Increasing Insurance Rates Continues to be a Top Concern for Fleets
Nobody likes paying for insurance. It’s something you pay a good chunk of money for, only to hope you never have to claim anything. It’s a never-ending cycle. And if you do claim something on your policy, you might be paying a higher premium the next time you renew your policy. So, when your insurance rate continues to increase, even if your fleet is staying safe on the road, it becomes frustrating.
With more vehicles on the road than ever before, accidents involving trucks are on the rise. But as you know, it’s not minor fender-benders responsible for the recent spikes in insurance premiums. It’s the fleets involved in catastrophic accidents, which lead to ‘nuclear verdicts’ you sometimes hear about in the news. Some of these verdicts can cost a fleet (and their insurance company) hundreds of millions of dollars. To offset those costs, premiums for all must go up.
Compounding things is a new amendment, which would more than double the minimum liability insurance for carriers. It’s on the verge of passing.
We’ve seen insurance jumps before. Between 2017 and 2018, the average cost of truck insurance increased by 12 percent. That was the highest jump in operating costs second to only fuel (17.7 percent) for that year according to a study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). The same study showed that just 10 years ago, the average cost to insure a truck per mile was 5.9 cents. In 2018, the average was 8.4 cents. Broken down, fleets with less than five trucks paid 16.5 cents per mile per truck on average, whereas fleets with more than 1,000 trucks paid 4.9 cents per mile per truck in 2018.
For the industry to slow the year-after-year rate increases, or reverse the trend all together, it’s going to take a collective effort. Safety truly does pay. Insurance companies want assurances that you have measures in places to keep your fleet safe. Here are some tips, recommended by insurance companies, that can help your fleet become more ‘insurable.’
Hire the best drivers you can. They’re the ones ultimately responsible for that 80,000 lb. truck and load – they can be the difference between avoiding an accident or being involved in one. Ensuring drivers are operating equipment that is in good condition along with providing tools that will help them stay safe on the road is also important. And don’t forget driver training. Insurance companies like to see documented proof that drivers have been well-trained on subjects that will help keep themselves and others they share the roads with safe.
The CVSA Roadchecks that occur every year happen for a reason – to hold fleets and drivers operating unsafe vehicles accountable. If you have a good maintenance program in place, you’re doing your part to ensure a component failure won’t put you in court due to an accident. Some of the most horrific accidents have been caused by component failure.
By utilizing available technologies such collision avoidance systems and other safety tools, you can help your drivers – especially in challenging weather. And, the more documented driver safety programs you have in place, the more likely you will be in good standing with your insurance company.
With dashboard, backup, sideview and even 365-view cameras, you have a way of showing proof of what your drivers were doing or weren’t doing on the road. Cameras could be your lifeline in proving who was at fault in an accident. Plus, these cameras can be a great training tool to use. If a driver is struggling with a particular skill on the road, you can adjust some of your training practices to help a driver in the area they need additional practice in.
From tire pressure to sensors that register shifts in weight distribution, there are a number of devices available that can help keep your drivers informed on what is going on with the truck. Sensors are like a second pair of eyes for drivers. The more information a driver has available at their fingertips, the better off they will be to make appropriate decisions on the road.
If your fleet is subscribed to Drivewyze PreClear Weigh Station bypass, have you enabled Drivewyze Safety Notifications? If not, it’s a free service that provides alerts for upcoming high rollover areas, low bridges, steep grades, and runaway truck ramp locations. In addition to these notifications, we recently added parking alerts to our services in Iowa and Indiana, which informs drivers how many parking spots are available at rest areas and truck stops. These alerts help drivers make informed decisions on where they can find safe, available parking. For more information about our Safety Notifications, check out this link.
Yes. Accidents happen. But by using technology and keeping equipment in good condition, your odds of having it happen to you are greatly reduced. Stay safe!