Choosing the Right Commercial Truck Insurance

While it’s great to have commercial truck insurance to protect your employees as well as your business, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right type of insurance and that you work with an agent who knows what she or he is doing to ensure you’re getting the protection and peace of mind you need. Here are a few tips for selecting the right trucking insurance.

You Have Control Over How Much You Pay

One of the first things you should realize is you have more control over the final price of your policy than you might realize. For instance, if your trucks are more expensive, you can expect your premiums to be more expensive as well, which makes perfect sense when you think about it. There’s also the fact that lighter trucks don’t cost as much to insure as heavier trucks.

How you use your trucks also influences how much your insurance will cost. Companies that are service-focused or specialize in retail purposes often don’t pay as much for coverage as businesses that deliver products and goods. While you most certainly shouldn’t base your business on how much you have to pay for insurance, such information is beneficial when determining the ongoing costs of your company.

Ask What Kind of Coverage You’ll Have

Because not all insurance companies operate the same way, clearly ask your agent what kind of coverage the truck insurance policies have. Some of the most common coverage types include:

  • Towing and labor costs
  • Bodily Injury & Property damage liability
  • Comprehensive & Collision coverage for damage done to  your vehicles.
  • Loading and unloading liability
  • Non-owned or Hired Auto coverage, in case you ever need to rent a vehicle
  • Medical payments

Here is where you want to be completely open and honest about the overall nature of your business, where your business is now and where you’d like to take your business in the future; let your agent get to know you and your trucking company inside and out. Make sure the insurance company can offer you the coverage you need.

Explore Your Payment Options

Your company finances will play a big part in how you pay for your insurance. While you can always pay your policy in monthly installments, it’s often less expensive to pay your annual premium in a single lump sum, mainly because insurance companies often offer discounts for doing so. Besides monthly and annually, you might also have the option of paying bi-annually. Once you know which paying option works best for you, see what options your agent  can offer so you get the best deal with the coverage you need. Speaking of which…

Determine How Much Liability Coverage You Need

Liability plays a big part in your insurance policy and your peace of mind if you ever have to file a claim. Again, here is where you want to offer full disclosure to your insurance agent about your business and your business operations. Once you know how much liability coverage you require, compare costs and specific coverage details with the insurance companies you’re considering.

Know Your Limits For General Liability

Another key to getting just the right truck coverage is to know your policy limits; specifically, your occurrence limit and your aggregate limit. Occurrence limit is how much you’ll pay to make a single claim while your aggregate limit is the full amount your coverage will pay for all claims made in a single year. This information helps you determine if you should make a claim for an incident, consider paying the damages on your own or seek a viable alternative without putting your coverage at risk.

Find Out About the Cost of Your Deductible

Because no insurance policy is complete without a deductible, find out what yours will be. While you can always raise the cost of your deductible to lower your insurance premiums, it shouldn’t be so high that you can’t actually afford to pay the deductible should you ever have to file a claim. In any case, it’s best that you always have enough saved up in a business account that you can easily and quickly pay your deductible if need be.

Know How the Claims Coverage Works

To get back to business as soon as possible after an accident, learn how to file a claim the right way and do so in a way that you stand the best chance of having your claim accepted.  Generally, it is best to seek  assistance in claim presentation from your agent.   . Additionally, ask if you can start the claim online or through a phone app to speed up the process in case an adjustor isn’t able to get out to you or your driver ASAP.

It might take some time to find the right truck insurance, but the hard work is certainly worth it. Use these tips and your own judgment to find the best fit.

Trucking Insurance – How does it Work?

Most people don’t understand trucking insurance and haven’t done enough research before buying insurance. When it comes to trucking insurance, business owners have even more options. Let’s discuss the different types of insurance so that when you are ready to buy or renew your business insurance, you will have an idea of what types of insurance will fit into your business plan and goals.

Four main types of commercial truck insurance:

  • Liability insurance (Auto & General) pays for damages you cause. This insurance is usually required by law and is not an option.
  • Bobtail insurance, which is sometimes referred to as non-trucking liability, is a voluntary type of insurance that covers your truck when you’re not under dispatch.
  • Motor truck cargo covers the freight you are pulling. Although this insurance is not required by law, the shipping company may require it.
  • Physical damage coverage bases the premium on the value of the equipment. Your lienholder may require it, but generally it is not required by law. This type of coverage protects your truck against fire, theft and other types of damage. Ask your agent what is allowed and what is excluded. Always understand your policy.

