People often look at the price of insurance in one of two ways: It’s a lot of money for a product you hope you never need, or it’s an investment in the protection of your assets and your livelihood.
When it comes time to sit down with your agent to determine what coverage you need for your trucking operation, it’s important to understand exactly what your policy covers, what it does not cover, and what questions you should ask about your insurer’s value-added services.
Here are four questions to start the conversation with your agent.
Do my insurance underwriter and my agent specialize in truck insurance?
Why is this important? Many insurance companies write policies for all sorts of industries and customers - homeowners, businesses, and organizations. While their breadth of knowledge is great, their understanding of trucking may be limited in scope.
When you discuss your insurance with your agent, it’s important to understand how many trucking companies your insurer covers if they provide multiple lines of insurance. Additionally, ask what percentage of the company’s written business is truck insurance, and what A.M. Best rating the insurance company earned. Knowing this information can help determine how much an insurer knows about the trucking industry, regulations, gaps in coverage, and its rating as an insurer.
Is the coverage suited for trucking?
As is the case with any product, insurance policies can vary. A lot. One of the first questions we address is financial strength. Ask your agent if the insurer is financially fit to pay a “limit of coverage” loss on a frequent basis.
Additionally, ask about whether your coverage includes:
- Pollution losses.
- Off-temperature cargo losses.
- Freight charges.
- Cargo coverage in absence of damage.
- Delay resulting in direct loss.
- Punitive damage coverage.
- Cargo co-insurance provision.
Is the company flexible in its underwriting procedures?
Your agent should understand your needs as a motor carrier and also understand what options your insurer has when your business changes. Fluctuations in miles driven, revenue, and operational requirements can change your trucking company and require more underwriting flexibility.
Ask your agent how you can connect with your underwriter if a problem arises or you want to understand more about new risks.
Who will be handling your claims?
One of the most crucial times you will need your insurer is when you have a claim. For that reason, it is a good idea to discuss what happens when you file a claim, who will handle claims, and how the claims department can help minimize your loss.
Ask about what office handles claims, whether you’ll have a dedicated claims contact, and inquire about 24-hour claims service. This can be critical to getting your incident resolved in a timely fashion and getting drivers back on the road quickly. Does the company have adjusters on call at all times? If so, test this – call the insurer this weekend at 2 a.m.
How long does it take the company to get you back on the road, and what services are covered in the meantime? You should know whether the company uses its own or outside adjusters and if it handles exclusively truck claims. Also, does the insurance company have a working relationship with repair shops? Does it prioritize repairs based on that track record?
Remember that when you choose an insurance policy for your company, it’s not just about price. Many factors contribute to a policy’s cost, and many of them may not be obvious. Be sure to ask your agent these important questions to start the conversation.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Joe Morten & Son, Inc. does not provide legal advice to its insureds or other parties, nor does it advise insureds or other parties on employment-related issues, therefore the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds or other parties. Legal advice should always be sought from legal counsel. Joe Morten & Son, Inc. shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein. Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.