Understanding Your Commercial Auto Policy: Covered Auto Symbols

Posted by Paula Johnson on December 1, 2017

When was the last time you looked at the covered auto symbols in your Business Auto Policy (BAP)? Did you know that the symbols entered in the Schedule of Coverages and Covered Autos sections designate the types of autos you have elected to cover? This is important to know because only covered autos are insured under your policy. The symbol selected determines whether you are provided with broad comprehensive coverage, substantially reduced coverages, or somewhere in between. Your insurance agent can review the covered auto symbols with you and make suggestions for any increased coverages. The meaning of each symbol is briefly explained below. Your Business Auto Policy includes a section that explains the meaning of each symbol as well.


First, it is important to note what an Auto is, per the Business Auto Policy CA 00 01 10 13 definitions.

  1. “Auto” means:

    a. Any land motor vehicle, “trailer” or semi-trailer designed for travel on public roads; or b. Any other land vehicle that is subject to a compulsory or financial responsibility law or other motor vehicle insurance law where it is licensed or principally garaged. However, “auto” does NOT include “mobile equipment”.

  2. “Mobile Equipment” means any of the following types of land vehicles, including any attached machinery or equipment: 1. Bulldozers, farm machinery, forklifts and other vehicles designed for use principally off public roads: 2. Vehicles maintained for use solely on or next to premises you own or rent: 3. Vehicles that travel on crawler treads; 4. Vehicles, whether self-propelled or not, maintained primarily to provide mobility to permanently mounted: a. power cranes, shovels, loaders, diggers or drills; or b. road construction or resurfacing equipment such as graders, scrapers or rollers: etc. (The description continues; refer to policy form for more.)


Next, we can interpret coverages the symbols afford:

Symbol 1: ANY Auto. Symbol 1 provides the broadest coverage, which includes all of the following

types of autos:

  1. Autos you own, including autos you acquire ownership of after the policy begins,
  2. Hired or leased autos, and
  3. Non-Owned Autos.

It is important to note that Symbol 1 can only be used to trigger auto liability coverage.

Symbol 2: Owned Autos Only. This includes private passenger autos you acquire ownership of after the policy begins.  

Symbol 3: Owned Private Passenger-Type Autos Only.   

Symbol 4: Owned Autos Other than Private Passenger-Type. This indicates commercial vehicles, including trucks, dump trucks, and rollback tow trucks.  

Symbol 5: Owned Autos Subject to No-Fault Coverage. These are only those autos you own that are required to have No-Fault benefits in the state where they are licensed or principally garaged.

Symbol 6: Owned Autos Subject to a Compulsory Uninsured Motorist Coverage Law. This particular symbol covers only autos you own, and because of the law in the state in which they are licensed or principally garaged, are required to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage.  

Symbol 7: Specifically Described Autos. Symbol 7 is the most restrictive, covering only those vehicles described in Item Three of the Declarations for which a premium charge is shown. Following the policy inception date, coverage for new vehicles acquired is very limited and offers only the coverages that are included on all autos you own.

Symbol 8: Hired Autos Only. Vehicles you hire, rent, lease, and borrow are included under Symbol 8. Exceptions are any vehicle you hire, rent, lease, or borrow from employees, partners, or members (as a limited liability company), or from members of these individuals’ households. Liability and physical damage coverage are options this symbol affords.

Symbol 9: Non-Owned Autos Only. Vehicles used in your business that you do not own, hire, rent, lease, or borrow are non-owned autos. Though these are used in your business, the vehicles are owned by partners or employees.

Symbol 19: Mobile Equipment. Though rarely needed, this symbol covers machines, such as bulldozers and forklifts, that are subject to a compulsory or financial responsibility law. Only those autos that are land vehicles and that would qualify under the definition of mobile equipment under this policy if they were not subject to a compulsory or financial responsibility law.

Not sure which symbol gives you the best coverage at the lowest cost for your company? We are happy to help our clients find the best covered auto symbols for their Business Auto Policy.

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