Getting your trucking insurance policy from a local agent is extremely important. Dealing with a local agency that you can sit face to face with can be very helpful when you are dealing the complications of commercial auto insurance. The trucking industry is complicated. Insurance for commercial trucking is no different.
Commercial trucks can include any of the following types of businesses:
Types of commercial trucks
Dump Truck Insurance
General Freight Hauler Insurance
Auto Hauler Insurance
Public Transportation Insurance
Tow Truck Insurance
Non-Emergency Medical Insurance
If you own a business similar to one of the ones listed above, then you will likely have either a Federal or State of NC requirement to be able to acquire and keep a commercial tag. Even if you don’t have those requirements, then you may have requirements from a contract that requires the same or higher limits as those required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the state of NC.
What Types of Coverage Do you Need?
This question will vary depending on your business type, the requirements of the State of NC and Federal Government.
Liability Limits: You will have some limit of liability required, depending on several factors. These limits can range from $30,000/60,000/25,000 up to $5,000,000 combined single limits. The amount of coverage required can depend on your vehicle, radius, what you are hauling, gross vehicle weight, and if you are crossing state lines to name a few.
Cargo Liability: This covers the commodity that you are hauling and can vary a great degree depending on the contract requirements and the Federal or State of NC requirements.
Physical Damage: This covers the value of the vehicle you are driving, and the coverage required will depend either on your comfort with losing the value of your vehicle in the event of a loss or the bank requirements of the bank you are financing the vehicle through.
On Hook: This covers the vehicle you are hauling in towing insurance risks. The value of the coverage chosen should be minimally, the highest value of the vehicle you would ever tow.
General Liability: This covers your negligence outside of hitting someone with your vehicle or damage to the items you are hauling.
Umbrella: An umbrella or excess liability policy will cover above and beyond where your underlying policy limits leave off. You want this policy in place to protect yourself further or to satisfy a contract. Many of the bigger contracts will require this policy today.
Workers Compensation: This covers your legal liability for your employees or subcontractors and may even be required by a contract even if you don’t have employees. Even if you hire only one independent contractor, you are obligated by NC law to carry workers compensation.
Commercial truck insurance takes on a whole new level of responsibility than your personal auto insurance. You may want to consider consulting an agent that is near you, to help you with local State of NC laws and help you determine what coverage will best suit you for these requirements. Outside of government responsibilities, you will likely encounter contract requirements that a veteran agent and agency can help you navigate. You will also want an independent agency that can help you get quotes from multiple carriers. Please contact us at 704-494-9495 if you have any questions or would like a shopped quote from the top insurance companies in your industry.
A contract bond is a type of surety bond that helps guarantee that the terms of a contract are met. If a contractor does not adhere to the terms of the contract than the injured party can collect any financial losses incurred from the bonding company. It is an additional safeguard to ensure the principal performs all items in a written contract.
A contract bond is often times synonymous with the following terms:
Bid Performance Bond
The two common types of contract bonds are bid bonds and performance or payment bonds.
Bid Bonds specifically protect the obligee from the Principal either backing off of the stated bid that has been accepted or submitting a low-ball bid and then not honoring the agreed upon price. Bid bonds are typically issued between 5-10% of the overall bid.
Performance Bonds will protect the obligee in areas of the contract like completing a job when agreed upon and under the agreed upon items. It guarantees that the contractor will perform the contract and pay for the labor and materials needed to complete the project. Payment bonds are typically issued at 100% of the contract amount.
A surety bond is an agreement that involves three of the following parties:
The Principal– The party purchasing the bond that is being required to fulfill the terms of the agreement.
The Obligee– The party that is usually requiring the bond and is reimbursed for financial losses due to the principal’s failure to fulfill the duties of the contract.
The Surety– The party that is responsible for paying out the financial losses of the obligee due to the prinicipal’s failure to fulfill the duties of the contract.
Contract bonds are usually only required on larger projects by large builders or subcontractors. It is a way to easily recover from financial burdens without having to enter into costly lawsuits against the contractor. Typically any public project over $100,000 will require a a contract bond.
A list of common business types that will be required to have these bonds are:
Due to the nature of these bonds and high possible payouts, most companies will run a credit score on the principal before agreeing to issue a bond. In addition to this, some companies may require the following other items to consider a risk.
Financial statements for the business
Personal financial statement for the owner
Resume of owner
Certificates of insurance on other commercial policies the principal may have
Bank letter of reference
Job reference letters
Schedule of current projects on hand
Our agency writes through various bonding companies, as we do insurance companies. Preferred risks will see the best pricing in the industry with a couple of our carriers, but we also have other markets that may not be considered by the preferred companies for one reason or another. Please call us at 704-494-9495 for any questions you may have on this surety bond type or to get a quote today.
Cyber liability insurance is one of the fastest growing insurance policies that NC small businesses are looking to protect themselves with. Because it is such a new policy type, there are several questions on what it is and what it covers. We will discuss exactly those things in this article so that you can make an educated decision if this policy is right for your North Carolina small business.
