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How Good is Your Physical Damage Truck Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 26, 2018
Is your insurance for physical damage to your truck adequate or lacking? Trucking insurance tips for Philadelphia, Berks County, Lehigh County, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Buying or leasing a truck is a significant investment, and trucks are the lifeblood of truckers and trucking companies. For many truckers, the loss of their vehicle would mean the loss of their job and their income. For a large trucking company, the loss of a truck may not be as significant, but it would still negatively impact their business. That’s where Physical Damage Truck Insurance comes in.

Imagine: your truck is damaged in a fire. Would you have enough in savings to pay for the repairs needed to get that truck back on the road? What if your truck were totaled in an accident? Would you have enough in savings to replace it? These are things you need to consider, and for most individuals and even businesses, the answer is no, not even close.

So, thank goodness for Physical Damage Insurance, which can help keep you in business even if your truck is damaged.

What is Physical Damage Insurance?

It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Physical Damage Insurance helps cover the cost of repairing or replacing a purchased or leased item – in this case, your truck – in the event of a loss. There are two basic types of Physical Damage Insurance: comprehensive and collision.

Commercial Vehicle Collision Insurance

Collision insurance covers damages and loss to a vehicle that is caused by a collision with another vehicle or object, a roll, or an overturn. If your truck is totaled, collision coverage will pay you the estimated current cash value - less your deductible - to replace it. This type of coverage tends to be the more expensive of the two and has a more significant impact on the cost of your insurance if you experience a loss just because it's more likely to happen.

Comprehensive Truck Insurance

Comprehensive insurance will help you pay for the repair or replacement of your commercial vehicle if the damage is caused by something other than a collision, roll, or overturn. It covers damage caused by fire, theft, hail, vandalism, collisions with animals, etc.

Neither type of insurance will cover general wear and tear such as worn brake pads, blown transmissions, or rusted parts.

The cost of Physical Damage Insurance depends on the type of truck, the goods carried, the number of years' experience a driver has, claims history, your deductible and more.

Other Types of Physical Damage Coverage

A lender or lessor may require you to have Physical Damage insurance, but it may not be enough to cover your needs. Here are other types of Physical Damage coverage you may want to consider:

Fire and Theft with Combined Additional Coverage (CAC)
This type of physical damage coverage is a limited form of Comprehensive insurance designed especially for heavy-duty trucks. It's also known as Limited Comprehensive or Specific Perils Insurance. 

Gap Coverage
Gap coverage pays the difference between the amount of money you still owe on the lease or loan for your commercial vehicle and the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle. The ACV of your truck is the actual market value of the truck. Unlike personal lines of insurance, commercial insurance does not offer replacement value (the amount it would cost you to actually replace the vehicle).

Here's an example: You purchased a new vehicle for $40,000 and then drove it thousands of miles for a year or two. At this point, your vehicle has an ACV of $30,000. But what if you still owe $35,000 on your loan? Gap insurance will cover that $5,000 gap (minus your deductible).

Endorsements

  • Insurance endorsements – Aka riders - are additions to existing insurance policies that change a policy's coverage to help fill holes in the basic coverage. Some endorsements available with commercial Physical Damage Insurance include the following:
  • Coverage for your personal belongings
  • Coverage for electronic equipment
  • Payment for a rental truck while your vehicle is being repaired
  • A single deductible for both truck and trailer
  • Increased towing limits
  • Roadside assistance

Get a Great Deal on Truck Insurance

Get a great deal on commercial trucking insurance.At American Insuring Group, we carefully analyze your needs and the risks associated with your trucking business. Then, we compare the cost of that coverage among many competing insurance companies to make certain that you receive a great deal. The result: quality insurance coverage for your needs at the best price.

Call American Insuring Group at (610) 775-3848 or (800) 947-1270 to speak with one of our trucking insurance specialists or contact us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Physical Damage Truck Insurance

A Crash Course on Business Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 19, 2018

Business insurance comes in many types. Contact us for the best business insurance at a great price.Whether you’re the owner of a one-person home-based handcrafted jewelry business or a large manufacturing plant with 300 employees, you face risk every day. You could lose your entire inventory to a fire, cause an injury while driving to a client meeting, or face a lawsuit for any number of reasons.

It is true that larger companies usually face more risk, but smaller companies typically don’t have the resources to recover from an injury, damage, or loss. One nasty lawsuit can put a small company that doesn’t have the proper protection out of business!

Business insurance acts as a safety net and helps protect your business from unforeseen circumstances such as theft or accidents, but not every company needs every type of insurance. Here’s a crash course in business insurance, but remember that an experienced, independent insurance agent can help determine what risks your business may face and the best insurance to cover those risks.

The Most Common Types of Business Insurance

There are many different types of insurance, and most businesses aren’t prone to every one of the risks these insurances address, but it’s good to know what is available to you.

Commercial Liability Insurance

This is a big one that most businesses need. Liability insurance protects you from lawsuits filed by customers, clients, or anyone else who decides to sue you. The three most common types of commercial liability insurance include general liability, umbrella liability, and errors and omissions liability.

  • General Liability Insurance protects your businesses from lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage.
  • Umbrella Liability Insurance goes above and beyond general liability insurance with broader coverage. Plus, if you’re on the wrong end of a huge lawsuit, umbrella liability picks up when your general liability is tapped out.
  • Errors and Omissions (E&O) Liability Insurance (A.k.a. Professional Liability Insurance) covers you if you’re sued for negligent acts or failure to provide the level of advice or service expected by a customer. Some of the businesses that typically carry this insurance are engineers, lawyers, and consultants.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Personal auto policies are meant to cover individuals and their family members and may contain exclusions for certain types of business activities. If you use any vehicle – car, truck, van, etc. - to conduct business, you’ll want to look into a commercial auto policy to cover both liability and physical damage in the event of an accident.

Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance

WC covers the cost of medical care and lost wages for employees who are injured on the job and litigation fees for businesses that are sued by an injured worker. In Pennsylvania, It is required for most businesses with employees.

Other Types of Business Insurance

Other types of coverage may be specific to a business or an industry. For example, if a company depends on one person to continue operating, they may want to purchase Key Person Insurance to protect them if that person becomes disabled or dies. If a business serves alcohol, they should look at Liquor Liability Insurance because most General Liability Insurance policies don’t cover incidents caused by serving alcohol.

How the Cost of Business Insurance is Determined

Many factors determine your insurance premiums (the amount you pay for insurance). Here are a few:

  • Type of business: If you’re in an industry that is notoriously dangerous like construction you’ll pay more than a shop that sells kitchen gadgets.
  • Age of Business: If you’ve been in business for a while, you may see some of your insurance premiums decrease.
  • Claim History: If your company has a history of making a lot of claims, you’ll probably pay more than one that doesn’t.
  • Your deductible: Usually the higher the deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket when a claim is made), the lower your premiums.

How to Purchase Business Insurance

First, you’ll want to select an agent who is licensed to sell property/casualty insurance. Also, an agent who is familiar with your business is better suited to determine your risks and your insurance needs.

Purchasing business insurance online is probably not a good idea especially if you’re unfamiliar with insurance. Having an agent that you can talk to and ask questions, is well worth any savings you may or may not find online.

 

Are You Ready to Save on Great Insurance For Your Business?

As a broker, American Insuring Group represents several insurance companies, which means that we can compare prices among lots of competing providers, and take advantage of available discounts. The result? You get the best price on your insurance!

For a free business insurance quote, give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Business Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance

The Truck Driver Shortage and Truck Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 29, 2018

We can lower your PA truck insurance costs. We serve the greater Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie areas. We probably don’t have to tell you that there is a shortage of drivers in the U.S., but have you ever considered how that shortage may affect the cost of your truck insurance premiums?

Bob Costello, the chief economist for the American Trucking Association (ATA) recently reported a 50,000-driver shortage, and if the U.S. economic climate continues to improve, that shortage will likely increase. While autonomous trucks should help ease some of that shortage, it’s going to be a while before they make any real impact.

Why the Trucker Shortage?

An improving economy is increasing retail and industrial demand, thereby growing the need for truck drivers. Earlier this year, the U.S. saw a record high demand for truck freight, which is excellent news, but it also means that the demand for truck drivers will continue to increase.

