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Truck Driver Summer Safety and Insurance Tips

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Jul 14, 2021

Truck Driver Summer Safety Tips to Save on Trucking Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown and points in between.Safer drivers mean fewer accidents, and fewer accidents mean lower Truck Insurance premiums. While the months of snow, ice, and freezing rain may be behind us, now is not the time for drivers to let down their guard.

According to the National Safety Council, in 2019, the highest number of motor-vehicle deaths – 3,351 – occurred in August. The number of deaths was also high in June (3,189) and July (3,294). Meanwhile, February – one of the snowiest months in the U.S. - had the lowest motor-vehicle deaths at 2,388.

Why are Roads More Deadly in the Summer?

Drivers should understand why roads tend to be more dangerous in the summer, so they can address the very issues that cause it.

  • More Drivers – There are more drivers on the road during the summer months. Many teens are enjoying their summer breaks going places – visiting friends, summer jobs, going to the beach. Also, according to Gallup, July is the most popular month for summer vacations, followed by August, June, and September. And, finally, there are more motorcycles on the road during the summer months.
  • Less Experienced Drivers – And many of these additional drivers have less experience. Teens have fewer hours on the road, and adults may be driving in unfamiliar areas or driving an unfamiliar vehicle such as an RV or motorcycle or towing a trailer.
  • More Congestion – Certain locations – such as beach areas or amusement parks – attract more people during the summer months. More vehicles in one area can cause more traffic and heavier congestion. There are also more walkers, runners, and bicyclists out on the roads during the warmer months.

Truck Driver Safety Tips

Watch for Construction Zones

Check the Department of Transportation’s website for each state you’ll be traveling through to find areas that may be under construction. If you can’t avoid roads with construction, at least try to avoid them during rush hour.

Watch the Weather

The heat and storms of summer can bring unique challenges to truck drivers. Check the weather when you plan a trip and have a contingency plan if it looks like you’re heading a bad storm. Drivers can Dial 511 - a transportation and traffic information hotline - or go on the state’s Department of Transportation’s website to see if the weather is affecting road conditions.

Also, ensure your truck is prepared for the heat. As temperatures rise, the chance of mechanical failure also rises. During your pre-trip inspection, make sure the air conditioner in your cab is working, and check the engine’s coolant level and tire pressure, as the heat of summer can cause more blowouts.

And, finally, take care of yourself. Excessive heat can cause dehydration and fatigue. Prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays, wear sunscreen, and take breaks as needed.

Watch Yourself

Truck drivers should always exercise extra caution because large trucks can cause more damage and more severe injuries than smaller vehicles. Safety becomes even more important as you face more traffic and more inexperienced drivers during the summer months.

When there’s a lot of traffic, drivers can become more impatient, follow you too closely, or cut you off. Drivers on unfamiliar roads may slow down to read signs or suddenly take a turn or an exit. Be particularly vigilant if you see an out-of-state license plate, which could mean the driver is unfamiliar with the roads, and use extra caution when passing a vehicle towing a trailer to avoid causing a sway in your wake.

Also, avoid distractions, such as talking or texting on your phone. Look for other drivers who may be distracted and be extra careful and extra vigilant around them.

And finally, wear your seatbelt. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22,697 drivers and passengers died in motor vehicle crashes in 2018. More than half (between the ages of 13 and 44) were not wearing their seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Save Now on Truck Insurance

When an accident does occur, the right insurance can help protect your business and get your truck back on the road. We help you save by quoting a variety of quality trucking insurance providers.

Give the Truck Insurance experts at American Insuring Group a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Commercial Insurance Berks County, Trucking Insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance

Can Fleet Insurance Lower the Cost of Truckers Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 22, 2021

Affordable Fleet Truck Insurance for Trucking Companies in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg and throughout PAIf your business owns or uses trucks, you need to have the right Truck Insurance to protect your vehicles, employees, and business. 

Trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger cars, and they are also taller with greater ground clearance. Trucks also take longer to stop. A loaded tractor-trailer takes 20-40 percent farther to stop than a personal vehicle. 

Therefore, the risk for trucks is significantly higher than it is for personal vehicles. Higher risks mean higher consequences. In 2019, 4,119 people died in large truck crashes, and 97% of vehicle occupants killed in a two-vehicle crash involved a large truck. The average cost of a significant truck accident involving a fatality is $13.6 million, and the average cost of all large truck accidents is $91,000. 

The right truckers' insurance helps ensure that one major accident doesn't put you out of business. 

