Insurance Options


Fleet operations run on a strict timetable, and when there are disruptions—be they natural disaster, government resource allocation, supply chain delays, or downtime from equipment—economic havoc can erupt. Being prepared for any type of interruption can ensure trucking can recover quickly with minimal impact to the financial wellbeing of the business. Being nimble to identify the loss, correct the issue, and return to full capacity are key to mitigating damages.

Insurance policies are custom designed to fit the individual needs of each operation. Working with an agent to secure a mutual agreement on coverage that works best for the fleet is an evolving partnership and should be reviewed annually at minimum. Equipment and buildings depreciate, and changes in the environmental landscape shift. Fuel fluctuations and potential shifts in the timing and transportation of goods to market are all variables impacting the type and amount of insurance coverage one may wish to secure to protect their investment.

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There is no better time than now for fleet owners to review their current insurance policy and coverage. It might also be helpful if owners talk to others in the industry and compare notes. Fleet owners should put themselves in a position to be proactive rather than reactive. After all, the issue is not if a loss occurs but when it occurs. Being well informed of the insurance coverage for fleet operation will help navigate the road of recovery.

Some fleets are fully insured. Some are self-insured. Some have a blended coverage that covers the “small stuff” to avoid a high premium or cover losses that are less than the deductible. It’s not a “one stop shop” of information, but all fleet managers should follow the same steps no matter if the event is handled in-house or with an insurance company.


When reporting damages to an insurance carrier, the carrier will determine if the damage is considered covered property and if the loss was caused by a covered cause of loss. As a part of their determination, they may require speaking with an adjuster, they may assign the case to the SIU (Special Investigation Unit), and they may send out an independent appraiser such as Property Damage Appraisers. The insured may also be contractually required to take certain steps in the event of loss or damage to “covered property.” Be prepared to:

Notify the police if theft, vandalism, trespassing, or any possibility of an intentional, law-violating act occurs.

Give the insurance carrier prompt notice of the loss or damage as well as a description of how, when, and where the loss occurred so they can provide immediate guidance throughout the claim process.

Take all reasonable steps to mitigate loss by protecting fleet property from further loss. When possible, secure images to document damage or secure the damage property for future examination.

When expenses are incurred for emergency or temporary repairs, retain all records for consideration in the settlement of the loss.

Determining the cause and origin of the loss validates if the damage is a covered cause of loss as described in the policy while also determining if there is a right to recover damages from a responsible third party or subrogation of damages. It is vital the damaged property is retained, preserved, and the chain of custody is maintained to explore potential liability and recovery of damages including applicable deductibles. If a third party is found to be liable for damages, the insurance company will seek recovery of the damages paid out including any deductible incurred by the policyholder.


Being well informed on the value of property, goods, services, and equipment used in the fleet operation can offer alternatives when determining insurance needs and the premiums associated with those coverages. Insurance policies may include specific limits of insurance for covered property, offer a variety of covered causes of loss, and allow specified dollar amounts for named property and a menu of coverage options tailored to secure desired coverage and a premium within a specific budget. 

For those looking for options when managing insurance costs, consider self-insuring property through higher deductibles, coinsurance with the carrier, or excluding certain property from the policy. Reviewing those options with an insurance agent to gain understanding of the financial impact to the bottom-line premium investment and understanding out-of-pocket expenses when a loss occurs will result in an optimal financial decision for a fleet’s daily operation.

Fleets will continue to face challenges with the variable cost of fuel, availability of approved and qualified drivers, shifts in local and national buyers, tariffs and pandemics, and weather and catastrophic events—and each of these factors impact the overall profitability of the business.

Proactively identifying ways to mitigate losses may save thousands of dollars in loss avoidance. An annual review of insurance coverage with an agent can help determine a plan specific to a fleet’s operation and keep the insured informed about how to proceed during a loss. A blend of well-planned insurance coverage, self-insurance through higher deductibles, and coinsurance may offer lower rates while still providing peace of mind when faced with providing fleet coverage.


Tom Diehl is a vice president at Property Damage Appraisers, Inc., a nationwide independent damage appraisal firm headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. Tom has been associated with PDA for 16 years where he served in various roles from field appraiser to a multi-franchise owner. He is an expert in heavy equipment claims and helped transform the marketing and sales program at the franchisee level. Find out more, visit

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