Sunday, October 7, 2012

Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck When Buying Truck Insurance

If motorcycles are the rock stars of the road, commercial trucks are show stoppers in their own right. They are often the biggest vehicles on the road, leaving other motorists in their shadow. While most drivers remain within a 20- or 30-mile radius of their home during their commute to work, big rig drivers get to travel the country, often visiting a new locale every day.

With these benefits also come risks. As a truck driver, you need to choose the best insurance for your vehicle, which can be pricey. Many truck drivers have trouble finding the right insurance plan that will allow them to work the routes they want to work, make a profit and be covered in case of an accident.

The following are some guidelines for selecting quality big rig truck insurance.

Research, research, research. As a trucker, you should be knowledgeable on all the terms of the coverage you’re thinking of purchasing. Commercial truck insurance varies from the typical car insurance because it usually has sections within it that apply to the cargo a truck is hauling, as well as other aspects of driving that only relate to the trucking industry. Therefore, the coverage that is chosen should protect the driver, the truck, cargo and the other vehicle. It pays to shop around for a company that specializes in commercial truck insurance.

Deductibles. Deductibles on insurance policies can make a big difference if you ever need to use the policy. Like most insurance plans, the deductible determines how much the driver will pay each month. If you choose a small deductible of $500, your monthly payments will be significantly higher than the trucker with a $10,000 deductible. While the lower monthly payment seems much more manageable, you should pay as much as you can afford up front, as opposed to getting hit with a large bill when an accident occurs.

Negotiate. Insurance companies want your business, so you need to get quotes from several different agents. Some companies offer discounts for bundling policies, such as life, home and a second vehicle. Negotiating is an art, so learn it. Once you’ve shopped around and obtained several quotes, present them to another agent and ask him or her to beat that price. If they can’t, keep looking.

Even though many big rig drivers balk at the costly insurance policies, there are ways to cut corners and save. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on insurance. It could come back to bite you in the long haul.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Three Issues that Can Cause Your Big Rig Insurance to Soar

Big rigs can have big costs associated with them. By sheer virtue of the size of commercial trucks, and the damage they can inflict during a crash, an insurance policy can carry a hefty price tag. Although maintaining coverage on your vehicle can be costly, not having insurance or not carrying adequate insurance, poses a bigger financial burden.

As an owner/operator, it pays to drive smart and research ways to keep your premium at a minimum. While you’re on the lookout for discounts, keep in mind the following three issues that can drive up your insurance rates:

High-tailing it down the highway. Research shows that speeding is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. Pushing the pedal to the metal is dangerous in a normal sized car, but speeding in a vehicle that exceeds 50,000 pounds can have deadly results. As an owner/operator, you’re aware that your commercial truck takes a longer time to brake, and if you lose control while you’re flooring it, you can damage not only other vehicles and property, but other drivers.

Falling asleep at the wheel. Driver fatigue is a real issue that affects many truckers. Because drivers earn their livelihood on the road and make more money the more routes they take, they compromise their safety (and the well-being of others) when they get sleepy on the job. Experts say that driving while exhausted can be just as dangerous as being drunk at the wheel.

Wandering eyes. As an owner/operator, you understand that although you get to see the beautiful countryside during your routes, driving a big rig is a lonely life. It’s easy for your mind (and your eyes) to wander as you search for ways to break the monotony that comes from hours and hours behind the wheel. Chatting on CB radios, sneaking a peak at your mini-TV and talking on cell phones can easily distract you and cause an accident.

One misstep on the road can sink you financially, or at the very least earn you a ticket for a traffic violation. Driving the speed limit, getting plenty of rest and keeping your mind sharp while behind the wheel can help keep your insurance premiums low.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Commercial Truck Driver Health Risks and the Need for Proper Insurance

Commercial truck drivers are some of the hardest workers in our nation, often operating their big rigs in all weather conditions and working long hours as they criss-cross the country. Because of the nature of their industry, studies show that truckers are at a greater risk than the average American for a host of health problems.

A recent Huffington Post article reports that sleep apnea may affect as many as 40 percent of truck drivers. Patients who suffer from this serious sleeping disorder (in which breathing stops and starts during resting) say they feel exhausted even after a full night's sleep. For the owner/operator of a big rig who makes a living behind the wheel, this condition has the potential to be deadly, as it increases daytime drowsiness.

