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, so doing a little research can go a long way.
Whether you’re working with an independent agent or doing the shopping yourself, asking the following questions can help you make the most informed 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 will help make sure your truck value and premiums are current. The value of commercial vehicles changes over the years, which means the amount of coverage you need may have to be adjusted.
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—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 get 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 shops or service centers. Oftentimes, it can speed up the repair of your vehicles and many of these shops will 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’s covered. 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 if it is covered in your policy (or extra).
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 who can work 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.
LOOK FOR VALUE, NOT COST.
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, like 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, ask about discounts for which you’re eligible. Sometimes, insurance companies can give you discounts you wouldn’t even think about based on your company’s 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 pickup truck insurance bills electronically or pay their policy in full.
WHO CAN HELP ME?
Never feel like you can’t ask for help in the insurance comparison process. Just like when you go to a doctor for medical advice, independent agents are there to provide you with insurance advice. Independent agents can offer multiple coverage options, prices, and service levels because they represent a variety of companies. Your coverage requirements could include a combination of auto, cargo, general liability, workers’ comp, an umbrella policy, etc., and they can put together a customized package specific to your needs. They can help guide you through the process to help you find the right coverage for your business.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brett Stalnaker is a commercial auto product manager at Progressive Insurance. Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance and the number one truck insurer. To find out more about Progressive’s coverages or find a local independent agent, visit www.progressivecommercial.com.
MODERN WORKTRUCK SOLUTIONS: APRIL 2016 ISSUE
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