Everyone knows how much cyber is a growing concern, but it might surprise some businesses just how common it is. It is far from being a concern for only large corporations too. In fact 60% of cyber crimes are against small businesses. 60% of those businesses that are victims of these attacks go out of business within 6 months of the attack. The costs are staggering when they do occur and those without cyber insurance are left with 100% of those costs.
Are you exposed to the possibility of this happening to your business?
If your company has/does have any of the following, then the answer is a resounding yes.
Social Media Accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In)
Accept Credit Cards
Uses Online Banking
Store Customer Data (Name, Address, Date of Birth, License Numbers, Credit Card Info, Social Security Numbers)
If you realize that you could be at risk, but are still confused on what types of things could happen to you, then you are not alone. It can be very complicated. We will discuss and clear up some of those common claim types below and explain the ways that a cyber policy will help cover those things.
Social engineering is a predatory type of cyber crime where an employee is tricked into sending or uploading money to someone through false pretenses.
Cyber insurance will cover those lost funds from these types of schemes.
This is a virus sent as a link in an e-mail. Once an employee clicks the link, the virus immediately begins to to encrypt computer files. The imposter will then demand funds in order to recover the company’s files. Typically bit coins will be demanded.
The cyber liability policy will cover the cost of the ransom in order to have your files recovered.
This type of attack gains the most media attention. Large organizations like Sony, Target, and Equifax have recently been in the news for being hacked. These losses occur when a cyber criminal breaches a company network and gains access to customer data.
Cyber policies will typically cover the following:
1. Fines by regulatory commissions and other penalties
2. Legal fees toward lawsuits from customers
3. Security expert assessments
4. Public relations firm services
5. Customer notification costs for those effected by the breach
Covers defamation or slander by an employee about a customer on social medial accounts causing a lawsuit.
Cyber insurance will cover defense in a lawsuit against your company.
FUNDS TRANSFER FRAUD
Hackers gain access to your system and transfer company funds to their account.
Your cyber policy will cover any losses incurred, not covered by your bank for fraudulent transfers.
Your company site gets hacked making your system inoperable and not allowing customers access to their information.
Cyber insurance will cover lawsuits by customers for not being able to access their account.
One final myth we would like to dispel regarding cyber liability insurance, and that is that the premiums are too expensive for a small business. We write through some of the leading insurance companies in the industry, with the most competitive premiums. Premiums start as low as $800 per year depending on the business type, size, and exposure.
Please call us at 704-494-9495 with any questions, or if you would like a quote on this valuable insurance policy today.
Commercial auto insurance has several coverage options that you should familiarize yourself with and determine if they are right for your business. We will discuss several of these below.
Gives Liability coverage for a non-owned or unlisted vehicle that is leased, rented, hired, or borrowed by the insured for incidental operation of the business.
Owned Auto Coverage
Provides Liability coverage for vehicles owned by the named insured and any owned vehicles acquired during the policy period.
Non Owned Auto
Extends Liability coverage to any non-owned vehicle that is used by an employee in the operations of the business.
Any Auto Coverage
Extends Liability coverage to any vehicles acquired or bought during the policy term until the end of the policy term.
Covers bodily injury or property damage coverage due to the discharge of pollutants that are being transported or towed.
Trucker’s General Liability
This coverage gives bodily injury or property damage coverage sustained in the course of business while using products or services on premises.
Drive Other Car Coverage
Excess coverage for an executive of a corporation or partnership when driving a non-owned vehicle.
Step Down Liability Coverage
This coverage reduces the liability limits to state minimum requirements for drivers not listed on the policy.
Non-Trucking Liability or Bobtail Liability
This is liability coverage for policyholders who are under lease to a motor carrier which provides the primary liability coverage.
Provides coverage for the vehicle or vehicles being towed or hauled.
Provides Physical Damage coverage for a customer’s vehicle left in the care, custody, and control of the insured while at a covered location or in transit between covered locations.
Provides Liability coverage for the covered property in the care and control of the insured and being transported by the insured’s covered vehicle.
Trailer Interchange covers physical damage to any non-owned trailer while in the care, custody, or control of the insured.
These are just some of the various coverage options for commercial auto insurance. Some of these may or not be available for your business type and some may or may not be required. It is important that you speak with your agent on what would be suitable for you. You can also call us at 704-494-9495 with any questions.
The wait is over. Uber insurance is available in NC! Uber and Lyft drivers in Charlotte and other surrounding cities in NC have waited patiently for a solution to the coverage gap for ridesharing insurance, also referred to as transportation network insurance.
As of 12/19/2016, we can now offer a personal insurance policy with an endorsement that can be added to it that will cover drivers who sometimes use their own personal vehicles to drive for Uber or Lyft. Insurance carriers on all personal lines auto insurance policies exclude coverage while driving for a transportation network. If you were driving for one of these companies up to this point, you were likely driving around without insurance for part of your trip.
Uber has taken the stance where they would cover a claim only while you had a passenger that you were transporting or when the Uber app matched you with your passenger you were to pick up. Your personal lines insurance policy would cover you only while you were using the vehicle for personal use. This left a gap in coverage while you were sitting with the app on waiting for a fare.
