Whether it’s local, regional, or national; fleets big or small; flatbed or refrigerated, transportation companies deserve to have insurance plans that are as unique as they are. That’s why there are so many insurance options available for owner-operators out there. However, with each unique plan comes a unique set of obstacles. Knowing how your haul type, range, level of experience, and driving record factor into your state’s requirements and regulations for trucking insurance. Thankfully, there are still some basic guidelines out there that can help you find the right insurance policy for your transportation company’s specific needs. Here are three tips our owner operator recommends for picking the right insurance plan.
Tip 1: Familiarize yourself with a few different insurance plans that might help your transportation company
It’s always a good idea to have a solid grasp of the basic insurance plans that any owner-operator will use for keeping their transportation company protected. Here are four coverage plans that can apply to almost any transportation company out there.
Transportation companies provide much-needed goods and services for a variety of companies, so it’s important to you and them that you protect this incredibly valuable asset. Liability insurance covers damages to your tractors and trailers so that you can get your company back on track sooner.
Most owner-operators need a minimum of $750,000 in coverage and this number will go up if your transportation company deals in hauling hazmat or other riskier loads. We also recommend adding physical damage coverage as well to protect your truck drivers against potholes, inclement weather conditions, and similar damage.
The cargo that you might be hauling as a transportation company can also be very valuable or important. It may even be large pieces of equipment or machinery, for example, if you work for a flatbed trucking company. That’s why cargo coverage is there to help you protect whatever you’re hauling.
This type of insurance is especially useful to any owner-operators who might be running under their authority since you are the one responsible for selecting your loads.
Non-Trucking Liability (NTL) and Bobtail Coverage
This type of insurance plan is a staple for any owner-operator under a transportation company’s authority because it helps to protect your CDL drivers as well as your company’s most used equipment: your tractor-trailers. NTL covers your drivers while they’re off the clock but still using their trucks for non-business purposes. This can be anything from a trip to the supermarket to personal trips to see family and friends.
Bobtail coverage added onto NTL works sort of like a commercial insurance umbrella plan. It helps to keep your transportation company protected in a variety of ways that NTL, cargo coverage, and liability may not cover.
Passenger Accident Coverage
As an owner-operator of a transportation company, you have as much of an obligation towards protecting your CDL drivers as much as protecting your cargo and trucks. Passenger accident coverage helps to keep your drivers’ loved ones safe and gives your drivers some peace of mind while they have someone with them in their truck. After all, any good owner-operator knows that what matters to your driver’s matters to you, too
As you can see, there are a variety of insurance options available for owner-operators and this is only just the tip of the iceberg. A trucking insurance retailer will be able to help you find the perfect pairing of any of these plans that will keep your transportation company protected.
Tip 2: Know what factors will affect your insurance prices
The credibility of your transportation company will not only affect how much your insurance will cost but also how easy or difficult it will be to even get insurance in the first place. Here are two things that trucking insurance retailers will look for when reviewing your transportation company for a quote.
Have you got the right level of experience?
Firstly, you will want a CDL that is specifically issued to the state that your transportation company operates in as well as a minimum of three years of CDL experience. Insurance agents want to be able to feel confident ensuring owner-operators and their trucking companies, so the more experience they have the better. Your quotes will also be far more expensive if you don’t have the proper level of experience that these agents look for. This is because the owner-operators need to make up for where they may be lacking in loss history, driver file maintenance, and vehicle maintenance.
The only way an owner-operator could potentially get around these steeper quotes would be if they have five years of prior experience being an owner-operator for a different transportation company. So, if you’re an owner-operator applying for a trucking insurance quote, either make sure you make enough to cover the higher quotes if you lack the proper level of experience either with your current transportation company or one that you happened to have worked with before where you are now.
How’s your driving record?
Second, having a clean driving record is critical. Trucking insurance underwriters will look at your inspection records, service violation hours, driver fitness, logbook violations, and truck maintenance records. Additionally, they will check to see If your tractor-trailers have the proper signage and safety features on your vehicle such as fog lamps and deer guards.
Just like your standard automobile insurance, being a responsible and safe truck driver will help you keep your rates low and help you maintain a healthy insurance score. So, make sure that all your trucks are up to code as are your driving logs and other safety records before you start applying for an insurance plan.
Tip 3: Know what your carrier will provide for your transportation company
If you are an owner-operator who runs a single carrier transportation company or works with lease purchase drivers, you should pay close attention to what your insurance plan will cover for your company.
A few questions that you should ask your insurance retailer while putting together a plan that fits your company’s needs would revolve around covering your company while your CDL drivers are on and off duty, and if your insurance plans will impact your ability to carry certain types of freight, all of which can affect your transportation company’s bottom line.
Also, take a second to consider what the future goals of your future company will look like. Are you planning to expand your business? And if so, will you still be the owner-operator, or will you be looking to add another manager? If so, make sure you include this in your conversation with your agent since it will impact your insurance record as well as your company’s safety records. For this reason, we recommend finding an insurance plan that is independent of any carriers so you can keep your safety record separate. After all, your insurance plan should be able to fit your needs, not the other way around.
When it comes to peace of mind on the road, Roane Transportation has got your back
Since 1996, Roane Transportation has been providing quality long-haul and short-haul transportation services for a wide variety of clients all over the U.S. Our flatbed fleets hold excellent safety records and offer unmatched dedication to both CDL drivers and customers. So, you know that our owner-operators have unmatched insurance plans that will keep your haul as safe as our responsible truckers. Roane Transportation truck drivers are driven by integrity and strive for excellence with every shipment, making sure all freight gets where it needs to go on time and intact. So, if you want peace of mind on the road, turn to Roane Transportation. Visit us online today or call us directly at 865-345-3288 to learn more about our drivers and the services we offer.