Drivers don’t normally think about carrier insurance as an item they should be concerned with, but this article may make you rethink that issue. After all, I have never had a driver ask me about our company insurance when I was in a supervisory position. I have never thought to ask a company in an interview about their insurance situation. We assume that the carrier is insured for their needs and work on getting hired. Read on and find out why you may want to add the insurance question to the list of items you should be asking a carrier.
I was talking with a former student who was in my class in a training school not to long ago and she was telling me a horror story that happened to her sister whom was also a new driver. Her sister had taken a job with a carrier that offered her a job as a new student. She made the classic mistake of not looking far enough into the carrier to see if they were operating above board. Things went well for a while until an incident happened and she was informed by enforcement officers that she didn’t have the correct insurance. When the company was questioned about it they had not paid the premiums and left this poor driver saddled with the financial debt of the incident.
In another incident owner operators working for a carrier assumed they were covered properly with insurance for their trucks and any incidents until one had a major accident. It was found that the carrier had not kept up with premiums for the fleet and the driver that had the incident is now left trying to work with legal teams to battle the million dollar hospital bill left behind.
As a driver or owner operator signing on with a company it may be a good idea to add the insurance question to the list of questions you plan to ask a carrier in the interview stage. The first step to making sure you are insured properly is to look for reputable carriers. The top carriers are not running around without the proper insurance for their fleet, they have too much at stake for that. The main areas of insurance you will need is accident, cargo, and medical insurance.
So ask theses three questions about insurance in the interview stage.
- What happens if cargo on my trailer is damaged, who pays for that?
- What happens if I am in an accident, how am I covered?
- The third question is what happens if I am in an incident and hospitalized outside of Ontario? How am I covered and what is the company prepared to do for me or my family? If you don’t get appropriate answers to your questions then run. Make sure once you sign on with a carrier you have the insurance items in writing.
As a new driver you may feel that any carrier that is willing to hire you is doing you a favour, but that isn’t true. Protecting yourself and your career are very important especially in the beginning stages of your career. I see many new drivers saddled with problems early on because they are not taking the right amount of time to check into important areas of the job like insurance. Work with reputable carriers and you will take away a lot of the problems in your career.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com