Truck driver insurance provides essential protection for you, your job, and your truck, but there could be certain violations on your record hurting your chance at the best rates.
Drivers need trucking insurance in order to be out on the road, but insurance companies run reports similar to employers, looking for red flags they can use to hike the price they want you to pay. Knowing what violations could potentially hurt your record is the best way for drivers to avoid paying more.
In an interview on November 16, TalkCDL Trucking Podcast sat down with a REV insurance representative to discuss rates and the tangible steps truckers can take to keep their premiums down.
“You have to be up on safety, it’s one of the most important things,” said the representative, Gino. “Especially when crossing state lines, something as small as your tire tread not being right or your windshield wipers not working and that goes on your record as a negative.”
Gino warned that having a bad PSP score could get a truck driver canceled or neglected to be picked up at renewal by their insurance. PSP stands for Pre-Employment Screening Program and includes the most recent 5 years of crash data and the most recent 3 years of roadside inspection data from the FMCSA and MCMIS database.
These violations hurt driver’s chances of getting the best insurance rates:
- Accidents on record
- Speeding tickets
- Open containers or illegal substances on the truck
- Safety violations that are logged on DOT reports
- Tickets or accidents as a result of using handheld devices
Here are a few tips to keep your insurance rates down:
- Maintain a clean driving record: It’s less expensive to offer insurance to a clean driver. Make sure you keep a good record, those with fewer accidents now are less likely to be involved in more accidents in the future.
- Shop around: Rates can vary from company to company, make sure you compare prices before committing to anything. Consider using an agent who is reputable and specializes in trucking insurance.
- Check your record: Your records are an important part of how you are rated. Stay up to date on yours, checking that it shows the correct information.
- Build good credit: A higher credit score means a better rating.
- Consider a higher deductible: Adjust your policy for a higher deductible, which will result in a lower trucking insurance premium.
When picking out insurance, the first step is understanding the type of coverage you’ll need. While the insurance company you choose should be able to answer any questions you have about specific coverages, it is important to provide your agent with the right information about your operation.
- General Liability Coverage: This covers the actions of a driver who is operating on someone else’s premises, such as loading docks and truck stops. It provides coverage for bodily injury to others and damage to the property of others due to a vehicle accident.
- Primary Liability Coverage: This does not cover your truck, but rather covers the damage you may do to others while operating your truck.
- Physical Damage Coverage: Provides coverage to repair or replace damage to your equipment in the event of an accident or other risks, such as fire, theft, glass breakage, or vandalism.
- Non-Trucking Liability Coverage: Coverage for damages or injuries to others while the truck is not under dispatch from the company you are currently leased with.
- Cargo Coverage — Protects your cargo against damage or loss while in transit, whether that be stolen goods, wet load, refrigeration breakdown, debris removal, etc.
- Trailer Interchange: Covers a non-owned trailer being used under a trailer interchange agreement.
- Medical Payment: This covers medical bills if you or a passenger is injured while driving or riding in the tractor, this coverage varies from state to state.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists: This coverage protects you if someone hits you and does not have liability coverage to repair whatever you need repaired.
As a reminder, the cheapest truck insurance policy doesn’t always offer the right protection you need. Pay close attention to the coverages listed above, and know what you need to be properly insured while out on the road.
Trucking insurance for an owner operator with their own authority generally runs anywhere from $8,000 to $14,000. Make sure you are taking the right precautions to ensure that you are getting the best possible coverage for you and your business at the best rate.