Whether you are a trucking start-up or a seasoned small carrier, insurance is both a necessity and a nuisance with which to be reckoned.
As a licensed transportation insurance agent, I’ve found more times than not a carrier’s owner isn’t as prepared as he/she needs to be with the necessary information required for the lowest insurance quote.
I have been asked by many small and micro-carriers to provide them with insurance quotes when their insurance is renewing in just a few days or weeks. That in itself creates a challenge for the insurance agent to gather the required underwriting information about the carrier, package it to fit the different criteria of the multitude of insurance companies, and provide the time for insurance underwriters to return a quote with their best rates. Trucking company owners need to know that to get the lowest possible rates, an insurance company requires both time and detailed information about the carrier.
This is not like calling your local car and home insurance agent, or going online to enter personal information to receive a quote for your car. For trucking insurance, you’re talking about a multitude of risks that need to be evaluated to determine the best coverage at the lowest cost.
To do this and to ensure no coverage is left out and unnecessary coverage is excluded requires time. The typical length of time spent gathering the underwriting information from the carrier, packaging the information in the required format for each underwriter, and then providing those underwriters with the time necessary to assemble a quality quote is two to three months.
If your insurance agent hasn’t contacted you 90 to 120 days out from your renewal date or if you are a start-up carrier, you need to contact the agent 120 days from the date you are officially opening for business. Anything short of that and you will most likely pay far more than you should for your motor carrier’s insurance.
What follows is a list of the detailed information you should be providing to your insurance agent. It’s best to have it packaged and ready to go. When insurance companies ask for documents, the faster they are produced indicates you’re on top of your company’s business and financial situation.
Keep in mind there may be other documents and information required for special situations and operations, so verify with your insurance agent what he or she needs.
- A list of drivers, including license numbers, dates of birth, and dates of hire.
- A copy of current safety program and any incentive program.
- A list of primary customers.
- Current company financial statements.
- Three- to five-year-loss runs with details on any large losses.
- An updated business plan.
- Website address as well as any brochures, newspaper articles, etc., that describe insured’s operations.
- A list of all facilities (buildings, tank capacity, etc.).
- Is vehicle repair or body work done on premises?
- Is fuel stored on premises? Describe type, amount, and storage.
- Are fuel pumps and tanks protected by concrete posts?
- Is the yard area fully fenced and lit at night?
- Are you involved in other operations besides trucking for hire?
- Are you involved in any warehousing of goods for others?
- Are drivers allowed to carry guns?
- What type of carrier is your company, i.e., common, contract, exempt, or private?
- List the types and percentage of hauling done for each (van, reefer, flatbed, liquid, etc.).
- Describe in detail what commodities are hauled.
- List major cities insured served and give percentage of overall operations to each.
- Does insured ever haul into or out of Canada or Mexico?
- Are any federal or state filings required?
- Are special filings (oversized, overweight, etc.) required?
- Is your company involved in any intermodal shipping?
- Does your company haul double or triple trailers? If yes, list percentage of each.
- Do you act as a freight broker/forwarder or arrange loads for others?
- Do you hire equipment from others?
- Do you hire contract lease operators under your authority?
- Is your company named as additional insured on its policies?
- Do you or your contract lease operators require non-trucking coverage (bobtail)?
- Is equipment ever loaned or leased to others? With or without drivers?
- Is your trucking company responsible for primary auto liability coverage?
- Do any contract lease operators need to be named as an ‘additional insured’?
- Is your carrier party to a formal interchange agreement?
- What is your carrier’s policy regarding passengers riding in trucks?
- Do you operate any vehicles that may need downtime coverage?
- Describe the current maintenance program for trucks and equipment.
- Are any vehicles altered, customized or have special equipment?
- Are all trucks equipped with fire extinguishers?
- Describe driver hiring, training and safety programs employed by insured.
- Are drivers assigned to specific trucks? Do drivers perform daily inspections?
- Are motor vehicle reports (MVRs) obtained for all new drivers? Are annual MVRs run for all existing drivers?
- What percentage of drivers are employees versus contract lease operators?
- Are any drivers under 25 years old? Over 65 years old?
- What are the maximum number of hours driven daily and weekly by drivers?
- Are pre-employment physicals required for all new drivers?