It’s an almost snow-clearing season, so hook up your plows and make a wish to Mother Nature! Remember when we experienced that unusual snowstorm in the winter months a couple of years ago? If you own a snow plow business in New England, I’m willing to bet that you’re hoping for another year of significant winter snowfall.
If you are in a snow removal business and your company doesn’t provide you with some form of commercial auto insurance. You’re going to need it, however. And if you don’t have it, Michigan law states that once your snow plow is out on the road during a snowstorm, it’s considered a “highway vehicle.” It is subject to the same liability coverages covered in the Motor Vehicle Code, which means that you are legally required to carry truck driver’s license insurance.
The thing about commercial auto insurance for trucks with snow plows in Michigan is that when people think of this type of coverage. They usually picture expensive premiums and restrictive liability limits for minimum coverage or no limit. That’s not the case. You can get affordable truck insurance for snow plowing in Michigan from Auto-Owners Insurance. In this article, you will learn everything about snow plow insurance michigan. How it works, costs, and other important details.
Do you need a license to plow snow in Michigan?
If you are operating a snow plow in Michigan, you will need a commercial driver’s license issued by the state of Michigan. The cost to get this license will be $100. If you’re an experienced driver, the government will offer a reduced price of $20 for the license. But in any case, it is mandatory for those who want to use snow plows in Michigan during winter.
What is Truck Driver’s License Insurance?
If drivers are inactive at their homes during snow storms, they must have driver’s license insurance. This policy protects you and your company from paying for damages or injuries to others in case of an accident. So basically, it covers the costs of medical bills, disability payments, and legal fees if you have to go to court. If a driver is not working, he’s not liable for anyone’s injuries or damages resulting from an emergency on the road during a snowstorm.
What is Commercial Auto Insurance?
Commercial auto insurance is designed to cover any damages caused by commercial trucks and their drivers while on the job. In other words, this type of policy can protect you as a commercial truck driver or business owner when an accident occurs. This includes damage to another vehicle, injury or death of a person on the road, fire, theft, or vandalism. Whether you’re driving for a company towing for hire, doing work for others as an independent contractor, or delivering items on behalf of a company, you need it.
Does putting a plow on your truck void the Warranty?
While you may have heard that adding things to your truck can void the Warranty, this is not the case. Depending on the aftermarket equipment you’re installing on your truck, you may need a new warranty. If you are putting a plow on your truck, this will be treated as an aftermarket modification. You should check with the manufacturer of the snow plow to find out what effect it might have on your Warranty and if any steps need to be taken for it to remain valid.
Why Should Snow Contractors Get snow plow insurance michigan for Their Smaller Trucks? Reasons for this:
REASON 1: Without Insurance, you could void the Warranty
Every Warranty has language in the fine print that permits the manufacturer of your truck to void the guarantee for any modifications made to the truck that has not been authorized. A snow plow on a truck without snow plow insurance could be used to void the Warranty.
How bad can it be? Bad enough that a local body shop could tell you the Warranty has been voided and refuse to work on your truck. When you have insurance, it provides an income stream if they end up voiding your Warranty. It is unlikely that your car warranty would be voided by purchasing a snow plow policy as long as you covered that risk before installing one on your vehicle.
REASON 2: You could be the one responsible for the snow removal outside your home or apartment
No doubt you would want to protect your home and property. But do you know that once you place a plow on your small truck and drive out to clean the road, your insurance company may still be on the hook for any damage? If there is an accident, it may be difficult for you to get a new policy and very expensive.
REASON 3: Car insurance wouldn’t cover the damages
The same applies to car insurance. If you want to use your car for snow removal, you must also buy a snow plow insurance policy. In case of an accident, it is unlikely that your car insurance will pay for the damages if you have not purchased the truck with an insurance policy already.
REASON 4: There is a chance you could be sued
A similar situation would occur if someone were injured on the road or even killed while you were plowing. If the victim’s family sues the driver of the truck, then they can make it difficult for you to defend yourself in court. You would need a good lawyer and money to pay their legal fees. All of these will be expensive if you do not have insurance. It is also likely that your company would also get sued because of liability.
REASON 5: Most Trucks are not designed for hundreds of extras pounds hanging in front of your bumper
When you buy your vehicle, it was designed as a four-door sedan or truck. It was not designed to carry a plow that weighs hundreds of pounds in front of the windshield. Yes, bigger trucks would not have been able to be sold by their manufacturers if they could not get a plow installed.
Some small trucks are capable of getting a plow added to them. But by the time you get it installed, the vehicle is useless for anything else besides plowing snow. Saving money on insurance may not be worth it if those extra pounds of equipment in front of your truck make it difficult to drive on the road, and you will likely end up in a ditch.
How much does the snow plow insurance michigan cost?
Whether you need general liability or commercial auto, snow plow insurance costs depend on various factors. These include where you live and the type of equipment you want to use, weight and size of your truck or van, etc.
Several typical elements that affect your snow removal costs are as follows:
Your location: Some insurance providers will provide a lower premium for residents in certain zip codes. It is often the case that areas with higher populations are likely to have a lower cost of snow removal.
Daytime hours: Certain insurance companies will provide you with a higher rate if you plow more at night than during the daytime. This provides many opportunities to save money on snow removal costs if you know this practice.
Coverage needs: Do you need to carry more than one policy? If so, you want to ensure that your prices do not become too high.
Policy type: Different companies offer a range of different policies. This includes different types of coverage for different types of snow removal equipment. Make sure to compare prices from various providers to find the best snow plow insurance policy at the best possible price.