Your business may want to consider these other types of trucking-related insurance coverage:

  • Non-owned trailer liability and physical damage are policies that protect the trailer if it belongs to someone else.
  • Terminal coverage protects freight which is stored at specified terminals for a specified time frame, generally 48 to 72 hours.
  • Warehouse legal protects goods that are stored for a longer time at that the terminal coverage and for which a storage is charge is made. The amount of coverage you want is based on the amount of goods stored. Workers Compensation and/or Occupational Accident Injury Coverage to protect the individuals employed or contracted with.

Obviously, if you never store goods or you own your own trailer, you won’t necessarily be concerned about some of these types of insurance. However, it is good to know that these policies are available to protect your risk exposure. Western Truck Insurance Services is always happy to answer any of your questions about insurance to give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Saving Money on Your Trucking Insurance

Unfortunately, trucking insurance is one of the largest fixed costs of any trucking business. It’s a very important aspect of your business plan. It makes sense to work with your agent or broker to find the best coverage at the best rates to protect the future of your business and family. Although insurance can seem very costly each year, consider how much it would cost to replace your truck or cover the medical bills of a family injured in an accident. Here are some ways to get the best deals on your insurance:

  • Ask for fixed premiums.
  • Pay your insurance up front instead of in installments.
  • Ask if the insurance company has various discounts for various situations.
  • Talk to your insurer about a safety program. Many times, your insurer will help you put policies and procedures to help you run a better program.
  • Your insurer may also give a discount if your company has a written maintenance plan and a good history of looking after your vehicles.
  • Don’t overstate the value of your truck, hoping to get a better deal if it’s damaged in an accident.
  • It may not be cost-effective to have physical damage coverage on older, low value, vehicles.
  • You may also keep your premiums lower by watching your driving records closely. Make sure drivers obey traffic laws to prevent having traffic offences from accruing.
  • Talk to your insurer about where you keep your trucks, especially when parked overnight. A riskier area of the community may mean higher premiums.
  • As your vehicles get older, you may want to look at upgrading to safer and newer equipment.

Trucking insurance might be expensive, but it’s because trucks are expensive and accidents can be very costly;  especially in today’s litigious society. Trucks often carry valuable cargo which are also  subject to expensive losses.

Now that you understand the types of coverage and some of the factors that go into the costs associated with insurance, you can make better decisions about your own policies to cover your business.

Why Commercial Truck Insurance is Essential

There are many reasons that finding the right commercial truck insurance is vital to the success of your business. Transportation insurance is multifaceted, so one of the most important parts of finding coverage is choosing the right insurance provider. You want to choose a company that offers the protection you need for an affordable cost. It’s also important to work with professionals who understand the industry, so you can rely on them for accurate advice, helpful tips, and support for your company. Here at Western Truck Insurance Services, we want to help you navigate the complex workings of truck insurance. Here are some important reasons to make sure you have the right coverage.

1. Insurance Is Required by Law

Perhaps the most important reason commercial vehicle insurance is essential is that it is legally required. If you are found to be without the right type of insurance coverage, you can face significant fines and legal actions. You may even be penalized in a way that threatens your ability to continue operating your transportation business.

2. Insurance Is a Large Business Expense

Aside from the actual cost of your vehicles and fuel  your commercial insurance policy is likely going to be one of the largest expenses of your business every year. You may think that choosing the least expensive policy is a smart business move, but having the wrong type of insurance can end up costing you significantly more, as  in the case of an accident or theft. You want your policy to have enough coverage that you can quickly and easily recover financially from an accident. However, you don’t want to be paying for coverage you don’t need. The right policy will balance coverage with cost in a way that’s customized for your company.

3. Insurance Covers More Than Accidents

While it is vital to have insurance to cover the expenses involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are many other aspects to commercial truck coverage. Most policies are designed to provide protection in the event of damage or loss to your   truck, trailer, and/or cargo. Insurance  also covers damage to others parties vehicles, and property affected by the accident. Here is a basic breakdown of the different types of commercial vehicle insurance:

  • Liability: Coverage for damage to other parties involved in an incident. If your truck causes bodily injury or damages to other vehicles, buildings, or other sort of property, the liability policy would provide funds to pay the injured party.
  • Physical Damage: Protection for your equipment damage due to numerous causes, such as severe weather, theft, or damage inflicted by another vehicle or person.
  • Cargo Insurance: Coverage for the items being transported.. This type of policy can provide coverage in the event cargo is damaged during an accident or stolen during transport.
  • Reefer Insurance: Additional coverage related to the refrigeration system.. This doesn’t cover repairs to the motor, but does provide coverage for damage done by failure of the reefer unit to maintain the temperature.
  • Bobtail Insurance: Liability Protection, called non-trucking liability, for times when the tractor is in operation without a trailer. This is usually recommended for owner/operators who take their rigs home during off hours and vacations.

4. Additional Services Can Make Your Life Easier

Some insurance providers offer roadside assistance coverage for commercial truckers. These policies are generally inexpensive but can save time, money, and frustration for trucking professionals. The exact coverage details will vary depending on the provider and the policy, but most programs include numerous benefits, such as:

  • Concierge service to find truck stops, lodging, restaurants, and more
  • Tire replacement assistance
  • Roadside assistance for multiple situations
  • Towing
  • Mobile mechanic services
  • Jump starts
  • Fuel delivery
  • Locksmith services
  • Navigation assistance
  • Truck rental help

In most cases, adding a roadside assistance package provides numerous advantages with a huge savings over a regular tow bill. significantly.

5. Insurance Protects Your Livelihood

The right commercial truck insurance policy helps protect your business from financial difficulties due to accidents, theft, or other disasters. Additionally, a good insurance policy can help you maintain the excellent reputation you’ve worked hard to build. Savvy clients will be sure to ask about the details of your insurance policy, and you want to be able to tell them about your trustworthy coverage. You can also count on an experienced insurance professional to help you return to normal operations as soon as possible after an incident, further cementing your company’s reputation for reliable service.

Find the Right Transport Insurance Company

To find the right transport insurance company is about more than just checking to make sure your type of vehicle or cargo is covered. You want to find a provider that will partner with you to design customized policies that will give you the protection you need without stretching your budget. Whether you transport cargo and/or manage a fleet of trucks, having the right insurance is crucial to protect yourself, your company, and your profits. Here at Western Truck Insurance Services, we are here to provide the support you need to keep your business moving.

Who Needs Transport Insurance?

A trucking company transporting goods requires transport insurance to protect both the vehicle and the cargo. What about Companies who transport their own goods?  The details will vary slightly in each individual case, but generally, there are policies designed for cargo owners and those designed for transportation providers.

Property insurance policies for manufacturers, distributors, wholesale companies, and retailers generally cover the property during transportation. These policies are designed to protect the businesses in the event of an accident or theft or other loss.

There are also cargo and logistics insurance policies designed to protect transport providers and carriers. These policies are typically recommended for motor carriers, freight forwarders, and logistics service providers. Certain types of insurance coverage are usually required by state laws, and there may be additional liability issues to consider. There are many options and requirements for this type of insurance, which is why working with an experienced transport insurance provider can be so helpful for your business.

What Type of Transport Insurance Do You Need?

While it may seem that the term “transport insurance” covers just about any sort of trucking operation, there are many different types of coverage available. It’s essential to make sure you have coverage for your unique transportation business. There are numerous factors that affect the type of coverage and policy you need. For example, several important aspects of your business include:

  • Whether you operate in a single state or many
  • Whether you transport owned goods, non-owned goods, or a combination of both
  • Whether you haul hazardous materials
  • What type and capacity of truck is being operated.
  • Whether you have to comply with certain state licensing and financial responsibility requirements

These are just a few of the things that can affect the type and kind of policy and level of coverage you need from your transport insurance company. It’s essential to work with a knowledgeable insurance professional who can help you determine the right products for your company.

What Does Transport Insurance Cover?

When you work with Western Truck Insurance Services, we customize a policy to meet your unique business needs. The exact coverage will depend on the details of your business, but most insurance policies relate to the following coverage:

  • Auto and General Liability: Protect motor carriers or for-hire truckers by providing  coverage for injuries, property damage, medical payments, and advertising liability.
  • Motor Carrier Insurance: This type of liability coverage is important if you use permanently leased independent contractors for your company.
  • Motor Truck Cargo Insurance: This covers freight liability for cargo and is generally required for for-hire truckers. Policies can cover loss due to fire, theft, and collision, and may also cover debris removal and legal defense.

There are several additional types of transport coverage you may need to include in your policy:

  • Garage Liability Coverage
  • Real Property and Business Personal Property Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Coverage
  • Occupational Accident Insurance
  • Non-Trucking Liability Insurance
  • Warehouse Legal Liability
  • Physical Damage Insurance
  • Crime Coverage
  • Passenger Accident Insurance
  • Trailer Interchange Insurance

Is There Insurance to Cover Theft During Transportation?

Transport insurance for cargo may be categorized into two types: accident and theft. When you are choosing an insurance company, it’s a good idea to make sure your provider offers both types of insurance to protect your goods. Transportation of goods and passengers carries risks in every part of the world, and it’s essential to make sure your assets are covered in the event of an accident or loss due to criminal activity.

