Understanding Trailer Interchange & Non-owned Trailer Coverage

It is common in the trucking industry for truckers to use trailers belonging to others in their business. All of our coverage forms extend liability coverage to non-owned trailers while attached to a covered auto. However, in many instances truckers are responsible for any physical damage that may occur to the non-owned trailer while it’s in their possession as well. Physical damage for non-owned trailers is not inherently including in your liability policy- it must be added to your policy separately.

There are simple additions we can make to your policy to cover non-owned trailer physical damage.

*Trailer Interchange- Trailer interchange is the most common with the UIIA (Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement). Trailer interchange does extend to liabilities an insured may incur for damages to a trailer while it is in his possession, and does not require that the trailer be attached at the time of loss. It also includes “containers” under the definition of trailers, so it is used most often for intermodal operations where the equipment includes both a trailer chassis and container. Trailer interchange does require a “written trailer or equipment interchange agreement” be in place at the time of loss, so it may not extend to all situations when a trucker has a non-owned trailer in his possession.

*Non-owned trailer Physical Damage- This coverage extends over a covered auto and “any non-owned trailer while attached to the covered (or scheduled) power unit”, and usually lists a limit of maximum physical damage coverage amount for the non-owned trailer. The advantage of this coverage is no written agreement must be in place. It is important to understand that the non-owned trailer must be attached to a covered power unit at time of loss for non-owned trailer physical damage to apply.

If you have any questions about pulling non-owned trailers or otherwise, feel free to call us at Network Truck Insurance Services and we will be happy to assist you in making sure your insurance policy fits your needs!

Reporting Claims – How to properly get the most out of your insurance policy

BAM! It’s a noise no trucker wants to hear while driving their commercial vehicle, but unfortunately accidents do happen. Practicing safe driving habits can help avoid many accidents; however, it is equally important to understand how to properly report a claim. Quick and thorough claim reports will help you get the most out of your insurance policy, as well as help you get back on the road.

Claim reporting- Do’s and Don’ts

Do…

*Collect as much information as possible. This will help your insurance company determine fault, and ensure that fastest claim resolution. Obtain information from other drivers and passengers, and make note of any potential witnesses and their contact information.

*Take photos. Pictures taken of damage, vehicle and property alike will help your insurance adjusters have a better understanding of your case. Take photos of the accident scene, any road markers, and other identifying information such as license plates and insurance cards.  If you do not have a smart phone, keep a disposable camera in your glove box.

*Contact the police. While police may not come out to every accident scene, it is important to notify the authorities just in case- even if the accident seems minor.

Don’t…

*Delay reporting your claim to your insurance company. Report your claim as soon as possible. Many insurance companies want to be notified within 24 hours of the accident.

*Admit fault. Never admit fault for an accident, even if you believe it so. Without a complete understanding of events, you don’t know whose fault the accident is. It’s possible the other driver was drinking or using a cellular device. Do not admit fault to the police or other drivers.

As always, make sure to have a complete understanding of your insurance policy. Every truck policy is different, and understanding the limits of your insurance policy will help you get the most out of it- especially in a claims situation. If you are unsure about your limits, or need assistance understanding your policy you are welcome to give us a call at Network Truck Insurance Services and we’ll be happy to help. Our goal is to keep your business covered!

What’s the difference between an insurance broker vs. insurance company?

An insurance broker that specializes in commercial transportation has many benefits for you that a normal auto insurance broker may not even be aware of.  Many insurance companies  have programs designed to work with a specific type of insured and often offer additional discounts. For example, Network Truck Insurance Services, Inc.  is part of the Progressive Sand & Gravel Program which offers exclusive rates and extra benefits specifically geared to sand & gravel haulers. Our agents are trained to know these specialized markets and how to utilize them to the full benefit of the our clients. Additionally; our customer service team can quickly issue certificates, endorsements and answer questions throughout the day. When you call our office during regular business hours you will always reach a human being not an automated system!

How to ensure the best trucking insurance rate

Getting the best rate for your commercial transportation insurance can be a time consuming and daunting task. While the quality and personalization of your policy is important, achieving the best possible rate is equally essential. The insurance industry is becoming more and more competitive, which gives the consumer a bit of leverage when choosing a policy. At Network Truck Insurance Services, Inc, our skilled agents work diligently to find the best possible quotes. While partnering with an agency helps you get the best rate achievable, these easy-to-follow tips will also help you get the lowest rate on your commercial insurance premium.

Ensure Truck Safety

While searching for commercial transportation insurance, be sure to keep safety in mind at all times. Be sure to keep the truck, its mechanics and tires in good condition. A well maintained truck can translate into lower truck insurance premiums. Also, be sure to know what the Department of Transportation inspection entails to be sure that your vehicle will pass.

Maintain a Clean Driving Record

It is best to keep a clean driving record before embarking on a new commercial insurance policy. You and your drivers’ record will affect your insurance premiums. Insurance companies will consider how many years you have been driving, commercial driving training and general ability to drive safely.

Check Credentials

Get your commercial transportation insurance from a leading insurance provider. Network Truck Insurance Services, Inc works closely with leading insurance companies such as Progressive, Lloyd’s, Great American Insurance Group, and CCIC among many others.

Do Not Compromise on Coverage

Going with a lower insurance premium is not always the most viable option if your coverage is compromised in any way. Always consider the terms, conditions and extent of coverage. A skilled agent will be able to ensure proper coverage for your business.

A quick lesson on cargo coverage

When our clients receive their annual cargo policy, it generally gets safely filed away completely unread. After all, thumbing through hundreds of pages of insurance verbiage isn’t exactly the most enthralling task as a business owner. Clients more often prefer to trust their agents to choose the correct cargo policy to meet their trucking business needs. And while our expert agents strive to provide the most complete coverage, clients should have an understanding that each cargo policy is often drastically different from the next. Being familiar with policy exclusions can be extremely helpful for the policy owner, as needs and operations may change throughout the life of their policy.

Each insurance company reserves the right to create their own version of a cargo policy. Each policy contains its own general set of unique exclusions and enhancements that should always be taken into account when choosing a policy to suit your trucking business. For example, commonly excluded or items in cargo insurance policies include: alcohol, tobacco, silk, jewelry, electronics, seafood, eggs, frozen foods, and flowers. Cargo policies also often exclude losses arising from particular situations, such as mechanical breakdown of a refrigeration unit, rust, or wetness. And often, there are exclusions for certain niche cargo such as autos, boats, yachts, used household goods, motor homes and livestock.

Other common differences in cargo coverage includes a co-insurance clause, (a penalization for under-valuing cargo), no coverage for newly acquired or substitution vehicles and no cargo coverage if the cargo is loaded on a trailer that is not attached to an insured vehicle at the time of loss.

Our clients should also consider additional expenses that some insurance companies will provide, above and beyond the general loss of cargo. Some examples include pollutant clean-up, payments to help reduce the loss, expenses for freight re-loading, debris clean-up, and earned freight reimbursement (reimbursement for the miles you would have invoiced from the point of pick up to the point of loss, that your client will most likely not be paying for.)

With so much information and individual considerations, our agents work tirelessly to ensure proper coverage for our clients. However, client education is equally important.

Should any questions arise; review  your policy and limits, and then feel free to call our office for a no obligation quote at 1-800-266-8789, and our agents and customer service team will be happy to help you.

Becoming familiar with your insurance policy & avoiding unwanted claims

Here at Network Truck Insurance Services, we want to keep our clients informed and comfortable that they are being taken care of while on the road. And while we do our very best to keep our family of customers safe, it is also the insured responsibility to become familiar with the exclusions and business purpose of their insurance policy.

First, our clients should be familiar with the jobs they intend on taking on that may have special insurance requirements. Some brokers require higher limits of liability than others, some may require General Liability, or some may require special commodities or trailer coverage. Strong communication between our clients, their agents and customer service team will help ensure that our clients are properly covered under any situation.

