Commercial Auto Insurance / Commercial Fleet Insurance
If you are running a small to medium-sized business with two or more vehicles dedicated solely to business purposes, consider commercial fleet insurance. Fleet insurance is ideal for any business searching for coverage on any kind of motorized equipment: vans, cars, trucks, tractors, tractor-trailers, buses, SUV’s, etc. Many of these businesses are small trade companies that are looking for cheap fleet insurance coverage to keep overhead low as they improve the stability and/or scale of their businesses.
Some commercial fleet insurers require the applicant to have 5 to 7 vehicles registered in the company’s name in order to qualify for fleet-based discount pricing. The fleet insurance is negotiated through a broker and underwriter based on numerous factors. This is why it is important to find an agent who is knowledgeable about the special risks of your field to weigh the elements properly. An insurer is primarily concerned with the geography of the vehicles, the number of vehicles, vehicle values, history of the drivers, and how the vehicles are used (haulage, local delivery, local trade, etc.), and security.
Many clients of commercial fleet insurance have businesses dedicated to the following trades:
- HVAC Heating & Air
- Tree Services
- Pest Control
- Delivery Services
Finding the right insurer who has confidence in your business model and is willing to assess your business as low-risk with reasonable rates can be difficult. Many commercial auto insurance companies will quote sky high prices without knowing much about the trade. If the insurance company has confidence in the professionalism and intelligence of the business model, they will be more inclined to offer exclusive rates. There can be huge savings between shopping for commercial auto insurance through laymen agents and those who know something about your trade.
Determine the Correct Coverage
Purchasing the right amount of coverage is important when it comes to fleet insurance. You don’t want to assess the value of your autos or equipment when it was new. You need to look at the real value of what it is worth today in used condition. The more steps you can take to demonstrate that you have a professionally managed business and that there are no safety risks, the easier it will be to compel an insurer to drop their quoted rates.
Lower Insurance Rates by Demonstrating Strict Adherence to Safety
Many of the concerns for insurers to cover trucking fleets boils down to distracted driving. It is estimated that 87% of all fleet accidents are due to distracted driving. Aggressive steps have been taken by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to limit the systematic distractions that affect commercial fleet drivers. The new law limits drivers to using hands-free devices that require nothing more than the push of a single button to operate. Companies whose drivers participate in fleet safety programs present a lower risk to commercial fleet insurers.
These programs may offer GPS monitoring to determine the location, mechanical fitness, and fuel consumption of the fleet vehicles. Some companies like to keep real-time video of their drivers so that they can ensure they are not violating distracted driving laws. Phone calls, web browsing, text messages, and dispatchers who request information to be entered by drivers while they are on the road are the main distractions. The drivers also need to participate in instructional courses to ensure that they are aware of how serious distracted driving can be and what to do if they are feeling fatigue or are unable to concentrate on driving.
Types of Insurance Coverage
The only difference between fleet insurance and traditional commercial insurance is the ability to simplify the insurance process by bundling diverse vehicles under one policy. The same types of bodily injury liability, property liability, and personal injury protection against medical expenses and lost wages are available. Additional elements of the plan can include underinsured and uninsured motorist insurance. If you purchase comprehensive and collision coverage, it will protect you against damage to your vehicles. Gap insurance to ensure you aren’t underwater on any leased or new vehicle is another option that is often overlooked.
Other Tips to Reduce Rates
In many states where there is a minimum amount of coverage needed to insure the vehicles, it is wise to ask for a higher deductible if you feel that you only need insurance coverage claims for real emergencies. If you can pay out-of-pocket in the event of any smaller issues and absorb the costs, this may save you a lot of money upfront on your insurance premiums. However, you have to consider whether you can afford higher deductibles in the real-world situations your fleet might face.
Hire drivers with exceptional experience and driving records. When you prove that you have competent employees who have a reputation to uphold, you will have an easier time with insurance companies selling your case to an underwriter. That is really what the insurance business is all about. The insurer has to demonstrate that they are properly assessing risks with empirical and objective evidence that ensures that the underwriter is not taking high risks in funding the insurance plans. The more risk, the higher the cost to back the insurance broker’s portfolio.
Commercial auto fleet insurance works best when there are three or more vehicles on the policy. You can save substantial money by bundling all your vehicles (business, personal, and commercial fleet) with the same insurer. Commercial fleet insurance covers a broad range of motorized vehicles and industrial equipment. This is particularly advantageous for construction companies. An agent who has some specialized knowledge concerning your particular trade will be in the best position to make an objective case for lower risks and lower premiums. By demonstrating that you have solid management and safety protocols in place to limit the possibility of distracted driving or other case-by-case hazards, you will be better situated to negotiate lower rates.