By Ken Bowman
With busy season starting, now is a great time to re-evaluate your commercial auto insurance needs. Having the right commercial auto insurance not only helps protect you financially, but it can also give you peace of mind when running your business. It doesn’t matter if you need to cover one truck, multiple vehicles, or all of your mowers and equipment — there’s an insurer out there that will fit your needs at the right price point. Some things to consider when comparing insurers are as follows:
Find out if they offer the experience you need
When something goes wrong, immediate action could be necessary. Ask if your insurer is available 24/7, and find out if they have a proven track record handling commercial claims. Also ask if they have dedicated claims representatives or third-party reps. Specialized claims reps will help get your vehicle back on the road quicker. Another thing to look for in the claims process is a network of dedicated repair shops. This can help the claims process move more efficiently. If the shops have been given the “seal of approval” as an official shop by your insurer, it’s likely a great repair option.
It’s important to work with an insurer to figure out what kind of discounts they can offer you that you may have not considered. You could be eligible for a discount just by having a commercial driver’s license or based on the number of years you’ve been in business. Many insurance companies provide additional savings for customers who pay their pickup truck insurance bills electronically or pay their policy in full.
If you work as an independent contractor and transport your equipment using your commercial van or truck, talk to your employer. He or she may provide insurance coverage that protects whatever you transport. They may also provide liability insurance to cover you while you’re working. Be sure to ask your employer about what coverage they provide, because you might only be protected while you’re working for them. In that case, you’ll need your own commercial vehicle insurance policy for when you drive your vehicle for personal use.
Compare price and value
Think about the value you’re getting in a policy. If you are working with an agent, ask him/her to make comparisons on coverages between multiple insurers or look at the policies side-by-side on your own. Although a certain company may be a little less expensive, you could be missing out on important coverage, which could cost you in the long run. Remember, value doesn’t always mean price.
Keep in mind extra charges that can pop up when looking at costs. Some insurers have significant finance charges associated with their bill plans, or don’t have flexibility in payment schedules. There are many companies out there that offer flexible pay plans that fit your needs. Rather than paying your policy premium in one annual payment or quarterly installments, you may be able to spread your premium over monthly payments to work around your budget.
Evaluate your current policy
If you’ve had the same commercial insurance policy for more than a few years, ask your insurer to review your policy. This will help make sure your truck value and premiums are current. The value of commercial vehicles changes throughout the years, which means your coverage limits may have to be adjusted.
Ken Bowman is commercial auto product manager at Progressive. Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance and the #1 truck insurer. For more information on Progressive’s coverages, or to find a local independent agent, visit www.progressivecommercial.com.