So you’ve made the decision to become an owner and operator rather than work for another company. Congratulations are most certainly in order, but you’ll want to proceed with caution to maximize the opportunity before you. One of the first tasks to take care of is to secure owner operator insurance. Just like insuring your car or your health is intended to bring you peace of mind, the same applies to getting insurance for your truck as well as your new business.
Don’t Rely on Your Broker or Insurance Agent 100 Percent
While insurance brokers and agents can most certainly help you find the perfect plan for your truck insurance requirements, you shouldn’t leave everything up to them. Instead, it’s better that you familiarize yourself with the different types of truck coverage, how they work and whether you truly need them. Agents and brokers are undeniably helpful, but they can also prove to be great teachers. You don’t have to become an insurance expert, but you should make yourself as knowledgeable as possible.
Learn the Basics
Part of getting the most out of your truck insurance is knowing all the options available to you for coverage. Some of the essentials common to policyholders everywhere include:
- Under/Uninsured Motorist Coverage – In the event you get into an accident with a motorist who doesn’t have coverage and is at fault for the incident, you’ll need under/uninsured motorist insurance to make sure you aren’t paying for someone else’s oversight out of your own pocket.
- General Liability Coverage – Say you’re on someone else’s property and accidentally cause damage to that property. Such instances that take place on truck stops, loading docks and the like fall under liability coverage. Additionally, this type of insurance takes care of mistakes made while making a delivery.
- Physical Damage Coverage – Should someone damage or steal your truck, you’ll be glad to have physical damage included in your policy, which handles the repair and replacement of your equipment.
- Primary Liability Coverage – No matter how great and careful of a driver you are, no one is immune from making mistakes. Should you physically harm someone else during the course of business, your primary liability coverage is intended to take care of the resulting medical bills.
- Motor Truck Cargo Coverage – With this, you’ll be covered in the event you have a refrigeration mishap, have your cargo stolen or experience a wet load. Here, you want to make sure your insurance agent provides you with a broad form policy rather than a specified peril policy.
What You Can Expect to Pay
Rather than focusing on the overall price of insuring your truck, you should instead pay close attention to what’s included in the quote and the policy. You don’t want to save money upfront only to have to spend much more later on out of pocket because of gaps in your coverage. Because deductibles are often a major part of getting the claims process started and saving money on your policy, make sure you know just what kind of deductible your plan has. For instance, will you have three separate deductibles for your cargo, trailer and truck, or just a single deductible cost for all three? While one policy might be more expensive, you could end up shelling out a lot more for another “less expensive” policy that has three different $1,500 deductibles.
Understand the Conditions of Your Coverage
While you’re checking off each type of basic coverage, dig deeper into what’s included with the coverage provided by each insurer. For instance, going back to the specified and broad form policies described above, if the incident that caused you to file a claim in the first place doesn’t fall within specific conditions listed on your policy, paying for damages will likely be entirely left up to you. Because it’s impossible to know when you’ll need to file a claim and why you’ll need to file a claim, both you and your finances are likely much better off with generous coverage.
Your Agent Should Be Familiar With Your Industry
Just like you want to familiarize yourself with the insurance industry, your agent should know a few things about the trucking industry. This is because your agent will have a better idea of the types of incidents, accidents and worries truckers have, which allows them to offer them better coverage and better service. Taking your insurance needs to an agent who doesn’t know about your industry is like taking your truck to a cardiologist for repairs.
Do your due diligence when it comes to insuring your new owner-operator venture. Your efforts are sure to serve you and your truck well on the road ahead.