The Right Way to Buy PA Commercial Truck Insurance
The process is the same every year for PA owner operators. Each year when it's time to renew your policy, you sit down with your agent, go over a few details, determine if the policy you have meets your needs, and then issue a check for the premium. If this process sounds familiar, then chances are good that you are missing a critical step in the process by not doing your homework to ensure that you're getting the right PA commercial truck insurance policy at the right price.
The world of the trucker allows very little time to spare; time is a commodity that truckers have very little of. However, taking less than 10 minutes to review a few points about buying truck insurance can save your PA trucking business money and eliminate hours of needed research time. Let's run through the basics that all trucking companies should think about before signing on the dotted line and renewing your policy:
Are You with the Right Trucking Insurance Company?
The companies that insure trucks, drivers, carries, and other related folks in the trucking business are not created equally. Some insurance companies sell PA commercial truck insurance via independent agents, while some sell as a secondary coverage types. Many companies offer specialized insurance for truckers and trucking companies and offer policies that are specific to the motor carrier industry, including owner operators, operators with temperature-controlled equipment, and fleets. Others may sell to thousands of different small customers, while some have just a few really large companies on their books.
No matter which insurance company you choose, make sure that it is a company that specializes specifically in PA commercial truck insurance. Non-specialized companies oftentimes overlook the details that are very important to your particular needs. For instance, a non-specialized company may not understand the need for owner operators to get a coverage upgrade temporarily for backhauling commodities that are not normally part of their traditional freight. A specialized company knows whether to ask the owner operator if the coverage is needed and can also make a recommendation for the policy that would fit that particular need.
Moreover, a non-specialized company may not know as much as is necessary about the U.S. Department of Transportation's - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration MCS-90 endorsement (Freight:- $750,000 - $5,000,000, depending on commodities transported; $300,000 for non-hazardous freight moved only in vehicles weighing under 10,001 lbs.) or the various filing requirements with state regulators when it comes to motor carriers.
Because you don't want to find yourself grounded at a weigh station with the lack of proper insurance on file, finding a PA commercial truck insurance company that specializes in the type of insurance you need is paramount to getting the coverage you need. Specialist agents are familiar with weight limitations, high and wide loads, and the various nuances that can affect your coverage.
Comparing PA Commercial Truck Insurance Agents and Companies
When you're looking for Pennsylvania trucking insurance, keep the following fundamentals in mind:
- Experience. Does the company have a long history of truck insurance specialization? How many years has the company been insuring owner operators or trucking companies?
- Financial stability. Is the company solid enough to withstand multiple large claims at once?
- Costs. How much does basic coverage cost? What are the expenses incurred for riders and add-ons to your coverage? Keep in mind that costs vary widely by commodity hauled, number of miles driven, region, and other factors, but the company should be able to be competitive with other companies when you are looking for coverage.
- Coverage. What are the damages and scenarios covered by the basic policy offered? Can the company tailor a policy to meet the needs you have?
- Value for the money. How much value does your business derive from the policy offered? Is the procedure for filing a claim expedient? Are the agents you work with accessible, helpful, and savvy when it comes to trucking insurance? Can they help you pass an audit from the DOT?
The Cost of Your PA Commercial Truck Insurance Policy
It's worth noting that just because a PA commercial truck insurance policy appears to cost less than other policies doesn't mean it's lower in overall cost when the terms, extent of your coverage and any other conditions factor in. If a price is substantially lower, you could be paying for less coverage, so you may end up regretting going with a lowball price - especially if you need to file a claim.
Insuring Under Your Own Authority
For owner operators and drivers operating under their own authority, there are certain types of PA commercial truck insurance required. You will definitely need, at minimum:
- Primary liability coverage that includes PIP and UIM coverage.
- Bodily injury coverage to pay for claims resulting from injury to others during accidents.
- Physical damage coverage for chains, tarps, and electronic equipment.
- Cargo coverage to ensure the contents of your trailer, machinery, and any type of accessories needed to secure your cargo.
You may also add on other types of PA commercial truck insurance coverage that are needed by you and your employees, if any. Some option coverage types include accident and health insurance, garage liability, general liability, and insurance coverage for any loads you haul when operating under the authority of someone else, provided the other company requires you to pay for coverage.
PA Commercial Truck Insurance Premiums
The cost of trucking insurance varies wide, ranging from as little as $2,500 to as much as $10,000 annually or more. The type of truck you drive, your age, the things you haul, and other factors go into determining these rates. Your driving record is a critical part of the equation when it comes to determining your rates. Work with a licensed and bonded agent with experience in writing trucking insurance policies to find the right level of coverage for your needs and a premium that is affordable under your budget.
Here are most of the major truck insurance companies: 1st Guard Corporation, Acadia Insurance, Ace Group, AIG, Arch Insurance Company, ARI, Amerisafe, Auto Owners Insurance Co, ATTICRRG, BBT Insurance Services, Berkshire Hathaway, Canal Insurance Company, Carolina Casualty Insurance Co, Chubb group of Insurance Cos, Century Insurance Group, CNA, Colony Insurance, Continental Western Group, Coverx Specialty, Eastern Atlantic Ins. Co, Essex Insurance Company, Fairmont Specialty, Farmers Truck Insurance Exchange, Fireman's Fund Insurance Co, Gateway Insurance Company, Grange Insurance, Great American Insurance Group, Great West Casualty CO, Hallmark Insurance Company, Hanover Insurance Group, Harco, The Hartford, Hudson Insurance Group, Infinity, Insurance House, Interstate Insurance Management, Johnson and Johnson, Lancer Insurance Company, Lexington Insurance, Maxum, Markel Insurance, Mercury Insurance Group, National American Ins Co, National Indemnity, National Interstate Insurance Co, Nat'l Truck Underwriting Mgrs., Northland Insurance, Ohio Casualty, One Beacon, OOIDA, PMA Insurance, Progressive, QBE, Republic Group, RLI, Sagamore Insurance Co, Seneca, Scottsdale Insurance Co, Sentry Insurance, Star Insurance Company, State National Insurance Co, Stratford Insurance Company, Sutter Insurance Company, Swett and Crawford, The Hartford, Tower Ins. Co. of New York, TransProtection Service Co, Transguard, Travelers, U.S. Specialty Insurance Co, Western World, Wilshire Insurance Company & Zurich.