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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

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

3 Ways Trucking Firms Can Save on Workers Comp Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 31, 2018

Tips for how trucking companies can save on Workers Compensation Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, Berks County, Lancaster County, PA and beyond.Workers Compensation Insurance for interstate trucking companies can be complicated, but it is required by most states. And, due to the dangerous nature of truck driving, it is essential for the well-being of both truck drivers and trucking companies.

Determining Workers Compensation Insurance Risks

The first challenge comes when insurance underwriters try to determine a trucking company’s risks. Each state has its own workers comp insurance base rates, requirements, and rules. To further complicate matters, sometimes a trucking company is located in one state, the truck driver resides in another, and the WC injury occurs in yet another state. While there are interstate payroll classification codes available from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), those codes don’t apply to three highly-traveled states: California, New York, and Texas.

The 7th Deadliest Occupation

Another challenge is the dangerous nature of the occupation. With all the time truck drivers spend on the road, it’s probably no surprise that the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists truck driving as the seventh deadliest occupation. In 2016, there were 918 fatal injuries making the fatal injury rate for truck drivers 24.7 per 100,000 full-time employees.

Health and Injuries 

What may surprise you is that truck drivers also tend to be less healthy than the average worker, which makes them more prone to other types of injuries. Drivers sit for long periods of time and then have brief periods of strenuous labor as they load and unload their trucks. Many truck drivers also have unhealthy lifestyles that include a minimal amount of exercise, being overweight, and having irregular sleep habits. This causes a disproportionate number of musculoskeletal injuries compared to other occupations and poor overall physical health that often impacts employee recovery time when they are injured. 

The most common injuries truck drivers experience are vehicle accidents, slips and falls climbing in and out of the cab or trailer and on loading docks, trains, and back injuries while loading and unloading cargo, carpal tunnel, and crush injuries caused by loads falling on the driver. Many truck drivers also attribute kidney stones and hemorrhoids to their jobs but rarely claim either as an occupational injury or disease. 

Despite its complexities, here are 3 ways trucking companies can save on workers’ compensation insurance:

  1. Develop a Safety Program

Take the time to develop a comprehensive safety program specific to your business and give a copy of your safety policies to every truck driver along with safety guidelines specific to eliminating injuries in drivers. Also, create a culture of safety by making it clear that every driver is expected to follow your safety policies or face the consequences and requiring every driver to attend at least one annual safety training to reinforce your safety policies.

  1. Perform Drug Testing

Drug testing will not only affect your workers compensation insurance costs but also your liability insurance costs. You should test every new hire and conduct random drug testing and mandatory drug testing after an accident that causes damage to property or injury to the driver or anyone else.

  1. Health & Wellness Program

An effective health and wellness program may reduce the cost of both WC and health insurance benefits. These programs can help reduce injuries and help employees recover more quickly from injuries. This may seem like an unnecessary expense, but the WC savings you could experience just by reducing obesity alone will pay for the cost of the health and wellness program.  

CAUTION - Don't Misclassify Drivers!

It’s very tempting to try to reduce your workers comp insurance costs by classifying all of your drivers as independent contractors, but the only drivers who should be classified as independent contractors are those who regularly drive for other companies. If the driver is only driving for your company and you’re designating when and where the loads are picked up and dropped off, the IRS and the state board of workers’ compensation will consider them your employees – not independent contractors.

The penalties and fines that you can face for not having WC for employees could quickly put a small or medium-sized trucking company out of business. Plus, drivers whose WC claims are denied can (and often do) sue your company for medical bills, pain and suffering (which is not paid under WC), and the loss of all wages (as opposed to the typical two-thirds of wages paid by most WC claims).

Get the Right Workers Comp Insurance for Your Business 

While workers compensation insurance for trucking companies can be complicated, the WC experts at American Insuring Group can provide affordable and reliable workers compensation to protect both your employees and your business.

Don't take chances - call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Trucking 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.

CLICK TO SAVE ON TRUCK INSURANCE

 

Tags: truck insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Trucking Insurance

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

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 14, 2018

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

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

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

 

ELD Compliance and Benefits

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

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

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

 

About the Electronic Logging Device Mandate

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to Get a FREE ELD or up to $500

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

There are two options for the SMARTHAUL program:

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

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

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

 

Contact Us For All Your Truck Insurance Needs 

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

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