Step 5) Be Informed - Ask Questions & Make Notes
Know The Definitions of Small Fleet Truck Insurance, Motor Truck Cargo Insurance, Non-Trucking Liability, Occupational Accident Truck Insurance, etc.
Maybe you can't be sure exactly how much you should be paying in insurance premiums, but you should have a good idea which insurance policies you are purchasing. And it is always possible that sometimes your insurance program may be flawed. You may have a policy that doesn’t fit your operation. The policies provided by different carriers do carry different terms and conditions. And not every insurance agent knows the difference. This is yet another reason why it is vitally important to have a competent insurance agent who is well-versed in the coverages available to motor carriers from various insurance companies.
The basic trucking fleet coverages are as follows:
Liability. There are actually two kinds of liability insurance: trucking liability and general liability. The trucking liability coverage protects you when one of your commercial vehicles is involved in an accident and others are harmed. Whether they are physically hurt or their property is damaged, this is the insurance that covers you for such claims for compensation. General liability will protect you when there is a claim against your company for some reason other than the trucking operations. The common example given is when somebody is visiting your office and slips on an icy sidewalk. Interestingly, the trucking liability insurance that you purchase is typically known in the trucking insurance industry as ‘automobile liability’. Go figure.
You also purchase what is known as automobile physical damage (again the insurance industry demonstrates its sense of humor by selling you coverage for a truck and calling it automobile physical damage). This coverage pays for the value of your vehicle when it is damaged or totaled. This is the coverage that must be evidenced on your certificate of insurance for your lienholders if you owe money on equipment that you are operating.
Motor truck cargo insurance. Motor truck Cargo insurance is technically called inland marine insurance. This oxymoronic term only makes sense to underwriters, and insurance geeks, but at least we finally see the word “truck” used when referring to a trucking insurance policy. This particular coverage is often not given as much emphasis as it deserves because in the overall picture its premiums tend to be lower than your other coverages. But be sure you work closely with your agent on this one – the policies available differ widely in coverage and exclusions.
This is vitally important coverage because it pays your CUSTOMER for the value of the freight that is lost or damaged. In the event of an accident, you will already have a crabby customer because their load didn’t get there on time and in one piece. The LAST thing you need is a bad cargo policy that won’t provide the payment necessary to smooth those ruffled feathers.