Three Tips On How To Evaluate Your Insurance
By Bill Caudill, Commercial Auto Product Manager At Progressive
Insurance is an integral part of your business and knowing the facts is the first step in making the most informed decision. Whether you’re working with an independent agent or doing the shopping yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind during the process:
Claims service is probably the most important thing to ask about when you shop. It’s the tangible product you get when you buy insurance – the service you receive when the unexpected happens.
•Find out if they have claims reps who know your business. If you do have an accident, it’s important to find a company that has dedicated commercial auto claims representatives, not general reps who work for a third-party. Specialized claims reps will help get you back on the road quicker—and in your business, time is money.
•Check if they have dedicated repair shops. Similar to specialized claims representatives, finding an insurer with a network of shops is important. In addition to speeding up the repair of your vehicles, many of these shops will offer guarantees on their work for long periods of time. That offers you peace of mind when you pick your truck up and put it back in commission.
You likely pride yourself on a high-level of service, and you should expect the same from your insurer.
•Look for experience. Ask around and do your research to see if the insurer has a history of handling trucking claims. A proven track record with your trade is a good indicator of how well an insurer will handle your claim if you ever need to file one. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask about their experience – think of it like an interview where you are the employer and they are the employee.
•Ask if they’re available 24/7. Chances are you don’t work a typical 9-5 schedule, so look for an insurer that can work around your timeline. You never know when you’ll need your insurance company to be there for you. Find a company that works around your schedule, not vice-versa. And 24/7 doesn’t just apply to call centers and claims representatives – check if your insurer has coverages like Rental Reimbursement with Downtime, which will compensate you for lost time and help find you a replacement vehicle while your rig is being fixed.
•Don’t hesitate to get help. If you are unsure of the process or aren’t sure about coverage selection, ask an expert. Just like when you go to a doctor for medical advice, independent agents are there to provide you with insurance advice. Independent agents offer multiple coverage packages, prices and service levels because they represent a variety of companies. Agents help guide you through the process to help you find the right coverage for your business.
Pricing is an important factor in any purchasing decision. You want to make sure you’re getting everything you need at the right cost.
•Compare value. Value doesn’t always mean price. Make side-by-side comparisons and see who’s giving you the most for your money. Consider other factors like bundling packages, customer service and special offers. Then, once you’re comfortable with what your insurer is covering, ask about discounts.
•Look at the discounts. After you’ve taken the time to compare the value of what you’re getting, check what discounts you’re eligible to receive. There are many kinds of discounts, including discounts for having at least three years of business experience, paying your policy in full and having a valid commercial driver’s license. You might even be able to get a discount for something as simple as showing proof of prior insurance coverage. Ask your insurer or independent agent plenty of questions to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.
Bill Caudill, commercial auto product manager at Progressive. Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance and the #1 truck insurer. For more information on Progressive’s coverages or to find a local independent agent, go to http://www.progressivecommercial.com.