If you use a truck (or any vehicle) for business, you need to have Commercial Auto Insurance (a non-fleet insurance); however, you may qualify for fleet insurance if you own five or more trucks. Fleet insurance can help you save money and manage your fleet more efficiently. 

Here's what you need to know about Fleet Insurance. 

Fleet Insurance vs. Non-Fleet Insurance

Your vehicle(s) can be classified as non-fleet, which means each vehicle is insured under an individual insurance policy. If you can classify your vehicles as fleet vehicles, all of them are insured under one policy. 

Non-Fleet Insurance

In almost every state, it is illegal to operate a vehicle without valid insurance. If a vehicle is used for commercial purposes – such as transporting goods - a Commercial Auto Policy is required. Many business uses or vehicle types can be excluded from personal auto Insurance policies. 

A non-fleet vehicle can be owned by a company or an individual. With a "non-fleet" Commercial Auto Policy, the underwriting is based primarily on the driver – his or her driving record, driving experience, documented claims, etc. 

Fleet Insurance

Fleet insurance is a commercial vehicle insurance that covers more than one vehicle and driver. It can be a fleet of cars, trucks, ships, or aircraft covered under one insurance policy. How many vehicles constitute a fleet varies by state and by insurance companies. Typically, the minimum is five vehicles. Often, ten or more units is required to qualify for fleet insurance. 

To qualify for fleet insurance, the vehicles must be owned by a business, not an individual/driver. Because there are more underwriting variables with a fleet, working with an insurance agent with experience in Trucking Insurance is crucial. 

Advantages of Fleet Insurance

Utilizing a fleet insurance policy means having one insurance policy for all of your vehicles instead of multiple policies. Fleet insurance may reduce the overall cost of insurance, save hours of administrative work, and make fleet management more manageable. 

Fleet Insurance often comes with more deposit down payment options, and there is only one renewal date, so you don't have to keep track of multiple insurance policies. Fleet insurance can also make it easier to assign drivers to different vehicles. 

How to Save on Fleet Insurance

Typically, the more trucks you have, the higher the value, which means higher insurance premiums, but the number of trucks is not the only thing that will affect your costs. Other factors include…

  • Type of Trucks
  • Age of Trucks
  • Value of trucks
  • How the trucks will be used
  • The type of policy 

An insurance agent with experience in Truckers Insurance – like the agents at American Insuring Group – can help determine which type of policy is best for your specific needs and share opportunities for cost savings. Plus, as independent agents, we will compare different policies and quotes to ensure you pay the lowest price for that coverage. 

Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Physical Damage Truck Insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance

5 Questions to Ask About Cargo Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Apr 29, 2021

Get the proper cargo insurance as part of your trucking insurance for trucking companies in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh and throughout PennsylvaniaAs more and more risk managers require Cargo Insurance, it’s essential to understand how it fits in with your Trucking Insurance Coverage. When the cargo you are transporting is lost or damaged, liability for that loss can fall on the transportation company, the shipper, the recipient, or the driver. And while you may do everything within your power to ensure the safe delivery of your cargo, things – beyond your control – can happen. 

Cargo Insurance helps cover the freight or commodity that you are hauling if it is lost or damaged. However, not all Cargo Insurance policies are the same; therefore, you must understand the policy you’re purchasing so you have the protection you need without paying more than you need to. 

Here are five questions every driver should ask about Cargo Insurance: 

Do I qualify for Motor Cargo Insurance?

Cargo Insurance is available to for-hire truck drivers. Typically, it is available for the following truck body types:

  • Tractor
  • Most trailers
  • Dump Trucks
  • Box Trucks
  • Cargo Vans
  • Flatbeds
  • Car Haulers
  • Cement mixers 

Typically, Cargo Insurance is not available for the following:

  • Garbage Trucks
  • Ice Cream Trucks
  • Limousines
  • Hearses
  • Buses
  • Passenger Vans 

What cargo is covered and not covered?

Most types of cargo are covered under Cargo Insurance; however, there are also many exclusions, which is why it’s important to work with a trusted insurance agent. 

Typical exclusions include the following:

  • Live animals
  • Art, Jewelry, Money, Paper
  • Tobacco and Alcohol
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Contraband
  • Explosive materials
  • Shipping containers
  • Storage longer than 72 hours
  • Cargo in the custody of another carrier
  • Cargo owned by the insured
  • Cargo not included in the Bill of Lading

Some Cargo Insurance policies also include debris removal. If your cargo is accidentally dumped on the road, this coverage helps pay for the expense of removing it or the extraction of pollutants caused by the debris. You can also purchase coverage to pay for costs related to preventing additional damage to the spilled cargo. 