Hours of Service Rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours-of-Service Rule requires a driver to be off duty for 10 hours after driving for 11 hours, which means that any trip that is 300 miles or more requires the driver to stay overnight somewhere. Understandably, many drivers don’t want to be away from their families five days a week. Those who are willing to do it, usually require higher pay from an industry that has an already tight profit margin.

Aging Workforce

Approximately 46% of the general workforce is over 45 years of age; whereas, according to the American Transportation Research Institute 56% of truck drivers are over 45. This higher age is no surprise because federal law requires that drivers must be at least 21 to get an interstate commercial driver’s license and drive an 18-wheeler. That leaves a three-year gap between high school graduation and turning 21, so these new graduates can’t even consider a career in truck driving unless they’re willing to wait. Congress has talked about lowering the age to 18, but so far nothing has been done.

Solutions to the Trucker Shortage

The shortage of drivers is a huge challenge for most trucking companies. One solution is increasing driver wages, but with high cost of fuel and tight profit margins, many trucking companies are forced to look at other ways to recruit and retain drivers.

How to Lower Your Trucking Insurance Costs

One of the most significant considerations for underwriting trucking insurance is the driver, and the driver shortage makes it more challenging to hire well-qualified drivers, which often translates into more accidents and higher insurance premiums.

Here are three tips to help you keep your trucking insurance rates down:

  1. Consider using FMCSA’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) to screen new hires. This program gives you information about a commercial driver’s five-year crash and three-year inspection history. The FMCSA reports that companies that use PSP “lower their crash rate by 8% and driver out-of-service rates by 17%, on average, compared to those that do not use PSP.”
  2. Consider instituting an employee retention program. The longer your employees have been working for you, the lower the risk. A 45-65% driver retention rate is considered a good rate by most trucking insurers.
  3. There are also things you can implement to improve your drivers’ comfort (increasing retention) and their confidence and safety (decreasing crash rates). Here are just a few ideas: Bose seats, automatic transmissions, stabilization systems, and anti-collision systems can help.

Lower Your Truck Insurance Rates With One Simple Step!

American Insuring Group may not be able to solve the truck driver shortage, but we can help you with your insurance needs. As insurance brokers, we compare the coverage and costs of multiple insurance companies to ensure that you get the right insurance for your needs at the best possible price.

So give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or click here to contact us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance

Restaurant Insurance and Food Truck Safety

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 10, 2018

Food truck safety tips to lower your restaurant commercial insurance in Allentown, Reading, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Food Trucks may have started as a big-city phenomenon, but their numbers are growing in big and small towns alike. While the restaurant industry continues to grow at a steady rate of approximately 2% each year, food trucks have increased at a rate of 7.9% annually over the past five years, according to FoodTruckr.com. In 2017, food trucks were a $2 million industry.

Much of the appeal may be the relatively low start-up and operating costs. But as with any business, food trucks come with their share of risks. The right type of restaurant insurance can help protect your investment if something happens. Taking proactive steps to avoid that “dreaded something” from happening can save lots of time, money, and headaches, and avoid increased restaurant insurance premiums as well.

Here are three food truck risks you should consider and tips to help you mitigate them:

Damage to Your Vehicle

Your food truck is your livelihood, and if something were to happen to it – like a fire or auto accident – that puts your vehicle out of commission for any length of time, your business could be in jeopardy. Here are some tips to avoid damage to your food truck:

  • Vet your employees.
    We know you have a lot of things to consider when hiring someone new, but if they will be driving your truck, it’s essential to check their driving record. If they’ve had multiple accidents or speeding tickets, the chances of them damaging your truck in an accident are probably higher. Plus, employees with bad driving records could cost you more on commercial auto insurance.

  • Drive Safely.
    While your food truck is in motion, there’s always the possibility of an accident. However, there are safety measures that you can take and that you can share with your employees such as being an alert driver, maintaining your truck, Keeping enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you, etc. Mobile-Cuisine offers these food truck driving safety Tips.

Injury to an Employee

There are a lot of dangers in the food industry that also apply to food trucks like falling, burns, cuts, etc. Your employees can be your biggest asset and your biggest liability. Practicing safety in the kitchen can help save you money on Workers’ Compensation and liability costs, and it’s just good business. Here are tips to create a safe kitchen for your food truck:

  • Create and enforce a safety plan.
    This is a big one. It can be time-consuming, but it is well worth your time if it can avoid causing injury to employees or customers.

