Every year, owner-operator and fleet owning truck drivers are given the opportunity to review their current insurance policy. Commercial truck insurance can be a risky business, and truck drivers must be able to navigate the fine print to ensure they are properly covered. While the quality of an insurance product is important, the insurance industry is highly competitive and gives the consumer the opportunity to shop around for a good price. So how do you determine the best commercial truck policy? Here are 5 tips to help begin your quest.
1. What determines the cost of a policy?
There are numerous variables that determine the cost of a policy. The most common factors include age, type of vehicle, content of loads and years of experience. Some variables can be controlled while others cannot. The best advice for a driver on any insurance policy is to keep a clean record by avoiding moving violations and other penalties.
2. Read the fine print (or have a qualified professional look it over for you).
Although you may feel you are comparing “apples to apples,” commercial truck insurance is not like a standard policy for an automobile. With more liability, like hauling unusually heavier loads or crossing state lines, it is important to see exactly what each policy covers. More specifically, it is crucial to make certain that a policy meets your specific needs; many policies, especially from insurance companies that do not specialize in truck insurance, may not be specific enough to your particular driving applications. After all, you do not want to be put in a situation where you learn that your policy will not cover you after an incident.
3. Educate yourself.
Your policy may include coverages such as general liability, contents coverage, crime coverage, uninsured motorists, business income, extra expenses, tool floaters and much more. Do not assume you know what each term means just by its title. Research the technical jargon to ensure you enter the “insurance buying” journey as an educated consumer.
4. Interview your provider.
Unlike traditional automobile policies, where it is much easier to compare “apples to apples,” truck drivers must do their homework and learn about their insurance provider. Since commercial trucks carry more liability than cars, detailed explanations of coverages are absolutely necessary. Be sure to research the company to ensure that it has proper “reserves,” which is money set aside for larger claims. Learn about the company’s track record of paying claims, talk with others and review data from professional research organizations. All of these steps can give you the peace of mind that your insurance company will be there when you need them most.
5. Request multiple quotes.
Once you establish the needs of your policy, request quotes from multiple insurance providers to see who can give you the best price. As stated previously, although cost is important, make certain that the quality of the policy is not devalued just to achieve a specific price. It is also highly recommended to request quotes from companies that specialize in commercial truck insurance.
Choosing the best commercial truck insurance policy can often lead truck drivers down a road of confusion and uncertainties. Learning the basics of truck insurance policies, conducting some research, developing specific needs for a potential policy and shopping around for a quote can help truck drivers achieve the best value for their money. The five tips explained within this article are provided to help owner-operators and fleet owners begin their quest for their next truck insurance policy.