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Truckers: Protect Yourself From Gaps in Insurance Coverage

Trucker Insurance to Cover Gaps

The demand for commercial truck drivers is high right now, and many new truckers are hitting the roads. If you’re new to commercial trucking, you may not know what insurance coverage you should have (check out some basic information trucking insurance information here). Today we’re going to take a closer look at two types of commercial truck insurance you may need to protect yourself from gaps in coverage.

Trailer interchange

Trailer interchange coverage provides physical damage coverage if a semi-trailer you do not own is damaged by accident, fire, theft, or vandalism while under your care, custody, or control. Say for example, you have a contract with XYZ shipping company to haul between Tampa and Orlando. You drive your tractor truck to Tampa, pick up a trailer and drive it to Orlando and drop it off. You then pick up another trailer and bring it back to Tampa.  Since you don’t own these trailers they will not be covered under the physical damage portion of your insurance policy.

The company that owns the trailers you haul may require you to have trailer interchange coverage, and will likely set the amount of coverage required. Trailer interchange coverage is not necessarily more or less expensive than the cost of insuring your own trailer.

Non-trucking liability

If you’re under contract with a motor carrier company, you should have primary liability coverage through them (your contract will indicate this). In order to purchase non-trucking liability, you must have primary liability coverage through the company you are contracted to. Non-trucking liability covers you when you’re not doing something that benefits the company you have a contract with. For instance, if you have an accident while driving your tractor truck home at the end of the day, non-trucking liability would pay for damages or injuries you cause to other people or their property.

Insuring a tractor truck you use for commercial purposes can be a complicated business, but L & M Insurance Group can help. We are independent agents who represent several quality commercial trucking insurance carriers. Give us a call at 813-672-4100, or contact us online and we’ll be happy to answer your questions or give you a quote.

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Commercial Insurance Spotlight: Long-Haul Trucking Insurance

The trucking industry keeps goods moving all over the United States, and long-haul trucking jobs are expected to grow six percent from 2016 to 2026. That’s a lot of trucks on the road—and sadly, accidents happen. And when a semi-truck is involved, the consequences can include severe property damage and injuries. That’s where long-haul trucking insurance comes in.

What is Long-Haul Trucking Insurance

Long-haul trucking insurance is just what it sounds like: specialty commercial truck insurance for individual owner-operators and businesses who haul cargo long distances, usually between states and/or in a radius of 300 miles or more.

Why you need Long-Haul Trucking Insurance

Long-haul trucking professionals need coverage to protect their cargo from damage or theft, as well as liability coverage in case a truck causes physical damage or injuries in an accident.  They may also need coverage for their own assets: the trucks or truck/tractor-trailers used in their business. (For more information on commercial truck insurance, click here.)

The Independent Insurance Agency Difference

As an independent agency, L & M Insurance Group represents a number of commercial insurance companies in addition to our personal lines carriers. Whether you’re an owner-operator or manage a fleet of trucks, we can provide competitive coverage and rates for your long-haul trucking insurance needs. Please call us at 813-672-4100.

Start the Year Right With Insurance Savings

Insurance Savings

Shopping for insurance is no one’s idea of a good time, but here at L & M Insurance Group, we try to make it as simple and painless and cost-effective as possible. We are an all-lines, local independent agency based in Riverview, and we work hard to get you the best insurance savings:

  • Write many different types of insurance, including auto, home, renters, boat, RV, general liability, commercial auto, life, and health.
  • Represent dozens of A-rated insurance companies (including more than 15 different car insurance companies), not just one.
  • Offer “one-stop shopping.” Instead of calling multiple insurance companies for your needs, call us! We’ll do the comparison shopping for you.
  • Represent YOU. We’ll help you understand your insurance needs, help you through the claims process, and treat you like a person, not a policy number. After all, this is our community and you are our neighbors!

Insurance Savings for the New Year

Our goal is always to find you the right insurance plan for your needs at the most affordable price, and in many cases, we’re able to save our clients hundreds of dollars per year while also improving their coverage. Our staff has been serving Riverview, Brandon, Lithia, Valrico, Bloomingdale, and surrounding areas for 25 years, and we’d love to serve you!

Please call us at 813-672-4100 if you have any questions about your insurance, or if you’d like a quote. If you prefer, click here for an auto quote, or here for a homeowners quote. For general inquiries, click here.

As 2018 winds down, L & M Insurance Group would like to thank you for letting us serve you. Have a happy and safe New Year!

