Indiana is ranked as one of the top five states to drive a truck in, and if your trucking insurance isn’t renewed, you’re going to feel a serious panic and knot in your stomach.
The cost of trucking commercial auto insurance is so high, trucking operators always (or at least they should) have their commercial auto liability insurance premiums in mind whenever making choices as to drivers, vehicles, and/or types of transportation services provided. As we are all well aware of though, some choices aren’t made directly by choice and fall into more of a luck category.
If your trucking insurance coverage has been canceled or non-renewed, we know your livelihood as well as any drivers operating under your authority are at risk for downtime.
What I find happens in many of the cases I work with is the previous agent didn’t fully understand all the nuances of the transportation industry and the insurance requirements for it. A question I almost always ask when talking to someone who received a non-renewal notice from their carrier is if their previous agent was more or less a home-and-auto agent who’s “trying” to work in the truck insurance space.
You would be surprised to find out that about half of the people say YES. Please excuse the expression, albeit that’s scary as hell. It’s almost a recipe for disaster to strike, especially for a new trucking company with a relatively young federal authority.
For those without an authority and leased on with another the same is true. I’ve received calls from drivers leased on with full trucking liability, versus having “Bob-tail” or non-trucking liability, which is substantially less, as obvious for anyone who actually knows the trucking/transportation industry.
And growth. I find young trucking authorities that can see the opportunity and want to grow. An agent who doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, is happy to see the additional premium written, as there’s a lot of money on the table.
However, if a young trucking authority grows too fast, many carriers will non-renew the policy because the trajectory isn’t a level they’re comfortable with. I blame the agents for not having a full and candid conversation with their trucking clients so they know how fast they can grow without running into insurance renewal issues.
And don’t even get me started about drivers. If you have a federal trucking authority, it’s your job, maybe the number one job, to make sure the drivers you’re allowing to have your MC number on are driving in a safe and professional manner. Drivers are the way to the gold pot at the end of the rainbow, albeit all too often I receive a call describing how drivers caused too many out of service and/or claims and now their commercial auto is being non-renewed and they’re wishing they would have been more careful in who they brought on.
There’s a 136 other problems drivers can cause including leaving trucks in the worst possible place, not being “clean” in regards to the inside of the truck and 134 other things. In a nutshell, as an operator with drivers, the filter you use in keeping out drivers is what will make or break your business and income. If you’re reading this, have drivers, and being non-renewed, you likely already know this…….
If you don’t already have an insurance agent that understands the for-hire trucking business, and especially how your insurance impacts your business because you thought your insurance agent “knew enough,” you may find “ok” is far from ok.
It’s not that hard to know what your agent knows. Are they making suggestions and spending the time to advise you on all aspects of your trucking business. Do they even know what an IFTA is?
In other words, your agent should be providing answers and not limited to simply asking questions to fill out an online trucking liability insurance form. For questions, you better be receiving as many or more questions about your trucking business with suggestions on best practices, or you may find your journey is a lonely twisted road without signs guiding the way.
I think we can all agree that even if your operation is one truck, you deserve as much (maybe more) attention and time as a fleet operator because for you, THIS is your whole world. As I stated in another article, if you lose your authority, it’s maybe not the complete end of the world, and yes, you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in the cab again while driving for another, however, we both know if you wanted to do that, you wouldn’t have taken the time, energy, money, and frustration to get your authority in the first place.
So, if your insurance policy for your trucking operation is being non-renewed, maybe it’s time to give me a call and discuss your options. Better yet, let’s talk before your trucking policy is even in jeopardy of non-renewal or cancelation.
In other words, if you’re not fully convinced how important your insurance coverage and agent are to your business before facing a loss of your operating authority, all doubt will quickly vanish into a hazy and far-reaching mist if you receive a letter in the mail that in 35 days your insurance is non-renewed or canceled.
Questions I’ll ask, and you’ll want to be prepared to fully answer include:
- Why are you being non-renewed, and of course what if anything you can do about the catalyst for the insurance issue moving forward. I can’t emphasize just how important it is to be candid and upfront with your situation.
- Your current policy information and how long you’ve had your authority.
- Driver and vehicle information and what types of goods you haul
- Where you operate. Most trucking operators are unlimited radius, albeit I have a fair share of regional and local trucking, including for example dump trucks.
- What your desire and hopes are for the future of your trucking business.
Robert Weinstein is a husband, dad, stock market junkie, real estate broker, and of course…Insurance agent. Interests include my family, economics, marketing, technology, real estate, finance/investing, history, and Asia.
Robert’s insurance expertise includes having the designation of Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC) and assist in asset protection for families with members entering retirement.
Robert is also an accomplished syndicated writer whose work can be found in TheStreet, MainStreet, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Seeking Alpha, MSN Money, The Money Show, Stock Saints, Motley Fool, Fidelity, Minyanville, RealMoney Pro, and many national and international newspapers.