Frequently Asked Questions
At TransInsurers we take pride in what we do for the trucking industry and what we do for you - the individual trucker. Our goal is to get you on the road and keep you there from an insurance perspective and to help educate you about your second biggest recurring expense after your fuel bill. When you become a client of TransInsurers, we obtain as much information as we can to ensure that get you the Right coverage at the right time for the best price.
The insurance profession is governed by various statutory (State Law), regulatory (Federal Law), and insurance company policies and procedures. While the following Frequently Asked Questions won't make you an insurance agent, it will serve to inform you about the typical things that probably can and will happen to you and your commercial policy. If you ever have any questions about your coverage or your policy, please don't hesitate to call your personal TransInsurers' agent.
Frequently Asked Questions
General: You may phone, email, fax, or mail your request to us for any change to your policy. We will quickly fax or email you the appropriate form. Simply fill out the form with the changes you are requesting and sign the form. You must sign the form; without your signature, we can not make any changes to your policy.
Adding a truck, trailer or increasing coverage: Your agent will take your request to add a truck, trailer, or increase coverage and get an estimate from your current insurance company for the addition. Once your agent receives a quote, he/she will contact you to discuss the quote. Your agent will give you two numbers regarding your quote: 1) the first number will be the annual premium amount and 2) the second number will be how much the prorated amount will be for the coverage, including any fees and taxes. When adding coverage (endorsements), i.e. additional truck, trailer, additional cargo, etc. to a policy, the additional premium is prorated so that the endorsement(s) ends on the anniversary date of your primary policy.
If you paid your policy in full or there are less than seven (7) months left on your policy, the only way to add coverage is to pay the prorated amount in full. If you financed your policy and have more than seven (7) months left on your policy, we can collect a down payment, taxes, and fees and add the amount to your financing agreement. This option, if available to you, will change your monthly payments for the duration of the finance agreement. Your request to add equipment or coverage cannot be completed without a signed request to add the equipment and/or increase the coverage and payment of the additional premium or down payment on the additional premium.
Deleting a truck, trailer, or part of your coverage: Your agent will take your signed request to delete a truck, trailer or part of your coverage and forward it to your insurance company. The effective date of the deletion is the date you request as the deletion date, but not before the date we receive your signed request in our office (i.e. you can't delete a truck you sold three weeks ago and expect it to be deleted on the date sold, because you just now remembered that you hadn't deleted the unit from the insurance). We are legally prohibited from backdating insurance documents.
You will receive notification of the deletion by mail generally in about ten (10) business days after your request has been processed. If your policy is paid in full before the deletion, and you are due a refund because of the deletion, it will be mailed from TransInsurers once we receive your refund from the insurance company. Your insurance carrier will mail the refund to TransInsurers or the finance company within thirty (30) to sixty (60) days of the deletion date. If you still owe for your policy on a finance agreement, either the finance company or TransInsurers will mail your refund to you. We will mail your refund as soon as we receive it, but normally within three (3) days of receipt from the insurance or finance company. Until the finance company actually receives the credit from deleting equipment, you will be required to continue to make your regular payment. Once the credit is received by the finance company, they will then adjust your payments accordingly.
Please note, if you have state or federal filings for operating authority, you cannot delete a truck that you still own as long as it has tags and is operational. Most insurance companies require proof if a vehicle has been sold, such as a bill of sale, or proof that it is inoperable, such as a repair estimate, or documentation from the Department of Motor Vehicles that the tags have been turned in to them. If you simply don't have a driver for your truck or just don't feel like running that truck, the insurance company is not going to remove it from your policy. The insurance companies are required to cover all owned or operated vehicles under your policy because of the wording on the filings and all of them take that risk very seriously.
Changing a truck, trailer, or part of your coverage: Your agent will take your signed request to change a truck, trailer or part of your coverage and forward it to your insurance company. If the change results in an increase to your premium, see Adding a truck, trailer or increasing coverage above. If the change results in a decrease to your premium, see Deleting a truck, trailer or part of your coverage above.