  • Train your employees.
    Creating a safety plan and then simply letting it sit in a drawer gathering dust is a waste of time and money. Make sure your employees understand and follow the safety procedures you’ve put in place. Make it clear that safety is a priority and hat your safety plan isn’t just a formality, but something that every employee is expected to follow.

  • Create a safe environment.
    Try to eliminate potential hazards by keeping floors clean and uncluttered, providing personal protective equipment when appropriate, properly maintaining kitchen equipment, and following manufacturers’ instructions.

                 

Injury or Illness of a Customer

In this litigious society that we live in, every business owner needs to be aware of liability risks. If a customer standing in lines trips, falls, and hurts themselves, they could sue you. If they suffer from a food-related illness after eating your food, they could sue you. Liability insurance is a must, but here are some steps to limit injury and illness to your customers:

  • To avoid food-related illnesses, follow food handling and safety measures such as storing food correctly, following proper cooking procedures, preventing cross-contamination, and practicing proper handwashing techniques.

  • Ensure that the area around your truck is clear of hazards such as slippery surfaces, cords, etc., and clearly mark any potential hazards you may not be able to control.

Get the Best Commercial Insurance for Your Restaurant Business 

Being proactive is important, but sometimes no matter how careful you are, accidents still happen. This is where the right insurance can help protect your business.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in all types of Commercial Insurance. Their independence means they are free to shop the market to get you the best deal on insurance that's right for your business.  

So call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online.

 

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Food Truck Insurance

Trucking Insurance Rates and the ELD Mandate

Posted by David Ross on Sun, May 06, 2018

The ELD Mandate impacts insurance rates. We provide affordable truck insurance in Philadelphia, Berks County, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster County, PA and beyond.It’s a little early to know for sure how the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate has affected businesses in the trucking industry, but so far, the response seems to be a mixed bag.

Some say they haven’t seen any changes to their business and some have thrown in the towel and closed up shop saying the mandate is too cost prohibitive.

The compliance deadline for the ELD mandate affects three million drivers and went into effect December 18, 2017. It requires commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) involved in Interstate Commerce, to use an ELD.

 

3 Main Areas of Impact for the Electronic Logging Device Mandate

Based on what we’ve seen so far, it looks as if the three areas that are most likely to see the biggest impact from the new mandate are insurance rates, productivity, and cost.

Insurance Rates

Safety is the driving force behind the mandate imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA). The FMCSA has said, “The electronic logging device (ELD) rule – congressionally mandated as a part of MAP-21 – is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.”

The idea is that ELDs (as opposed to the paper and pen method) will capture Hours of Service (HoS) more accurately and ensure that drivers are following safety and compliance standards, which should in turn reduce the number of accidents caused by fatigue. 

According the FreightWaves, driving more than 12 hours since the last main sleep is associated with an 86% increase in crash risk and driving more than five hours without stopping (getting out of the driver’s seat) more than doubles the risk of an accident. The FMCSA estimates that the ELD mandate will prevent about 20 fatalities and 434 injuries caused by driver fatigue every year.

Safer roadways and fewer accidents should produce lower truck insurance premiums. ELDs may also reduce or possibly eliminate lawsuits in which the plaintiff alleges that fatigue due to driving outside the HoS limits is the cause of an accident. Fewer lawsuits should also equal lower insurance premiums.

Plus, some ELDs offer more features and reporting capabilities – such as GPS tracking and engine data reporting – that can be used to improve asset utilization and increase preventative maintenance. Carriers that use these more-advanced devices may be able to use this information to lower their auto insurance premiums. 

Increased Cost Per Truck Annually

Complying with the mandate carries with it some up-front costs. FMCSA estimates that the average annual cost of an ELD is $495 per truck, with a total range of $165 to $832 per truck on an annualized basis. That may not sound like much, but consider a carrier with 10 vehicles that did not have ELDs prior to the mandate. They’re looking at an additional yearly cost of almost $5,000. In an industry with tight margins like the trucking industry, $5,000 every year can have a significant impact.