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Protect Your Business With Commercial Auto Insurance

 

If you’re in an accident, the last thing you want to hear is, “I’m sorry, this isn’t covered under your personal auto policy.” That’s the risk you take when you don’t purchase a commercial auto policy for any vehicles you or your employees use in your business.

Commercial Auto Insurance for Businesses

Because a business has an increased liability in comparison to an individual, insurance companies exclude most business-related activity from personal auto policies. Commercial auto policies protect your business from financial losses resulting from an accident. They often include a broader range of coverages, such as physical damage (comprehensive and collision coverage), medical payments, uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection, loss of use/rental reimbursement coverage, and emergency roadside assistance. They can be tailored to suit your needs—and they don’t always cost more than a personal auto policy would.

 

Do I need a Commercial Auto Policy?

If you’re not sure if you need a commercial auto policy, think about how and if your vehicles are used in your business. Certain types of activities and situations definitely call for a commercial auto policy, including the following:

  • The vehicle is used for pick up or delivery of goods, or for a taxi or other livery service (Uber or Lyft drivers have special needs—see “Coverage Options for Uber and Lyft Drivers.”)
  • The vehicle is owned or registered to a partnership, business, corporation, or some other entity
  • The vehicle is driven on an occasional or regular basis by employees or non-listed drivers
  • The vehicle is leased or rented to someone else
  • The vehicle is outfitted with permanent equipment, such as a ladder rack or permanent tool box used in your business

 

Whether you’ve started a side hustle, you’re an owner/operator of a one-person business, or if you employ multiple people and have a fleet of vehicles, we can help you find a competitive commercial auto policy. L & M Insurance Group has been serving the car insurance and commercial auto insurance needs of Riverview and surrounding communities for more than 10 years. Please call us at 813-672-4100 to discuss your situation, and/or to get a free, no-obligation quote, or contact us online.

 

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Insure Your Rig: Commercial Trucking Insurance

Photo courtesy Chris Sharkman via Pixabay

Need Insurance for your Rig? We’ve Got you Covered.

Whether you’re an independent owner-operator, or you manage a fleet of trucks, L & M Insurance Group can provide all your commercial trucking insurance needs. We cover all types of trucks, including tractor trucks, semi-trailer trucks, tow trucks, box trucks, and dump trucks.

Commercial Trucking Insurance Coverage Types

Commercial trucking insurance protects your assets and your business in the event of an accident. Here are the major types of coverage your policy can provide:

 

  • Liability coverage is mandatory. This pays for any legal liability you have towards others for physical damage as well as injuries caused by the truck in an accident. Liability limit requirements depend on the type of truck, what you’re hauling, and whether or not you operate intrastate (only in Florida) or interstate (crossing into other states). Call L & M Insurance Group and we can help you determine what limits you need.
  • Bobtail/deadheading or non-trucking liability coverage protects a driver’s or company’s liability when the truck is traveling without a trailer (“bobtailing”) or with an empty trailer (“deadheading”).
  • Cargo coverage protects your truck’s load (cargo). Some shipping companies require it. We bundle cargo coverage with liability coverage to save you money.
  • Physical damage coverage covers the truck and/or trailer itself if it’s damaged in an accident, or other covered peril, such as fire or theft.

Get a Commercial Trucking Insurance Quote

To get an accurate quote, you’ll need a copy of your current insurance policy’s declarations page (“dec” page), the driver’s license numbers of all drivers, vehicle identification numbers of all trucks, and information on any safety features of the trucks. You’ll also need your DOT number and your FEIN number.

 

How to save money with Commercial Trucking Insurance

Commercial trucking insurance isn’t cheap, but there are ways to save money. Some companies offer a three to 10 percent discount up front if you give them access to the information from your truck’s electronic logging device (ELD). Insurance companies periodically check the information from your ELD to evaluate driving habits and number of safety inspections compared to other drivers in the industry. The more safety conscious you and your drivers are, the larger your discount will be—even rising as high as 18 percent of your policy premium.

 

Other factors determining your premium include the type of equipment your truck has, the type and value of the cargo you typically carry, and your route.

 

Protect yourself and your business by buying a commercial trucking policy that best fits your needs. Call L & M Insurance Group at 813-672-4100 for a free, no-obligation quote.

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Business Owner Policy (BOP) Basics

If you’re starting a small business, you have many decisions to make—including what sort of insurance coverage your new business needs to safeguard your assets and income. Don’t worry—at L & M Insurance Group, we’re here to help!

