Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2021

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Key takeaways...

  • Bus drivers don’t carry a special type of auto insurance
  • The companies they drive for have commercial insurance policies that cover them in accidents
  • There are many types of insurance that cover buses
  • Bus drivers still need personal auto insurance when driving their own vehicles

When bus drivers take the wheel, they have more than their own safety to worry about. They have dozens, sometimes hundreds of passengers relying on them.

And the vehicle they operate is not your standard car or SUV. It’s big, heavy, unwieldy, and it can be a rolling death machine in the wrong hands.

Over 50 people die in bus accidents every year, and there are roughly 14,000 bus crashes annually.

That’s why it is important for bus drivers to be properly insured.

Bus drivers don’t buy special insurance policies to drive commercially. If you’re thinking of becoming a bus driver, you won’t have to carry any auto insurance beyond your personal policy.

Instead, the company you drive for carries insurance on your behalf. The specific types of insurance it has depends on a few factors. These factors include the value of their buses and how many passengers those buses carry.

Let’s discuss the most common types of insurance for bus companies.

If you regularly ride the bus and want to make sure you are insured, compare at least three to four policies today. Enter your ZIP code above to get the best auto insurance rates!

Liability Insurance


Liability insurance pays for damages when you are at fault in an auto accident; it doesn’t cover damage to your vehicle or person. Liability pays for damage you cause to another person or persons.

Almost all states require you to have liability coverage before you get behind the wheel. Required liability insurance is true no matter what kind of vehicle you drive, a bus or a small car.

If you forgo liability insurance, not only are you breaking the law, but if you have an accident, you’ll have to pay for the other person’s vehicle and medical bills out of pocket.

Bus companies usually carry two types of liability insurance: property damage coverage and bodily injury coverage.

Property Damage

Most accidents cause damage to personal property, including:

  • Vehicles
  • Buildings
  • Mailboxes, etc.

When you’re at fault in an accident, you’re responsible for paying for any property you damage that belongs to someone else.

If you lack proper insurance, the other party can demand you pay this money out of pocket. And if you can’t pay, they can sue to have your wages garnished or assets seized.

Property damage coverage protects you and your assets from any damage you cause in an at-fault accident.

Bodily Injury Coverage


Bodily injury coverage protects you in case you cause physical harm in an at-fault accident. A frequent example is whiplash.

Let’s say a car comes to a sudden stop in front of the bus you’re driving. The bus is massive and therefore can’t stop as fast as the car did. You slam into the back of it, and a few weeks later, the driver files a claim for whiplash.

Without bodily injury coverage, you could be on the hook for a huge dollar amount. By the time the patient rides in an ambulance to the emergency room, gets checked by their doctor, and, potentially, sees a chiropractor or physical therapist, the total cost can reach well into the tens of thousands.

Bodily injury coverage keeps that money from coming out of your pocket.

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Medical Payments (MedPay)

Medical payments coverage, or MedPay, is crucial for anyone operating a bus. MedPay provides insurance in case you cause an accident and passengers on your bus are injured; it also protects you, the driver, from having to pay for any injuries suffered out of pocket.

Moreover, most MedPay policies cover driver and passenger injuries even if the bus driver wasn’t at fault.

Let’s say another vehicle collides with the bus, and its driver lacks sufficient insurance. MedPay should pick up where the other driver’s coverage leaves off.

Physical Damage Coverage


A bus is an expensive vehicle. If it’s damaged in a crash, the company that owns it could be financially devastated.

Physical damage coverage protects the company in this situation and covers damage to the bus itself by paying the cost of repairs or replacement after an accident.

Two categories comprise physical damage insurance:

Collision insurance protects against damage to the bus from a collision. If you strike another vehicle while driving a bus or if you fail to negotiate a curve correctly and overturn the vehicle, collision coverage pays for the damage to the bus.

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage caused by events that aren’t car accidents. The two most common are theft and vandalism.

Comprehensive also comes into play for certain weather-related issues. If a tree falls on a bus during a bad thunderstorm, a good chance exists the company’s comprehensive policy will pay for the damages caused.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage


When the other driver is at fault in a bus accident, that driver’s insurance pays for damage to the bus and injuries to the bus driver and passengers.

But what if that driver doesn’t carry auto insurance? Or, alternatively, what if they carry insurance, but it’s a minimum coverage policy that’s nowhere near sufficient to pay for all the damages caused?

In a situation like this, uninsured motorist coverage takes over and pays for damages.

If a bus company elects not to have this coverage, it could find itself in a coverage gap when someone without insurance causes an accident with the bus.

The company’s insurance will probably deny the claim, stating — rightfully — that it’s the other driver’s responsibility. But, of course, the other driver can’t pay because they don’t have insurance.

It sounds unfair. After all, the person responsible for a crash should pay, right? But you can’t make money appear out of thin air. If the other driver has no insurance and can’t pay out of pocket, the bus company is probably stuck.

That’s why uninsured motorist coverage is so important.

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Driving for Personal Use

The policy your company has for you as a bus driver only applies when you’re driving the bus. When operating your own vehicle for personal use, you need your own insurance policy.

Your personal auto insurance can be the same kind of insurance you’d buy if you weren’t a bus driver. You don’t need a particular policy for commercial use because your policy isn’t for when you’re driving the bus. But you need to always have car insurance.

A conviction for driving without insurance can threaten your ability to maintain gainful employment as a bus driver.

Bus drivers need insurance for a variety of reasons. But they don’t have to buy it on their own. Bus companies usually maintain robust policies to cover accidents and mishaps.

Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto insurance and home insurance with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?”

Before making any big insurance decisions, use our free tool to compare insurance quotes near you. It’s simple, just plug in your zip code and we’ll do the rest!

If you are a bus driver in need of better auto insurance, start comparison shopping today and get the best rates for you! Enter your ZIP code below!