Commercial truck insurance for new drivers is often just as expensive as someone with a bad driving record because you’re considered a “high risk.” High risk insurance may be more difficult and expensive to obtain, but it’s possible.
What Is ‘High Risk’ Insurance?
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As you may have guessed, high risk insurance is a category that insurance companies put on certain drivers or companies. If you’re in this category, you should learn more about this type of insurance and how to avoid working only with high risk commercial truck insurance companies.
What Puts a Trucker into the High Risk Insurance Category?
Many truckers may be considered high risk drivers, but you’ll find that the classification isn’t the same across all insurers. Some insurance companies will consider you a high risk, while others will not.
The four main reasons for truckers or businesses to be added to the high risk category include:
1. You’re a Risky Driver
First, the issue may be your driving record. If you’re a business and have a high risk rating, you need to consider two things:
- Who is driving your truck?
- Do you have a poor driving record?
Insurers have a tendency to put the following into the high-risk classification, causing you to pay more money in premiums:
- The driver is under 25 years old
- The driver has 2 years or less of CDL experience
- Bad motor vehicle reports
- Recent DUI charge
- Serious driver violations
Any driver that has a serious driving violation may be considered high risk. For example, if the driver has a reckless driving ticket in the past three years or has many past violations, they may fall into the high risk category.
2. Your Cargo is Considered Risky
Sometimes, the driver isn’t the reason for high risk insurance. Instead, there are times when the cargo being hauled is considered high risk. For example, if you haul any of the following items, you may be paying for high risk insurance:
- Hazardous materials
- Nuclear waste
Additionally, if the cargo isn’t hazardous but has a very high value, the risk to the insurer is higher and will need to be made up in insurance premiums. If cargo is the main reason for your high risk classification, you’ll want to shop around and find an insurer that deals with insuring truckers or companies hauling similar cargo.
Often, insurers do not specialize in commodities, such as explosives, so they misinterpret the true risk of hauling these goods.
3. You or Your Operation’s Safety Record is Poor
Safety records are such a hot topic of discussion in the trucking industry because it helps trucking companies keep their costs down. Insurers will examine your safety record and classify you as a high risk operator or operation if your safety record isn’t stellar.
In fact, the FMCSA keeps detailed records of every inspection that they make.
Insurance companies can openly access this information when providing you with a quote. A few of the reasons that may lead to a poor safety record include:
- Safety measurement system ratings, which fall to “conditional DOT rating” or “unsatisfactory safety rating”
- Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) records are “bad”
- Multiple out of service violations, which can be due to vehicles, drivers or hazmat violations
If there are multiple crashes and accidents deemed to be the fault of company drivers or there’s a long list of loss records, you’ll be a high risk driver or company that must pay higher premiums.
4. You’re a New Trucking Company
Unfortunately, truck insurance markets punish new trucking companies with high risk insurance. Your business doesn’t have a history of driving, so there’s no way of determining if you’re a high risk or not.
Quantifying risk is how insurers provide high risk insurance quotes.
You may be able to avoid high risk business insurance if:
- You have a long history of safe driving
- Take strict safety measures
- Meet other criteria
If one insurer gives you high risk insurance quotes, another may not. Shop around and see if one of the insurers competitors may offer you a non-high-risk quote to save you money.
Insurers suspect that if you’re a high risk driver, they may need to pay a claim in the future. Reducing these risks is an uphill battle, but if you start improving your safety record and driving history, you’ll be on the right path to getting insurance.
Ways for Trucking Companies to Remove High Risk Insurance
If you run a trucking fleet, you may have high risk insurance and not fully understand why. Some insurers will work with you to pinpoint why you’re being classified as a high risk and remedy the issue.
Owner-operators often do not have this same luxury because their record is often the deciding factor in the classification.
However, for trucking companies, you may need to:
- Review all driving records
- Fire drivers with bad records that are driving up costs
- Create new hiring and qualification requirements to bring on low-risk drivers
- Monitor and train drivers to ensure they’re following safety standards
Owner-operators and businesses alike can also run risk mitigation on their own to find weaknesses that may be putting them at higher risk. For example, if drivers are the main issue, undergoing additional driver and safety training may be beneficial.
Additionally, you can work on completing a DOT compliance program and even running your own DOT mock audits.
How to Know If You’re a High Risk Driver or Fleet?
If you’re considered a high risk, you may not even know it until one of the following occurs:
- Your insurer drops you
- You cannot find insurance
- Insurers are sending you renewals, but not trucking insurers
Insurance companies may decide to place you into a high risk category at any time due to poor safety scores. There are also times when trucking fleets will lose their insurance because they have multiple out-of-service violations.
Smaller trucking fleets are at a greater disadvantage here and are scrutinized more than their larger counterparts.
You don’t have many chances to show that you maintain top-tier safety ratings. Smaller fleets have fewer inspections per year, and you’ll have to wait a long time for your safety ratings to reach acceptable levels as a result.
In the meantime, you’ll find insurers willing to take on the risk you present, even if it does come at a higher premium than you would have otherwise paid.
3 High Risk Insurance Companies Willing to Insure
If you’re a high risk driver who wants to continue their operations, you’ll find a few companies willing to take the risk on you. The top insurance companies to reach out to for a quote are:
- Progressive is known for offering online quotes and is considered the best overall insurer for high risk drivers.
- The Hartford is the top choice for fleets that have high risk drivers or poor safety records and need insurance.
- GEICO is another option and is known for having one of the best customer service experiences in the industry.
If none of these insurance companies will offer you insurance, you may have better luck online, where quite a few insurers are willing to take a chance on high risk companies.
High risk insurance quotes should be eye-opening and make you realize that there’s something wrong with your operation that is causing the high risk rating. While you may not be able to fix all concerns, such as hauling hazardous goods, you ought to do everything in your power to remove the high risk insurance rating and save money.