Not only should our clients be aware of insurance limit requirements when they take on new brokers- but also be aware of the commodities that they are taking and any exclusions that may be on their policy. For instance, shrimp and shellfish are very commonly excluded commodities. If a client were to be unaware of this fact and accept a $90,000 load of frozen shrimp, experience a reefer breakdown mid-trip and lose the load- as an excluded commodity this claim may not be paid. This would leave our clients in a hard spot without proper coverage.

If a customer intends to act as a broker or sub haul loads, this work also requires special insurance coverage. All too often we hear of truckers acting outside of their policy limits and causing great financial strife when they find the work they’ve been doing wasn’t actually covered. Remember- if the job description changed, your insurance requirements may have as well.

If ever you have a question about your policy limits or work needs, our agents and customer service team are standing by to keep you safe and covered on the road.

Why you might need a general liability insurance policy

At Network Truck Insurance Services, we are frequently asked why some brokers require General Liability insurance and what it covers. Often, we find that there is confusion between Auto Liability and General Liability. In short, Auto Liability covers liable actions while the insured vehicle is in motion. General Liability, however, covers liable actions outside of the vehicle. We’ll take a moment to give the ins-and-outs of this increasingly sought after coverage- and hopefully lay some of these questions to rest.

If you are business is for-hire, or motor carrier, changes are you will need Trucker’s General Liability. Some examples of what this line of coverage protects against-

*Customers slipping/falling on premises

*Actions of driver while representing the insured on the premises of others, such as loading docks, truck stops, ect.

*Erroneous delivery of products resulting in damage

When you purchase a General Liability policy, it would also provide the following coverage-

*Personal Injury and Advertising Injury Liability

*Medical payments

*Products/Completed Operations

Personal or Advertising Injury covers injury to a person or entity that is not physical in nature, but has been the result of negligence on your part. For example: using another company’s logo in your advertising without permission.

General Liability Medical Payments cover physical injuries to people that are not typically on your premises, but may become injured while on your property. For instance, if a customer is on your property and falls in the parking lot, General Liability may provide coverage for this instance.

Products/Completed Operations covers bodily injury or property damage that happened as a direct result of delivering someone else’s goods. For example: You are delivering colored pellets, and you deliver the pellets to the wrong bin. That bin is then run through the machine with the incorrect color pellets and destroys that batch of product.

If you have any further questions you’d like answered, or would like a quote to add this coverage to an existing line of coverage we are always here to help. We have agents waiting to offer you a quote and a service team happy to answer any questions!

Green Machine: Technology for Truckers

High fuel consumption is one of the commercial transportation industry’s largest concerns, both for the high cost and emissions impact on our environment. We all rely on our truckers to provide our nation with the goods it needs to function, and because of this the environmental impact has been overshadowed. Recently, there has been an increased focus on this growing issue, including The Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program launched in 2004. This program was designed to offer some solutions our truckers can utilize to decrease their own carbon footprint. Though the implication of many green technologies has been slow, our truckers and trucking companies are continually moving in the right direction as they see the long term benefits for our environment and their wallet. Here are a few technologies our truckers can take advantage of now to help reduce their fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as reduce cost spent on fuel.

Predictive Cruise Control

Larger trucking companies often employ some variation of a speed governor that limits high speeds on the road. This tactic improves fuel economy by regulating a truck’s speed to about 65mph. Cruise control helps in a similar manner, allowing our truckers to maintain a chosen speed. However, Predictive Cruise Control (PCC) takes this technology a little further by utilizing a GPS system that regulates a truck’s speed for maximum fuel capacity based on upcoming terrain changes. Although many of our more experienced truckers already use this tactic manually, Predictive Cruise Control makes this effortless. This technology is fairly new, but experts are hopeful for its promised fuel consumption reduction.

Low Rolling Resistance Tires

You’ve probably already witnessed this technology whether you realize it or not. Many of the electric of hybrid cars of today utilize low rolling resistance tires. They use less energy as they roll, and thus, consume less fuel. According to the US Department of Energy, “5-15 percent of light-duty fuel consumption is used to overcome rolling resistance for passenger cars. For commercial trucks, this quantity can be as high as 15-30 percent.” Additionally, they are not significantly more expensive than traditional tires, especially when you consider the potential cost and emission benefit.

