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November 2018

trucker insurance rates

How Independent Truckers Can Lower Their Insurance Rates

By | Insurance Insights | No Comments

If you drive a commercial truck, you know that insurance rates have risen dramatically over the past few years. Running a successful business means keeping costs down. With higher premiums as the new norm for independent truck drivers and industry management, new approaches to insurance and insurance risks are essential.

 

Why Insurance Rates Rise

Your premiums are pooled with those of others paying for the same type of insurance. In theory, this gives the insurance companies the financial strength to cover large payouts. Unfortunately, things don’t always work that way.

Recently, a dire situation arrived at the doors of those providing insurance for independent truck drivers. As reported on TRUCKS, 2016 brought much higher-than-expected number claims involving commercial vehicles. The payouts depleted the cash reserves of an alarming number of insurance carriers. This caused such a drastic loss in profits, insurers reported their worst economic performance in fifteen years.

In response to the elevated risk, insurers raised their rates. They also started charging even higher premiums for new drivers, categorizing them as “high risk.” 

 

The Challenge of Lowering Insurance Rates for Truckers

Faced with these challenges, how do independent truckers lower their insurance rates? Insurance companies have to not only cover the costs of doing business, they must show profits year-over-year, so a raise in rates after a red-line year like 2016 was inevitable. The lesson here is that lowering your risk has everything to do with lowering your rates. This moves safety to the front of the line when it comes to lowering insurance rates.

 

Truck Improvements

One way to increase safety involves improvements to the vehicles themselves. Many of the injuries and damages that occur in trucking happen on the receiving end–that is, to those driving smaller vehicles that collide with trucks. Finding ways to reduce those damages has inspired safety experts and truck trailer manufacturers to create improved underride guards, the bars that prevent smaller vehicles from driving underneath tractor trailers. According to TRUCKS, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently honored a number of truck manufacturers for improving the strength of their underride guards.

 

Safety Cameras on Trucks

FleetOwner reports many truckers and trucking companies are installing cameras on their vehicles. Safety cameras help drivers maintain best driving practices, which results in fewer accidents and helps keep insurance costs lower. These cameras also help record who is to blame during accidents. This prevents frivolous lawsuits brought against truckers and trucking companies, which also lowers insurance costs. 

 

Taking Control of Costs for Independent Truckers Insurance

An understanding of how insurance companies work and the challenges they face will help independent truckers to lower their insurance rates. A safety-minded driver with a similar minded team can prevent significant losses. Improved truck features, like stronger underride guards and safety cameras, will also help lower insurance premiums. When it comes to truckers’ insurance, understanding how the system works and that you can do something about it provides a welcome measure of control.

 

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

holiday season safety

Prepare Your Fleet for the Holiday Season

By | Transportation | No Comments

With increased workload, more traffic, and possibly inclement weather, the holiday season brings a feast of risk for truckers. Ensuring holiday season safety for your fleet involves two components. The first component requires checking, updating, and stocking the vehicles for cold conditions. The second consideration involves educating drivers in the best practices for winter weather driving. Combining the two offers the best protection for fleet owners and independent truckers.

 

Preparing Commercial Vehicles for Holiday Season Driving

Commercial vehicles carry greater safety concerns due either their weight or whether they carry passengers. Both of those factors pose safety issues of major importance. Prepping a vehicle for winter may add a bit of time and extra vigilance, but the results are well worth it. Regularly inspect tires, batteries, and antifreeze, at minimum. FleetEquipmentMag.com also recommends having “cold-weather clothing and footwear, a shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, blankets, first aid kit, flares, radio, anti-gel fuel additive and food and water.” Drivers and commercial truck driving companies should create, build upon, and adhere to their own lists.

 

Preparing Commercial Drivers for Holiday Season Driving

Following a thorough winterization of your fleet for the holiday season, you should also prepare the drivers. An essential part of any fleet operation includes safety training. Preparing for winter driving should be no exception. Ryder posts a helpful list of safety tips for truckers. Prominently mentioned on those lists are driver stress and fatigue, the risks of which can increase with winter driving conditions. Experts overwhelmingly agree that pulling a vehicle off the road when drowsiness or fatigue sets is the best course of action. The added risks of winter driving should make a yearly appearance in addition to other training.

 

Continuing Education Improves Winter Driving Safety

Education for fleet drivers for holiday season driving should also include reminders of troublespots. A fantastic list of safety tips by DMV.org points out such winter driving hazards as black ice, exit ramps, bridges, intersections, and areas prone to high winds. Keeping drivers up to date on training and alert of conditions is a step in the right direction.

 

Drunk Driving Hazards for Truckers during the Holiday Season

The holiday season also sees an increase in drunk driving. Independent truckers and fleet drivers should exercise extra caution on dates historically known to have a higher number of impaired drivers on the road, as well as any other time during the season. Transportation.gov reported that in the U.S., 781 fatalities related to drunk driving crashes occurred in 2016, just in the month of December.

 

Continued Insurance Coverage Assurance for Winter Driving

With road dangers higher during the holiday season for trucking and transportation, insurance becomes a major concern as well. A fundamental and rather simple means to improve safety for fleets and drivers is to confirm current insurance coverage and that it provides for all of the potential risks.

 

Peace of Mind for Truckers this Holiday Season

Getting ready in advance will reduce stress later on in the winter months. Create a checklist now with dates to apply each step. With awareness of the risks, mindful preparation, training, and proper coverage for drivers, you can head into the holiday season with a greater peace of mind.

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain