Put an insurance agent on your team

Many owner-operators, whether leased or independent, rely upon a dedicated truck insurance agent. An agent who knows the trucking industry and your business plan can help assure you’re always covered and can make your premiums. In times like these, with liability insurance costs steadily rising, an agent's ability to shop coverage among multiple insurers, too, could result in significant savings.

If you don't have an agent, shopping around for insurance can be a bear of a proposition. There are some rules of thumb to apply, however. Search any potential insurance provider's name for free at the A.M. Best website, which rates insurers according to financial viability. Sticking with A-rated insurers is the best policy because they offer better coverage and faster turnarounds on claims.

The chief question to ask of an insurer is how quickly it can get you back on the road in the event of a physical claim. Other questions include:

  • Does the policy cover a truck rental while your rig is in the shop?
  • How quickly can you reach the company in case of emergency? This isn’t just a convenience for the policyholder; good insurers and agents, too, want to be notified as quickly as possible in case of an accident.
  • Does it have a 24-hour claims hotline number?
  • Can you reach your personal agent quickly, perhaps through a cell phone number?

Don’t call your agent only in an emergency, though.

Even owners with 2 million safe miles need to check in with their agents regularly. Let your agent know when anything changes -- new equipment, new routes or a new driving partner. Call whenever you’re considering hauling something unusual, such as a reefer load if you’re typically a dry van hauler.

[Related: Insurance premium refunds: Know your rights]

Find more information about insurance-related matters, among a myriad other topics, in the Overdrive/ATBS-coproduced "Partners in Business" manual for new and established owner-operators, a comprehensive guide to running a small trucking business. Click here to download the newly updated 2022 edition of the Partners in Business manual free of charge.