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Has Your Company Grown Enough to Save on Insurance?

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Insurance is an essential component of running a transportation business, whether you’re a big company or small. With insurance, you get peace of mind for yourself as well as your drivers. But, like anything, insurance costs money and you may be asking yourself questions like:

“How much is too much?”

“Does owner operated insurance make more sense?”

“Can I afford umbrella insurance?”

“Has my company grown enough to save on bundled insurance?

A qualified agent can help you sort through different insurance policies and answer these questions. For right now, we’ll focus on the last one.

 

Any More Than One is a Fleet

Fleet insurance assesses and evaluates the risks for the entire fleet since these risks are unique compared to owning a single truck. You’ll need to speak with an insurance agent to determine which policy is right for you and the costs associated. Your insurance agent will likely ask questions like:

  1. What do you haul?
  2. How far do you typically drive?
  3. How much is your truck worth?
  4. Your age and CDL experience

The average semi truck insurance costs between $3,000 and $5,000 a year for owner operators that lease on to a motor carrier. Motor carriers require the owner-operators to purchase bobtail or NTL insurance. Meaning that truckers with their own authority will be responsible for primary liability. Let’s take a look at it in numbers:

  • Primary liability average cost is between $5,000 and $7,000
  • General liability average cost is between $500-$600
  • Umbrella policy average cost is between $500-$700
  • Cargo insurance average varies by state and load.

With owner operated insurance costing your drivers anywhere between $8,000 and $14,000 annually, your drivers may not be able to afford insurance on their own. As a result, you may lose longtime drivers and potential drivers may be deterred by the cost. Your insurance broker will be able to give you different quotes for different coverages. Just note that Primary Liability is required by law and Cargo Insurance are all required by carriers.

 

Benefits of Fleet Insurance

Of course, you train your drivers well and prepare them for challenges. Still, your drivers, like any drivers on the road, are subject to dangers posed by others as well as threats like theft. Having fleet insurance can help protect your goods and cargo in the event that your driver’s load is stolen.

Trucking insurance doesn’t just keep your drivers safe, it keeps your cargo safe too. Loss of revenue is one of the fastest ways to hinder growth. With the right insurance, you can get your vehicles back on the road faster and recoup any losses associated with cargo damage.

Most insurance companies offer additional education and training for drivers under their policies to ensure that they have the right knowledge to operate a rig. And there’s no such thing as a driver with too much training. Ask about any discounts they may offer for your drivers under their training programs.

 

Stay Protected

Keeping pace with change can feel stressful, but nowhere is it more important than with insurance. Conduct an audit of your insurance needs and current coverage, at least once per year. As you grow or change, you must make sure you keep your insurance coverage up-to-date.

With over 80 years of experience, Brooker Insurance Agency can help your fleet stay protected and get home safe. As the experts, we can help you find the right policy and payment plans to suit you and your business’ needs. Contact us today to get a quote and talk with one of our experts.

 

insuring delivery drivers

What You Need to Know About Insuring Delivery Drivers

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Drivers in any state are required to carry adequate insurance to cover any type of driving they do. While you might think that would settle the issue of responsibility in the case of an accident it’s not quite that simple. Several scenarios and reasons exist where the drivers do not receive the brunt of the attention. That remains true even when they caused the accidents. If your business relies on delivery drivers, learn what you need to know about insuring them.

 

How Laws Name Employers Liable for Employee Crashes

The legal principle that holds employers responsible for employee crashes is respondeat superior, defined by FindLaw here. Much like an employee injury on the job site, such as in a factory or on a showroom floor, the law sees the delivery person as on-the-job. That means, regardless of where they are, they are working for you. According to the law, they are at work. Therefore, the laws that make you responsible for an employee slip-and-fall also make you responsible for a car accident with a delivery driver. How much responsibility do you have to shoulder? That is debatable and can go case by case. While you might not have to carry any of the responsibility in some cases, the door that leads to you is open.

 

How Responsible Are You for Your Delivery Driver Accidents?

If your delivery driver is carrying adequate insurance, you might be off the hook entirely. Does that sound like a good idea? It does to us too. If your driver’s insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the accident, then you will probably have to bear some of the financial responsibility. That can happen if the damage or injuries are especially egregious and therefore costly. It can also happen if your drivers don’t have adequate insurance. If their insurance carriers do not know they are using their vehicle for work, the drivers might receive no coverage at all. They might even have their policy canceled for not informing the insurance companies of their actual vehicle usage. In either of those cases, the next stop up the chain of command is you.

 

Whose Car Was the Delivery Driver Using at the Time of the Accident?

If the driver used his or her own car, then the first stop will be that driver’s carrier. If the car belongs to your company, then you are going to share the responsibility for the collision claim. Company vehicles put the employee more squarely in the work environment, per the law. If you’re employees are driving your vehicles, you most definitely need adequate insurance to cover the claims resulting from auto accidents.

 

Insurance Claims Follow the Money

When it comes to collecting on a claim, insurance companies will often go after the bigger fish. That is always going to be the employer. When the amount of a claim is high, even proper delivery driver insurance will may not cover the cost. Insurance companies and lawyers are not prone to sit back and let such matters rest. They will seek settlement of the claim from the more financially fit party. Per simple economics, the company owner is always more financially powerful than the employee. You should always have the coverage you need to compensate for driver collisions. Anything less is a recipe for disaster.

 

What You Need to Do About Insuring Delivery Drivers

Your drivers need their own insurance. It should cover them when they use their own car as a work vehicle and it should cover them properly when they use yours. You should demand that they have such coverage in order to work for you. That alone will reduce your liability considerably. Secondly, plan for the worst case scenario. If your drivers get into accidents, some of the blame and financial responsibility is going to land on you. It’s the way the system is built. You need the kind of insurance that buffers you against such liabilities. 

 

IMAGE: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

recruit good drivers

How Insurance Can Help Retain and Recruit Good Drivers

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Hiring and retaining commercial drivers of all stripes is particularly challenging at the moment. The American Trucking Association, in a 2017 report, indicated that the shortage of qualified drivers was projected to be 50,000 in 2017 and could grow to over 174,000 by 2026. It will become increasingly important that you’re set up to recruit good drivers.

Thus, fleets are actively looking to incentivize drivers to join and stay. If you manage a fleet, don’t overlook creative approaches. Think about upgrading your transportation insurance policy and company benefits as part of your hiring and retention programs.

 

Lower Premiums, Happier Truckers

Insurance rates for commercial autos may continue to rise, but being proactive may reduce your premium cost, resulting in happier drivers. Lower premiums allow companies to staff more, releasing pressure on drivers trying to meet deadlines and handling too much of a workload. Trucking companies with any history of compliance issues or drivers with marks on their record, no matter how minor, are having the hardest time. The extent of compliance problems for insurers has caused the outright exit from commercial autos by some of the markets dominant carriers, such as AIG, Lexington, and Zurich. The good news is that relief has come in the form of an increased opportunity for specialty brokers. Trucking companies should consider using a broker to navigate the myriad of options and to create a personalized policy that better caters to their unique needs.

 

Due Diligence when Hiring and Good Perks

The hiring gap has put a pinch on many commercial fleets. Avoid making hasty mistakes to save money, like easing up on your hiring qualifications and requirements. Insurers will view a company with high-risk drivers and lax hiring processes unfavorably. A risky driver might become a liability that you can’t afford down the road. The following are additional perks that will help encourage your drivers’ company commitment, for any size fleet;

 

Easing Travel Costs in Case of an Emergency

Strictly speaking, the driver is your employee. However, the choices they make impact their families. While everyone may hope otherwise, accidents do happen. If your driver finds him/herself in the hospital several states away from home as the result of an accident, it’s not an ideal station for either them or their family.

You can consider incorporating ancillary benefits, such as “family travel” insurance, which can be an affordable perk. A voluntary endorsement can defray the costs of bringing an injured driver’s family to them in the event of an emergency at a distant location.

 

Health Insurance Benefits

You might consider upgrading your health insurance packages for drivers. A good place to start is to consider allowing drivers to get health insurance coverage more quickly. Another way to attract and retain drivers, according to RTS Carrier Services, is to help pay for their health insurance premiums. While many fleets pass at least some of the costs associated with healthcare plans on to their drivers, you can set your fleet apart by offering to pay premiums in their entirety.

 

Engaging Family Members

Because commercial drivers can spend an inordinate amount of time away from their families, finding other ways to engage them can foster trust and encourage commitment to the fleet. In a 2015 article in Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ), David Dallas of Milan Supply Chain Solutions said the company changed its hiring policies to more effectively explain insurance and other benefits not only to drivers but also to their spouses. He said the company made the change after acknowledging the role spouses play in driver retention — and after seeing turnover for that year hit 100 percent.

Attracting and retaining drivers for your fleet has been and will likely continue to be a challenge. As you look for ways to bring them — and keep them — aboard, good insurance policies and benefits can be key. Look at your drivers’ current insurance packages and see how you might be able to make them more attractive. It could help you fight the ongoing issue in hiring and retaining quality drivers.