*The app is turned on and you are waiting to be matched with a passenger.
*Match is made and you are on the way to pick up the passenger.
*Passenger is in your vehicle.
No coverage Gaps on endorsed policies. Uber still covers you during the times stated above. Your endorsed policy will cover you while the app is on and you are waiting to be matched with the passenger.
Transportation networks are brand new, and we will without a doubt see changes in the future as the industry grows and changes. This sort of hybrid policy is a step in the right direction. Up to this point, drivers only had 2 choices.
Purchase a true livery or taxi cab policy that was rated much higher than a personal auto policy due to a much higher exposure. You would also need to find a company that would allow you to add an endorsement to your policy that would allow you to use the policy for personal use as well.
Take a chance and drive uninsured.
With a more affordable policy available in NC, there is no excuse for transportation network drivers driving for Uber, Lyft, or various other companies to drive without the proper coverage.
Anyone who has ridden in a vehicle for one of these ridesourcing companies cannot deny the ease of use of the app and, in most cases, the low fare cost. With so many users opting for Uber and Lyft over taxi cabs these days, we know that this form of transportation is here to stay.
If you have any questions or would like a quote on Uber insurance or Lyft insurance, please give us a call at 704-494-9495. There is no reason to have a gap in insurance coverage any longer. YOU MUST PURCHASE A POLICY WITH THIS ENDORSEMENT ADDED TO BE COVERED.
We will continue to update you on this exciting change with future articles regarding this subject.
If you are purchasing a motorcycle then you will likely be looking into purchasing a motorcycle insurance policy as well.
Spring is here which means you may have the fever to go out and explore the open road. We will discuss some important factors in motorcycle insurance before you buy one. There are several things that you should be aware of when you take out one of these policies. These policies are very similar to your auto insurance policy and cover many of the same things but there are some differences.
Motorcycle policies are written on annual basis in NC whereas auto policies can be written 6 months at a time, a full year, or both depending on the company. The reason for this is because the state of NC requires you to have liability insurance on a bike just as you are required to have one on an auto.
Many people might forget to renew their motorcycle policy if it is off-season and you aren’t riding at the time. You still must keep liability insurance on the bike unless you turn in your tags. If you are financing the bike then the bank will require you to keep comprehensive and collision coverage on the bike as well until you pay off the loan regardless of the season. In NC and SC, our seasons are longer anyways and the weather can be warm enough in any month to warrant a ride
The liability limits you choose are required to be at a minimum 30/60/25 limits as required by NC law.
These split limits stand for $30,000 bodily injury per person, $60,000 bodily injury total for each accident and $25,000 property damage for each accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage or Under-insured Motorist Coverage
We typically recommend higher liability limits on motorcycle policies not because you are likely to do more damage while on your bike versus a car, but due to the un/underinsured motorist coverage also being higher. We are more focused here on bodily injury claims than property damage. Unfortunately when you have an accident on your bike and have bodily injury, the expenses are oftentimes very high.
If you carry higher limits of liability then you can also carry the higher matching uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage. For instance if your limits are $100,000 bodily injury per person and you carry matching uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage up to these limits then you are protecting yourself much more. If you are hit by an uninsured motorist then you will be covered up to your $100,000 limit for your injuries. If that same driver hits you and he has only the minimum $30,000 bodily injury limit required by state laws, then you will still be better covered. Where that $30,000 limit stops, your under-insured motorist coverage kicks in and pays up to your $100,000 under-insured bodily injury limit.
Comprehensive and Collision
This is the same coverage as your auto and covers damage to your bike for accidents, weather, theft, etc. Even if you have your bike paid off you should seriously consider comprehensive coverage in addition to your liability coverage at the very least. Sport bikes especially have a very high theft rate and would be covered under these comprehensive claims.
It is probably important to carry higher limits for medical payments on your cycle policy which will cover you and any passengers on your bike if you are hurt. This is true for obvious reasons.
Many companies allow for coverage for additional after-market equipment and safety equipment. A lot of them give you automatic coverage up to $3,000 under their standard premium. Higher limits are typically allowed to be purchased for an increased premium amount. It is important to keep accurate records and receipts of this additional equipment so you can present it to the company in the settlement of your claim.
Cost of Motorcyle Insurance
We write through many different insurance companies that specialize in motorcycle insurance. The cost of insurance can vary greatly from company to company. It is important that you shop out this insurance to make sure you are getting the best deal. We do this for our customers and we are able to save them a great deal by shopping it out.
Typically insurance on cruisers are cheaper than those of sport bikes due to the loss likelihood so sport bike riders should be even more pro-active when comparison rate shopping.
There are many discounts that can be applied to help lower your rate. A few examples are shown below. Be sure to ask about these when shopping.
*Motorcycle Safety Training
*Prior motorcycle coverage
*Motorcycle endorsement on your drivers license
*Points not being charged if charged already on your existing auto insurance policy
Please contact us at 704-494-9495 if we can answer any questions as to proper coverage on motorcycle insurance. Due to the risk level, this is a very important topic and we don’t want anyone to wait until it is too late before educating themselves.