Insurance is one of the biggest expenses of driving a truck but it is one area where you don’t want to skimp. If you don’t have enough coverage and are involved in an accident you could be paying for the rest of your life. There are more accidents now than ever before due to the condition of our infrastructure and the many distractions of drivers in “4 wheelers”—texting and talking on their cell phones, inattention, other distractions, and lack of skills.
While it’s important to have sufficient coverage for any situation, you want to get the best price possible. Remember when you shop around for rates that a lot will depend on your driving record, the size of your truck, the goods you haul and how old your truck is. Insurance rates for independent rig owners are around $1800 and up. However, if you lease your truck to a trucking company you may get lower rates by taking advantage of their fleet rates.
There are all types of insurance coverage for semis and your needs might be different from anyone else. There is fire, theft, collision, CDC, and liability in all amounts. Do you need to insure just yourself and your truck or are there other drivers? What about fuel bonds? Some save money by not insuring their cargo but this can be a very foolish decision if the client you’re hauling for also doesn’t carry insurance. The price of your insurance also depends on the weight your truck can carry. Weights are classed A, B, or C, with A being the one that can carry the most weight.
Before you start getting insurance quotes you should get a copy of your credit report from all three agencies and examine it carefully for errors. If you find any mistakes that are harming your credit, resolve them before you shop for insurance because your credit score is a factor in determining your rates. According to insurance industry statistics, the higher your score is the less risky it is to insure you.
Next, figure out what size deductible you can afford, because that can significantly affect your rates. The higher the deductible, the lower your payment will be. Again, it’s all about decreasing the risk to the insurer. If you are just starting out in your business you may not be able to afford a high deductible; look at your business projections and your assets before committing yourself to a large lump sum that you would have to pay should you be in an accident. Paying a higher premium each month can be preferable to having your investments or savings account wiped out by a single incident.
After you get several quotes from different insurance companies, wait until you research them before accepting an offer. Make sure that the company you’re considering is financially sound; it does no good to have insurance if the company is unable to pay the claim. Do they settle claims in a timely manner and can you reach an agent, not just a phone bank, at any time of the day or night? Check with the Better Business Bureau and look up customer comments before you choose an insurance company. You’ll be glad you did if and when it comes time to file a claim.
As you get insurance quotes, consider increasing your coverage for underinsured and uninsured drivers, even if it costs a little bit more each month. With more and more people letting their insurance lapse, you’re twice as likely to have an accident with one of them as you were five years ago.
Once you’ve made a decision on which insurer to go with, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve protected your business, your drivers, and your family’s financial future.