Aerodynamic Fairings

These relatively low-cost modifications to the body of the trailer improve aerodynamics so that there is less drag, which in turn means less fuel is consumed. Our California truckers are probably already aware of the necessity of this technology. Testing proves these to have a good enough reduction of fuel consumption that costs to outfit a commercial vehicle with them will be recuperated quickly.

GPS

All of our truckers have gotten lost once or twice. Not only is this frustrating, it may also create an unnecessary consumption of fuel. Having a good commercial driving GPS on board can save a lot of headaches and potential miles. Commercial GPS systems are a little more advanced than your consumer GPS systems- providing routes specifically for commercial drivers and accounting for obstacles such as road clearances and limits. Spending extra time finding your way can cost both the environment and your pocketbook.

Do You Need Workers Compensation?

Truck drivers face special risks in the work they perform, and workers compensation insurance for commercial transportation is designed to protect employees in the case of accidents or injuries they may suffer on the job. Workers compensation is mandated for employers and is designed to provide coverage for the loss of wages, medical expenses, disability, and in the case of death benefits for the employee’s beneficiary. If you employ drivers in your business, you are required to carry this coverage.

Commercial transportation drivers carry specific requirements related to workers compensation. For example, many truckers are regarded as independent contractors which differ from the needs of those classified as employees. Truck drivers often enjoy their freedom as an independent contractor and employers are required to provide appropriate workers compensation coverage for them, even though independent contractors can generally be excluded from normal compensation insurance programs.

There are commercial transportation workers compensation programs that are available in these situations that vary in the benefits they provide. Examples of these benefits include accidental death, total disability, and accidental dismemberment. They may also include specialized benefits for the trucking industry such as chiropractic, hernia and hemorrhoid benefits. It is important that you carry the appropriate coverage for your small business to keep you and your drivers protected. At Network Truck Insurance Services, we provide many options and programs to keep you safe. Call today for a free quote or contact your current agent to find out which workers compensation policy is right for you.

Actual Cash Value (ACV) vs. Stated Amount

Insurance policies can be a difficult to read and understand; especially if the client isn’t familiar with industry terms and aren’t fully educated on your policy prior to purchase. At Network Truck Insurance Services, our agents work tirelessly to ensure our clients understand their trucker insurance policy and their coverage. However, one area we commonly clarify is the basis in which the physical damage policy is written: Actual Cash Value or Stated Amount.

Actual Cash Value and Stated Amount are terms that refer to the method used to value a particular piece of equipment. Each system is very different, and important to understand in the event of a claim.

Actual Cash Value: This is a method of valuing equipment that many insurance companies offer to their fleet clients (clients operating 10 or more power units). At policy inception clients are required to provide a current equipment schedule that includes the general estimated value of their equipment. However, this is not the value relied upon in the event of a claim. Instead, in the event of physical damage to a truck or trailer, the adjuster will go into the marketplace and determine the value of the equipment on the date of loss. Should there be a total loss; the amount the equipment is worth on the day of the accident minus the applicable deductible will be paid. The benefit of this type of valuation on a physical damage policy is that there is no limit to the value of the equipment. It is simply worth what it is worth, no more and no less.

Stated Amount: This method of equipment valuation puts the responsibility of the reported value on the owner. The general premium of this policy is adjusted according to value of the truck or trailer. In the case of an accident, the adjuster will go into the marketplace and determine the value of the equipment on the date of loss. This is where stated amount comes into play. If the vehicle was stated to be valued at $10,000 by the owner, and upon an accident the adjuster finds the vehicle to be worth $20,000, only the stated $10,000 may be paid out. Likewise, if the equipment is overvalued, only the current value on the date of loss may be paid. It is important to maintain current values on all equipment with this type of policy, both to avoid over paying premium or incurring a financial loss should the vehicle or trailer be under insured.

Wondering if your physical damage policy is Actual Cash Value or Stated Value? Give us a call at 800-266-8789 and our expert agents or dedicated customer service team will answer your questions.