Maybe you finally purchased your first rig or are managing 50-truck fleet, either way, managing the cost of insurance is a priority for most trucking companies. Big trucks come with big risks. This makes insurance for commercial truckers far more complex and expensive than standard automobile insurance. In many cases, insurance can easily become one of your largest business expenses. Below we examine are a few ways you can balance cost with coverage.
Check Your Deductibles
Make sure that you review your insurance policies each year. One way to lower monthly rates is to pick plans with a higher deductible. If you do this, you can save hundreds or even thousands a month. Bear in mind you will have to pay much more in the event of an accident or other insurance claim.
Specialty truckers who haul high-risk loads are better off served keeping lower deductibles. While general merchandise haulers and fare freight drivers are more likely to be able to handle higher deductibles as the potential loss is much lower. Regardless of your deductible, it makes good business sense to maintain a high-interest, liquid reserve fund to cover deductible expenses.
Verify Driver Employment History
Experienced drivers cost less to insure. Therefore, you should always double-check a new driver’s resume. Only work with drivers who are familiar with operating on your routes and hauling your cargo. If you run a specialty business, then experience is an even bigger factor.
Obtain a proper background check that includes their motor vehicle records (MVR). You should also check each applicant’s CSA score to ensure they’re a safe and reliable driver.
Request each applicant for a work history and references. Ask questions during an interview to support their driving experience and demonstrate their knowledge. Pose hypothetical scenarios and carefully listen to how they respond. And avoid making quick hires just to meet demand. This is when a bad hire most often occurs.
Confirm Truck Values
If you have commercial physical damage coverage, then your insurance provider will pay the lesser of two figures in the event of an accident:
- The actual cash value of your semi-truck.
- The stated amount you provided when you purchased your policy.
The NADA Blue Book or Truck Paper can give a general idea of what your rig is worth. This can make choosing the right policy and limits easier. In some instances, people wind up overpaying for insurance simply because they don’t properly estimate the value of their truck.
Look for Discounts
There are many types of commercial truck insurance discounts that can make insurance easier to cover. If you have a Class C license, you can qualify for 10 to 15 percent off your policies at most providers. You can also save big by paying off your policy in-full when you enroll and setting up an electronic funds transfer payment. Driver training programs, telematics, and electronic driving records can also provide additional savings.
Inspect Before Every Job
Pre-transport inspections can prevent accidents and breakdowns on the road. Mechanical problems can cause drivers to wind up facing thousands of dollars of damages and even jeopardize their lives. Make sure each semi you insure is thoroughly checked before it is dispatched.
A preventative maintenance program can potentially earn another discount, but more importantly, protect your rigs, drivers, and pocketbook by avoiding potential accidents caused by mechanical issues. Remember, insurance rates may increase after an accident. Do everything in your power to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Working with an independent agent specializing in the trucking industry is another way to help manage your insurance costs. Their expertise can help you obtain the strongest coverage for the most competitive premiums.