No matter the size of a business, it’s always a good idea to reevaluate expenses, especially when it comes to commercial auto insurance. It does not take much time to determine which insurer best fits the business’ needs.
Whether working with an independent agent or shopping directly, ask these questions in order to make the most informed decision:
- Is the current policy the best policy? If the company had the same insurance policy for more than a few years, request an insurance review to make sure truck values and premiums are current. The value of commercial vehicles change over the years, which means coverage limits may have to be adjusted.
- Does the insurer have experience in the company’s specific line of business? Check to see if the insurer has a history of handling a construction businesses. A proven track record with the contractor trade is a good sign of how well an insurer will handle a claim. Don’t be afraid to ask the insurance company or broker about their experience.
- What about the claims reps? In the event of an accident, it’s nice to find a company that has dedicated commercial auto claims representatives, not general representatives who work for a third party. Specialized claims representatives have a deeper understanding of what needs to get done to get the company up and running, and will be more likely foresee issues in the claims process before they arise, as it relates to construction claims.
- Do they have the resources the company needs? Ask if the insurer has a network of shops or service centers. Frequently, this can speed up vehicle repairs and many of these shops will offer longer term guarantees on their work. If the company has a shop it knows and trusts, then stick with it, but it’s good to know options upfront.
- Can coverage be designed to fit the company’s needs? Not all insurance packages fit every business’ needs. It is important to fully understand what’s covered. If a truck or van is paramount to getting supplies to clients, check if the insurer offers rental vehicle coverage while the company vehicle is out of service. If there is permanently attached equipment, ask about replacement coverage, whether it is covered in the policy and if there is an extra charge.
- What’s their availability? In construction, many don’t work a typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. Look for an insurer who can work around a construction timeline and schedule, not vice-versa. And 24/7 doesn’t just apply to call centers and claims representatives; check if the insurer offers 24/7 roadside assistance for battery jumpstarts, tire changes, locksmith services, fuel delivery or general labor in the field.
- What defines the policy with the best value? Value doesn’t always have to have a monetary value. Make side-by-side comparisons and see who’s giving the most bang for the buck. Consider all the factors, like coverage customization, customer service and special promotions. Then, once it is understood what the insurer is covering, ask about discounts.
- What discounts are available? Insurance companies may give discounts based on company history for having a commercial driver’s license or based on the number of years the company has 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.
- Who can help? Don’t hesitate to ask for help in the insurance comparison process. Independent agents are there to provide insurance advice. They can offer multiple coverage options, prices and service levels because they represent a variety of companies. Coverage requirements could include a combination of auto, cargo, general liability, workers’ compensation, an umbrella policy, etc., and they can put together a customized package specific to the company’s needs. Let them guide the company through the process of finding the right coverage.