On the flip side, the FMCSA projects that ELDs will save more than $1.6 billion each year from paperwork savings alone. Add to that expected decreases in maintenance costs, reduced truck downtime, and lower crash rates, and that’s a pretty impressive savings.

Driver Productivity - Up or Down?

This area is the biggest mixed bag. The general mind-set is that automating any process, should save time. ELDs will eliminate the time required to write driver information in a log book. Everything will be done automatically for them.

However, some companies – particularly smaller companies - haven’t been fully complying with HoS restrictions prior to the mandate. With the information now being logged electronically, they’ll have no choice but to follow those restrictions or risk expensive fines. These companies will see a drop in driver productivity.

According to FreightWaves, smaller carriers, which make up 90-97% of trucking companies, will experience a 4-20% decline in productivity.

Another problem some drivers have reported is that many shippers and receivers aren’t ready for the mandate, and long hold times are creating problems for drivers who are spending too much time sitting at the dock.

In a DAT blog asking for feedback from carriers, drivers, freight brokers, and shippers about the new mandate, Marina Andreyreva commented, “ELDs were installed in all my trucks before the ELD mandate. There have been many changes in dispatching. So far, all delivery times have been rescheduled due to long hold times at the shipper. Problems at shippers now heavily reflect on drivers’ hours. This must be addressed in order to operate efficiently for both drivers and company owners. Brokers need to be aware of HOS and understand the law in order to build freight accordingly.”

We Can Help Smooth Your Transition to ELD 

Only time will tell the full impact of this new mandate, but American Insuring Group is here to help smooth the transition for our trucking insurance customers. As a representative of Progressive Insurance, we can offer participation in their SMARTHAUL program.

With the SMARTHAUL program, you have two options:

  • The free use of an ELD
    This includes the monthly subscription/service fees as long as you share your driving data with Progressive. The device would need to be returned if you decide to opt-out or cancel your coverage with Progressive.

  • The compensation program
    If you purchase your own Rand McNally ELD 50 or DC200 and agree to share your driving data with Progressive, you’ll receive $100 for plugging it in and an additional $100 for each quarter that the device stays plugged in – up to $500. You will be responsible for the monthly service fees, but the $500 compensation should cover those costs.

Save Big on Trucking Insurance with American Insuring Group

Call us to save on Truck InsuranceTo learn more about the SMARTHAUL program, or to start saving BIG on trucking insurance, give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online.  

But don’t wait; the program is only available for a limited time.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Electronic Logging Devices - ELD, ELD Mandate

Truckers: Safe Driving Tips & Truck Insurance Savings

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Mar 18, 2018

Safe truck drivers can save more on trucking insurance. We provide insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh and beyond.If you are one of the 12 million drivers registered to operate a CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle) in the U.S., you play a big part in keeping our highways safe – even more so than drivers of passenger vehicles.

In 2015, large trucks traveled 279.8 billion miles in the U.S. 11.9% of fatal motor vehicle accidents involved at least one large truck or bus and 7.6% of nonfatal accidents included at least one large truck or bus. The rate for fatal work zone crashes is even higher - 30%.

Taking measures to drive more safely not only makes our roads safer for everyone, but it can also help you save on commercial vehicle insurance.

What Makes Trucks More Dangerous?

The sheer mass and size of a large truck increase the likelihood of more severe damage and injuries than a passenger vehicle. The legal weight limit for a truck is 80,000 pounds (about 40 tons) – without any oversize or overweight permits. The average automobile is about two tons, and a bicycle is .75 tons.

You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out that a 40-ton eighteen wheeler crashing into a passenger vehicle is probably going to cause a lot more damage than two passenger vehicles crashing into each other. In fact, seven out of ten people killed in vehicle accidents involving large trucks are occupants of the passenger vehicle.

In addition to the impact of a truck’s size, large trucks can also create significantly stronger wind gusts that can push smaller cars around. Taller vehicles like CMVs have a higher center of gravity, which can cause them to roll over more easily. And the higher ground clearance of many commercial vehicles can push or pull smaller cars under them during an accident.

Large trucks also have operating limitations that result in substantial blind spots, less maneuverability, and increased stopping distances.

Blind Spots

Large trucks create huge blind spots for truck drivers that limit visibility that many car drivers aren’t aware of. One study found inadequate surveillance of the truck driver caused 14% of large truck accidents.

These blind spots are located in sections of the lanes on both sides of the truck. The right side is the most dangerous blind spot because it extends further back. Other blind spots include about 30 feet behind the truck – large trucks don’t have rear-view mirrors, so drivers need to rely on side mirrors - and about 20 feet in front of trucks.

It is true that 80% of accidents that involve a truck are caused by the driver of the passenger vehicle – not the truck driver. Practicing defensive driving is the best way to avoid accidents caused by other drivers. That means being vigilant about watching your surroundings. You can do this by keeping your distance, maintaining a safe speed, staying focused and alert, and keeping your eye on the road.

Limited Maneuverability

The size and length of trucks can make taking sharp turns more challenging. When turning right, watch for vehicles on both sides before making the turn to avoid the “right turn squeeze.” Take extra care when turning in tight spaces such as truck stops and work zones.

Work zones are particularly hazardous for truck drivers. There are often lane shifts or uneven road surfaces. You may need to make a quick stop, and you have to watch for moving workers, equipment, and confused car drivers.

So be even more vigilant in work zones. Slow down, leave extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you, look ahead for changing traffic patterns, be alert to vehicles entering your blind spots, watch for road workers and flag crews, and obey all work zone signs and signals.

Increased Stopping Distance

A truck needs more stopping time than a passenger vehicle especially when it’s carrying a heavy load and when road conditions are slick with snow, ice, or rain. A fully loaded truck traveling at highway speeds needs a distance of almost two football fields to stop – and that’s when the roads are in good condition.

Being aware of the blind spots, limited maneuverability, and increased stopping distances large trucks cause is the first step to safer driving and to protecting your employees and your business. The right commercial truck insurance adds another layer of essential protection.

 

Need Truck Insurance You Can Afford? Contact Us Today 

Give the experienced agents at American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 a call, or contact us online. As insurance brokers, they can compare the prices of several insurance companies to ensure that you’re getting the best protection at the best rate. For more information on truck insurance, click below.

CLICK TO SAVE ON TRUCK INSURANCE

 

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance

Construction Insurance 101: Protecting Construction Equipment from Theft

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 25, 2018

Lower Your PA Construction Equipment Insurance Costs With These Important TipsHave you ever arrived at one of your construction sites eager to start the day only to find that a piece of heavy equipment is missing, and a $250,000 lump is forming in your throat?

Theft of building materials, tools, or heavy equipment can set a project back and cost you thousands of dollars, not to mention raising your commercial vehicle insurance rates.

But it isn’t just about the cost of replacing the stolen equipment; it’s also the associated costs of theft such as lost productivity, rental fees, project overrun penalties, and higher insurance premiums.

Construction Equipment Theft Trends 

Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) reports indicate that theft accounts for more than fifty percent of heavy equipment loss and is increasing up to 20 percent each year. Experts estimate that losses (including associated costs) from construction site theft is $1 billion or more each year.

How To Protect Your Construction Site From Theft 

While those statistics are frightening, there are steps you can take to make your site less attractive to would-be thieves, to make it more difficult for them, and to help reduce theft on your job sites:

Develop and enforce a theft prevention policy
First, you need to assess the job site. Some safety measures apply to any job site, while others are more site-specific. For example, some job sites – such highway projects that move every day - are more difficult to secure than others. All of your managers, employees, and subcontractors should be aware of the consequences of theft and specifically your prevention policy.

Secure your job site 
For some job sites, fencing is your first line of defense. Ideally, fences should be made of a see-through material (so thieves are visible from the outside), at least eight feet high, with barbed wire or razor tape at the top. Since gates tend to be the most vulnerable part of fencing, have only one entrance whenever possible and use high-security padlock that uses a key rather than a combination, which is easily shared with thieves. Keep track of who is assigned a key and where those keys are at all times. Post “Warning: No Trespassing” signs along the perimeter of your worksite. Lighting – which is low-cost, flexible, and can be used with other security devices – around the perimeter directed at the job site is also a key deterrent.

Secure your equipment
Lock up all tools and building materials in storage boxes and cargo trailers with tamper-resistant locks and chains. Securing heavy equipment can be as simple as removing batteries or lowering blades and buckets. You can also add additional security measures such as locks that immobilize controls or keep the wheels from moving, alarms, and fuel and ignition cut-off switches.

Unlikely to Recover Stolen Equipment 

Even with all these measures, determined thieves sometimes find a way especially when you have no choice but to store your equipment in an unprotected and remote location. According to the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI), as little as 10 to 15 percent of equipment stolen from work sites is ever recovered. Again, that statistic is frightening, but there are steps you can take to improve the chances of recovering your property.

How to Improve Your Chances of Recovering Stolen Equipment

Keep detailed records of your equipment
Starting in 2000, equipment manufacturers began using a standard worldwide 17-digit product identification number (PIN) system. Engrave this number on all of your equipment so that police can easily identify it if it is recovered. Keep track of all equipment on the worksite including photos, make, model, and PINs.

Register your construction equipment
Register your equipment with a company like the National Equipment Register or the Heavy Equipment Registration to help law enforcement identify and recover your equipment.

Get Protected - Get the Right Insurance
The final theft protection available to you is the right insurance. Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance usually only covers your equipment in the event of damage, not theft. Builders risk insurance is designed to protect your equipment in the event of losses caused by theft and other perils that can occur, and inland marine insurance, also known as tools and equipment insurance, is designed to protect property in transit.

Contact Us for the Best Insurance to Protect Your Construction Equipment

American Insuring Group specializes in all types of commercial insurance and can help determine the best insurance to protect your equipment. Give us a call at (800)947-1270 or (610)775-3848 or contact us online.  Our independent agents are free to shop the insurance market of competing providers, matching up your needs with their policies to find the best fit at the right price. Don't delay, call today to get protected and start saving!

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance

8 Winter Driving Tips for Truckers

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Feb 06, 2018

Lower the cost of truck insurance by avoiding accidents with these winter driving tips. Serving PA truckers with the best insurance in Reading, Philadelphia, Lancater, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie and beyond.Driving a truck is challenging enough. Add some snow, sleet or freezing rain, and you have the perfect storm not only for your safety, but for your trucking insurance rates. Few truck drivers can escape driving on wintry roads because more than 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in regions that receive more than five inches average snowfall annually.

Winter Accident Rates 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reports that 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet each year. Every year more than 1,300 people are killed, and 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavements.

Handling a 40,000-pound tractor trailer on treacherous wintry roads requires special driving skills and a lot of common sense as stop time increases and visibility and traction decreases.

Here are two tips to prepare for winter driving:

  1. Make sure you have the following supplies in your truck. It’s better not to need something and have it than to need something and not have it:
  • Kitty litter – When you stop for a meal or a bathroom break, your tires will be warm, which can quickly turn snow into ice. Kitty litter is a great way to get a little bit of extra traction to get you started.
  • Good quality Lug tires
  • Fuel conditioner
  • Methyl hydrate for fuel and air lines
  • Extra fuel filters (don’t forget a wrench)
  • A hammer & putty knife. When driving in excessive amounts of snow, air tanks can quickly freeze. You can remove snow and ice packed on your air tanks with a hammer and putty knife
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Chains
  • Propane heater and lighter
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Insulated socks and good boots
  • Extra blankets or a sleeping bag
  • A well-charged phone
  • Food and water

  1. Be extra diligent during your circle check. Make sure that everything is in working order including the defroster, heater, wiper blades and motor, brakes, and lights. Top off the washer fluid. A few ounces of brake line antifreeze mixed in with the washer fluid can help prevent freezing on your window. Drain moisture from the air tanks. Start with a full tank of gas for extra weight over the drive tires to help with traction. Check the tires and the tire pressure. Make sure all windows, mirrors, and lights are completely clean before departing.

Here are six tips once you hit the road:

  1. Slow down – This is the number one rule of safe winter driving. If roads are slick, the posted speed limits are probably too fast. Most at-fault accidents are due to excessive speeds.
  2. Keep a safe distance – When possible, leave about ¼ of a mile between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  3. Don’t stop on the shoulder – When visibility is bad, another vehicle may not see you or may think that you’re driving on the road and slam right into you.
  4. Don’t over brake and don’t engage the jake brake on icy roads – Your truck may slow down, but your trailer may not.
  5. Keep lights clean – Even if you start out with clean lights, snow and ice can build up decreasing visibility. Stop in a safe place periodically to make sure the lights on your truck are clean.
  6. Use common sense – You may feel pressure from hours of service rules and dispatchers, but don’t put yourself (and others) in harm’s way. Know your limits and what your equipment can handle. If you don’t feel that the roads are safe enough to drive on, find a safe place to park your truck and wait out the storm. Call dispatch and have the delivery rebooked. Nothing is more important than your life.

Taking these precautions on snowy, icy, or slushy roads can help save lives. It can also help decrease the cost of your truck insurance premiums.

Call Us to Save on Commercial Vehicle Insurance

To learn more ways to save on any type of commercial vehicle insurance, give the experienced agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610)775-3848, or click here to contact us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Winter Driving Tips

Truck Insurance: Comply with ELD Mandate, Get a Free ELD

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 14, 2018

Electronic Logging Device tips for saving on ELD and trucking insurance costsAmerican Insuring Group has teamed up with Progressive Insurance to help commercial trucking companies comply with the new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate.

As the #1 commercial truck insurer, Progressive understands not only the advantages of ELD but also the cost of implementing an ELD.

As a partner with Progressive, we can offer our Progressive truck insurance customers FREE USE of an ELD device or up to $500! It’s an easy and smart way to comply with the ELD mandate at no cost to you while getting great truck insurance coverage at the same time! Contact us for more information.

 

ELD Compliance and Benefits

An ELD records a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS) electronically and replaces the paper logbook traditionally used by some drivers to record their Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. While many fleets are already equipped with electronic logging technology, it’s important to ensure that the equipment is compliant with the new mandate.

The information captured by ELDs goes beyond RODS such as Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR), IFTA Automation, and even driver behavior (speeding, idling, and hard braking). Some ELDs are also equipped with map and route solutions to help drivers avoid construction and high-traffic areas.

Many trucking companies installed ELDs prior to the mandate because of the many benefits an ELD provides such as saving time, reducing paperwork, slashing fuel costs, increasing driver communication, and keeping dispatchers up-to-date on a driver’s status, so they can plan for loads better.

 

About the Electronic Logging Device Mandate

The ELD mandate, part of MAP-21, requires commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) involved in Interstate Commerce, to use an ELD. The deadline for compliance set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) went into effect December 18, 2017.

Here are the key rules of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule according to the FMCSA:

  • Requires ELD use by commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS)
  • Sets ELD performance and design standards, and requires ELDs to be certified and registered with FMCSA
  • Establishes what supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep
  • Prohibits harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as fleet management system). The rule also provides recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed

The mandate applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks.

The FMCSA allows for the following limited exceptions to the mandate:

  • Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs.
  • Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than eight days out of every 30-day period.
  • Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.

 

How to Get a FREE ELD or up to $500

In response to this new mandate, Progressive Insurance launched its SMARTHAUL program, and as a representative of Progressive, we can offer it to our commercial trucking customers.

There are two options for the SMARTHAUL program:

  1. The free use of an ELD - This includes the monthly subscription/service fees as long as you share your driving data with Progressive. The device would need to be returned if you decide to opt-out or cancel your coverage with Progressive.

  2. The compensation program - If you purchase your own Rand McNally ELD 50 or DC200 and agree to share your driving data with Progressive, you’ll receive $100 for plugging it in and an additional $100 for each quarter that the device stays plugged in – up to $500. You will be responsible for the monthly service fees, but the $500 compensation should cover those costs. 

Data collected by these ELDs will help Progressive better understand driving behaviors of truckers, and it will not be associated with you or your policy.

 

Contact Us For All Your Truck Insurance Needs 

To learn more about the SMARTHAUL program or any trucking insurance need, give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or click here to contact us online. But don’t wait; the SMARTHAUL program is only available for a limited time.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Trucking Insurance, Electronic Logging Devices - ELD, ELD Mandate

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