Driving history: If you have a bad driving record, you could face higher insurance rates. Some companies will also examine your driving history to determine your premiums.
Claims history Employees: Some companies will also consider your status as an employee of the company you are looking to insure. While this factor is not necessarily related to the rate of your premiums, it may slightly increase them.
Your vehicles: Are you looking for a snow plow insurance policy for your truck or another vehicle? If so, you need to consider the vehicle’s size. Is it too large to be driven on the road without causing problems?
What are the Basic coverages in snow plow insurance in michigan?
The first step in getting snow plow insurance is determining what you need. Below are a few of the most common coverages you can get with a policy in Michigan.
This coverage will pay for damages to your truck or van. It can also pay for injuries and property damage caused by your vehicle when you are at fault. This policy covers your work cars and permanently connected plow equipment for liability and physical damage. In many areas, comprehensive seasonal coverage is an option that safeguards your car when it’s not in use.
It is one of the most common forms of snow removal insurance coverage. It covers damage to your property and the property of other people you contact in snow removal activities. This coverage will protect you from bodily injury, damage to property, and legal liabilities.
If you get into an accident while on the job, this coverage will help pay medical expenses related to an injury you may have sustained during your working hours. This policy also covers any legal expenses related to an injury that a member of your family may suffer while you are at work.
I’m thinking about snow plowing for business, am I covered?
Maybe but the problem is this. Before you can determine what kind of coverage you might or might not require, there are a few details you’ll need to select when you offer snow removal services. As follows:
- Are you going to plow commercial properties, residential driveways, parking lots, residential streets/roads, or highways?
- Will you be charging for these services?
- Will you have employees working with you and customers on your own?
- What types of equipment will you be using in your business?
- How many vehicles will you have (as more than one may require commercial auto insurance)?
If the snow removal company is a sole proprietorship, and there are no other employees but yourself, and you do not charge for services or use any other person’s property for plowing purposes – then only the general liability coverage may be necessary to cover potential claims that would otherwise.
Let’s dive deeper into the above question and their answers so that it may be possible to choose the best snow plow insurance in michigan.
Are you going to plow commercial properties, residential driveways, parking lots, residential streets/roads, or highways?
While some insurance providers are happy to provide liability coverage to contractors who plow streets and roads, they are not as comfortable doing so for contractors who plow commercial parking lots. Other insurance providers favor highway-only plow contractors. Some will allow you to plow a commercial driveway and use their vehicles for highway plowing, but most will require you to plow a small area of your property before you can start working on their network of streets.
Will you be charging for these services?
A plow contractor willing to hike rates may wish to set up his policy as an independent insurance agent. Insurers have no problems with this if the contractor has a valid Michigan contractor’s license and their company follows the state’s requirements. However, if you charge money for your services, it is worth determining whether that policy would cover your activities. Some insurance companies will only cover you if you offer free snow removal or have a commercial ice-melting operation.
Will you have employees working with you and customers on your own?
Snowplow contractors are often asset-rich and liability-poor. Consequently, many insurance companies offer coverage to contractors who provide services to their incumbent customers and develop partnerships with local governments. This is especially true of specialized snow removal companies such as Concrete Paving Services, which perform their work in conjunction with the concrete paving projects each city or county typically undertake during this time of year.
If you are a contractor with employees, you should plan to get some liability coverage and workers’ compensation insurance – even if your employees do not do any plowing work.
What types of equipment will you be using in your business?
Snowplow contractors often use several pieces of equipment to get the job done. This can include trucks, dump trucks, snow blowers, and plows. Snow removal contractors typically have three types of insurance coverage: business auto coverage for the trucks or vehicles they use, general liability coverage, and workers’ compensation for injuries their employees may experience. If a contractor works on private property, streets, or roads, his policy could cover all necessary equipment and services.
The best snow plow insurance in michigan is one that matches your needs. However, it is important to note that the coverage you choose will need to be proportional to the type and volume of services you provide. Remember, there are various options for what can be included in your snow plow insurance policy, so speak with an agent to ensure that your company’s needs are being met.
Q. What is the Michigan Snow Removal Act?
A. The Michigan Snow Removal Act provides that the Department of Transportation, or other appropriate government entity, do snow removal on highways and streets.
Q. Why is snow removal insurance so expensive?
A. Snow removal insurance (referred to as snow plow insurance) is very expensive for a few reasons. Snow Removal equipment is expensive and generally is not covered by the standard homeowner policies. These smaller jobs can be very lucrative for the contractor but do not pay enough to cover the cost of purchasing and operating the equipment necessary.
As such, your insurance company requires that you carry a much higher policy limit than your annual earnings would indicate would be necessary to cover your losses.
Q. Does Michigan require business insurance?
A. Except for workers’ compensation, company insurance is not mandated under Michigan state law. If a private employer has one or more employees who put in more than 35 hours per week, they must provide insurance. They are also subject to this law if they frequently employ three or more people at once.
Q. Is snow removal profitable?
A. Snow removal is one of the more profitable segments of the construction industry, with an average profit margin of 10 and 20%.
Q. What is the difference between snow plowing and snow removal?
A. Snow plowing is when the snow is removed from the street using a conveyor belt or roller and not allowing the snow to fall on top of the pavement. For example, plowing for a few hours at night and then removing it in the morning.
Snow removal is where you remove snow from an already cleared area, including removing that snow from your driveway, parking lots, or sidewalks. You are going to use your equipment if you are doing your property and if you are doing an existing business account.