You may fax or email a request to add a driver to your policy. Your insurance company requires that drivers be approved before being added to your policy; and before you let them drive your covered vehicles. We are not allowed, due to the Privacy Act, to discuss or share information we find on driving records with anyone other than the owner of the record. Please don't ask us to pull Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) for your drivers as it puts us both in a bad situation. The request to add a driver must include:
- Driver's name
- Driver's date of birth
- Driver's license number and licensing state
- Driver's work history for the past five (5) years (must show having a CDL for at least two (2) years)
- Driver's total years of experience with the type of equipment they will be driving
- Copy of driver's current Motor Vehicle Record (MVR). Every driver you consider hiring should provide you with a copy of his or her MVR. In addition, the DOT requires that you have in your driver qualification files a copy of each driver's MVR. See excerpt below of Part 391 of the FMCSA Rules and Regulations especially 391.51(b)(6):
- Subpart F - Files and Records
- §391.51 General requirements for driver qualification files
- (a) Each motor carrier shall maintain a driver qualification file for each driver it employs. A driver's qualification file may be combined with his/her personnel file.
- (b) The qualification file for a driver must include:
- (b)(1) The driver's application for employment completed in accordance with §391.21;
- (b)(2) A copy of the response by each State agency concerning a driver's driving record pursuant to §391.23(a)(1);
- (b)(3) The certificate of driver's road test issued to the driver pursuant to §391.31(e), or a copy of the license or certificate which the motor carrier accepted as equivalent to the driver's road test pursuant to §391.33;
- (b)(4) The response of each State agency to the annual driver record inquiry required by §391.25(a);
- (b)(5) A note relating to the annual review of the driver's driving record as required by §391.25(c)(2);
- (b)(6) A list or certificate relating to violations of motor vehicle laws and ordinances required by §391.27;
- (b)(7) The medical examiner's certificate of his/her physical qualification to drive a commercial motor vehicle as required by §391.43(f) or a legible photographic copy of the certificate; and
- (Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2126-004)
Please don't wait until you pull your trailer up to the loading dock to find out if your cargo is covered under your Motor Truck Cargo policy. While we encourage you to read your policy in its entirety, we understand that policies are written in very precise, legal terms making them difficult to understand. However, there are a couple of places in your policy that explains your cargo coverage in detail. In the policy, there is an entire section devoted to Motor Truck Cargo.
You should have a working knowledge of the Coverage subsection and the subsection right below it titled the Exclusions subsection. These two subsections give you specific information on what will and what will not be covered in the event of a loss. Additionally, there is another section in the policy titled Motor Truck Cargo Policy Conditions. Some policies have a subsection titled Commodities Theft Limitation, where the limit of liability of the insurance company is decreased for theft on certain items. In addition to some policies decreasing the coverage limit due to theft, most policies completely exclude coverage for theft by employees.
Finally, you must look for any endorsements that are added to the cargo policy. Every policy is different in that different carriers cover certain items and exclude certain items. Additionally, we may have added endorsements to your policy to include or exclude commodities based on what you told us on your application for insurance.
If you find an opportunity to haul a load that your insurance does not cover or is valued for more than the limit on your Motor Truck Cargo policy, you may be able to purchase one-time spot cargo or trip transit cargo insurance. Visit our site at www.freightguard.com or give us a call at any of our offices and speak with an agent to see if we can help.
As we have stated several times above, you and only you can change your policy. You may phone, email, fax, or mail your request to us for cancellation; however, WE CAN NOT CANCEL YOUR POLICY WITHOUT YOUR SIGNATURE ON THE INSURANCE COMPANY'S FORM. Once we receive your request for cancellation, we will fax or email you a cancellation form for your respective carrier. You will then sign and date the cancellation request form and fax or mail it to us. We will immediately send it to your insurance company. Once the company receives the request, it will determine a final cancellation date based on Federal Law. The Federal Law is a part of your policy,
- From the MCS90:
Cancellation of this endorsement may be effected by the company or the insured by giving (1) thirty-five (35) days notice in writing to the other party (said 35 days to commence from the date the notice is mailed, proof of mailing shall be sufficient proof of notice), and (2) if the insured is subject to the FMCSA's registration requirements under 49 U.S.C. 13901, by providing thirty (30) days notice to the FMCSA (said 30 days notice to commence from the date notice is received by the FMCSA at its office Washington, D.C.).
- From the Form F:
3. This endorsement may not be canceled without cancellation of the policy to which it is attached. Such cancellation may be effected by the company or the insured giving thirty (30) days' notice in writing to the State Commission with which such certificate has been filed, such thirty (30) days' notice to commence to run from the date the notice is actually received in the office of such Commission.
There are no negotiations on this part of the Federal Law regarding insurance policy cancellations with filings; it doesn't matter if your truck is sold, broken, stolen, totaled; or if you don't pay your insurance premiums; or if you found coverage cheaper someplace else, or if you want to go out of business - there are NO EXCEPTIONS to canceling an insurance policy with filings. Additionally, premiums are due from you on the policy until the final cancellation date supplied by the carrier. Again, no matter what the reason for cancellation, there are no exceptions to cancellation of a policy with Federal filings.
That depends on several things and each contract for insurance is different. Part of the down payment (that part which is called fully earned) is not returnable. Things like fees, first month's interest, thirty-five (35) days of insurance coverage for policies with filings and in some cases all the taxes are not refundable even if you cancel the 1st day the policy is effect.
Once the policy is bound, the control of the money applied to purchase the policy is transferred to the insurance company. We cannot directly issue a refund even if we wanted to since we no longer control the funds. Also, since we have no control over the funds, we won't know the exact amount of refund until about thirty (30) days after the final cancellation date.
Each insurance company is different in how they determine refunds based on how and why the policy cancelled. The companies generally cancel on what they call a short-rate cancellation basis. That means they can and do attach a fee for the cancellation, which is based on the annual cost for the premium. There are also some policies stamped with a 25% Earned Premium notice, which means that a minimum of 25% of the premium for that policy will be retained by the insurance company if the policy cancels early for any reason.
It can take more than ninety (90) days, after a policy is requested to be cancelled, to obtain a refund if a refund is applicable. The insurance company can take thirty (30) days to send the money to the financing company, which can take another thirty (30) days to send the money to TransInsurers. We quickly send the refunds out when they arrive.
That's why your agent spent time getting to know you and your business needs when we processed your application for insurance. We do our best to find you the right insurance at the best price available. Your agent discussed in detail all your options for insurance and payments and asked you specifically if you wanted to bind the insurance before it was bound, just to make sure you could make an informed decision.
Your filings are forms issued by the insurance company to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and your base state Department of Transportation. The forms tell the FMCSA and your state's DOT that you have the insurance required for your operating authority. Your filing is a public record that shows your financial responsibility towards protecting the public in the event of an accident or loss. As we mentioned above, there is a thirty-five (35) day minimum cancellation requirement with both State and Federal filings. This helps to protect the public and the insured so that in the event the insurance is cancelled, there is sufficient time to reinstate or rewrite the coverage and to notify certificate holders of the cancellation. In addition to placing limitations on how quickly a policy can be cancelled, your filings also specify that any owned or operated vehicle, regardless of whether or not it is specifically listed on the policy, must be covered. This is why the insurance companies are very particular about having all vehicles you own or lease listed on the policy. If you or your drivers are involved in an accident with a vehicle not listed on your policy, the insurance company reserves the right to deny the claim or cancel the policy. Even if the insurance company pays out on a claim for a vehicle not listed on the policy, they can then legally come back to the insured for reimbursement of the claim, the bottom line here is to make sure drivers and vehicles operating under your authority are listed on your insurance policy.
Your authority is what allows you to operate as a For Hire carrier of goods, meaning it allows your company to transport goods across state lines for a fee. One part of your operating authority is the agreement with the FMCSA that you will provide insurance for all vehicles running under your authority. What this means is that anyone using your MC or DOT numbers will be listed on and covered by your Liability and Cargo insurance policies. It also means that you have the responsibility to make sure that any drivers you hire to operate your owned equipment, or lease to operate under your authority are safe drivers that are qualified to operate the equipment and have the proper training and license.
Your payments are agreed upon at the time you bind your insurance policy, or amended when you add or delete equipment or coverages. If you financed your premiums, your finance agreement shows the amount due and the date due. By signing the finance agreement, you agree that you will make those payments by the due date each month. When you fail to make your payments on time, you run the risk of the finance company requesting cancellation of your policy from the insurance company. Most companies have a limit on the amount of times they will reinstate a policy that has been requested to cancel for non-payment. The average limit is three requests for cancellation. On the third request for cancellation, the insurance company will not reinstate the policy and often will not rewrite it. Often times it is difficult to find another company that will write another policy if you show a history of not making your payments on time, or canceling for non-payment. Each time your policy cancels, it is recorded on the FMCSA's Licensing & Insurance Carrier Search. If your record shows a trend of canceling and reinstating mid-term, instead of properly at renewal, many companies will either decline to write the new policy or charge a higher premium because of the likelihood that the new policy will also suffer repeated cancellations. This causes you to pay higher rates in the long run, even without accidents or losses on the policy.
Your drivers are one of the main considerations when calculating the rates on your insurance policies. When a quote is submitted to the insurance company, they look at the location of the business, the commodities you are hauling, the locations you are delivering to, and the driver's age, experience and motor vehicle driving record. The insurance companies are looking for responsible drivers with few moving violations, and no major violations or at fault accidents. Some violations, such as DUI's or Reckless Driving, are counted for five (5) years instead of the usual three (3) years for most violations and can cause a driver to be rejected completely, a quote to be declined, or an active policy cancelled. Generally speaking, drivers who have multiple moving violations, accidents, or major violations are prone to taking more risks that raise the likelihood of an accident or loss. The insurance company does their best to review each quote and will only write those that are most likely not to have major losses. A history of hiring drivers with poor driving records or without the proper qualifications reflects badly on your trucking company, making it harder to get competitive quotes for your insurance.
The FMCSA is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is the governing agency over your Operating Authority. Their website (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/) provides links to the regulations and requirements of the trucking industry, the forms most commonly used, as well as tips and information pertaining to commercial trucking. This is also the branch of the US Department of Transportation that grants operating authority for commercial transportation. By using their link to the Licensing & Insurance Carrier Search (http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/LIVIEW/pkg_carrquery.prc_carrlist) you can check on the status of your operating authority and insurance filings. Please note that for your insurance filings with the FMCSA to activate your authority, the company name and address must match exactly what the FMCSA has listed. If there is a spelling difference, wrong spacing, or any other discrepancy in the way the authority was granted and the way the insurance policy was issued, the filings will be rejected. This means that a new authority application will not be activated or an existing authority will be revoked until the insurance filings are made to match the FMCSA website.
SAFER is another part of the FMCSA that provides information on your operations to those in the trucking industry and the public in general. Insurance companies use this site to see how many trucks and/or drivers a company has running under its authority, the safety rating (which is a measure of your compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations), and a listing of the commodities you haul. Their website address (http://www.safersys.org/) can be used by you to make sure that all of your information is up to date and accurate. Any discrepancies need to be corrected so that there will be no misunderstandings on behalf of the insurance company. You can reach your information on SAFER by going to the website and doing a search for your company under the Company Snapshot link (http://www.safersys.org/CompanySnapshot.aspx). Occasionally, SAFER will not match the FMCSA Licensing & Insurance section. If this happens, SAFER will need to be corrected so that it matches the way your authority is listed on FMCSA. A correction to the FMCSA does not automatically correct SAFER, so both need to be reviewed after a change is made or requested.
For a company to request to be an Additional Insured, they have either an interest in the equipment (such as the bank or finance company who loaned the money for the truck and/or trailer) or an interest in the cargo (such as the broker or freight forwarder for the load). It will depend on which insurance company your policy is written through to know if there is a charge or not. The fees range from $0 to $250 per Additional Insured, depending on the company; and the fee is non-refundable even if you later cancel the endorsement adding a company as an Additional Insured. The reason companies may request this endorsement to your policy is to protect themselves in the event of an accident or lawsuit. By being listed on the policy as an Additional Insured, they are covered under that policy the same as you are if someone files a claim against you.
When purchasing truck insurance it is important to understand how your premiums are determined. This is especially important for the new entrant or someone who is starting his or her own trucking business. You pay your premium before either you or your insurance company knows if you will have a loss, or how big the loss might be. That is why the insurance company considers a number of factors that can increase or decrease the probability that a loss will occur, and the potential size of the loss.
For details please see the Factors that Determine Insurance Premiums page.
There are number of different types of coverage. For details please see the Commercial Truck Insurance page.
Contract Authority means that the trucking company has contracts with specific companies to haul their goods. These carriers usually operate over a set route and have regular loads. The FMCSA only requires a Liability filing to activate the Contract Carrier operating authority.
Common Authority means that the trucking company hauls brokered loads and possibly some contracted loads. These carriers deliver loads based on pick up and delivery points and do not usually have set routes or guaranteed loads. The FMSCA requires companies with this type of authority to have both a Liability filing and a Cargo filing to activate the Common Carrier operating authority.
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