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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: commercial auto insurance

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commercial driver in front of vehicleThe goal of commercial auto insurance is to minimize your risks. You use it to help if there is an incident. However, it is up to you to make sure your drivers are safe. With new tech, there are increasing ways to improve your overall safety and to reduce risks. GPS tracking is one of those tools. It allows companies to have far more protection in place. How can it help you?

Minimizing Driver Risks

Today, many drivers are spending more hours on the road than ever. If you are a trucking company, your drivers may have to abide by laws that require on-and-off time.

However, even if you just have delivery drivers, you need to consider drive time. The more hours an employee is behind the wheel, the higher the risk is for injuries and accidents.

With GPS tracking, you gain some insight into this. Some units allow you to track how long your driver is moving – such as driving. It can provide you with insight into whether drivers are operating the vehicle for too many hours at a time. This can help you to know if they are taking breaks or sleeping long enough between long shifts.

If the driver gets to a destination too soon, that could indicate he or she is speeding. It could also signal your driver is operating without enough breaks or caution. This increases your risks.

Tracking Movements of Your Vehicle

A GPS tracking device can also provide you with insight into where your vehicle is. As noted, this can help to ensure the driver is operating in a safe manner. It also helps in managing your equipment.

With this type of unit in place, you know where your truck is at all times. If your driver reports someone stole the vehicle, you can work with the police to pinpoint its location. This safeguards your vehicle and the contents.

Also important, you can track how the driver is transferring the material. Are they not going where they should? Did the driver stop somewhere he or she should not? This can help you manage your employees while also managing your vehicle.

GPS tracking for commercial vehicles is growing in common use. New systems give you more insight and control. Use this information to prove to your commercial auto insurance company how responsible and safe your drivers are and that your vehicles are safe.

Want to learn about insurance coverage options for your fleet? Call Insurance Planning Services today at 800-220-5582.

Also Read: Saving on Your Commercial Auto Insurance During The Business Off-Season

You have work to do. You rely on your vehicle to make it happen. When you are hauling valuable, special, or high-risk equipment, be sure you have a commercial auto policy that protects it. Your policy should represent the types of risks you face. It should also meet any requirements for transport. Here isimage of truck hauling freight how to choose coverage.

Why What Is On Board Matters

Your commercial auto insurance covers the value of your vehicle. It can also sometimes cover the value of the contents of the vehicle. However, you’ll need to specialize coverage for vehicle contents. Depending on the type of car, you may need coverage designed for your load. The value of the items you plan to carry plays a role in how much coverage you need. Here are a few examples.

#1: Your company transports people to and from locations. You carry just the people and their personal belongings. Here, you generally do not have any added contents to worry about. A basic policy usually applies.

#2: Your company transports expensive manufacturing materials to and from locations. They may not be large components, but they are very valuable. An accident could be high risk. Here, those valuable items need protection.

#3: Another example occurs for companies using equipment for their work. For example, your truck contains equipment to allow you to handle tasks at customer homes. Here, your coverage needs to be enough to cover damage to those items.

For those hauling large loads in trucks, where the specific task is just moving the equipment, special trucking policies offer load protection. Still, you may need to adjust how much coverage you have here.

What to Do About Coverage

Talk to your business insurance agent. Gather insight into how much contents coverage your policy currently offers – some may not offer any contents coverage upfront. Discuss the valuables you routinely haul. Do you need more protection? Do you need to add a cargo rider to your policy? If so, your team can help you to obtain it. Additional coverage is possible to cover specific items on your truck. Or, you may just need different property insurance from your general commercial insurance.

Commercial auto insurance is flexible. This is why it is so important that your agent understands your business. Be open about how you operate. What do you do? What do you haul? How frequently do you do so? This information allows your agent to provide specific protections. It can make all of the difference if an accident occurs. It may be essential for your company.

Also Read: Insuring Trailers Used by Your Business


Cargo Trailer

We run across many companies that believe a trailer is covered along with their other contractors’ equipment. 

Most insurance policies intended to cover contractors’ tools and equipment have specific exclusions for trailers or anything that is licensed for road use.  The reason for this exclusion is that the most appropriate form of insurance for a trailer is found on the business auto policy that also covers the towing vehicle(s).  

In spite of this exclusion, we still find instances where an insurance company adds a trailer to an equipment policy.  In the event of loss, the policyholder runs the risk of having their claim denied – even though the trailer is described as an insured piece of equipment and a premium is charged.  Why? Describing an object and payment of a premium does not change the language contained within the policy.  The exclusion still exists.

There are two areas of concern when it comes to insurance for a trailer; physical damage and liability.

Above, we have talked about risks of physical damage or loss to the trailer itself.  This includes things like collision, theft, and falling objects, and is often thought to be the biggest, if not the only, concern. Protection against physical damage exposures is addressed by the comprehensive and collision coverage on a business auto policy in the same way they would apply to motorized vehicles. 

The larger danger is with liability risks.  For example, imagine a trailer breaking loose from the towing car or truck and running into something causing damage, or into somebody causing serious injury.  A business auto policy automatically extends liability coverage from the towing vehicle to a trailer when the trailer’s load capacity is less than 2,000 pounds.  If the trailer's load capacity exceeds 2,000 pounds liability coverage is provided in exchange for a small premium charge. 

Don’t rely on a contractor’s equipment policy to cover a trailer!  There is NO liability protection available under a contractors’ equipment policy form and there is a good chance the policy excludes trailers for physical damage.  

Image Courtesy of Haulmark Trailers


Much like sunscreen, business insurance is one of those things you don’t realize how important it is until you’ve been burned: A lot of entrepreneurs don’t have it, and those who do, may not be fully covered.

While large corporations have staffers specifically trained to be sure the business is protected adequately, small business owners are often not aware of the risks their business faces.

“Smaller businesses tend not to get the right amount of coverage,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group that aims to educate the public about insurance. “They will get too little or not the right coverage.”

Here, three of the most common mistakes to avoid when deciding on business insurance.

1. You view insurance as one-size-fits-all. Think again. There are four basic types of insurance that all businesses need, according to Worters. Property insurance protects the building that your business is housed in and the inventory, raw materials and computers that you own. Liability insurance protects you against lawsuits. Commercial auto insurance covers any autos owned by the business. Finally, in every state except Texas, a business with employees must have workers compensation insurance should an employee be injured on the job.

In addition, every industry has its own specific risks and your business may require a specialized policy. “You need to get an agent that understands your line of business,” says Worters, noting that you should talk to an agent before just signing up with one. Ask a local business group or association for a recommendation.

2. You think you're covered by another policy. “The biggest mistake [business owners] make is they assume they don’t need coverage,” says Ted Devine, CEO of Dallas-based Insureon, an online small-business insurance agency. He says business owners often falsely believe their company is covered by their client's policy or they're no longer at risk when a client leaves. Not true, according to Devine. A client can come back and sue you years after an event or transaction occurs, he warns.

And don't think your homeowner's policy will bail you out, either. Even if you have a home-based business, a homeowner's policy won't protect it should you get into any legal issues with employees or business litigation. Whether the homeowners’ policy will protect your business property in your home depends on the policy, says Devine.

3. You think you're invincible. Worters says many businesses don’t even consider what is called either business income or business interruption insurance. If a natural disaster hits, for example, and your business closes, your revenue can be immediately shut off for an undetermined amount of time, and that can really threaten the life of your business.

To learn more about your business insurance policy, contact the experts at Insurance Planning Service by calling 800-220-5582 or using our
online contact form today!

Source: Entrepreneur.com


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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

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Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake