When determining which of your employees should have access to a company vehicle, it’s important to consider the effect these individuals could have on your business auto insurance policies.
At-fault accidents are the most common cause of premium increases on auto policies, and most accidents are caused by driver error, according to a 2021 study. Driver error can include following too closely behind another vehicle, speeding, driving distracted, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and more.
For that reason, it’s important to understand your employees’ driving habits and past driving records before allowing them to operate one of your vehicles. Here are four tips to protect your business auto insurance rates:
Tip #1: Do Your Research
Always obtain an applicant’s motor vehicle record (MVR) before you make a hiring decision. Be sure to have potential employees sign a waiver permitting you to pull this report on them prior to offering the job or allowing them to use a company vehicle.
If there’s any doubt that the record is acceptable, forward it to us for approval or disapproval before allowing the applicant to drive.
An Expert Perspective: “While not always the case, many accidents involve drivers with several prior moving violations and/or at-fault accidents. Exercise your right to choose someone with a good record before allowing them to use your assets,” says John Carroll, commercial staff underwriter at Central Insurance, one of our partners. “Would you allow someone with little or no prior experience to operate a $100,000 piece of machinery? If not, why would you allow someone with several speeding tickets and a couple of at-fault accidents in the last three years to drive your new $80,000 truck in heavy urban traffic?”
Tip #2: Consider Your Current Standing
When you secure a business auto insurance policy, there are several key factors involved, including the number of vehicles you utilize in the field, the number of claims filed in the past, your loss control experience, etc.
For example, if you have a fleet (five or more power units) and good loss experience, you may have an “experienced credit” on your policy. Similarly, you may be in a less expensive company (tier) because of your company’s overall good driving record.
While these discounts are a great benefit to many organizations, the reality is it only takes one unsafe driver to ruin all your good experiences and drive your auto insurance costs up. What’s more, because experience credits may involve up to four years of data, it could take years to get credit back after a bad at-fault accident.
Tip #3: Be Familiar with Relevant Statistics
The driver’s age is one area that, statistically, might indicate the level of expected safety on the road. For example, research shows that teen and young adult drivers are more likely to be involved in at-fault accidents.
As a result, many insurance companies will be more hesitant to allow someone in that age bracket to be a driver on a commercial policy. This will be especially true if a truck weighs over 10,000 pounds.
Tip #4: Keep Families Off Commercial Insurance Policies
Personal vehicles should not be insured on a commercial policy in general, but especially not to insure young family members.
“Favorable pricing on your business auto policy can be jeopardized with just one loss. We recommend that business owners should consider personal auto policies for their families, separate from any commercial auto insurance policies they have,” said Curtis Bull, Commercial Lines Vice-President of The Turner Agency, Inc.
Choosing the right insurance agent is one of the most important decisions you will make. The Turner Agency, Inc. is a local Trusted Choice® independent insurance agency headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina. Serving the Upstate of South Carolina and beyond since 1962, we offer a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your specialized needs for your business, homes, automobiles, recreational vehicles, secondary homes, and more.
Information in this article includes contributions from Central Insurance and is not all inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only.