Why Trucking Insurance Renewals Are Expected to Rise in 2020

Strong Tie Insurance January 31, 2020 Commercial Truck Insurance

Experts expect commercial trucking insurance prices to rise in 2020. Some truckers already started to feel the squeeze in 2019, but prices are expected to hike some more. Most insurance companies point to the increasing numbers of truck crashes and large settlements and judgments. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reported an uptick in truck-related deaths over the past few years.

While it might be easy to simply accept the rise of insurance premiums, the entire situation is a little more complicated.

Rising Trucking Insurance Renewals in 2020

Federal Laws and Massive Payouts

Currently, federal laws require trucking companies to cover drivers for a minimum of $750,000 per accident. On top of that, many shipper contracts require coverage of $1 million. Companies with more than five trucks in their fleets often purchase additional protection.

This status quo could potentially change. U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright from Pennsylvania is sponsoring a bill to raise the minimum liability coverage from $750,000 to $4.5 million. This 500 percent jump could shock the cost of insurance premiums. At the moment, H.R. 3781, the bill Cartwright is backing, hasn’t advanced since being introduced into the House subcommittee on Highway and Transit. 

Cartwright’s history as an attorney may be the embers that started his fire to change insurance numbers. Watchdog groups like the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust point to Cartwright’s record of suing trucking companies for proposing a bill that could help law firms get bigger payouts.

Cartwright isn’t the only lawyer who could stand to gain by the passing of this bill. Other attorneys are using a massive collection of data along with CSA scores, truck logs, and more to help convince juries to approve large payouts and favorable verdicts. 

The fear of high-dollar payouts has led to some rate increases over the last couple of years. There has also been a rise in the number of cases that are settled out of court or in mediation. To avoid the risk of trial, insurance companies are even offering higher settlement amounts than what they would have in the past. Even cases that might actually end in favor of the trucking company are being settled to avoid even the change that a jury will approve a high payout.

Since insurance companies are paying out more for their clients, prices are going to rise to make up for the difference, even if bills like H.R. 3781 never become law.

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Dangers of the Road

An increased number of traffic accidents involving commercial trucks is also contributing to the rise in trucking insurance costs. The number of people involved in large truck crashes rose about 12.5 percent from 2017 to 2018.

Anytime there are large numbers of accidents, attorneys are going to respond. Many personal injury lawyers are ready to take the case of someone involved in an accident. These attorneys aren’t hard to find, thanks to numerous billboards, radio and T.V. ads, and compelling websites. 

There is even evidence that some drivers might purposefully get involved in accidents with commercial trucks with the hopes of getting a massive payout. 

Distracted and impaired driving are some of the leading causes of collisions. The trucking industry has seen somewhat of a boom over the last few years, where the demand for deliveries overextends the number of available drivers.

Sadly, this has led to some companies being less than thorough in their hiring and training practices. That result has drivers on the road who may not fully understand the focus required to run their routes safely. Throw in the high pressure to make deliveries on time, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Steps to Help Alleviate the Cost of Commercial Trucking Insurance

Trucking companies might feel stuck having to pay higher premiums for factors that are outside of their control. There is some truth to this inkling as an increase in accidents and pressure from the federal government can result in higher insurance rates.

 

At the same time, trucking companies and owner-operators are not entirely helpless. There are some steps that truckers can use to help keep their trucking insurance costs down. 

Feel safer and more secure behind the wheel.

Get the Insurance Coverage that suits your need.

Get the right kind of insurance

Most states require a certain amount of liability insurance. While these state minimums might seem like the way to go, they hardly offer enough protection for your business.

At the same time, some insurance companies might try to sell bundled packages that include coverages you don’t need. Your company has unique needs and should have insurance that reflects your specific needs.

Getting the best price for your trucking insurance means finding the coverage that fits your company best.

Shop Around

Not all insurance companies are created equally. Different companies will offer varying prices on the same policies. Even if you’ve been with the same insurance company for years, it never hurts to shop around.

At a minimum, get a few quotes each year when your insurance policy renews. This is also a time to reevaluate your insurance needs to ensure you aren’t paying for policies you no longer need.

Negotiate

Getting the best possible rate means working with insurance companies. Believe it or not, commercial insurance providers have some flexibility with their plans. From adapting your deductible to changing policy terms, there might be options if you ask.

The first step is simply to ask your provider what opportunities exist. You can also tell them that you’re shopping around. They might be more willing to work with you if they know you’re shopping around.

Invest in Safety

Investing in safety is not just right for your employees; it can help your insurance prices. Put effort into safety training and safety audits. Teach your drivers to watch their blind spots, avoid distracted driving, etc.

You should also make sure that your trucks are well maintained. Quick inspections at regular intervals can reveal issues that could turn into significant problems down the road. Keep a regular service schedule.

Rising Rates Aren’t the End

Even though insurance rates are expected to rise, it doesn’t mean the end for your trucking company. Businesses are wise to adjust for inflating prices across the board, including commercial insurance policies.

To best prepare for the storm, take time to evaluate your needs, shop around, and discuss options with your insurance provider. If everyone does their part to keep things safe on the road, insurance rates should calm down or maintain.