When you think of the holiday season, you might not think of commercial trucking insurance. But perhaps you should. As you get your tax information ready for the end of year it is a great time to review your current policies and make sure you have the coverage you need (and get rid of the coverage you don't need). Below we have a few tips to consider when looking at commercial trucking insurance.
First, to clarify, when I think of commercial insurance with respect to owner operators, I think of physical damage insurance. This is the insurance a bank or finance company requires, similar to the insurance required if you financed your car. We call it full coverage insurance. When you review your policy, make sure you consider the following.
1. Does it cover the balance of your note?
First and foremost you want to make sure your insurance covers the balance of your note, or what you still owe on the truck. You don't want to have an accident and have insurance total out your truck for less than the note. No one wants to pay on something they can't use.
2. Does it cover your customizations?
Next you want to make sure you are covering anything extra you attached to the truck - like an APU for instance. Insurance will only cover it if you are in an accident if it's included in the total value of the truck. So think about things you typically affix to the truck - a TV dish, a deer guard you paid extra to have, lights, chrome, basically anything you may have added that you want covered - these things must be added to the value of the truck itself in order for insurance to cover a loss.
3. Don't overvalue your truck.
Even while considering the questions above, make sure you don't overvalue your truck. If you over insure your truck you will just be wasting money. Why? Because insurance companies aren't going to pay more then the current market value plus the realistic value of the extras you insured, as suggested above. This can be tricky because insurance companies aren't going to pay you more then you valued your truck at if the market goes up, so you don't want to undervalue the truck either in hopes that they will pay more. Bottom line, you need to know and understand values and how they relate to your equipment.
4. Make sure you adjust your coverage each year.
Things change all the time. If you revisit your commercial trucking insurance coverage on a yearly basis you have the opportunity to add in anything you changed in the last year. Most insurance companies will not let you adjust values monthly, they want a number for the year. So as you near the end of a 12-month insurance year you might be over-insured but that can't be helped until your yearly renewal.
5. Know which personal belongings are covered by your commercial insurance.
A commercial trucking insurance policy will cover your truck, but do you know if your policy covers the personal property you keep with you on the truck? For this you may need a specialized personal articles policy. Do your due dilligence and talk to your homeowner or renter's insurance provider for clarification on exactly what is and is not covered so you aren't caught by surprise.
We hope these tips have helped you as you enter the busy holiday season and look toward the new year. If you are looking for a great company, we are currently hiring regional drivers, company drivers and owner operators. We would love to talk with you!