Another common health complaint that commercial truck drivers face is back injuries and sprains, due to the weight of the cargo they load and unload. Obesity also plagues these truckers, as they munch on fast food and snacks during their travels, sit for long stretches at a time and have little time for exercise and healthy meal planning.

It’s difficult enough to maneuver a wide load down the highway when you’re in the best of health. Being in poor health compromises your ability to function optimally. As an owner/operator, it pays to invest in a good insurance policy that will protect you and the cargo you’re carrying in the unfortunate event of an accident. Some coverage types to consider include:

Physical damage coverage. If your truck is involved in a crash, physical damage coverage can cover the cost of repairing it or replacing it.

Cargo insurance. This type of insurance provides coverage for loss or damage to the load you’re hauling. That can take a load off your mind if something happens to your precious cargo.

Liability insurance. This coverage pays for damages that you inflict on other drivers and their property.

The life of a big rig driver certainly isn’t glamorous, and increasing health concerns add an element of risk, not only to the commercial truck driver, but to other vehicles on the road. You may not be able to prevent particular threats to your health, but you have total control over certain threats to your financial health. Speak to an insurance agent today to determine which policy works best for your budget.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Commercial Truck Insurance for Owner/Operators 
and Company Drivers

Small business owners are the lifeblood of the economy, which is why many savvy entrepreneurs set out to get their piece of the American pie. If you’re thinking about owning and operating a big rig, you’ll be joining the ranks of the thousands of transport professionals on the road today. The benefits of being an owner/operator are many, including creating your own schedule and routes, deciding which cargo to haul, financial freedom and taking pride in being your own boss.
    On the other hand, you may not be ready to take that leap to own your own big rig yet. Commercial truck ownership means higher insurance rates and dealing with the rising cost of fuel. If you lease your commercial truck with a trucking business, you enjoy several advantages, such as trailers provided by your company and being able to use an expense account for tolls, gas and permits.
    Whether you work for someone else or you call the shots, you need proper commercial truck insurance to protect your investment and your peace of mind. The following is a list of policies available for owner/operators and those who are company drivers:

    Comprehensive coverage. This popular type of coverage offers protection for non-collision losses, such as fire, smoke, windstorm, theft, lightning, hail and vandalism.
    Liability insurance. For many truckers, this is mandatory insurance which pays for any damage you cause to property or other drivers with your big rig. If you are caught driving without carrying this type of insurance, it is considered an offense and could result in heavy fines.
    Replacement cost coverage. This gives you peace of mind by covering personal property that is stolen, damaged or destroyed.
    Trailer interchange coverage. For the company driver, if you have a trailer interchange agreement, this coverage helps protect you while you're in possession of a container or trailer that you don't own.
    Occupational accident coverage. If you are injured on the job and you need to see a doctor or make a trip to the emergency room, this coverage pays your medical bills for certain covered accidents while you're working. This type of insurance can be highly beneficial if you don’t currently carry health insurance.

    Commercial truck insurance can be much higher than auto insurance, which is why it pays to shop around. Speak to an insurance agent about coverage amounts and how to save on the various policies listed above. Protect your livelihood and your precious cargo today.

Big Rig Insurance for the Owner/Operator

As the driver of a big rig, you ride down the highway in a mobile office, especially if you are an owner/operator. When you’re in business for yourself, not only do you have the pleasure of traveling the beautiful countryside as you transport goods, but you also enjoy financial freedom. The very financial independence that you worked so hard to attain as a small business owner can be blotted out in an instant in the event of a crash.
    As a driver working under your own authority, you have to take special measures to protect your investment that truckers working on behalf of a motor carrier don’t have to worry about. It makes good financial sense to buy as much big rig insurance as you can afford up front, so you don’t end up shelling out an exorbitant amount of money for property damage and medical expenses after an unfortunate collision.
    The following three types of commercial truck insurance can help protect your investment and your livelihood:
    Liability insurance. Big rig coverage can be expensive because commercial trucks are often the largest vehicles on the road and can cause the most damage. Liability insurance protects you in the event that you injure another driver or cause damage to their personal property during a trucking accident. Speak to your insurance carrier today to determine the amounts of coverage you need.

    Non-trucking liability insurance. As an independent trucking professional, you need this form of insurance in the event that you’ve delivered your cargo and sustain an accident while your big rig is not in use for trucking purposes. For example, if you are on the way home after transporting goods, and you cause a crash, non-trucking liability insurance provides coverage when you are not in business.

