There’s one thing that everyone in the trucking business is taking note of right now: rising insurance rates. As we enter a new decade, the steep increases are just getting steeper—while rates around 2011 averaged $6k to $7k, they are double that now, according to NUPropertyCasualty360.
And there’s not much that trucking companies and owner-operators can do about these base rates; they’re being driven up because today’s trucks contain more high tech than any trucks that came before them, according to a professional truck accident lawyer in Phoenix (https://www.azlegalfirm.com/work-accidents.html).
And it’s high-tech stuff that you can’t opt-out of because it’s nearly all safety-oriented. However, there are other things that can cause your premium to go up—and you do have the ability to affect those.
For example, did you know that being in an accident could cause your rates to rise? We’ll explain, and give you some tips for keeping your rates low.
What are the Total Costs of an Accident in a Commercial Truck?
The first things that come to mind when you’re considering the costs of a commercial trucking accident are usually the immediately perceivable costs. For example, any necessary repairs the vehicle needs, towing that might be required, and so forth.
But an accident can cost you much more than these easily quantifiable fees. Here are some of the direct and indirect costs associated with accidents in a commercial vehicle, as spelled out by OwnerOperatorDirect.com:
What Direct Costs Can I Expect After an Accident?
- Repair costs for vehicles
- Towing fees
- Medical expenses (current and future)
What Indirect Costs Can I Expect After an Accident?
- Traffic fines and other financial penalties as defined by the Department of Transportation
- Accident investigation costs and legal fees. The information that might be required to ensure that you don’t end up paying more than you should isn’t going to come easy, and you’ll have to hire investigators and lawyers on your behalf.
- Insurance premium costs. Yes, you’ll find that most accidents will cause your already high premiums to go up even further. Worse, you might find it difficult to even find an insurer that will cover you at any
Keeping Your Insurance Premium as Low as Possible
The best thing you can do to keep your insurance premiums low is, of course, to avoid accidents whenever possible. While that seems obvious, you might be surprised that many of the accidents people have were actually quite preventable. Distracted driving is a serious issue—it’s surpassed drunk driving as a cause of accidents, according to Automotive-Fleet.com.
There are some things you can do to minimize preventable accidents, including:
- Safety training
- Speed limiters
- Incentivize safe driving
- Don’t skimp on safety features—they might cost more now, but they’ll save you much more in the long run
- Make sure your vehicles are always running smoothly; if you’re a big operation, it may be worth having an on-site mechanic. If not, you still need to have regular inspections.
Do Insurance Premiums Always Go Up After an Accident?
Did you know that getting into an accident doesn’t necessarily mean that your rates are going to go up? Obviously, you need to be prepared for the possibility that they will, but you might be pleasantly surprised. There are a number of factors taken into consideration when determining whether or not your rates will go up:
- How severe was the accident? This will affect whether your rate goes up and if it does, by how much.
- What is the driving history of the vehicle operator? If you’ve been an angel in terms of avoiding accidents in the past, you might find your rates don’t suffer as much as you feared.
- Who’s at fault for the accident? While your rates could increase even if you’re not at fault, this is an important factor that insurance companies consider, so you’re best served by hiring a great investigator to prove that you weren’t to blame.
- Does your policy have an accident forgiveness clause? Many do these days, and if you’ve kept your record clean before now, you might get very lucky!
Should I Report Minor Accidents, Even if My Rate Might Go Up?
YES! This is a really important issue—some drivers think it’s better to let minor accidents go without reporting them, in order to keep their rates down, but this is a bad idea.
Why? Because if the other party does decide to come after you, your insurance company won’t be well-prepared to defend you, and that means your rates are going to suffer more than they need to. Forewarned is forearmed, especially in the case of insurance claims!
Yes, an accident could cause your commercial vehicle insurance premiums to go up. That’s why it’s so important to take measures to avoid preventable accidents. If you do find yourself in even a minor accident, it’s in your best interest to let the insurance company know.