Additional Considerations When Choosing a Transport Insurance Company

Whether you are looking for insurance to cover your cargo during transportation or need insurance for your own fleet of trucks, the right policy can keep your company afloat during difficult circumstances. The legal requirements for transport insurance can be complicated, and there are numerous types of coverage to consider, so one of the most important aspects of choosing a provider is industry knowledge. Choose a provider with years of experience in transport insurance, with professionals who keep up with current trends and issues affecting the industry. When it comes time to choose or update your policy, you can rely on this expertise to make sure you have the right coverage.

Auto-Issued DOT Numbers- What We’ve Seen and What You Can Do

We’ve been seeing something a little strange lately here at Western Truck Insurance Services and we wanted to keep all of our loyal clients informed. We haven’t seen much information about this online, but it is something that several clients have experienced. If you’re having problems with this, or with anything else relating to your insurance, give us a call and we’ll happily help you sort things out.

Last year all clients with a California MCP # only were automatically issued a DOT #. We believe that the California DMV forwarded the information to the FMCSA for the applications. The problem is, much of this information was outdated. We had clients receiving their DOT # with an incorrect address, old registration information, etc. These clients never asked for or applied for this number. It was automatically issued to them. The California DMV is trying to transition to using DOT #s and provided this information to the FMCSA from their last update, but if things changed during the year, the information was outdated.

What Can Be Done?

If this happened to you, or happens to you in the future, what can you do? If you have insurance through Western Truck Insurance Services, get in touch with us and we’ll help you sort things out. This is what we’re suggesting:

  • Go online and check your information. This would typically be at the FMCSA website (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration). You can also call them at 800-832-5660.
  • Order your PIN for future updates. This allows you to update online in the future.
  • Print the MCS 150 page.
  • Call your insurance agent and discuss how to fill everything out properly. This is very important. Make sure things are filled out correctly to avoid future problems down the road. Please call us first!
  • Fax/mail in the documentation and keep a copy for yourself.
  • This is the first time we’ve seen something like this happen, but as the transition goes through, we’ll be here to help you with this and all of your other insurance needs. Get in touch anytime you have a question. We’re here to help you ‘Travel with Care’.

Are Your Truck Insurance Rates Increasing? Here’s Why.

Truck insurance rates are skyrocketing and the reason is nuclear. We’re not talking about atomic energy, but rather a recent phenomenon in truck insurance known as ‘nuclear’ verdicts. These verdicts are shaking up the insurance industry, causing longtime truck insurers to exit the market, and making it harder and more expensive to get coverage. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are ‘Nuclear’ Verdicts?

When you purchase truck insurance you’re hoping to never have to use it, but unfortunately accidents do happen. Occasionally, when the accident is severe, your insurance company will need to negotiate a settlement on your behalf or head to court. Years ago these settlements were easy to predict, often covering lost wages or hospital bills, but things are changing. Jurys are awarding record-breaking settlements, often millions of dollars higher than lost wages alone. These super-size settlements are known as ‘nuclear’ verdicts and they have the potential to decimate profits for insurers. Since ‘nuclear’ verdicts aren’t predictable, insurers have a difficult time estimating risk and have the potential to lose millions, or even hundreds of millions, on a single claim.

How Are ‘Nuclear’ Verdicts Impacting the Truck Insurance Industry?

The unknown behind ‘nuclear’ verdicts is making truck insurance an unprofitable venture for many insurers, even some of the industry’s biggest. Major insurers including AIG and Zurich Insurance Group AG have chosen to stop offering insurance to for-hire fleets. Other insurers are hiking premiums to keep up with the increased risks and costs. Premiums have increased 10% to 30%.

Trucking companies are already spending a great deal on insurance and the extra expenses will be hard for many fleets, especially smaller ones. In 2015 the average U.S. trucking company spent just over nine cents a mile on insurance premiums. That number is expected to be much higher for 2016.

What Can You Do?

There is little that drivers and trucking companies can do to fight against price increases due to ‘nuclear’ verdicts. We’re working hard to continue to provide the best coverage possible and at the best rates. We work with many of the industry’s top insurers to ensure you’re getting the coverage you need. A stellar driving record and a clean DOT safety record can also help you to lower your rates. Focus on what you can change and strive to keep your record as clean as possible. Learn more about ‘nuclear verdicts’ from this article from the Wall Street Journal.

If you have any questions, get in touch. We’re here to help you ‘Travel with Care’ and that’s one constant you can count on in a changing truck insurance industry.