For an owner operator, choosing the right insurance for your truck and operations is one of the most daunting tasks before you can hit the road. However, choosing the right insurance can make the difference between shelling out everything you earned in the past year for an accident or walking away without the need for taking out your wallet.
What does it cover?
If you own a personal vehicle, then you probably know what the regular auto insurance covers. Truck insurance covers the same things with a few additionals on top of it.
1) Uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage
This ensures that your vehicle is covered even if you are hit by a vehicle that has either no insurance or decided to hit-and-run from the accident. This pays for any damages to your vehicle on top of covering medical bills and other expenses due to the accident.
2) Physical Damage Coverage
This ensures that your vehicle is insured when in a collision or a crash or even stolen. Your repairs are paid for and you may even get a check for a new vehicle if the repair costs exceed the price of your truck
3) Primary Liability Damage
This covers the damage your truck causes to others
4) Truckers General Liability Coverage
This covers the actions of a trucker who is working on someone’s premises such as a loading dock or a truck stop and covers the mistakes in the delivery of the truck load.
5) Non-trucking Liability Coverage
This covers damages and injuries for when the truck is not in dispatch and off the hours.
6) Motor Truck Cargo Coverage
An essential coverage that covers you for damages to the goods you are transporting. For example, stolen goods, wet load or any other damages.
1) Insurance costs and deductibles
The first thing most people look for is the cost of the insurance. Which is a great place to start but the price tag that comes with it rarely reflects the quality of the insurance plan. A cheap plan may appear cheap but have high deductibles while an expensive plan may have a larger price tag but covers you in most cases and has the most extensive coverage for your needs. Deductibles are things you should pay attention to when choosing a plan based on price. The deductible is the amount you have to pay first in order for the insurance to kick in. For example, a larger deductible would mean you have to pay more out of your pocket before the insurance company takes over the charges. Anything over the deductible amount will be covered by the company. Taking care in looking at deductibles and the price can give you a good idea of whether you will face unexpected charges when the time comes.
2) Insurance Coverage
Another thing to keep in mind is the coverages an insurance plan offers. While some plans may be abnormally cheaper than others, the reduced cost is usually due to the reduced coverage it provides. This doesn’t mean the policy is bad. For some operators, they may opt for a lower cost and lower coverage for the flexibility while others may need better coverage for the protection and risk they take. For example, you may save some money opting out for a cargo coverage, but these costs may pile up the moment you have to pay off the costs out of your own pocket. Owner operators and fleet managers may require different coverages based on their needs. It may also help for you to analyze your business to choose the coverage you need and opt out in those that are not necessary.
3) Choosing an insurer
You should also make sure the insurer you go with has experience with truckers. Having a good reputation in the industry makes an insurer more reliable and you can relax knowing that they know what to do in the case of an accident. Other than sending the best professional help for your needs, these insurers will also be well versed in the trucking field to help manage the situation at a lower cost than usual. You will also be receiving better service from someone who understands your field on top of providing you the resources to handle risks and manage losses effectively.
4) Insurance parameters
Insurers view many things on a driver’s profile and a fleet’s profile when issuing their prices for their clients. For example, the rating of a fleet or truck at inspections play a major role in determining the prices. Other than that, driver profiles of owner operators become the reference point which insurers use to assess the pricing of insurance plans. Keeping a good rating for your trucks as well as good driver profiles can help keep the premium down on your plans.
You may have heard of auto insurers asking if you’d like to opt in for a device installed in your personal vehicle to reduce insurance prices. These devices are called telematic devices or ELDs. Whether you are in the moving industry, passenger transport industry, construction or even the towing industry, these ELDs can collect accurate information based on your vehicle. This information is then sent to insurance companies to create a driver profile and make sure risky drivers are charged more while safe drivers enjoy a lower cost. The same can be said for trucking insurance. Installing an ELD can help lower costs incurred by the insurer. The additional information can help insurers evaluate the cost of the insurance and provide a better quote for you. Fleethunt Technologies ELD solutions has the ability to track in depth driver behavior such as harsh braking and acceleration, providing the information needed for insurers to identify you as a safe driver. Devices such as dash cameras can also qualify you for a discount due to its valuable use as evidence for accidents. With a simple installation, you end up saving hundreds of dollars a year that could be used towards your deductible or even other maintenance costs. As an owner operator, every penny you can save can be used for something more important. More and more incentives are coming on the way to promote the upcoming deadline for the ELD mandate.
Keeping ELDs updated and having the information for yourself can also help fleet managers devise programs to train drivers to keep their behavior in check. When managing a fleet of dozens of trucks, one or two bad apples may be the reason your insurance plan rises by the year. Installing ELDs ensure your trucks are compliant of mandates and help encourage better ratings for your fleet as well as better driver behavior. All of which directly lowers the cost for your insurance plan.
Choosing the right insurance for your truck may be a daunting task, but with the right amount of research, you will find the best insurance that works best for your operations at the best price possible.
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