Opinion

How to save money on insurance

First and foremost, if you are serious about saving money, find a broker that specialises in transport insurance and one that makes an effort to get to know you and your business well. 

A good broker will explain the pitfalls of shopping for the cheapest price and hopefully prevent you from making one of the biggest and most common mistakes in business you could ever make – and that is taking out an insurance policy based on the price, rather than the amount of cover.

The most effective way to manage the cost of your insurance is to minimise any potential claims and by implementing and advising your insurer of some of the following suggestions may result in lowering your premium.

Risk management

You need to actively manage the risk in your business by conducting regular toolbox meetings; these can be a very productive and cost-effective way of identifying certain routes that other drivers may not be aware of and also of any safety or potential incidents they may lead to a claim.  

Also discuss any recent accidents or potential incidents with the drivers to gauge their thoughts and input as to how it had happened and possible ways to prevent it. Remember the best solutions to any problems will more often than not come from those out there doing it. 

Allocate work/trips to each driver according to their knowledge, familiarity and experience for each specific job. Keep the new or inexperienced drivers on the easier routes until you feel confident with their road craft attitude, driving ability, familiarity with the routes and the clients’ location and accessibility.

If possible, minimise the need to drive through the night and early hours around sunrise, or if not possible, at least allow for more rest stops more often.

Some other initiatives that may assist in your premium reduction would be to provide your insurer with an accurate description of the radius in which you operate, what percentage of your vehicles operate within each radius (city versus country) and what activities each vehicle conducts within that radius (types of freight carried).

Then there’s the old chestnut ‘driver monitoring cameras’. Love them or hate them, they are here to stay and no, we are not going to get into the privacy issue that revolves around them, or whether or not they help prevent fatigue. However, they do assist in helping lower your insurance premiums. Once again, you need to let your insurer know if you do utilise them in your vehicles.

Increased excess

By increasing your excess amount you are essentially ‘sharing’ the cost of any claim with the insurer, which could reduce your premium. However, beware, it may prove costly to you in the event of a claim for example; if your excess is $5000 per unit and you roll a B-double, then your accumulated excess would be $15,000 that you would be required to pay out of your own pocket at the worst possible time (when your truck is off the road and no income).

Keep in mind that one of the biggest mistakes you can make whilst shopping for insurance is to base your decision on the price alone.

Cost recovery 

Whilst a dashcam may not help reduce your initial premium, it may assist to keep your premium from increasing. 

A dashcam can provide valuable feedback when a claim may arise and if it can help prove the other party is at fault in a claim, it may help the insurer recover some cost of the claim, therefore reducing the total cost of all claims on your claims history, of which all insurers take into account when calculating your premiums. 

Some smaller versions on telematics can also provide feedback on how drivers are driving eg: harsh braking, speeding, what routes and the G-force when cornering and some may also assist to claim fuel credits via geo mapping. 

Insurers are generally most interested in clients who can demonstrate they fully understand their business, their exposure to risk and how they actively try to manage / control / reduce their risk. The more favourable premium will be provided to the clients that can demonstrate that they are actively trying to reduce their risk.

Pitfalls to avoid

Avoid being tempted to underinsure the value of your trucks or trailers, as underinsurance can cost you significantly should you be unlucky enough to have a claim.

You must always report any incident large or small to your insurer, however, if it is only minor damage to your own vehicle and no other third party has been involved, you can submit the claim as a ‘report only’ and pay for the damage yourself, an example of this may be minor damage from hitting a kangaroo.

If you make multiple small claims you are demonstrating to any potential insurer that you are more than likely to make a claim on them for anything and everything.  It’s not just the dollar amount of claims that insurers look at when calculating your premium, but also the number and frequency of claims. 

Just like you, an insurance company is a business. So, before you start banging on about getting a cheaper premium ask yourself this question: “What would you insure ‘you’, if you were the insurance company?” 

Important: All information contained within this article should be considered as General Advice Only. This advice should only be considered as General in Nature and its intent is only to prompt the readers to investigate their own individual insurances. It has been prepared without taking into account the readers own individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of that, before acting on the above advice, the client or any persons should consider its appropriateness (having regard to their objectives, needs and financial situation) and seek further independent advice from their own financial advisor.

About the author:

Mark Brown is a leading industry insurance broker with TBI Insurance Services based in Wagga Wagga.

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