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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

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

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

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

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

5 Truck Driver Safety Tips to Lower Truck Insurance Cost

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 29, 2017

Lower your truck insurance costs with these safety tips. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Harrisburg, PA and beyond with affordable trucking insurance from reliable carriers.You have a great deal of power behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer. It's your responsibility to drive safely. As a bonus, if you do, then you'll also enjoy lower truck insurance costs.

Sobering Trucking Statistics

Truck engines have 300-400 more horses than a passenger vehicle and 900-1,800 more feet/pound of torque, and tractor trailers can weigh 20-30 times more than a passenger vehicle, according to the Truckersreport.com.

Plus, tractor trailers “are taller with greater ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles underriding trucks in crashes,” according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHS). And tractor trailers have more blind spots and take 20-40 percent farther to come to a complete stop than passenger vehicles, according to IIHS.

With great power comes great responsibility. “About 98 percent of all semi accidents result in at least one fatality,” TruckAccidents.org reports. “Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants,” according to IIHS. In 2015, IIHS reported that 3,852 people died in large truck crashes – 16% were truck occupants, 29% were car occupants, and the rest were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.

Here are 5 Important Safety Tips for Truck Drivers:

  1. Be Alert – Give the road your full attention and be aware of what is going on around you. Know who is in front of, behind, and next to you at all times. Try to anticipate potential dangers and always leave enough space to allow for safe braking and unexpected actions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends, “If you are driving below 40 mph, you should leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length. For a typical tractor-trailer, this results in 4 seconds between you and the leading vehicle. For speeds over 40 mph, you should leave one additional second.”

Being well-rested is key to staying alert.  The hours-of-service regulations, which puts limits on when and how long you can drive, were put into place to help ensure that you remain awake and alert while driving. Don’t compromise safety; follow these regulations.

  1. Watch the Weather – Weather is one of the most significant factors that affect driving safety. Knowing what to expect can help you be better prepared. A wet road requires more room to stop, so slow down and keep an even safer driving distance between you and the car in front of you in bad weather. And pay attention to the temperature as rain can quickly turn to treacherous ice when the temperature drops.

If you don’t feel safe in the current driving conditions, stay parked. Know your limits and don’t be a hero. Nothing is worth risking your life for.

  1. Pick a Lane – The chance of an accident increases every time you change lanes, so pick a lane and stay in it whenever possible. If you do need to change lanes, do so carefully. Be aware of your blind spots and carefully check your mirrors.

  1. Plan Your Travel – If possible, avoid traveling in high-volume traffic at peak times. Allow time for regular breaks to stretch and recharge. Watch the weather to see if you can expect any dangerous conditions and make sure that your truck is equipped with supplies for all driving conditions. Check your rig and your load before starting.

  1. Maintain Control – Remember that your vehicle is bigger and more powerful than most of the vehicles around you and that it won’t stop or take a turn the way a smaller vehicle The best way to maintain control is to control your speed.

No matter how “hot” your load is, nothing is worth risking your life for. And an added benefit is that fewer accidents mean lower truck insurance premiums!

How to Save on Trucking Insurance

A Trusted Choice Independent Agency for PA Truck Insurance. Contact us to save.To learn more ways to save on truck insurance, give contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Our independent agents will save you money by comparing lots of competing trucking insurance carriers. Our independence gives us the freedom to shop. We shop, you save!  Call or click today.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Business Insurance

Truck Drivers, Texting and Trucking Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 06, 2017

Truck driver texting guidelines and impact on trucking insurance rates in PennsylvaniaIf you’re a CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle) driver, you’ve probably heard of a little federal agency called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, FMCSA regulates the trucking industry throughout the United States. Its primary mission is to reduce CMV crashes, injuries, and fatalities, all of which are great for keeping your truck insurance costs under control. 

While there are still many states that have not banned texting while driving or even addressed distracted driving in general, any driver engaged in interstate commerce is subject to FMCSA laws regardless of what state they’re starting from or driving into.

What Truckers Cannot Do Under FMCSA

The FMCSA has made their stance very clear: “No Call, No Text, No Ticket!” That means…

  • No Reaching
  • No Holding
  • No Dialing
  • No Texting
  • No Reading 

Penalties

  • Drivers can be fined up to $2,750.
  • The driver’s employer can be fined up to $11,000 if they knowingly allow or require drivers to use hand-held devices while driving.
  • Repeat offenses will result in a driver being put out-of-service for up to 120 days (60 days for two serious traffic violations in three years/120 days for three violations in three years).
  • Violations will negatively affect the employer’s Safety Measurement System ratings.
  • Drivers can be subject to severe civil fines.
  • The driver’s employer may also impose penalties, which often includes termination.

Harsh or Smart? 23 x More Likely to ...

Research commissioned by the FMCSA shows that CMV drivers who text while driving have a 23.2 times greater chance of “being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation).” The research shows that drivers who are texting take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. To put that into perspective: someone driving 55 mph will travel 371 feet (approximately the length of a football field) without looking at the road.

Distracted Driving Death Toll

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving took the lives of 3,477 people in 2015 alone. The CDC has reported that every day, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes in the U.S. due to a distracted driver. The CDC defines distracted driving as “driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving” including texting and cell phone use. 

What every CMV driver needs to know about FMCSA’s rules regarding distracted driving

  • Texting and hand-held mobile phone use while operating a CMV is prohibited.
  • According to FMCSA, texting means “manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device."
  • These rules do not apply to devices used as part of the company’s fleet management system for dispatching (except if they’re used for texting).
  • The use of hands-free options to make phone calls are usually acceptable.
  • Technically, even texting or using a hand-held device to make a call while stopped at a traffic light or traffic delay is prohibited. You should safely pull over to the side of the road
  • Any hands-free device (earpiece-speaker phone, hands-free dialing, or hands-free mode) needs to be located close to the driver. Hands-free means being able to safely activate a mobile device by touching a single button, while safely and properly seated and restrained.

Today, many trucking companies are using hands-free dispatching devices. Some of these devices only show a short message or simply beep until the driver stops and parks.

The FMCSA has made it quite clear: “No Calls, No Texting, No Tickets.” So, unless you want to face penalties, possible loss of your job, or even worse – death or injury to someone, do not text or use a hand-held mobile device while driving.

How to Save on Trucking Insurance

Contact us for trucking insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Erie and beyond.Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact our trucking insurance specialists online to get the right trucking insurance at a great price.

We'll analyze your risks and then shop among many competing insurers to find the policy that's right for you. Our independence leads to your savings. Contact us today!

 

For additional information on FMCSA rules and guidelines: 

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Mobile_Phone_Rule_Fact_Sheet.pdf

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/No_Texting_Rule_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Texting

Physical Damage Truck Insurance - Do You Have Enough?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 16, 2017

As we’re sure you’re aware, buying or leasing a truck is a huge investment. Many truckers, use most or all of their savings to purchase their vehicle.

Tips on Physical Damage Truck Insurance in PennsylvaniaNow, what would happen if your truck was damaged, stolen, or totaled in an accident? Would you have enough money to cover the repairs or replace the truck? What would it mean to your livelihood?

Are you certain your truck insurance is adequate to keep you financially secure if the worst were to happen? 

These are all scary questions, but they’re also real possibilities.

Getting Proper Insurance for Your Truck

The good news is that you can protect yourself from most damages your truck may incur with physical damage truck insurance. If you have a loan on your truck or you lease your truck, physical damage insurance is probably required. But even if you own your truck outright, you’ll want to consider physical damage insurance to protect your investment (and your livelihood).

2 Types of Physical Damage Truck Insurance

There are two different parts to physical damage truck insurance: collision insurance and comprehensive insurance. Collision Insurance pays for damages incurred if your truck collides with another vehicle or object. In the event of a collision, collision insurance will pay to repair or replace your truck. Comprehension Insurance pays for other types of damage your truck may incur, such as vandalism, theft, collision with an animal, glass breaking, fire, and more.

Physical Damage Insurance Considerations

Here are some important things to consider when shopping for physical damage truck insurance:

  1. Stated Amount - You will need to provide the stated amount – your best estimate of the value of your truck – if you are adding comprehensive insurance. The stated amount should be based on the make and model of your truck, mileage, upgrades, and comparable sales data. The stated amount will have a big impact on how much you pay in premiums, so it’s a good idea to work with a good insurance agent to determine the proper value.

  2. Actual Cash Value - The amount you will receive on a physical damage truck insurance claim is based on the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of your truck, which means the market value of your truck. Unlike personal lines of insurance, replacement values are not available for commercial policies.

  3. Deductibles - One way to reduce your premiums is to increase your deductible. You should determine a dollar amount that you would be comfortable paying in the event of a claim.

  4. Endorsements – There are certain things that a basic trucking physical damage policy may not cover, that an endorsement will. Endorsements you may want to consider are a single deductible for your truck and trailer, personal belongings coverage, electronic equipment coverage and a rental truck while your vehicle is getting repaired or replaced.

 

Let's Talk About Your Truck Insurance

Contact us about Physical Damage Truck Insurance protection in PennsylvaniaProtect your truck and your livelihood with physical damage insurance by giving American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610)775-3848 or contact us online to learn more about both collision and comprehensive insurance for your truck.

We specialize in PA Truck Insurance, so whether you are in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie or elsewhere, we'll find you the best deal on insurance. That's because our independent insurance agents are free to shop and compare lots of competing insurance quotes, so you can count on getting great coverage at a great price.  

Contact us today!

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

Trucking Insurance and the Sanitary Food Transport Act

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Jun 28, 2017

The U.S. has one of the safest food supplies in the world, but foodborne illness still sickens 76 million people, causes 325,000 hospitalizations, and results in 5,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC.

Trucking insurance tips for food transporters in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.If you own a food transporatation business, then you need to understand government regulations that can affect your trucking insurance needs and that you acquire proper truck insurance to cover your unique needs.

In 2011, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most far-reaching reform of our food safety laws in seventy years, was signed into law. The goal of FSMA is to prevent contamination – as opposed to responding to contamination - and it gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new authority to regulate the way food is grown, harvested, processed, and transported.

If you are a food transportation company with revenues over $500,000, the most important thing you need to understand about FSMA is the Sanitary Food Transport Act (SFTA), which took effect on March 31, 2017.

New Requirements for Trucking Company Vehicles

SFTA established requirements for trucking company vehicles, equipment, operations, records and training for shippers, loaders, motor and rail carriers, and receivers involved in transporting human and animal food. The focus is on the use of sanitary and temperature control practices.

 

SFTA defines requirements around the following:

  • Vehicles and Transportation Equipment – The vehicles used to transport food must be designed and maintained to ensure that they don’t cause the food to become contaminated. For example, vehicles must be kept in a sanitary condition, and handwashing facilities must be available at loading/unloading stations.

  • Transportation Operations – Every measure must be taken to ensure that food is not contaminated in transit. For example, storage compartments must be pre-cooled and have a temperature monitoring device when transporting refrigerated items and measures need to be made to ensure that ready-to-eat food doesn’t touch raw food and that non-food items (in the current or a previous load) don’t contaminate food.

  • Training – Carrier personnel need to be trained in sanitary transportation practices, and that training needs to be documented.

  • Records – A log of temperature conditions throughout the transportation must be kept for at least 12 months.

Liability Questions for Trucking Firms

FSMA and SFTA have raised many liability questions. For example, what happens if a receiver rejects all or part of a motor carrier’s food shipment because of an FSMA violation even if the product did not sustain damage? Who is responsible for the disposal of the shipment? Who is responsible for a mechanical breakdown that results in an FSMA violation?

 

Protect Your Trucking Business With The Right Insurance - Call Today 

Contact us for all your trucking insurance needs.FSMA is just one government-imposed regulation that can affect your business, so it’s important that you have the right type of trucking insurance to cover your unique needs.

For a review of your insurance policy and to get the best price on quality trucking insurance for your business, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Food Transportation Insurance