Maintaining a fleet of commercial vehicles is often enough to send any business owner into full-on panic mode. Commercial vehicle drivers face an elevated risk of accidents and injury, which has led to increased scrutiny from insurance companies and heightened physical demands placed upon the vehicles themselves.
Depending on your state’s laws regarding size limitations, weight restrictions and hauling capacities, you may have a fleet of commercial trucks that requires special insurance from a commercial insurance provider. If you’re not already working with a commercial insurer, there are several steps you can take to find the right carrier for your business’s needs.
1. Get it in writing
Work with an agent who understands your type of vehicle and how to best represent your interests in the commercial insurance world. In addition to standard coverage levels, there are often add-ons you can request for things such as emergency roadside assistance and GPS tracking. Once you have a general quote from one or more commercial carriers, compare rates and services across each provider before making a choice.
2. Don’t lie to secure a better price
If you’re going to rely on commercial insurance, it’s important to have an honest understanding of just what type of commercial vehicles you have on the road. The more trailers or weight your vehicle can haul, for example, the higher your chances are of being considered a “high risk” client by a mainstream carrier. In turn, your premiums will be higher.
However, it’s fairly common knowledge that many commercial carriers charge more for trucks with larger hauling capacities, so one solution is to purchase a separate policy for each vehicle. Not only will this separate out the high-risk vehicles from the ones you’re less concerned about insuring, but it lets you shop around for the best rates and coverage levels for each vehicle type.
3. Shopping around is like a dance
When you make contact with a commercial carrier, whether it’s through an agent or directly, don’t be afraid to string them along for quotes from several different providers. Don’t feel pressured to go with the first commercial carrier that gives you a quote. If you get a good rate from one provider, tell the other companies to match or beat it.
4. It’s all about risk
You’ll have a number of pricing options available to you when shopping for commercial vehicle insurance, but remember that each company uses different risk management practices for determining a price point. You may find that you have a much better chance of getting a lower premium with one commercial insurer than you do with another.
5. Get them to explain the “liability” and “physical damage” portions of your policy
What types of clients does the provider typically work with? What is their underwriting process like? Do they have any restrictions or limitations on “high-risk” clients? Before committing to a contract, make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions of your policy.
6. Commitment is good – for both sides
Making a commitment to a long-term commercial carrier ensures that their team will be committed to keeping you insured as well. If you sign on with a company for several years, they’ll be more likely to work with you on pricing and risk management.
7. Ask questions
Commercial carriers are experts in understanding the unique needs of their clients; don’t be afraid to ask them anything that’s on your mind. Make sure you’re comfortable with the people you’re dealing with and that they fully understand your business and its needs.
What is a “Commercial Carrier?”
A commercial carrier is an insurance provider that specifically insures the needs of commercial trucks and other large vehicles.
How long will it take to secure a quote?
Some carriers can provide you with a number immediately; others may require more time. However, the longer you wait the better your chances of finding a lower price on commercial insurance.
What types of coverage are available?
Depending on the carrier, you may have access to varying levels of liability insurance, physical damage insurance, cargo insurance, hire-and-fire coverage for employees, etc.
What types of clients does the commercial carrier typically work with?
It depends on the company, but you will likely find carriers who specialize in working with lighter-duty trucks, larger trucks with trailers attached, and some who work with any vehicle that has commercial weight or hauling capacity.
Lest We Forget
That’s it, folks. Seven steps to insure your commercial vehicle and protect yourself from disaster. Of course, the process is more complicated than what we covered here so please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about how to keep your business safe on the road. We’re always happy help! And as always, thank you for reading this article!