No matter the size of your business or fleet, it’s always a good idea to reevaluate your expenses, especially when it comes to your commercial auto insurance. You may not realize it, but your policy may not be the best fit for your business’ needs. Doing a little research can help you decide if your insurer has the coverages and resources necessary to protect your business.
Whether you’re working with an independent agent or doing the shopping yourself, ask these questions to feel confident that you’re making the most informed insurance decision:
- Is your current policy the best policy for your particular business? If you’ve had the same insurance policy for more than a few years, request that your insurer review your policy. This helps make sure your vehicle values and premiums are current. The value of commercial vehicles changes over the years, which means the amount of coverage you need should be adjusted accordingly.
- Does the insurer have experience in your line of business? Check to see if the insurer has a proven track record with vocational fleets. This is a good sign of how well an insurer will handle your claim if you ever need to file one. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask about their experience with your type of business—and be specific with what you ask.
- What about the claims reps? If you do have an accident, it’s nice to find a company that has dedicated commercial auto claims representatives, not general reps who work for a third party. Specialized claims reps have a deeper understanding of what needs to be done to get you up and running and will be more likely to foresee issues in the claims process before they arise.
- Do they have the resources you need? Similar to specialized claims representatives, ask if an insurer has a network of repair shops. It can often speed up the repair of your vehicles, and many of these shops offer guarantees on their work for long periods of time. The choice is yours, so if you have a shop you know and trust, you can always stick with them. But it’s good to know your options upfront.
- Can your coverage be customized to fit your needs? As you know, not all insurance packages fit your needs. Make sure you fully understand what your policy covers. If your truck or van is paramount to getting supplies to your clients, check if your insurer offers rental vehicle coverage. It provides you with a temporary vehicle if yours is out of service. If you have permanently attached equipment, ask about replacement coverage and whether it is covered in your policy.
- Can they adapt to changes in your business? It’s likely that your insurance needs will change as your business evolves. You might buy a new fleet truck, land a new contract, or hire an employee driver. Finding a commercial auto insurer that offers a wide range of coverage limits and options can make it easy to update your policy when sudden changes occur. Also, check to see if they have access to other business insurance products like general liability, business owner’s policy (BOP), and workers’ compensation.
- Are they available around the clock? If you drive or run a fleet of vocational trucks, you likely don’t work a typical nine-to-five schedule. Why shouldn’t your insurer be available when you need them most? Look for an insurer that works around your schedule, not vice-versa. And, 24/7 doesn’t just apply to call centers and claims representatives—check if your insurer offers 24/7 access to ID cards or certificates of insurance. That way you can get these documents whenever you need them.
- Who offers the best value? Value doesn’t always mean savings. Make side-by-side comparisons, and see who’s giving you the most bang for your buck. Consider all the factors, such as coverage customization, customer service, and special promotions. Then, once you’re comfortable with what your insurer is covering, ask about discounts.
- What discounts are available? After you’ve taken the time to compare the value of what you’re getting, check if you’re eligible for discounts. Sometimes insurance companies give discounts based things you wouldn’t even think about, such as company history. You could be eligible for a discount just by having a commercial driver’s license or based on the number of years you’ve been in business. Many insurance companies such as Progressive provide additional savings for customers who pay their commercial auto insurance bills electronically or pay their policy in full, although discounts vary by state and situation.
When shopping for insurance, never feel like you can’t ask for help. Just like when you go to a doctor for medical advice, insurance agents are there to provide you with insurance advice. You might need a combination of commercial auto and business insurance coverages. A licensed insurance agent can help assess your business and tailor a policy specific to your needs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jochen Schunter is a commercial auto product manager at Progressive Insurance. Progressive, in business since 1937, is the number one insurer for both commercial auto insurance and truck insurance. Find out more about Progressive’s coverages or find a local agent, visit www.progressivecommercial.com.