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insurance payout

Get Your Insurance Payout Faster

By | Commercial Lines, Transportation | No Comments

Being involved in a semi-truck accident can be a frightening event and often causes overwhelming aftermath. Your company and driver(s) will need the insurance payout quickly to cover various expenses.

Making the right decisions on the scene and immediately following the accident makes a significant difference in the timeliness of your insurance payout. Follow the steps outlined in this article to get your insurance money as quickly as possible.


Gather Evidence

Your drivers should all carry smartphones. If or any reason they are not, you should equip them with a digital camera ASAP. Instruct your drivers always to take photos as soon as the area is safe and secured.

You’ll want to document the scene of the accident thoroughly to avoid any ambiguity about what happened and who is responsible.

What to photograph:

  • Your truck, and the other car(s) or truck(s).
  • The surrounding area or intersection.
  • The other driver’s license and insurance ID card.
  • The license plate(s), or write them down quickly.


Carefully Choose a Repair Shop

Coordinate with your insurer which shop they prefer. It may seem like you will save money up front by going to a friend of a friend, but in the end, it may slow down and impede your claim.

Most insurance companies have a goal to payout a claim within 30 days.

Anytime another car is involved in an accident, the claim can get delayed up to 60 days. If it takes any longer, you should ask your insurer to have a conference call with the agent, insurer, and customer to avoid any miscommunication and further delays.


Downtime Insurance

When you have a truck down for the count, your trucking business is losing money in more ways than one. This is where downtime insurance can help offset the financial damage.

What is downtime insurance? Downtime insurance indemnifies for loss of earnings resulting from the inability to operate due to damage to a truck or trailer from an insured accident.

As a trucker or fleet owner, hopefully, you’ve purchased this from your insurer or agent. You will need concrete proof of the loss of income you are experiencing to receive a downtime claim.

The adjuster will want to keep as much money for the insurance company as possible, so be prepared for an audit of proof-of-income and financial losses related to your claim.

The insurance company will require lots of documentation. Be prepared to prove that you are getting the truck repaired as quickly as possible.

Downtime insurance is one area where you will need to be patient to get a payout. Also, smaller claims payout more easily and quickly.


State Mandated Deadlines

Some states will require an insurance payout to happen more quickly. This only works when there are no disputes involved, from any parties involved.

Check into the state where the accident happened, as well as where your business is legally located. Use the interactive map from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners‘ to find out whom to contact.


Communication is Key

The best way to get your insurance payout quickly is to communicate promptly. Answer phone calls, and initiate phone calls to your insurer and agents involved. Provide any requested documentation as soon as possible.

Being prompt in reporting is crucial to receiving your payout on time. To learn more about insurance payouts for trucking accidents and to have expert guidance, contact Brooker Transportation at 800-722-0055.


PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

motorcoach company's safety ranking

Ways to Improve Your Motorcoach Company’s Safety Ranking

By | Commercial Lines | No Comments

Last October, the Cornell Daily Sun reported that a charter bus operated by Ithaca, N.Y.-based Big Red Bullet crashed in Pennsylvania, killing one passenger and injuring the driver as well as the remaining 12 passengers. The driver faced 33 criminal charges, including Homicide by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence. As of this writing — and according to the FMCSA Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) system — the company may not operate.

While this is a worst-case scenario, it does serve as a cautionary tale about the value of a motorcoach company’s safety ranking. Here’s what you can do to improve your company’s safety ranking and ensure it remains positive.


Choose Your Motorcoach Drivers Carefully

Returning to Big Red Bullet for a moment, the Cornell Daily Sun also reported that the driver of the bus that crashed not only fell asleep at the wheel but was later found to have traces of cocaine in his system.

Your bus drivers are arguably your most important assets when it comes to motorcoach safety. Always validate the drivers’ safety records. Check for up-to-date CDL licenses and medical fitness to operate a motorcoach. Also conduct background checks. When conducting them yourself, you might not be able to access the correct information. Instead, outsource this to a provider that specializes in conducting background checks.

Credit reporting agency TransUnion said that a traditional background check will include motor vehicle records, the element most important to you. Also look check a prospective employee’s credit report for signs of irresponsible behavior. “Any missed payments or bankruptcies could signal signs of being irresponsible elsewhere, and negatively separate you from the competition,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst writing for CNBC Make It. Check for criminal history as well.

Remember, though — you have to ask the applicant for permission to do a background check.


Address Vehicle Maintenance Issues

Just like an automobile, a motorcoach in good working order will operate more safely than one in poor physical condition. And just like a car, your motorcoach comes with an owner’s manual that recommends service intervals for key items. Make proper engine oil changes a top priority for ongoing motorcoach maintenance, followed by oil and air filter changes.

Note where the rubber literally hits the road — your vehicles’ tires. Get them regularly inspected and rotated. Regular tire rotation and alignment will result in better tread wear, and thus longer tire life. And, of course, replace the tires when they wear out.

You can expect tire maintenance to be somewhat costly — a spokesperson for Goodyear in an article for Transport Topics called it the second most costly fleet maintenance expense behind fuel. However, it confers a financial benefit. Specifically, well-maintained tires reduce fuel consumption. Fleet Equipment says that, for every 10% a tire is underinflated, there will be a corresponding 1% decrease in fuel economy. Applied across several tires on a vehicle — and several vehicles in a fleet — it’s easy to see how tire maintenance improves your bottom line.


Ensure you Comply with Regulations

The FMCSA factors both driver fitness and vehicle maintenance into your overall safety rating. But there are a few other safety areas defined by the FMCSA that also apply to motor coach companies:

  • Unsafe Driving
  • Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance
  • Controlled Substances and Alcohol

Hopefully if you find and hire good drivers, both unsafe driving and drug or alcohol abuse will not become issues. However, many companies run afoul of HOS compliance. Simply put, you can’t work your drivers to death. They can only drive so many hours in a day, and they are required to sleep a certain number of hours each day. Federal codes  CFR 392 and 395 address this

Fortunately, you need not ever find yourself with a poor safety rating from the FMCSA. They provide a myriad of tools to help motor coach operators meet safety standards and improve if they find they are falling behind. The provide a Motor Carrier Safety Planner that makes it easy to research and implement safety protocols for motorcoach companies.


IMAGE: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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