With trucking insurance, your DOT Number can make or break you. There are a lot of factors that go into insurance rates, but your DOT score can play a major part. Out-of-service orders and issues in SAFER listings can cause trouble for trucking businesses. Here are a few considerations so that you can ensure that your DOT Number isn’t working against you.
Considerations about your DOT Number.
1. Focus on safety to avoid Out-of-Service (OOS) orders.
Out-of-Service orders can really hurt you when it comes to your truck insurance rates. Safety issues or compliance issues can lead to Out-of-Service orders, and it is important that trucking business managers are aware of what is going on with their power units. Your drivers need to be committed to safety. To an insurance carrier, a strong safety record means you have less chance of having a claim. (And that can translate into lower insurance rates.)
The other thing to keep in mind about OOS orders is that if your business has a lot of them, it can be very difficult to get trucking insurance. That is because many carriers deny coverage if a trucking business has a lot of OOS orders, so there are fewer options. When the trucking business is able to find coverage, it will likely be very expensive. In a worst-case scenario, the insurance rates may be so high that the trucking business can’t sustain itself.
2. Make sure that your listings with the FMCSA are accurate.
It is also very important to make sure that all of your listings with the FMCSA (for example, in SAFER) are accurate. An especially important piece of information to verify is what commodities you have checked off in SAFER for what you haul or transport. There are a few reasons why this is so crucial.
First, you will likely need to have your listings all set up properly to get approved quotes from insurance carriers. That’s a big reason to make sure all of your information is accurate in SAFER. It helps as you’re going through the process of getting truck insurance quotes.
Another reason it’s important to be careful with your SAFER information is that having your list of commodities right can help you get the right coverage. Having the correct coverage is key. A claim could be denied if something happens while you’re hauling something the insurance company didn’t know you would be hauling. (For example, if you’ve checked off that you’ll be hauling dry goods and then a car falls off the back of your truck.)
The point is that it’s really important to have the right coverage to protect your business. (To give an example, if you’re hauling refrigerated goods, it’s essential that you have the proper coverage for that.) You can haul cars or refrigerated goods, but you need to have the proper coverage to do that so that your business is protected. Though insurance might feel invisible, it’s doing its job in protecting you every time you hit the road.
3. Keep up-to-date on regulations.
It’s also really important that you keep up-to-date on FMCSA regulations. Knowing the current regulations that you have to follow can help you avoid things like OOS orders and other violations. (The relatively new ELD regulations are a good example of new rules that truckers have to follow.) Staying in compliance is essential to keeping your vehicles on the road and keeping your DOT Number clean.
4. Check on your online presence.
You also need to be conscious of your online presence. Your social media and your business’s website reflect your business, and the photos and descriptions that are found there need to accurately represent your business. Insurance underwriters may do a double take if they find that the information in your SAFER and the information on your website or social media don’t match.
Having a clean DOT record can really help you when it comes to your truck insurance rates. Work on keeping a good safety record to avoid OOS orders, and make sure that all your SAFER listings and information are correct. The goal is to present an accurate representation of your business so that you can get the right coverage for your business. Your insurance is there to shield you, but it can’t do its job unless the coverage matches what it’s protecting.