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trucker insurance rates

How Independent Truckers Can Lower Their Insurance Rates

By | Insurance Insights | No Comments

If you drive a commercial truck, you know that insurance rates have risen dramatically over the past few years. Running a successful business means keeping costs down. With higher premiums as the new norm for independent truck drivers and industry management, new approaches to insurance and insurance risks are essential.

 

Why Insurance Rates Rise

Your premiums are pooled with those of others paying for the same type of insurance. In theory, this gives the insurance companies the financial strength to cover large payouts. Unfortunately, things don’t always work that way.

Recently, a dire situation arrived at the doors of those providing insurance for independent truck drivers. As reported on TRUCKS, 2016 brought much higher-than-expected number claims involving commercial vehicles. The payouts depleted the cash reserves of an alarming number of insurance carriers. This caused such a drastic loss in profits, insurers reported their worst economic performance in fifteen years.

In response to the elevated risk, insurers raised their rates. They also started charging even higher premiums for new drivers, categorizing them as “high risk.” 

 

The Challenge of Lowering Insurance Rates for Truckers

Faced with these challenges, how do independent truckers lower their insurance rates? Insurance companies have to not only cover the costs of doing business, they must show profits year-over-year, so a raise in rates after a red-line year like 2016 was inevitable. The lesson here is that lowering your risk has everything to do with lowering your rates. This moves safety to the front of the line when it comes to lowering insurance rates.

 

Truck Improvements

One way to increase safety involves improvements to the vehicles themselves. Many of the injuries and damages that occur in trucking happen on the receiving end–that is, to those driving smaller vehicles that collide with trucks. Finding ways to reduce those damages has inspired safety experts and truck trailer manufacturers to create improved underride guards, the bars that prevent smaller vehicles from driving underneath tractor trailers. According to TRUCKS, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently honored a number of truck manufacturers for improving the strength of their underride guards.

 

Safety Cameras on Trucks

FleetOwner reports many truckers and trucking companies are installing cameras on their vehicles. Safety cameras help drivers maintain best driving practices, which results in fewer accidents and helps keep insurance costs lower. These cameras also help record who is to blame during accidents. This prevents frivolous lawsuits brought against truckers and trucking companies, which also lowers insurance costs. 

 

Taking Control of Costs for Independent Truckers Insurance

An understanding of how insurance companies work and the challenges they face will help independent truckers to lower their insurance rates. A safety-minded driver with a similar minded team can prevent significant losses. Improved truck features, like stronger underride guards and safety cameras, will also help lower insurance premiums. When it comes to truckers’ insurance, understanding how the system works and that you can do something about it provides a welcome measure of control.

 

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

prepare your drivers

How to Prepare Your Drivers in Case of an Accident

By | Commercial Lines, Insurance Insights | No Comments

Things are going great for your company. You’re meeting deadlines, making revenue goals, and growing your team. It’s easy to develop an attitude that the worst won’t happen. But the road is a dangerous place. Driving a commercial truck is, at times, like maneuvering an obstacle course. Even when you take steps to keep your drivers safe, accidents happen. The best thing you can do is to prepare. Besides checking that you have sufficient, trustworthy insurance, prepare your drivers. Make sure they know how to respond in this rare but highly stressful situation.

 

Prevention is Best

Preventing accidents should be your motto, no matter who’s at fault, a scratch or fatality. Discuss with drivers ways to stay alert on the road and not take unnecessary risks. Provide drivers with a 24-hour first point of contact list at your company.

Truckers are often in a rush to meet a deadline, and this can result in pushing themselves to drive past their limits. Truck drivers might think they are capable of operating with little sleep, but the DOT found that 87% of trucker-caused crashes were due to driver fatigue. Make sure your drivers adhere to FMCSA regulations by driving a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive work days, and 10 hours after eight straight hours off-duty.

Another major contributor to all auto accidents is cell phone usage. Set and routinely explain policies prohibiting cell phone use while driving. Include other distractions, too, like eating on the road.

