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School Bus Requirements for Auto Insurance

Here's what you need to know...
  • Requirements for insurance coverage of school buses vary according to state
  • Generally, the requirements for school buses are stricter than for other vehicles
  • There are several helpful resources when searching for school bus coverage
The auto insurance requirements for school buses vary from state to state, but they are generally much stricter than the auto insurance requirements for passenger vehicles.

Most states require that school bus insurance policies include extensive liability coverage for the driver, the passengers, and the school district.

Even if you purchase a converted school bus for personal use, you will still be responsible for additional insurance coverage due to the vehicle’s size and classification.

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Differences Between Auto Insurance for School Buses and Regular Vehicles

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School buses are classified differently from regular vehicles for two reasons.

  • Buses are categorized as a passenger transportation vehicle rather than a personal use vehicle
  • The number of passengers a school bus can hold requires a commercial driver’s license, not just a standard operator’s license

Even a converted school bus is classified as a commercial vehicle if it has seats for more than 14 passengers.

Therefore, the owner is responsible for commercial vehicle insurance, even if the bus is no longer being used for transporting students.

These policies are typically more expensive than traditional auto insurance policies.

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Why are the requirements for school bus auto insurance so strict?

Auto insurance for a school bus is required to cover a lot of liability. In most cases, the insurance policy must protect the driver, passengers, school department, and school district from liability in the event of an accident.

School buses are designed to transport up to 40 students at a time. Because so many people could be injured if a school bus is involved in an accident, the potential cost of the accident is much higher. As a result, increased coverage for liability is needed.

The cost of the insurance policy is largely determined by the dollar amount of liability coverage required.

Each state has varying regulations outlining the amount of liability coverage required for school bus car insurance.

Beyond the state regulations, there may be specific coverage guidelines outlined by the school district or even by a professional group that organizes the bus drivers and owners.

Where can I find state-specific information about the requirements for school bus insurance?

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There are both national and regional groups specifically geared towards helping owners and operators of school buses.

These groups gather news and information and can provide valuable insight about the business of student transportation, including insurance requirements.

Some of the most prominent national associations include:

These associations are a great starting place for overall guidance and information, but remember that you will need state- and region-specific information as well to make an informed decision about your policy needs.

Contact a local school district or transportation company to find the group operating in your area.

Contacting your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is also a smart first step. This office can give you the state’s guidelines for school bus insurance including minimum liability coverage if available.

Finally, be sure to also speak directly with a representative from the school district in which the bus will be operating.

Remember that the district may have specific requirements that are different from or even stricter than the state requirements.

To get started on finding the most competitive car insurance rates for school buses, enter your ZIP code into the box below now!

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