Trucking Insurance 101
Trucking insurance is mostly hassle free and a lot of times put on the back burner of a company’s priorities. Yet, insurance and your exposure to risk should be something to think about. Here’s what you need to know about commercial trucking insurance and how you can maximize your protection.
When it comes to defending yourself from liability (or risk), prevention is your best defense. Even if the other guy is clearly at fault in an accident, the truck driver and trucking company usually end up as the defendant. In cases involving truckers, attorneys like to paint the trucking company as the bad guys and as negligent in the hiring of their drivers.
Steps you can take to protect your company from a negligence lawsuit:
- Create squeaky clean safety programs based on strict adherence to federal regulations.
- Regularly perform vehicle maintenance and inspections while maintaining records.
- Make sure you are pre-screening your candidates and performing extensive background checks. The truck driver can make or break you in big cases. Look for any red flags in their history.
- Avoid the argument of truck driver fatigue. Maintain your log books and keep your gas receipts as proof of proper rest. Go above and beyond and maintain programs that encourage health and fitness.
- Create a list for your drivers for what to do in an accident and don’t delay in talking to your insurance company and initiating an investigation. Here are some tips:
- If possible don’t move the vehicles
- Don’t discuss the accident with the other driver, save that for the police.
- Don’t admit guilt.
- Do jot down information of what happened and road conditions.
- Take pictures.
- And stay cool!
Now that you have some tips on protecting yourself from a hefty lawsuit, let’s look at what trucking insurance you might need and how to save money.
How to save
There is no easy formula for calculating rates in the commercial insurance industry. Each business and their needs is completely unique. However, there are some proven ways to save money on insurance.
- Look at higher deductibles. Insurance companies don’t like dealing with small claims and are more likely to pass on the savings to you for higher premiums. But be cautions, as higher deductibles mean you assume more of the risk. It’s all about finding that perfect balance. Take a look at your past claims and loss records to help you determine the best level. Smaller owner operators tend to venture on the lower premium to assume less risk while larger fleets have a larger history and can better gauge their risk.
- Consider a package plan. Place several types of business insurance with one company. This reduces cost and results in savings passed on to you.
- Be loyal. Find a company that provides good service at reasonable rates and stay with them. If you have a good track record, in most cases, if you experience one unfortunate accident your rates won’t skyrocket.
- Drive safe and avoid tickets. This one may be obvious but you’ll save on insurance cost if you are a safe driver and don’t rack up speeding tickets. Insurance is all about risk assessment so present yourself as a riskless driver/company. Now you know how to save but what type of coverage do you need?
Types of Coverage
Trucking insurance is more complex than regular car insurance. Make sure you protect yourself in all situations. Here are the main insurance coverage's you’ll want to consider.
- Bodily Injuiry/Property Damage: In theory, liability laws protect us from the negligence of others. However, Truckers are targets and Attorneys know that, by law, commercial truck operators must carry large amounts of liability insurance; thus big trucks are logical candidates for big liability suits. Professionals recommend a minimum of $1 Million for nonhazardous material haulers.
- Owner-Operator Liability: The most common coverage is nontrucking or “bobtail” insurance that provides liability protection when the owner-operator isn’t under dispatch by another carrier. What happens if you get in an accident on your way home?
- Physical Damage: These policies pay for repair and replacement of your own trucks and trailers if they’ve been damaged by fire, theft, collision with another vehicle or other accidents.
- Workers Compensation: All 50 states require most employers to provide workers compensation benefits to employees who are injured as a result of on-the-job accident.
- Cargo Insurance: Federal regulations require common carriers to have insurance of $5,000 for loss of or damage to property carried on any one motor vehicle, and $10,000 for loss of or damage to property occurring at any one time and place. Most cargo insurance limits today, however, are dictated by shipper requirements
- Other Insurances to Consider
- General Liability
- Business Property
- Uninsured Motorist
- Pollution Cleanup
- Business Interruptions
- Personal Injury Protection
TEC Equipment - Insurance is a full-service commercial agency committed to giving you the highest quality trucking insurance products available. So whether you are an owner/operator or manage a full fleet, with our strong insurance carrier partnerships we offer a wide variety of trucking insurance products and services to give you the best fit for what you need.
Finding a reliable insurance agent to look out for the needs of your trucking company is essential in today’s market. By placing your trust with TEC Equipment, you can look forward to the attention and dedication our clients have enjoyed for many years. Call us today and see what 40 years in the trucking industry can do for you and your commercial insurance needs.
TEC Equipment - Insurance is licensed to insure trucks garaged in any of 26 states, while supporting interstate long-haul operations in all 48 continental states and Canada.