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4 Seat Belt Safety Myths for Truck Drivers

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 18, 2018

Seatbelt use can help lower the cost of truck insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, PA and beyond. Contact us to learn more.One of the best ways to reduce truck insurance and other costs is to reduce injuries, and one of the best ways a trucking company can do that is to ensure that ALL drivers wear seatbelts when they are operating a vehicle. Plus, it’s the law, and failure to use a seat belt can result in fines.

Pretty simple, right?

Seat Belts Save Truckers!

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved over 12,000 lives in 2001. One recent study reported that 23 percent of combination truck, single-vehicle crashes involved the driver not wearing a safety belt. There is also data that suggests that not wearing a seat belt can be indicative of other risky driving behaviors.

The good news is that the majority of people in vehicles are wearing seatbelts.  According to the NHTSA, 90% of people riding in vehicles were wearing seat belts in 2016. The one in ten who aren’t buckling up leave themselves more vulnerable to injuries and death if they’re in an accident. Younger males and commercial truck drivers are among the most likely NOT to wear a seat belt.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 84% of medium and heavy-duty truck and bus drivers were wearing seat belts in 2013. The rate for passengers in these commercial vehicles was even lower – 73%.

5x as Likely to Die Without Seatbelts – Need a Better Reason?

Here’s what the Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis by the University of Wisconsin found during an analysis of 13,854 crash victims found:

  • Persons not wearing seat belts were 5.4 times as likely to die as those wearing belts.
  • Persons not wearing seat belts were 91% more likely to be hospitalized than those wearing belts.
  • Persons not wearing seat belts were 14% more likely to have EMS transport

So, you can see how not wearing a seat belt can affect your trucking insurance costs and your company’s bottom line.

 

Here are 4 myths about wearing a seat belt to share with your drivers: 

 

#1 - I don’t Need to Wear a Seat Belt if Driving a Short Distance

An accident can happen anytime. If you have to make a sudden stop, or if you’re involved in an accident, your seat belt will keep you in your seat and help to prevent injury or death that can occur from being thrown from your seat into the steering wheel, dash, or windshield or even out of the car.

#2 - Passengers don’t Need to Wear a Seat Belt

According to a 2001 NHTSA report, 60% of all passengers killed in traffic accidents were not wearing a seat belt. 

#3 - I’m Safer Without a Seat Belt

Many people think that it’s better to be thrown clear of the vehicle in the event of a crash. Statistics show otherwise. A person is four times more likely to be fatally injured when thrown from a vehicle.

In 2016, more than 200 truck occupants and drivers died when they were ejected from their cabs during an accident. Wearing a seatbelt can keep you from being dragged along the ground, being crushed under a vehicle, and being thrown through a windshield.

#4 - If I’m a Good Driver, I Don’t Need to Wear a Seat Belt

You may be an excellent driver, but unfortunately, not all drivers on the road are. Plus, there are sometimes factors beyond your control – bad weather, mechanical failure, or a tire blowout – that can cause you to have an accident.

If you want to keep your employees safer and reduce your insurance costs, make it clear to your employees that wearing a seat belt is a requirement, not an option!

 

Here’s an Easy Way to Lower Your Truck Insurance Cost!

Your Trusted Choice Independent Trucking Insurance Agent in PennsylvaniaAnother way to reduce the cost of commercial vehicle insurance, including both trucks and cars, is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group.

We specialize in truck insurance and will compare the costs and features of competing insurance company policies to make sure that you’re getting the best price on reliable coverage.

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

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

Truckers - Here's How to Save $500 on ELD Costs

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Oct 29, 2018
American Insuring Group has partnered with Progressive Commercial to offer our Progressive truck insurance customers your option of $500 or free use of an ELD device!

It’s an easy and smart way to satisfy the ELD mandate at no cost to you. As the #1 Commercial Truck insurer, Progressive recognizes the costs of the ELD mandate and they have developed the Smart Haul program to make it as easy as possible on Progressive customers.

Lower your trucking costs with the Smart Haul program!

 

2 Smart Ways to Save With Smart Haul

#1 - Get Free Use of an ELD

Progressive will provide you with free use of an ELD device and pay your monthly subscription, as long as you share your driving data with them. There are no additional costs, however, you will need to return the device if you wish to opt-out or cancel your coverage.

# 2 - The Compensation Program (Get $500)

You can purchase your own Rand McNally ELD 50 or DC 200. If you are a Progressive customer and agree to share your driving data with them, they’ll pay you $100 for plugging it in, then pay an additional $100 for each quarter that the device stays plugged in, up to $500. 

Don't Delay - This is a Limited Time Offer!

Both offers are available for a limited time only, so act quickly to take full advantage of the benefits! Contact us today to learn more! 

Contact us to save on Smart Haul and lower your trucking costs!

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

Truck Driver Fatalities and How to Avoid Them

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 21, 2018

Truck Insurance Costs are Impacted by the Rate of Driver FatalitiesEvery time a truck driver gets into his vehicle, he’s facing the possibility of an accident, and accidents that involve big rigs have a higher probability of causing severe injury, which of course impacts the cost of trucking insurance.

It’s no surprise that the transportation industry has the highest incidence of fatal work injuries. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), there were 1,388 transportation and material moving workers fatally injured at work in 2016. That number accounted for 40% of all reported on-the-job fatalities.

Increasing safety and minimizing accidents is one of your best defenses against rising commercial vehicle insurance costs and the ever-increasing shortage of truck drivers.

Accidents and Driver Error 

Most accidents that involve big rigs are due to driver error including lack of poor judgment, speeding, using a mobile device, not being aware of blind spots, driving under the influence, and driving while fatigued. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states, “Even the most well-trained, safety-conscious commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver is at risk of engaging in driving behaviors that could lead to a crash on today’s crowded highways.”

Understanding what causes truck accidents and how to avoid them is the first step. Providing ongoing safety training for drivers and enforcing a culture of safety is the next step. It may seem like a lot of effort up-front, but the payoff will be far-reaching and long-term.

 

Here are 3 tips for safe driving leading to lower truck insurance costs:

1 - Stay Sharp/Pay Attention

Truck drivers need to pay attention to their surroundings: unexpected road conditions, distracted drivers, and drivers who don’t understand how commercial vehicles operate. FMCSA suggests scanning ahead about a quarter of a mile on interstates and one or two blocks in cities and checking the mirrors every 8-10 seconds to be aware of vehicles entering blind spots.

There is a good reason why it is illegal for commercial drivers to text while driving. According to FMCSA, “The odds of being involved in a crash, near-crash, or unintentional lane deviation are 23.2 times greater for truck and bus drivers who are texting while driving.”

Other deadly distractions include eating, drinking, map reading, or any activity that takes your focus off the road. If you need to do something while you’re driving, get off at the next exit or pull over somewhere safe. 

And do not get behind the wheel of a truck when you are tired, too ill to focus, or on medications that can make you drowsy. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers were considered to be fatigued at the time of their crash, and a recent study showed that 17% were reported as having “over-the-counter drug use” when they were in an accident.

2 - Buckle Up

Buckle up; it’s the law. You’ve seen the signs, and that doesn’t just apply to passenger vehicles. FMCSAstates, “A CMV which has a seat belt assembly installed at the driver's seat shall not be driven unless the driver has properly restrained himself/herself with the seat belt assembly.” According to the FMCSA, “a safety belt is the most important in-cab safety device that will protect an occupant in the event of a sudden stop or crash.”

No matter how good of a driver you are or how uncomfortable you may think they are, you should wear a seat belt at all times.

3 - Know When to Slow Down

According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 23% of large-truck crashes occur when drivers travel too fast for conditions. Some conditions to pay attention to are wet roads, reduced visibility, uneven roads, construction zones, curves, and intersections.

Drivers should reduce their speed by 1/3 on wet roads and by ½ or more on snow packed roads. Roads can be particularly slippery when it first begins to rain. Typically, manufacturers advise against using a retarder on wet or slippery roads. 

There’s a reason there are reduced speed limits at curves: 40% of speeding-related fatalities occur on curves. Braking in a curve can cause the wheels to lock up and the vehicle to skid, and trucks entering a curve too quickly can lose control and roll over due to a truck’s high center of gravity.

Work zones present many hazards such as lane shifts, moving workers, and uneven road surfaces and are particularly dangerous areas for truckers. In 2014, 30% of fatal work zone crashes involved at least one large truck. Decrease your speed and get into the correct lane well ahead of work zones. Leave extra room between vehicles, obey all work zone signs, watch for road workers, and be prepared to slow down or stop suddenly.

More Safe Driving Tips for Truckers

Check out FMCSA’s website for more safe driving tips. It just might save a life and help you save on trucking insurance as a bonus!

 

How to Save Big On Truck Insurance 

To learn more about saving on trucking insurance, give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online. We specialize in trucking insurance, and as independent agents, we will compare the cost and coverage of multiple insurance companies to ensure that you get the best price on reliable commercial vehicle insurance. Contact us today!

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

Trucking Insurance and Problems With Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 30, 2018

ELD problems and the impact on truck insurance costsThe transition from paper logging to electronic logging devices (ELDs) that was mandated by the Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) late last year has been anything but smooth for many drivers.

ELD Problems

While some have reported no significant issues, many drivers have experienced frustrating problems such as service outages, unresponsive in-cab units, software glitches, and dropped Bluetooth connections.  As you’ll see below, these issues can ultimately affect your truck insurance costs if not properly addressed.

Some ELDs are not tracking location, miles, and hours accurately, and some aren’t working at all. And many drivers are finding less-than-responsive customer service representatives to help them fix the problems. 

Challenges for Drivers and Inspectors

Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to switch to a different device because many are sold with two- or three-year contracts that are expensive to get out of even if a driver is having problems resolving their issues with customer service.

The new mandate is also creating challenges for commercial vehicle inspectors because there are so many different devices and each one operates a little differently. It’s nearly impossible for inspectors to be familiar with every device. 

The ELD Mandate

Regardless of the problems drivers are experiencing, the mandate isn’t going away. As of December 18, 2017, the FMCSA requires commercial motor vehicles involved in Interstate Commerce to use an ELD.

The regulation, which includes very specific guidelines, is intended to enforce the federal hours-of-service rule. This rule states that truckers can’t be behind the wheel for more than eleven hours a day within a 14-hour workday, and must be off duty for at least ten consecutive hours.  

ELD manufacturers had two years to meet the required technical specifications, but some waited until the deadline to self-certify their units. There are now 330 devices that have been approved by the FMCSA, and all of them are self-certified. The FMCSA is not involved in the certification process.

The Consequences of Not Complying

If a driver is found to be out of ELD compliance – despite all the technical glitches that are occurring - he or she can be put out of service for ten hours. It can also affect a driver’s compliance, safety, accountability, and CSA score.

A driver’s CSA Score is used by the FMCSA to identify high-risk motor carriers. High CSA scores can result in interventions and fines. Five points are assessed to a driver’s CSA score for not having an ELD and another two points are assessed for being placed out of service. Ultimately this may affect your trucking insurance rates.

What Can You Do?

The FMCSA realizes that there are problems with some of the ELDs and is investigating malfunctioning ELDs, which could result in the removal of the device from the FMCSA’s list of registered, self-certified devices.

It’s essential that you understand your responsibilities if an ELD malfunctions.

The mandate allows you to use paper logs for up to eight days if an ELD is not working correctly. Extensions can be requested, and the FMCSA recently created an email address - eld@dot.gov - dedicated to extension requests, so you no longer have to send the request to one of many different FMCSA division offices. 

The FMCSA also updated its ELD FAQs related to questions about malfunctioning ELDs.

 

We’re Here For You – Contact Us Today!

American Insuring Group is committed to helping drivers protect their investment, their business, and their livelihood. One way we can do that is by providing helpful information like this.

Save on PA Truck InsuranceBut where we really shine is finding you the right insurance at the best price! That’s because our independent insurance agents are free to scour the truck insurance market among competing insurance carriers, something a single-brand insurance agency simply can’t do.

So give American Insuring Group a call at (610) 775-3848 or (800) 947-1270 or connect with us online to speak with one of our trucking insurance specialists today!

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance

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: Trucking Insurance, truck insurance, Physical Damage Truck Insurance, Commercial Vehicle 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: Business Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance, Workers Compensation 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: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Commercial Vehicle 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: Restaurant Insurance, Food Truck Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Vehicle 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: truck insurance, Electronic Logging Devices - ELD, ELD Mandate, Commercial Vehicle Insurance

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.

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Tags: truck insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Trucking Insurance