From the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur

Is your company's vehicle insurance too high? The Insurance Information Institute reports rates are declining in some states, but medical costs are rising. Meanwhile, a recent National Highway Transportation Safety Administration survey reveals many drivers aren't aware that their coverage is insufficient until after an accident. Here's how you can reduce insurance costs:

  • Check your state's department of insurance for minimum insurance requirements. Check out www.ican2000.com/state.html for basic rate comparison surveys.
  • With your employees' written permission, ask your local Department of Motor Vehicles for driving records if you insure drivers. Poor driving records mean higher insurance costs.
  • Stress that if employees break the law--by speeding, for example-their actions can raise rates or cause lawsuits, putting your business in jeopardy.
  • Comparison shop on websites such as www.carsdirect.com and www.kbb.com. Use their on-screen calculators for free quotes. Be aware, however, that most sites work with specific insurance companies. If you use an insurance broker, ask if he's an agent for an insurance company. Not all brokers will direct you to the best deals unless they represent them.
  • Check for discounts on safety equipment such as extra airbags, backup warning systems and theft alarms.
  • If your salespeople use their own cars on business and you reimburse them for mileage, encourage them to add rental insurance to their personal policies--and reimburse them for the average annual premium of $25 as well. This preventive measure is less expensive than paying $300 to $500 a week for a replacement rental.
  • Pick the highest deductibles you can afford to keep the rates low. Buy as much liability as possible to protect your assets if you are sued. On older cars, consider lowering or dropping collision coverage.

Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 26 years.