What incidents are covered and not covered?

Most Cargo Insurance policies cover collision, theft, natural disasters, acts of war, customs rejection, and fire, but again, you must confirm that what you are hauling is covered by the insurance you’re purchasing. 

Refrigerated truck drivers may also want to consider purchasing reefer mechanical breakdown coverage, which helps cover refrigerated cargo that is spoiled due to a mechanical breakdown or an accident. But read the fine print as there may be cargo excluded from that policy, such as seafood, tobacco products, or pharmaceuticals. 

What are the limits and the deductible?

Your Motor Truck Cargo Insurance will also come with a limit, which is the maximum amount the insurance company will cover if your cargo is lost or damaged. If you are carrying high-end cargo – such as electronics – you’ll need to ensure that you have a higher limit. On the other hand, if the value of your cargo is low, you may be able to lower your costs by reducing your limit. 

Increasing the deductible is a common way to lower just about any insurance premium, and Cargo Insurance is no exception. The deductible is the amount that the policyholder will have to pay before the insurance company kicks in if a claim is made. The higher the deductible, the lower your premiums. However, you need to make sure that you have some way to cover that deductible if you need to make a claim. 

How can I save on Cargo Insurance?

The best way to save on Cargo Insurance is to work with independent agents that specialize in trucking insurance. American Insuring Group has specialized in Truck Insurance for many years. Our agents know what questions to ask to ensure that you have the right coverage for your needs, and as independent agents, they check with several carriers to ensure you pay the lowest price for that coverage. 

Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online for a free estimate.

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance

3 Tips to Minimize the Risk of Cargo Theft

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Mar 26, 2021

Minimize the Risk of Cargo Theft to save on truck insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Berks County, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York and throughout Pennsylvania.Cargo Theft is a $15 to $35 billion industry that can drive up Truck Insurance premiums and deductibles. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), there were 8,676 cargo vehicle thefts reported in the U.S. in 2017, translating to about 24 thefts every day. 

And it appears the COVID-19 pandemic is only making the problem worse. Freight Waves reported a 26.92% year-over-year increase in reported cargo thefts in September 2020 and a 91.43% year-over-year increase in April 2020.

If you want to minimize the cost of lost loads, the effort of recovery, and increased insurance costs, you need to take steps to ensure the safety of the cargo you’re shipping. Here are some tips: 

Know What is In Demand

Drivers need to know if they’re transporting in-demand commodities so that they can take additional precautions. Thieves will steal what they can resell, and they can be very focused. 

Typical targets include food and beverages (which can be quickly consumed and leave no trace), consumer electronics, and drugs. After severe storms, there is an increase in building supplies being stolen. It’s no surprise that during the pandemic in the third quarter of 2020, there was a significant increase in the theft of commodities such as cleaning supplies and PPE. 

Freight Waves also reports an increase in pilferage theft – stealing small portions of a load. Trailer break-ins and pilferages accounted for 22% of all reported robberies in the third quarter of 2020. 

If a driver knows they are carrying high-value or in-demand products, they need to be even more vigilant. 

Know the High-Risk Places and Times

Thieves tend to go where the pickings are good. According to Port Technology, Los Angeles (traffic of 9.46 million TEU in 2018) and Long Beach (8.09 million TEU) are the two busiest container ports in the U.S., so it’s no surprise that California tops the list of the biggest hot spots for cargo theft. Texas is at the center of cross-border freight, which accounts for its second place on the list. 

The NICB reported the ten states that are the biggest targets for cargo thefts are:

  1. California (1,770)
  2. Texas (1,255)
  3. Florida (921)
  4. Illinois (712)
  5. New Jersey (468)
  6. Georgia (438)
  7. Alabama (214)
  8. North Carolina (204)
  9. Indiana (192)
  10. Missouri (181) 

According to the NICB, most cargo thefts occur on weekdays, with Monday and Friday being the most significant days for these thefts. So, if a driver is driving through California on a Monday or Friday with an in-demand commodity, they should be on high alert. 

Hire and Train Wisely

Drivers are responsible for hundreds or thousands of dollars in commodities, so it’s crucial that you hire the most honest and dependable drivers (and warehouse employees). It starts with innovative recruiting. Attract the best drivers by showing that your company is a great company to work for and let them know what your company is all about with pictures and videos on your website and social media sites. Another way to attract the best drivers is to offer competitive wages. 

