While most trucking company owners and operators prefer not to think about it, getting in a destructive incident on the road is highly likely to be a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. Transportation comes with a significant amount of risk that is only increasing over time, and it pays to have the education and training for you and your employees when the day finally comes.
An often overlooked part of that training is how and when to file a claim once the truck has been involved in an accident. Many employees or owner-operators are hesitant to file a claim once their vehicle has experienced an incident because they either don’t believe the damage is severe enough to stop normal operations and can wait or they are worried about their premiums increasing.
Unfortunately, delaying or withholding the incident report is a significant mistake according to the IAT Insurance Group. “One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not promptly filing a claim with your insurance company after an incident or loss…In many cases though, this strategy backfires. The policyholder will try to handle the accident or loss themselves, only to have to report it later after issues arise that cause increased expenses. Delays in reporting could potentially jeopardize your coverage and lead to a much bigger payout on the part of the owner. Even if you think the incident is too trivial to handle through your insurer, you should still file a claim.”
Delaying the filing of your claim is a surefire way to ensure that the insignificant incident quickly spirals into something much bigger and more expensive for you and your company. For example, a minor accident that you initially believed caused minimal damage might get far worse over time, to the point that your truck is essentially crippled. Once that snowball effect is too big to ignore, you’re likely to see a lengthy investigation from your insurer and a much lower payout that leaves you on the hook for an enormous repair bill or a complete vehicle replacement.
Educating yourself and your employees about the importance of filing a claim for any incident big or small and how to submit those reports is essential in protecting your company and property. “While independent truck drivers only have to worry about their own insurance, mid- to large-sized commercial trucking companies must manage dozens to hundreds of drivers,” continues IAT. “When employees don’t report losses, your company may be losing on unrecovered claims – or, even worse, be hit with an unexpected lawsuit.
Education is critical to ensure all employees comply with your company’s claim reporting process. You should train employees to report all accidents or potential claims to their manager as soon as possible. Training should be conducted during each new hire orientation, with frequent refreshers during company safety meetings.”
The difficulty of this process will depend on the quality of the insurer – an effective broker that is willing to go the extra mile for your company can help keep track of each policy and help employees through the claims submission process. Insurers like S.W.A.N. Insurance can also help create and implement effective risk management procedures and plans in addition to helping you navigate through the insurance policy minefields to select the most comprehensive coverage for you and your fleet of vehicles.
With the right training and education (plus a little help from your insurance broker), your employees can help mitigate the large level of risk your company faces once it hits the road. If you’re in commercial trucking and operate in the San Diego area and would like to know more about the kind of coverage you need to be both compliant and fully protected, contact S.W.A.N. Insurance.