 

Let us introduce you to the insurance package with the catchy name “BOP”—which stands for Business Owner’s Policy. A BOP combines property and liability insurance into one policy, and can protect your business from the most common risks, such as fire, theft, lawsuits, or even the loss of income associated with an interruption to your business. It’s a convenient—and cost effective—way to protect your business.

 

You can also add additional coverages (see below) to customize insurance coverage for your particular needs. BOPs are great for any small to medium-sized business (100 employees or fewer) with a storefront and any business personal property.

 

Typically, a BOP includes:

Property insurance—protects the physical location of your business, whether you own or rent. Also provides coverage for your inventory, customer data, equipment, furnishings, and records and documents.

Liability insurance—provides coverage if you’re sued for an injury or property damage, even if you did nothing wrong. Also protects you from lawsuits if you injure someone’s reputation or infringe on someone’s copyright.

Business interruption insurance—provides coverage to replace lost income if you’re unable to do business due to a covered loss. It may also contain coverage for the expense of having to operate out of a temporary location.

 

Depending on your business, you may also need additional coverages not contained in a BOP—such as Worker’s Compensation, Professional Liability (Errors and Omissions), Data Breach, or Commercial Auto. (We can help you with those, too—just give us a call.)

 

Every business is different and has different needs. Let your L & M Insurance Group insurance specialist help you with your business insurance needs. We’ve been serving Riverview and surrounding communities for more than 10 years, and we’re here to help. Please call us at 813-672-4100, or contact us online.

Starting a Side Hustle? You Might Need Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial Auto Policy

Photo by Dan Chung on Unsplash

More and more people are starting side hustles, whether to make a little extra money to cover their bills, or to start their dream business. If you’re one of those people, you should consider buying a commercial auto insurance policy. It’s not just big businesses with multiple vehicles that need this coverage—it’s anyone who uses his or her vehicle for business reasons on a regular basis.

Personal auto policies almost always exclude business use, and if you’re in an accident, your claim could be denied. Be honest with your agent about the nature and extent of your business use of your vehicle so he or she can help you find the best deal on coverage you need.

Here are a few situations that call for a discussion with your agent about a commercial auto policy:

  • Do you use your vehicle to pick up or deliver goods such as newspapers, pizza, or other goods, or do you provide messenger services?
  • Is your vehicle registered or titled in the name of a corporation or partnership?
  • Do you have employees who drive your vehicle for business purposes on an occasional or regular basis?
  • Does your vehicle have special equipment permanently installed, such as ladder racks or permanent toolboxes that are used in your business?
  • Do you regularly drive to job sites or to meet clients, or sometimes transport clients from one location to another?

Bottom line: If you’re using your vehicle for business purposes, you need commercial auto insurance.

Commercial auto policies are designed to protect you and your business from financial harm if you’re in an accident. Though there are many factors that must be considered when rating a commercial auto policy, since the major coverages are basically the same, commercial auto insurance doesn’t always cost more than a personal auto policy.

L & M Insurance Group is a local independent insurance agency with the expertise to help you make sure your insurance coverage will protect your business and you personally from claims, even unwarranted ones. We have been serving the car insurance and commercial auto insurance needs of Riverview and surrounding communities for more than 10 years. Call 813-672-4100 for more information about commercial auto insurance (or car insurance in general), or click here to contact us by email.

Do I need commercial insurance on my truck or can I leave it on my personal auto policy?

Florida Commercial Auto Insurance Policies

Including Brandon, Tampa, and Riverview, Florida

commercial auto insurance Brandon Florida

Do I need commercial insurance on my truck or can I leave it on my personal auto policy?

That’s a great question and one that I hear a lot. There are many issues to consider before a question like that can be answered, and a good agent will know what to ask. Here are a few questions I like to ask before I can make a recommendation:

 

  1. Is the vehicle owned by an individual, corporation, LLC or some other entity?
  2. How many people drive the vehicle? Just you, or do you have employees that drive occasionally?
  3. What mileage radius does your business operate in?
  4. How many job sites a day do you visit?
  5. Do you have any signage or advertising on your vehicle?
  6. Do you transport goods or people for a fee? In other words, what is your business, or what do you do?
  7. Do you have ladder racks or permanent tool boxes attached to your vehicle?
  8. Do you tow a trailer in relation to your work?
  9. Are your employees, if you have them, likely to be driving their own cars for your business?

 

Once I have a firm grasp of what your business does and how you do it, I am able to make a recommendation.   I do have companies that will allow one vehicle on the personal auto policy to be used for business, with a small business use surcharge.

