So you’ve decided to buy your own truck and get into business for yourself. Great! But then you are faced with having to figure out the truck insurance. What do I really need? What can I get by with until I start making more money? We would like to help you out.
In the 29 years since Berrier Insurance began, we’ve been proud to help many truckers get started, many of whom are still in the business, some of whom now own large trucking fleets. Whatever your plans are for your business, there are some basics to know when getting started.
- Pick an “A” rated insurance company. Even if you are a new class “A” driver, there are still “A” rated carriers that will insure you. If you don’t have driving experience, you will be limited in how far you can travel but don’t let anyone tell you that you have to settle for a “substandard” insurance company or a Risk Retention Group. Don’t risk all that you’ve invested in your business to an unrated insurance company without a strong track record of paying claims fairly and quickly.
- Make sure your insurance limits meet the requirements of the broker or company that you will be hauling for. You have to make them happy first in order to get loads. They will also want you to be insured by a reputable insurance company (refer back to #1).
- Ask if there is an option for a “Liability Deductible” which could save you money. Oftentimes, insurance carriers will give you a lower rate if you agree to pay the first $500 or $1,000 of a liability claim. When first starting out in business, this may help make your premium more affordable. You may also choose to forego collision and comprehensive coverage on your own vehicle if you are trying to save money. But be careful! Make sure that if your truck burned up or was stolen that you have the resources to stay in business.
- Keep your driving record clean. This will be the best thing you can do to keep your insurance rates down as the years go by. You will start qualifying for more and more discounts as you have more years of commercial driving experience, more years of no losses and try to pay your insurance bill on time. You will be glad you did when you are paying less for your insurance than all of your trucker friends.
- Choose an insurance broker with a great reputation and experience insuring trucks. Not all insurance brokers are the same. Ask for references from business owners like yourself. Also check with the Better Business Bureau and the Department of Insurance to make sure there are not complaints against the broker. A good insurance broker will be a trusted advisor for years to come. They will help you to get your business going, make sure your regulatory filings are done correctly and certificates of insurance go out quickly to keep you working. Make sure you choose wisely.
If you have questions about what are the first steps in starting your trucking business in California, Oregon, Arizona or Nevada, give us a call and we’d be happy to help you out.