It’s also crucial that you screen potential hires (and warehouse workers or anyone with access to shipping information) with thorough background checks following your industry’s screening laws. Background checks could potentially include criminal records, drug and alcohol testing, driving records, and license checks. 

You should also establish best practices and provide security training, including hijack awareness and prevention, so drivers know how to protect themselves, along with your truck and your cargo. 

How to Save on Truck Insurance Costs

Another key to managing risk is Trucking Insurance. American Insuring Group offers all of your Truck Insurance needs – from Cargo Insurance to Transit Coverage and more. Give one of our independent agents a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online for a free quote. They’ll check with several insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price possible for your insurance needs.

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Physical Damage Truck Insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance

3 Tips to Keep Drivers Safe and Save on Truck Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 13, 2021

3 Tips to Keep Drivers Safe and Save on Truck Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and in PA and beyond.As you know, good drivers aren’t easy to come by, so keeping them as safe as possible on the road should be a top priority. Keeping your drivers safe has the added benefit of lowering Truck Insurance costs and other costs associated with accidents. 

According to CNBC, people who drive for a living – driver/sales workers and truck drivers – are in the sixth most dangerous job in the U.S., with 96 fatal injuries and 78,520 non-fatal injuries in 2018. If you can lower the number of your drivers involved in accidents, you can reduce employee turnover, increase employee morale, and decrease costs, such as insurance premiums, claim payouts, lost workdays, etc. 

Here are three tips to help keep your drivers safe, lower the number of accidents, and improve your company’s bottom line. 

Encourage Defensive Driving

Dictionary.com defines defensive driving as “the practice of using driving strategies that minimize risk and help avoid accidents, as by predicting hazards on the road.” Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Looking Ahead – It takes longer for a truck carrying a heavy load to stop than it does a car, so truck drivers need to look ahead to see and anticipate potential hazards, such as stopped traffic. 
  • Keeping Eyes Moving – Drivers who are on the road a long time often become complacent to their surroundings. Truck drivers should always be scanning their environment – looking at what is ahead and around them and using side and rearview mirrors to see what is behind them.
  • Maintaining a Buffer Zone – It’s impossible to predict what other drivers will do, and trucks have very limited maneuverability, so truck drivers should always establish and maintain a buffer zone around their vehicle. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “If you are driving below 40 mph, you should leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length. For a typical tractor-trailer, this results in 4 seconds between you and the leading vehicle. For speeds over 40 mph, you should leave one additional second.”
  • Having an Escape Route – Maintaining a buffer zone should minimize the need to swerve; however, sometimes stopping in time just isn’t possible. Drivers should always consider escape routes available to them if they need them.
  • Keeping Cool – Driving can be stressful, and there are plenty of inconsiderate drivers on the road. Becoming angry or aggressive while driving doesn’t help. Aggressive driving can include passing where prohibited, following improperly, erratic lane changing, etc. Between 2003 and 2007, aggressive driving played a role in 56 percent of fatal crashes. Truck drivers need to keep their cool at all times and slow down to allow aggressive drivers to get well ahead of them. 

Properly Maintain Vehicles

A poorly maintained tractor-trailer is not only a danger to your drivers; it’s a danger to everyone around the vehicle – other drivers, pedestrians, bikers, etc. A blown tire or a faulty brake can be deadly. Plus, a well-maintained vehicle will last longer. 

Therefore, it is in your best interest to maintain your fleet with a regular maintenance schedule. That schedule should include a plan to prevent brake wear and failure, testing to avoid engine problems, frequent oil changes, replacing parts subject to wear and tear, inflating tires to the right levels (which will also help you save on fuel bills), and more. Here are 14 maintenance tips for trucks. 

Another component of vehicle maintenance is the pre-and post-trip inspections. Federal law requires drivers to submit a Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) for each power unit they operate. These inspections include checking the brakes, turn signals, lights, fuel system, and much more. 

Pre- and post-trip inspections help save time, money, and lives. A pre-trip inspection helps ensure drivers are operating a safe vehicle before they hit the road, and post-trip inspections allow time to fix issues before they need to go back on the road.  

