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September 10, 2019

Five Ways to Bring Down Commercial Auto Insurance Costs

Are commercial auto insurance costs taking a bite out of your company’s budget? You’re not alone. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 4,889 fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2017. This is a 9 percent increase compared to the previous year and a 42 percent increase compared to 2009.

The annual accident rate for commercial fleets is approximately 20 percent, according to Automotive Fleet, and each resulting injury claim costs about $70,000, almost double the cost of the average workplace injury.

The repair costs for damaged trucks and other vehicles are also pricey. The result? Commercial auto insurance prices have been increasing.

It’s a tough situation, but there is a solution that benefits everyone. By decreasing the crash rate, you can keep your costs down while making the roads safer.

  1. Hire safe drivers. Safety starts with the hiring process. All new drivers should undergo a thorough screening process. Conduct background checks and call references. Check motor vehicle records and certification. Provide road tests and training.  
  2. Encourage safe driving. Your company’s culture has a significant impact on how your workers behave. Create a culture of safety with strong policies that are enforced and offer ongoing training and safety reminders. Make safety a priority.  
  3. Fight drowsy driving. Driver fatigue is a major problem for commercial drivers, contributing to 13 percent of crashes according to the FMCSA. Encourage drivers to get enough sleep and to watch out for the signs of drowsy driving. Drivers should not take medications that cause drowsiness, including over-the-counter cold medicines. If drivers suffer from sleep apnea, have them seek treatment to prevent drowsiness while driving. Follow hours of service regulations.
  4. Stop distracted driving. Multitasking on the road is a bad idea. Unfortunately, a study found that truck drivers were distracted by activities other than driving during 71 percent of large-truck crashes, according to the FMCSA. Smartphones represent an especially dangerous distraction. Drivers should not let their phones distract them behind the wheel. Make sure your safe driving policies address potential distractions such as smartphones.
  5. Embrace telematics. Modern telematics can improve safety. By tracking driver habits, telematics tools can identify dangerous actions before they result in a crash. If a crash occurs, telematics can provide important details regarding what happened, possibly clearing the driver from blame. Telematics can also streamline maintenance, routes and reporting, creating an easier experience for truck drivers and their fleet managers.  On this front, Heffernan partners with Our Safety Department (OSD) to deliver an automated software platform to trucking company clients. The OSD system automatically reports all telematics data to a central platform, including ELDS, dash cameras, critical events, and equipment maintenance.

Finally, be sure to partner with an insurance broker who knows your business, who can keep you on the cutting edge of risk management strategies. Need that kind of partner? Contact our Transportation Insurance Practice to learn more. 

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