10 Quick Tips to Lower Your Trucking Insurance Premium
10 Quick Tips to Lower Your Trucking Insurance Premium:
1. Credit is King
The better your credit, the more options you have. Insurance algorithms indicate that people with better credit are generally more responsible and “less risky” personality types. Credit information as predictive of future accidents or claims is a hotly debated premise, but it’s best to know that many insurance companies compete by using insurance credit scores and offering lower trucking insurance premiums to the businesses they want.
2. Pay your bill promptly on time
Insurance companies don’t like to spend time and resources generating late notices and really don’t want to battle over whether there was a check in the mail when that accident occurs. Pay your bill at the first notice or consider EFT automatic withdrawals or paid in full for additional savings up to 15%. Chronic late reminders are one reason stubborn trucking insurance premiums don’t lower at renewal.
3. Stay in business
Easy to say with ridiculous fuel costs. But throwing in the towel and revoking your DOT authority will result in much higher premiums should you choose to restart that authority OR start a new one. Insurance companies are very big on tracking DOT numbers and names associated in any way with those numbers. In some cases, insurance won’t be available. If necessary, consider a good factoring company to help you improve your finances and ride out the storm.
4. Don’t change your coverage midterm
You’re not saving money by changing your limits of coverage or taking insurance off. Insurance companies see this as inconsistent behavior prone to gaps in coverage. This is a short term strategy at best which will result in higher trucking insurance premium offers at renewal.
5. Know what your truck is worth
About the only thing worth your while to change midterm is the Stated Amount you choose for your truck. Given the current volatile used truck market, stay on top of the value of your vehicle and adjust it as needed.
6. The further you drive away from home the more it will cost you
“Long Haul” usually means you’re not returning home every night. The more you’re out on the road driving in unfamiliar areas the higher the probability of incident. Even driving through major city routes can drive up your trucking insurance premium.
7. Shop rates BEFORE you make major changes
If you’re a Leased on Owner Op looking to establish your own DOT authority or simply looking to hire a new driver, get a quote on what it will cost you FIRST.
8. Some states are simply more expensive
Personal Injury Protection can cover you for lost wages and medical bills regardless of who is at fault, but it isn’t free. States that require PIP and states loaded with attorneys on billboards promise more litigation costs. Currently states with the highest premiums include New Jersey, Louisiana, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Georgia, Rhode Island, Florida and California. (You’ll need a valid physical address, proof of garaging and matching valid driver’s license to establish trucking insurance in any particular state.)
[Related Story - What's the Best State for Truck Insurance]
9. Garaging location
A truck stored in a locked, rural location has less exposure to theft or vandalism than one in a city location. Additional traffic considerations pulling a truck in and out of busy areas can result in fender bender accidents.
10. Underwriters like Data
Underwriters are looking for as much data as possible before offering your renewal. The first thing they will do is google you. If you don’t already have a custom website domain and branded email, it’s never been easier to elevate your professional presence. Stay on top of your SMS scores through the FMCSA Company Snapshot yourself or consider help monitoring them.
A number of companies also offer a significant premium discount through ELD monitoring plans. If you’re a Pro Driver with consistent solid driving patterns, these plans are for you. Progressive SmartHaul, for example, offers between 5% and 18% with an average savings of $1,384 per year at new business.
Shelly Benisch, CIC, TRS
Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc. (CIS)