    Cargo insurance. Your reputation is built on safely delivering goods and merchandise from one location to another. This type of insurance is invaluable for owner/operators. It offers protection for the precious cargo you’re transporting in the event of theft, fire or an accident. Speak to an insurance professional to determine the necessary coverage levels.

    You’ve worked hard to grow your business, but one accident can wipe out your sole source of income. Drive smart with proper commercial truck insurance. Your business will blossom as a result.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Insurance for Your Big Rig That Won’t Break the Bank

Being the owner/operator of a commercial truck is a major responsibility, but the position also has many perks. Your big rig puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to deciding which routes to choose, what cargo to transport and what hours to keep.
    As one of the largest vehicles on the road, you’re already aware that commercial trucks can cause extensive damage to other drivers and serious injury to passengers in the event of an accident. Because big rig insurance can cost an arm and a leg, some owner/operators try to keep their expenses down by not carrying adequate coverage. Skimping now can hurt you in the long run.
    As a transport professional, you’ve invested the time and resources and taken out loans to go into business for yourself. One crash can wipe out everything you’ve worked so hard for. The following tips can help you shop for insurance for your big rig that won’t break the bank:

    Mind your mileage. The rewards of working under your own authority are having financial freedom and the opportunity to travel the country with every new job. The downfall, however, is that you’re also racking up miles on your odometer, which can translate to a higher premium. If you’re trying to keep your insurance costs down, try to maintain low mileage on your big rig to get better rates. Insurance agents believe that less time spent behind the wheel lowers your chances of being involved in an accident, and they’ll give you a discount if you stay within a certain radius.

    It’s all about the cargo. Depending on what types of cargo you transport, you could be eligible for a discount. Obviously, if you’re hauling highly flammable liquids and materials, your premiums will soar. Get a better rate on your insurance policy by transporting non-hazardous goods.

    Insure multiple vehicles. Another way to save money is by insuring multiple trucks or to combine your home and commercial truck policies. Depending on the carrier, a multi-line insurance policy can shave dollars from your premium.

    It pays to shop around to obtain discounted commercial truck insurance to manage your risk exposure. Protecting your livelihood should be first and foremost in your mind, so talk to a professional who understands your business needs.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How to Shop for Low Cost Commercial Truck Insurance

As the independent owner and operator of a commercial truck, you sit behind the wheel of your big rig for hours on end, transporting cargo for hundreds of miles. Your job provides independence, flexibility and the opportunity to travel, but being on the road for long stretches of time also increases the likelihood of an accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over half a million large truck and commercial vehicles were involved in accidents in 2010, and that number continues to rise. If you are uninsured at the time of a crash, the accident could leave you financially devastated.
            Your trucking business is important, and it’s just as vital to protect your investment and your livelihood. Because commercial trucks are much larger than regular automobiles and cause extensive property damage and bodily injury, they are considered a higher risk by insurance companies and carry a more expensive premium. Don’t put off obtaining insurance due to the price of a policy, because a collision could cost you a fortune.
            The following tips can help you obtain cost-effective insurance for your big rig:
            A clean driving record and history. It pays to be a good driver. You may be entitled to a lower premium if your driving record and history shows that you’ve been accident- and ticket-free for a number of years. Other factors that may be taken into consideration by an insurance agent are how long you have been driving commercial trucks and how established your route is.

            Safety is key. As mentioned above, big rigs are larger than the average vehicle and therefore cause greater damage, which results in a pricy premium. But some insurance carriers will provide discounts if you alert other drivers by posting safety signage on your truck. You can save big bucks by doing little things, such as featuring a sign “How am I Driving?” “We Hire Safe Drivers” or “This Vehicle Makes Wide Right Turns.” Taking proactive steps for vehicle safety demonstrates that you are a responsible driver concerned about reducing risk and can pay off in the long run. Another tip for reducing rates is to take safety classes and instructions.
            Maintain your big rig. It should go without saying that a well-maintained commercial truck that is in proper working order, gets regular checkups and can pass routine inspections sends a message to insurance agents that you take vehicle safety seriously. This can translate to a lower premium.
            Protect your credit. Some insurance carriers take the age and credit score of potential clients into consideration when drafting a policy. The logic behind this process is that clients with bad credit scores tend to be more reckless behind the wheel. Maintain your good credit by paying your bills on time, and it could shave a few more dollars off your premium.
            Buying commercial truck insurance doesn’t have to be a lengthy or expensive process if you do your homework beforehand. Talk to an insurance agent today to discover which policy is right for you and your business.