The GOOD NEWS is that over the past two decades, the number of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks has fallen while the total miles truck traveled has more than doubled. Deaths in crashes involving large trucks fell to 3,413 people in 2010, down from the peak of 6,539 in 1979.
The BAD NEWS is that each death is tragic. Each accident costs Truckers “Down-Time,” out-of-pocket expenses and impacts your insurance rates.
No insurance company will offer coverage without first verifying Loss-Runs, and that history will have a major impact on the cost as well as the likelihood they will simply turn-down the risk all together. Below are 5 ways to reduce claims and there by lower your insurance rates
1. Driver Fatigue and Hours of Service
Studies from the US Department of Transportation show that by limiting the number of hours driving both per day and per week reduce driver fatigue, increase alertness and result in fewer crashes. Keeping logs and being able to present them to your agent, will give him ammunition to negotiate a preferred rate when shopping insurance companies.
2. Vehicle Maintenance and Inspections
There are many potential causes for accidents, and improper maintenance has been shown to be a major cause of accidents. Trucks are expensive but are designed to be driving for up to several hundred thousand miles. But the weight of these vehicles places great strain on brakes, tires and a variety of other systems necessary to operate them safely. The FMCSA’s studies have demonstrated that frequently maintenance defects cause or contribute to crashes are observed in inspections. Here again Keeping logs confirming vehicle maintenance will help reduce your insurance costs.
3. Truck Driver Licensing and Monitoring
I have seen trucking companies that have been put out of business as a result of not being careful enough in selecting and monitoring the drivers the hire.
Running MVRs, checking references and even drug testing on all drivers prior to hiring will cut down on the likelihood of having unsafe employees behind the wheels of your trucks. Over the years I have watched some of the same bad drivers bounce from one company to the next, leaving a trail of claims that not only raise insurance rates but cost companies to lose contracts with shippers.
4. Truck Driver Training and Experience
Don’t assume that just because a person has a CDL License that they are a great driver.Problem statement: Evaluate the effects of truck driver training and experience in reducing crashes. This information could be useful in considering methods to improve training or increase experience if appropriate.
5. Proper Claim Reporting
A simple truth is that many drivers and all lawyers, understand that trucking companies are required to carry significantly higher insurance limits than the state limits mandated for private autos. This realization can motivate people to go after dramatically larger settlements when their accident involves the perceived “Deep-Pockets” of trucking firms and the insurance companies that cover them.
Both the number, as well as the amount paid out on claims will affect your future insurance costs. A few tips: Don’t get blamed for accidents that were not your fault. Carry a camera and take photos showing why you believe you were not at fault. Taking notes, finding witnesses and documenting the scene can strengthen your case and lower the likelihood and or amount of a claim.
Think twice before submitting very small claims. Yes you paid for insurance and you have every right to submit even the smallest claim, but there are times when paying a very small claim out-of-pocket can save you more money on your insurance then you paid to “Make the claim go away.
Remember that insurance companies will offer not offer coverage without first verifying Loss-Runs, as your claim history improves, your rates drop. By following the above 5 ways to reduce claims, you will be able to lower your insurance rates