 

However, we have to be very careful because personal policies are written with the average private citizen and their needs in mind, while commercial policies are designed to address the unique needs and situations that arise in commercial use. We need to make sure we write your policy properly so that if you file a claim, it’s paid. You don’t want your car insurance company to deny your claim simply because your particular business use violated the terms of your personal car insurance policy.

 

It’s important to know that commercial insurance is not always more costly than a personal auto policy. Many times when I write a commercial policy the premium is lower than what it was on a personal auto policy.   So, PLEASE don’t try and second guess your agent. Countless times I have gone around and around with a client, convinced the vehicle was being used for commercial purposes. But the client, believing he/she will save money by not providing me all the info I need to help them, flat out hides the fact that the vehicle is used commercially. When they finally relent and work with me, they are almost always surprised by how reasonable the cost is. Remember, I am your insurance advocate–I work for you. Getting you the insurance you need at the lowest premium is my goal.

Brandon commercial auto insurance

 

Still not sure? No problem. L&M Insurance Group can help you determine the coverage you need based on how your vehicles are used in conducting your business and who will be driving your vehicles. L&M Insurance Group has been serving the car insurance and commercial auto insurance needs of Riverview and surrounding communities for more than 10 years. Call 813-672-4100 for more information about commercial auto insurance (or car insurance in general), or click here to contact me by email.

 

Congratulations Kristin!

Kristin Gott Insurance Agent for L&M InsuranceCongratulations Kristin!

 

We would like to extend our congratulations to Kristin Gott, who is now a fully licensed Registered Customer Service Representative.   Because she completed the required online college classes to get the designation, she was able to successfully obtain her Florida 4-40 customer service representative license to sell and service insurance.

If you talk to her be sure to congratulate her on this accomplishment.

Well done, Kristin.

Can I Save Money With a Multi-Policy Discount?

Can I save money with a multi-policy discount?

Why Bundling Insurance Might Cost You More

multi policy insurance discount

Another way I hear this question asked is; if I bundle my auto and home insurance with you, will I get a discount? It’s a great question, and there are companies out there that offer discounts if you purchase both your auto and homeowners insurance with them.   However, it’s usually the captive agencies that offer it. Captive agents sell for just one company, generally one with a familiar name that has been built up with a tremendous amount of advertising, but in the end, you are just buying a brand. They will provide one quote from one company, and it may or may not include a multi-policy discount.

Your best rate will almost always come from an independent agency. An independent insurance agency like L&M Insurance Group will offer you the most choices in coverage options and prices. Independent agencies represent more than just one national brand–for instance L&M Insurance Group represents more than 40 different insurance carriers.   We know it’s convenient for you to have all your insurance with one agency, and that’s why we work so hard to make sure we represent the best companies with the lowest rates for all types of insurance–your car insurance, home insurance, commercial insurance, renters insurance, and life insurance.independent vs captive insurance agency

A couple of months back, I got a call from someone looking for a better rate on his homeowners insurance and a rental property he owned as well. He was insured with a national brand insurance company that you would recognize instantly. The individual believed he was getting a great rate because he was told he would get a “special” rate for bundling his insurance. When I finished quoting and writing his two properties, I was able to save him THOUSANDS of dollars–that’s how much he was overpaying.   He was shocked and thrilled at the same time.

I have been licensed to write insurance for 24 years and during this time I can honestly say I rarely see where a policy could be lower in price bundled than if you quoted both out separately. I have found that the companies that bundle either offer a decent homeowner insurance rate and kill you on your auto premiums or offer decent auto premiums and have horrible home insurance rates. Think about it for a moment–if their rates are so great on both auto and home, why do they need to give a bundling discount?   Because it’s a great marketing gimmick and they make more money!


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 U.S. National Auto Insurance Study found that customers who had auto and home insurance policies with two different companies were more satisfied with what they’re paying for auto insurance than customers who bundled their auto and home insurance policies.


Of course, we at L&M Insurance Group would love to write all your policies–and it’s convenient for you to have all your policies in one place. Our focus will not be on who will offer a bundled price, it will be on how can we write all your insurance for the lowest price, the best coverage and with the best carriers. We represent your interests as an independent agency–unlike a call center or direct writer that writes with just one national brand.

So the answer is no, I don’t believe you can save money taking advantage of a bundling discount. But you can save money if you shop with an independent agent like me.   So give me a call–you will never find someone who will work harder to save you money and protect your interests.   Click this link to send me an email or call me today at 813-672-4100