 

In Case of an Accident

Everything that happens following an accident, such as dealing with insurance, is easier if your drivers react appropriately. Here are steps to request of your drivers if they get in an accident.

Keep calm and turn on your hazards. Take a deep breath and do not move. While mentally assessing the situation, remind yourself that you are a professional and still representing your company.

  1. Do not admit fault! You may want to say, “I’m sorry” even when you did nothing wrong, but this could be used against you in court.
  2. Do not move. Leave your truck at the crash site unless police instruct you otherwise. Also, never purposefully park the truck as a barricade in any situation.
  3. Put out reflectors as soon as you’re able. One reflector goes 10 feet behind the vehicle and a second 100 feet behind.
  4. Call 911. If you cannot operate your phone, ask multiple people to get help. Do not rely on one person who says they are going to get help.
  5. Collect information. Don’t focus on this step too much, as it can be seen as coercion if excessive or aggressive. Get the name, address, and phone number of any witnesses. At minimum, take a photo or write down license plate numbers of involved vehicles.
  6. Call the company. Report what happened clearly, accurately, and without defensiveness. They will likely contact the insurance company for you.
  7. Take photos. Capture as many images as you can of the accident and damage to either your truck or another vehicle. Also, include skid marks or vehicle positions, signals, and anything that may deem useful. A smartphone is great for this as it timestamps the images.

It’s up to your company to decide whether or not to provide first aid training. It would seem very reasonable and responsible if you do, especially in a courtroom. If you do, be sure to provide proper training and first-aid kits.

 

Other Tips for Truck Drivers

After ensuring everyone involved is safe and unharmed, and taking care of the above necessary steps, it’s a good idea to check your cargo. If you were hauling anything dangerous, get the road flares out sooner than later to keep traffic from harm.

Cooperate with any police officers at the scene. Agree to blood and alcohol tests if they ask. If you were operating by the law and, depending on the severity of the accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing your CDL, but may require review.

Make sure your drivers and trucks are covered and secure. Call Brooker Transportation Agency at 440-238-5454 for comprehensive truck insurance, as well as; bus, motor coach, limousine, charter and tour company, school bus, public transit, and more.

 

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

Employment Practices Liability Insurance

By | Commercial Lines, Coverages, Insurance Insights | No Comments
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) is something that you may want to consider as you look at the coverages on your current policy. It turns out that sixty to seventy percent of companies do not have EPLI or think that their current policy covers them when it really does not. Our goal today is to promote awareness in regard to this important coverage to help you make an informed decision as you review your policy with your agent.
APLI covers your business in case you face a lawsuit in regard to your employees. For instance, it might be an issue related to hiring malpractice, inappropriate background checks, wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, or other similar matters. The lawsuits related to these kinds of matters are rising by approximately 400% ins one years. Many companies believe that this type of liability is covered under their General Liability policy, but that is often not the case.
It is so important that, at Brooker Insurance, we are talking about EPLI with each and every commercial client we meet for an insurance review. We encourage you to talk to your trusted agent or broker about it as well.

“Sixty to seventy percent of companies do not have EPLI!”

Target Premium

By | Commercial Lines, Insurance Insights, Premium | No Comments
When working with an insurance underwriter in regard to your insurance, your insurance broker may provide a target premium amount. That amount may be related to a number you provide or it may be determined by the broker in accordance with what would be best for you, the customer. At other times, it may simply be that the broker asks the underwriter at the insurance carrier to provide the very best rate possible.
The takeaway point is that it is in the insured’s best interest to have a target. That is why, if you are shopping for insurance, your new broker may ask you what you have been paying in the past. This allows him or her to help determine a good target to pass along to the carrier. It maximizes the possibility that the carrier will provide aggressive and favorable pricing back to you.
In the end, you want a target that is not too high or not too low. Something that is too low may simply mean that the underwriter walks away and does not provide a quote. That is why an experienced broker can be your best advocate in gaining the best coverage at the right price.

“The takeaway point is that it is in the insured’s best interest to have a target.”