No matter the size of your business, it is always a good idea to continually evaluate expenses. Revisiting standardized outlays like commercial automobile insurance can often reveal small changes that may help your bottom line. Knowing what to look for and where to look is key. Whether you are working with an independent agent or shopping alone, below are a few considerations to keep in mind when researching your auto insurance options.
- Evaluate your current policy—If you’ve had the same commercial insurance policy for more than a few years, ask your insurer for a review. This will help ensure your auto values and premiums are current. As the value of commercial vehicles changes, your coverage limits may have to be adjusted.
- Look for experience—Check to see if the insurer has a history of handling businesses like yours. A proven track record with the contractor trade is a good indicator of how well an insurer will handle your claim if you ever need to file one. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask, and be specific.
- Find out if the company has claims representatives who know your business—If you do have an accident, it’s nice to find a company that has dedicated commercial auto claims representatives, not general reps who work for a third party. Specialized claims reps will help you get back on the road quicker, which is a big deal. In your business, time can often mean money.
- Check for dedicated repair shops—Similar to specialized claims representatives, finding an insurer with a strong network of shops or service centers is important. In addition to speeding up the repair of your vehicles, many of these shops will offer guarantees on their work for long periods of time, sometimes even for the life of your vehicle. This offers you peace of mind when you depend on your truck day in and day out.
- See if the coverage fits your needs—Insurance isn’t one size fits all. Ask about the things you and your business need and make sure you fully understand what is covered. If your truck or van is paramount to getting supplies to your clients, be certain your insurer offers rental vehicle coverage. This coverage provides you with a temporary vehicle when yours is out of service. If you have permanently-attached equipment, like ladder racks or other large equipment, ask whether replacement coverage is covered in your policy or requires an extra rider.
- Ask if they’re available 24/7—Chances are you don’t work a typical nine-to-five schedule, so look for an insurer who can work around your timeline. You never know when you’ll need your insurance company to be there for you. 24/7 doesn’t just apply to call centers and claims representatives—check for 24/7 roadside assistance. That way you’re covered if you need things like battery jump starts, tire changes, locksmith services, fuel delivery or general labor in the field.
- Compare value—Value doesn’t always mean price. Make side-by-side comparisons and see who is giving you the most for your money. Consider the reputation of the carrier, as well as other factors like customizing coverage, customer service and special offers. Once you are comfortable with what your insurer is covering, ask about discounts.
- Look at the discounts—After you have compared the value of what you are getting, check the discounts for which you are eligible. It’s important to talk discounts with your insurer because you may be eligible for additional money saving opportunities. For example, some carriers offer a discount just for having a commercial driver’s license or based on the number of years you’ve been in business. Additionally, many insurance companies provide additional savings for customers who pay their pickup truck insurance bills electronically or pay their policy in full.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help—If you find the process is getting overwhelming, or you aren’t sure about something, ask an expert. Independent agents are there to provide you with insurance advice. They can offer multiple coverage options, prices and service levels because they represent a variety of companies. Your coverage requirements could include a combination of auto, cargo, general liability, workers’ compensation or an umbrella policy, and they can put together a customized package specific to your needs. A knowledgeable representative can help guide you through the process to help you find the right coverage for your business.