Liability Limits for Cargo Van and Sprinter Insurance

The Commercial Auto Liability limits you choose can significantly impact your premiums and the level of coverage you receive. Most commercial policies offer:

  • Basic Limits of $300,000
  • Industry Standard Limits of $1 million
  • Higher Limits for specific contracts or high-risk deliveries

DOT Requirements for Hauling Freight with a Commercial Van or HotShot

A common question is whether you need an FMCSA issued Department of Transportation (DOT) number to haul freight across state lines, or interstate.

  • Interstate Operations: Cargo Vans and Sprinters hauling freight across state lines need a DOT number and minimum insurance limits of $300,000 CSL.
  • Vehicle Weight: HotShot Insurance is a little different because Duallys with trailer have a combined weight over 10,000 GVW and require a minimum insurance limit of $750,000 CSL.
  • State Regulations: Some states may require a DOT number even for intrastate operations.
  • Industry Standard Liability Limit: Regardless of FMCSA minimum insurance requirements, industry standard for many industries has settled in at $1,000,000 CSL Commercial Auto Liability.

Cost of Insuring Cargo Vans for Commercial Use

The cost for Cargo Van and Sprinter Insurance varies widely from state to state. But with new insurance competitors entering the market the rates are finally dropping. Here’s some of the factors that affect your Commercial Insurance premiums:

  • Insurance Credit Rating: Poor payment records and debt negatively impacts your premium.
  • Year and Value of your Commercial Van: New high valued vehicles cost more to repair or replace which increases your Physical Damage premium.
  • Driver’s History and Experience: Clean records and experienced drivers lead to lower costs.
  • Radius of Operation: Expediting long haul Owner Operators pay more for for Unlimited Radius, but Last Mile Delivery or Courier premiums are similar due to the exposure of busy city driving.
  • Cargo: Hauling refrigerated freight (REEFER), HazMat and other high end freight will increase your Cargo Premium. There are specific EXCLUSIONS to Cargo policies that you need to know. More here on What Motor Truck Cargo covers.

Because of these variables, it is ALWAYS worth your while to make a quick phone call for an estimate with your professional Trucking Insurance Broker. She’ll be able to give you a very good ballpark before you take the leap into hauling freight for hire with a Cargo Van or Sprinter.

She will also have access to the latest companies providing top-tier commercial van insurance as detailed below.

Who has the Cheapest Commercial Van Insurance?

There are only a handful of strong competitors providing reasonable insurance premiums for Cargo Vans and Sprinters hauling freight for hire.

This niche has been overlooked by insurance firms due to the misconception that drivers face unique time constraints compared to other trucking types. This notion is unfounded, and fresh options are emerging via trucking brokers collaborating with these insurers.

Progressive has been dominant for the past ten years nationwide, but other companies have recently emerged to test the waters and compete for this segment:

GEICO is launching a new program with some excellent premiums for Cargo Vans and Sprinters in select states.  It’s exciting that they are open to both established Owner Operators as well as new Start Up Expediters.

Both Brooklyn Specialty and Dynamic Specialty also offer some very attractive packages for certain types of operations, also in select states.

Sometimes Northland surprises us with interest in certain Expediting operations.

The success of your case with Underwriting can hinge on its presentation, so it’s crucial to collaborate with a professional who can manage the groundwork and offer guidance.

Know up front that using a trucking insurance broker comes at no extra cost to you. Contrary to popular belief, there is no middleman cost in trucking insurance.

As your advocate, her objective is to secure all financial advantages for you from policy inception through renewals.

She will save you money on your policy and also provide assistance with claims.

Read on for more tips on insuring your cargo van or sprinter for commercial use:

Is a Cargo Van or Sprinter better for Commercial Use

The debate of which is better for hauling freight for hire, a Cargo Van or a Sprinter.

From an insurance standpoint, there is no difference in cost between the two types of commercial vans, it’s the year and value of the unit that drives the core premium.

Consider the size of the van and its capacity to determine what can fit inside.

Here is a much more detailed summary on size and cost for Cargo Vans vs Sprinter Vans.

Required Van Modifications for Commercial Use

Regardless of which type of van you purchase, certain modifications might be necessary in order to haul freight.

The modifications you make to your van have a minimal impact on your Physical Damage premium so make sure the coverage is included on your policy.

  • Permanently attached equipment: $2,500 is a common limit added to a Commercial Van hauling freight.
  • Examples: Customization including load securing equipment, shelving, custom paint, appliances, electronics, HVAC and Bunk.
  • Deductible: The permanently attached equipment becomes part of the Stated Amount of your Commercial Van and subject to only one deductible that you choose for Physical Damage (Comp & Collision).

Remember to tell your Truck Insurance Broker about any new modifications you make to your van.

Do Multiple Drivers affect the Insurance Premium

If multiple drivers use your van, it can impact your insurance in either direction.

  • Driver History: Each driver’s record impacts premiums for better or worse.
  • Age: Sometimes an older responsible driver can mitigate the higher cost of a younger driver.

All insurance policy contracts state that failing to disclose a driver constitutes insurance fraud and can result in legal disputes over claims. It’s not worth the risk.

Special Driver’s License Requirements for a Cargo Van or Sprinter

Operating a commercially insured cargo van or Sprinter van may require specific licenses:

  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is not required to drive an under 10,000 GVW Commercial Van, but some insurance companies include a discount on your policy if you already have a CDL.
  • Endorsements for transporting hazardous materials in any size unit and as defined by 49CFR383.5 requires a state issued CDL.

Always check state and federal regulations to ensure compliance for anything remotely HazMat.

Finding the Best Load Boards

For owner-operators looking to haul freight, load boards are invaluable.

Unfortunately for Cargo Vans and Sprinters, these popular Loadboards tend to focus more on large Straight Trucks and Tractor Trailers:

  • DAT Load Board
  • Truckstop.com
  • 123Loadboard

The Best Load Board for Cargo Vans and Sprinters

 

 

My Virtual Fleet Loadboard
My Virtual Fleet Loadboard

If your goal is to haul freight for hire with a Cargo Van or Sprinter, your best bet is to start with a reliable Load Board dedicated to Commercial Vans.

My Virtual Freight is a proven 7 year old company that provides a comprehensive solution for Cargo Vans and Sprinters.

Their services include a top-notch Load Board, DeadHeading Board, Tracking, Notifications, and Compliance Solution. Leveraging GPS, Google Earth, smartphones, and an advanced accounting module, they enhance productivity and boost profits. With a one-stop approach, they cater to under 10,000 GVW Commercial Vans hauling freight for hire.

Conclusion

Understanding the various aspects of insuring your Cargo Van or Sprinter for commercial use should give you more confidence to take the leap into the Owner Operator arena.   But please call us BEFORE you take that leap.  We’ll run some preliminary quotes and talk through your plans.  We really will help point you in the right direction – we want you to succeed.

Read more here to learn more about hauling freight for hire with a commercial van.

When you’re ready to talk we’re here to listen.

Call CIS at 330-864-1511

 15 Minutes can Save you BIG $$$ on your Expediting Insurance!

Authors

  • 2002 Founder and CEO of Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc., Shelly Benisch specializes in providing Commercial Truck Insurance for owner operators and small motor carriers. Both CIS and TRS certified, She also writes a free educational trucking insurance advice blog dedicated to the little guy.

  • Executive Director of Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc., Christina Cummings leads her team in providing the best Truck Insurance with the best rates for Owner Operators and small Motor Carriers. Christina is TRS certified as a Transportation Risk Specialist. She is your "go to" person at CIS with questions, tips and networking opportunities in our trucking and expediting community.

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