Consider the Use of Technology

Consider using technology to help keep your drivers and your fleet safe. Do your research to determine what will work best for your drivers and your fleet. Some technology to consider:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – According to the NHTSA, ESCs are designed to “reduce untripped rollovers and mitigate severe understeer or oversteer conditions that lead to loss of control by using automatic computer-controlled braking and reducing engine torque output.” The NHTSA states, “We believe that ESC systems could prevent 40 to 56 percent of untripped rollover crashes and 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes. By requiring that ESC systems be installed on truck tractors and large buses, this proposal would prevent 1,807 to 2,329 crashes, 649 to 858 injuries, and 49 to 60 fatalities at less than $3 million per equivalent life saved while generating positive net benefits.”
  • Eyelid Monitoring – This type of system uses a cabin-mounted camera to monitor drivers’ eyelids and alert the driver if their eyelids droop.
  • Automatic Brakes – This type of system uses radars to apply automatic brakes if an imminent crash is detected.
  • Continuous Remote Data Feed – Computers can warn drivers if disturbing driving habits, such as swerving, are detected. Safety managers can also use videos.

Doing what you can to keep your drivers safe just makes good business sense. 

Ready to Save on Truck Insurance?

Another thing that makes good business sense is having the right insurance coverage at the lowest price. Because American Insuring Group specializes in Truck Insurance, we can help you determine the right insurance coverage for your business, whether you're in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, or elsewhere in PA and the tri-state area. Because we’re independent agents, we research multiple carriers to ensure that you pay the lowest premium for that great coverage.

So, give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: truck insurance, Business Insurance, Trucking Insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance

What is Cargo Trucking Insurance and Do You Need It?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 26, 2017

Cargo Trucking Insurance Tips for Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Lancaster, PA and beyond.Nearly 70 percent of all freight transported within the U.S. is delivered by trucks every year, and the value of that cargo is about $671 billion in manufactured and retail goods. Also, there is about $295 billion in truck trade with Canada and $195.6 billion with Mexico. And those numbers continue to increase every year.

So, who is responsible for insuring all that freight? What if it gets damaged or lost? Does that responsibility fall on the business sending the cargo or on the carrier transporting it?

When it comes to cargo trucking insurance, typically the person or company transporting the cargo is liable for it until it is delivered and signed for. There are a few exceptions such as acts of God (hurricanes and tornadoes), public authority (authorities placing cargo under quarantine), or damage caused by the shipper (loading the truck improperly).

Do You Transport the Property of Others? Then You Need Cargo Trucking Insurance!

Most companies think about commercial auto insurance to protect against liability, damage, and injuries to their employees. In the transportation industry, protection for your cargo is often equally as important. If you are in the business of transporting the property of others, you need to consider Cargo Trucking Insurance.

What it Covers

Cargo Trucking Insurance covers your liability if the cargo you are transporting is lost or damaged due to fire, collision, or being hit or run over. It covers you while the cargo is under your care, custody, and control until it is delivered and signed for. Some policies even cover the cost of removing debris or pollutants that are accidentally dumped on the road.

Not Available Everywhere

Cargo Trucking Insurance isn’t available in all states, and there are some restrictions. On the other hand, some states and most carriers require it for owner operators or companies transporting their goods. And there are federal mandates that require Cargo Truck Insurance in certain circumstances. For example, when you’re carrying household goods across state lines.

Types of Trucks That Can be Covered

Cargo Trucking Insurance is only available for dump trucks, tractors, most trailers, box trucks, cement mixers, cargo vans, dually pick-ups, flatbeds, and car haulers. It is not available for garbage or ice cream trucks or passenger transportation such as limos, buses, and hearses.

Cargo Trucking Insurance Costs 

The cost of this insurance and the cargo limits can be different depending on the type of cargo being hauled and its origin and destination. To determine the value of the cargo, the owner of the goods should provide a bill of lading, which is required if filing a claim.

As the carrier, you can lower the cost of Cargo Trucking Insurance by increasing your deductible. However, it’s important that make sure you have enough money readily available to cover that deductible in the event of damage or loss.

Insurance Exclusions and Limitations

Cargo Trucking Insurance often includes exclusions for specified types of cargo such as live animals, art, jewelry, money, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and alcohol. There may also be higher deductibles and sub-limits for certain types of cargo, and theft coverage may be capped at an amount lower than the cargo limit. If your vehicle is left unattended and there is damage or loss to the cargo, certain policies will not cover that loss.

 

We Can Help With All Your Cargo Trucking Insurance Needs

Cargo Trucking Insurance is complicated. There are many exclusions and limitations that insurance agents who do not specialize in trucking insurance may not understand. The independent agents at American Insuring Group are experts in all types of Truck Insurance including Cargo Trucking Insurance.

To learn more about this and other types of commercial insurance, call the friendly agents at American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online. You'll save because as independent agents we're free to compare prices and coverage among lots of competing insurance providers.

American Insuring Group - we know trucking insurance!

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance