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7 Questions Truckers Should Ask About Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Mar 03, 2019

Truck Insurance Questions to ask your insurance agent in PA, NJ, DE, MD, OH and more.Your truck is your livelihood and the best way to protect it is with the proper truck insurance. By "proper" we mean insurance that covers your specific needs and doesn’t leave any gaps – all at the best price.

The best way to do that is to work with an independent insurance agent – like those at American Insuring Group – who specialize in truck insurance and have the freedom to compare coverage and pricing from several different insurance carriers and then present you with options and recommendations.

Knowing the right questions to ask your agent is important because it will help reveal the depth of their knowledge so you can decide if they are right for you.

Here are seven questions to ask your insurance agent to make sure that you get the right coverage at the right price:

How long have you been selling truck insurance?

The risks, costs, and required coverages involved with an 18-wheeler are significantly different than those of a regular car. Having an agent knowledgeable in truck insurance can help ensure that your investment is adequately protected.

How much coverage is right for me?

A minimum of $1,000,000 liability insurance coverage is mandatory for most commercial trucks, but it’s important to remember that trucks can cause a lot more damage than a car. Ask your agent to take you through what-if scenarios and different limit options available to you. Also, ask about the benefits and costs of an umbrella policy, which can protect you in the event of a catastrophic loss.

Do you offer broad form cargo coverage?

Depending on what you are hauling, the standard $100,000 of cargo coverage may leave gaps in your coverage, so your agent should understand the types of cargo you haul and the risks associated with that cargo. Ask your agent if they offer broad form coverage, which protects you against specific risks not covered by basic cargo insurance.

What is my deductible and do you offer a combined deductible?

Increasing your deductibles should lower the cost of your premiums, but it’s essential that you ensure that you have enough available cash to pay that higher deductible if you need to pay it.

You may have coverage on multiple items such as your tractor, your cargo, and another damaged vehicle (the one you hit), but each of them may come with a separate deductible. With a combined deductible – which doesn’t usually cost much more – you only pay one deductible for all lines of coverage or all vehicles in one claim.

What affects the cost of my premiums?

The most common things that affect your premium costs are age, driving record, years of experience, what you’re hauling, the age of your equipment, area of operation, criminal record, and credit score. If you know what factors are affecting your premium, you may be able to take steps to fix that factor before your next renewal or go with a carrier that doesn’t put as much emphasis on a particular risk.

How quickly can you react to my needs?

Ask them how quickly they can get you your certificate of insurance and how quickly they can change your policy. If you haul different cargo from day to day, you need an agent who can quickly update your policy for you. Ask your agent, “How easy is it to reach you, and if you’re out of the office is there someone else who can help me?”

Most (but not all) insurance companies now have 24-hour claims services. Don’t assume anything; ask your agent if it’s available to you. 

What discounts are available?

Some discounts are required by law such as for airbags or anti-lock brakes, but there are often other discounts that may not be required or as standard but may apply to you. Potential discounts can include paying in full, packaging, prior insurance savings, and more.

 

Ask the Truck Insurance Pros at American Insuring Group!

Experts in truck insurance in Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Reading, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA, MD, OH, NJ and DE.A good truck insurance agent can not only protect your investment but also be a great asset to your business.

When you’re ready to purchase your next policy, give the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online.

We’ll be happy to answer these and all of your questions to help you get the right insurance at the best price!

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance

Truck Insurance Safety Tips for Drivers on Unfamiliar Roads

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 03, 2019

Follow these truck insurance safety tips when driving your commercial vehicle on unfamiliar roads!As a commercial vehicle driver, you probably travel on unfamiliar roads quite often, and when you’re unfamiliar with the roads, you’re more likely to get lost – an unclear turn, an unexpected accident, bad visibility.

When you get lost, it’s easy to get frustrated and impatient and make bad choices that can lead to accidents – especially when you’re on a tight schedule.

When you’re traveling on a familiar road, you know where that sharp turn is, where traffic tends to back up, and where that unexpected stop sign is located. When you’re on unfamiliar roads, you don’t have those advantages, which makes safe driving practices even more vital 

In fact, the Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that nearly one-quarter of large-truck crashes occurred when CMV drivers were unfamiliar with the roadway.

More accidents mean more injuries, which translates to higher truck insurance costs

Here are 3 tips to help you navigate unfamiliar roads more safely:

1 - Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

Before you get behind the wheel, take a look at a map or your GPS and have your route planned. If you’re driving along and realize you got off track, pull off somewhere safe where you can refer to your map or guidance system to regain your bearings.

It may be tempting to adjust electronic devices while you’re driving. Don’t do it! Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can result in an accident, and when you’re driving a 50,000-pound truck, the chances of that accident being severe enough to cause an injury are high.

If you’re transporting hazardous materials, you should also be aware of any route restrictions or designated routes required by state and local townships.

2 - Don’t Make Knee-Jerk Decisions

You’re in the passing lane of the interstate when you notice that you’re about to pass the exit you’re supposed to take. When you realize your mistake, you may be tempted to try to turn onto that exit quickly. Don’t do it! It isn’t worth the chance of causing injury to yourself or another driver. 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NAFTA Safety Stats, almost 50,000 moving violations from 2004 to 2007 were classified as improper turns or improper lane changes.

If you miss a turn, get off at the next exit or go around the block instead of making a knee-jerk decision.  

3 - Communicate With Other Drivers

Let other drivers know in advance what you intend to do – even if that’s just changing lanes – by using your turn signal. A recent study reported that there are approximately 630,000 lane-change crashes annually (involving both large trucks and passenger vehicles).

Here are other ways you can try to communicate with drivers around you:

  • Use your 4-way flashers if you have to pull off to the side of the road or when traffic is unexpectedly stopped in front of you.

  • Toot your horn to sound an alarm and warn another driver of your presence. Please, note that we say “tooting” and not “laying on” your horn. The misuse of a horn has been known to cause road rage, but it is one of the few ways that a driver can get the attention of another driver to prevent an accident.

  • Turn on your headlights. It can make your vehicle more visible especially at night or in bad weather. In fact, some trucks are programmed to have the low beam headlights on whenever the engine is running, and some states require the use of headlights when the windshield wipers are on. So make sure your headlights, turn signals, and brake lights are clean and use your headlights when appropriate.

When you’re driving on unfamiliar roads, it’s even more crucial that you exercise safe driving habits to keep yourself and those around you safe. Lower trucking insurance premiums that go with fewer accidents and claims is just icing on the cake.

Want to Save on Truck Insurance?

Affordable PA truck insurance for truckers in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Allentown, Harrisburg and Reading, PA.American Insuring Group can help you save even more on your trucking insurance. As independent agents, we’re free to shop the market for you among competing insurance carriers. So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to start saving!

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Commercial Insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips

5 Questions to Ask about Commercial Truck Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Jan 04, 2019

Ask your truck insurance agent in PA, NJ, and DE these questions to help you find affordable trucking insuranceAs a business owner, you wear many hats, but let’s face it, you can’t be an expert on every subject. Knowing the right questions to ask someone who is an expert is often key to running a successful business. How to find the best trucker’s liability insurance for your business is a good example.

The first step is finding an experienced and reputable insurance agent that specializes in truck insurance - like the independent agents at American Insuring Group. We’ll find you the right coverage at the best price, and we’re always happy to answer any of your questions.

 

Here are 5 questions to ask your insurance agent about Commercial Truck Insurance:

1 - What is covered - and perhaps even more important – what is NOT covered?

To understand the answer to that question you first need to understand the four basic types of liability insurance available to you:

Primary Auto Liability Insurance is the very minimum insurance you should have on your truck and is required in every state. It covers any damage or injuries to other motorists that result in an accident that is considered your fault. It’s important to make sure that you meet limit requirements on this type of insurance, and it’s often prudent to go beyond the bare minimum.

General Liability Insurance covers your truck when it is not on the road such as when you’re parked on a parking lot, stopping at a restaurant, or loading your vehicle.

Non-owned Trailer Liability & Trailer Interchange covers physical damage to a trailer that you are hauling but do not own while it’s in your possession. This type of insurance is usually not included in your primary or general liability insurance.

Motor Truck Cargo Liability Insurance covers damage to the freight or commodity that you are hauling in the event of things such as fires or accidents.

Because each policy is a little different, it’s important to ask your insurance agent lots of questions about which types of liability insurance you need to protect your assets and then go through what-if scenarios with them.

2 - If I’m in an accident, how do I submit an insurance claim?

You should submit a claim as soon as possible because the faster you file the claim, the faster it can be settled. You can contact the insurance company’s claims department directly or contact your agent to guide you through the process.

3 - If I’m in an accident, how much will my truck insurance policy pay?

This is vital information to know if you want to ensure that you’re adequately covered. You may decide to take a higher deductible to lower your premiums, but you need to understand that this will also reduce the amount you’re paid in the event of an accident. You have to then ask yourself, “Do I have enough cash on hand to cover that deductible?”

4 - Do I have to pay my entire insurance premium at one time?

Most insurance companies offer several options for payment such as making monthly installments rather than paying it all in one lump sum. However, you will save money by paying in full up front. 

5 - How can I save on premiums?

We already mentioned that you could increase your deductible to lower your trucking insurance premiums, but one of the best ways to reduce your insurance costs is to decrease the number of claims you make by carefully vetting and training your drivers. Driving records and credit scores can affect how much you pay for insurance, and well-trained drivers can reduce the number of claims, which will also affect your premiums. 

 

Take the First Step to Save on Truck Insurance Today!

Contact us today to save on truck insurance in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, PA, NJ, DE and far beyond.Another great way to save money on your insurance premiums is to work with an independent insurance agent like American Insuring Group. We will analyze pricing and coverage among many competing insurance carriers to deliver the right coverage at the best price for your particular needs.  

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

You can also learn more about  your Commercial Trucking Insurance options on our website.

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

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

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