According to the American Transportation Research Institute, commercial truck insurance premiums have increased significantly over the past decade with a 47 percent increase in cost per mile from 5.9 to 8.7 cents. With escalating insurance costs, unexpected accidents will cause irreparable damage to your company’s financial stability.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare your fleet for the worst. Let’s explore the measures to take to safeguard your business from the impacts of an accident.

Understanding Your Commercial Truck Policy

What to know about commercial truck insurance

It’s important to understand your current commercial truck insurance policy. Trucking businesses prefer the following insurance coverage:

  • General liability coverage will protect your driver’s actions when they are operating on another’s premises, such as a mistake at loading docks, truck stops, or during the delivery of the load.
  • Primary liability coverage only covers damages of victims that could occur during the truck’s operation.
  • Physical damage coverage is a requirement if you need to replace or repair damage on the truck due to theft or an accident.
  • Medical payments are an additional coverage to consider for the bills incurred for drivers or passengers injured in or from your vehicle.

Another policy worth noting is non-trucking liability coverage, which the best insurance companies offer to cover damages when your truck is not operating. Note that these are general descriptions and specifics of your policies will vary from state to state. It’s best to contact your agent to understand what costs they’ll cover in the event of the applicable coverages.

Accident Claims and Coverage – What to Know Beforehand

It’s important to understand that your commercial truck insurance policy doesn’t cover all expenses related to an accident. There are other costs to consider, including repairs, towing, and medical expenses. It’s also worth keeping in mind that medical expenses include both current expenses, as well as any future expenses such as checkups or rehabilitation.

There are also indirect costs you can expect like traffic fines, the Department of Transportation’s financial penalties, legal fees, and accident investigation costs. You want to invest in the accident’s investigation and lawyers so you avoid paying more than you should.

How Do Accidents Affect Truck Insurance Premiums?

Apart from the accident itself, there are three situations that might lead to higher insurance premiums:

The type and value of cargo

Insurers take into account the vulnerability of certain items to damage or theft. For example, trucks that deliver precious jewelry, flammables, electronics, and other risky items can expect a higher coverage cost than trucking companies that haul less vulnerable cargo.

Make sure you’re prepared to discuss the nature of your cargo with your insurer to ensure you’re getting the best rates and coverage for your business. The cargo’s value also determines your rates. The higher your cargo’s value, then the higher your insurance rates to address the necessary coverage. Your budget will have to account for this if you specialize in hauling high-value cargo.

Your safety score or safety rating

A fleet or trucking company’s safety rating or CSA score could influence your insurance rates. To see the rates you’re likely to receive, check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for your CSA score. If it doesn’t reflect well on your company, then it’s best to ensure safety measures and build foundations that will improve your score.

Your driving record

Having a clean driving record can significantly reduce your insurance premiums. Why? Because insurance companies see that drivers with good records are less likely to get into accidents or receive traffic violations.

So, the better your record, the less coverage you need – and the lower your rates can be! That’s why it’s crucial to remind yourself and your drivers to consistently practice safe driving habits and maintain a spotless record. Trust us, both your wallet and your safety will thank you.

Tips for Keeping Your Insurance Rates Low After an Accident

Invest in a smart safety solution. A smart safety solution such as Netradyne’s Driver•i AI fleet camera system picks up potential accident-causing instances and notifies drivers to take corrective action with real-time in-cab audio alerts. The gentle nudges make drivers self-aware of what they need to improve on and what is going on around them. Setting them up with such tools lowers the chances of accidents and protects your business as it completes every delivery.

Vehicle Alerts with Impact

Coach drivers and train new hires. Use the captured footage to coach drivers, showing them what they do best and how they can improve. Indicating specific instances allows them to visualize and better picture how they’ll move forward. You can also use the recorded instances from different journeys as basis for training new hires.

Prioritize proactive safety measures. Prevention is better than a cure, and the same principle applies to your fleet’s response to accidents. Safety measures like assistive technology, proper training, well-maintained vehicles, and the like will ensure less accidents happen when your fleets do business.  Black field service technician looking off in distance with arms crossed while standing next to a field service truck

Final Thoughts 

While accidents happening aren’t completely within one’s control, your fleet can take the necessary precautions and measures that lower their likelihood. By familiarizing yourself with your insurance policy, you will be better prepared when a collision does happen.

Explore Netradyne’s fleet safety solution and discover how it can help your fleet reduce risk in the long-run.

Live Webinar on June 6th

What if we told you that you could predict accident reduction over the next 12 months? Netradyne has built a groundbreaking mathematical model that accurately shows the direct correlation between improving GreenZone® scores and accident reduction. Attend the webinar to learn more.
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