We have all seen and heard the horrible stories: another accident involving an 18 wheeler with serious injuries and the questions that follow: was the truck driver being safe and could this have been prevented? Even if the trucker is not at fault in modern America a lawsuit is still almost inevitable. While this may not come as a surprise did you know that vacuum trucks often come under the same scrutiny as well?
The reality is that no matter how careful and safe you are vacuum trucks are involved in accidents with passenger vehicles every day and those accidents can often lead to serious injuries or even death. As a septic company your vacuum trucks are your biggest liability. How can you defend and protect your business if the unthinkable happens or if an allegation is made even when you are not at fault? By reviewing these five considerations you will have a better understanding of where your insurance program may need assistance.
Consideration #1: Make sure you are working with an insurance professional that understands Vacuum Trucks
Many commercial insurance brokers will have some ability to write coverage for vacuum trucks but that does not mean they can offer the best solution or even that they understand the unique coverages needed for Vacuum Trucks. The commercial insurance specialist you work with should at least be an expert in commercial auto liability for large trucks and preferably has prior experience working with vacuum trucks.
Consideration #2: Are your auto liability limits high enough?
I would never recommend a lower auto liability limit than $1,000,000 for ANY commercial vehicle; especially a large truck like a vacuum truck. However I see policies written all the time with dangerously low limits. Policies like this are written either by inexperienced agents or agents who are only trying to sell a policy at any cost. Your business deserves better. The difference in premium is typically not very much; certainly not enough to offset the consequences. If you are skeptical about this advice think of it this way: Let’s say God forbid your vacuum truck is involved in an accident with a minivan and seven people were injured or killed and their families’ filed seven different lawsuits for damages; does even one million dollars of coverage sound like enough in this situation? This brings me to the next consideration…
Consideration #3: Should you have a commercial umbrella policy for your vacuum truck(s)?
The answer to this question is yes. Think about the scenario above: In a terrible incident like this even a $1,000,000 auto liability limit will be exhausted very quickly and any excess damages will be your responsibility. Of course it goes without saying that this can certainly put you out of business. The more vacuum trucks you have on the road the more likely accidents are. Umbrella policies are typically not that expensive for the level of additional coverage they provide and will give you real peace of mind that the business you have worked so hard to create is better protected.
Consideration #4: What about pollution coverage?
Question: Does your commercial auto liability policy cover your vacuum truck have coverage for pollution? The answer is no. Pollution is a coverage that is excluded under the commercial auto liability policy form and can only be purchased typically as a separate policy. This means that if your vacuum truck is involved in an accident causing the spill of wastes, unless you have a pollution insurance policy, you will not be covered and the costs of such a spill could be very large. Imagine the expense if the accident is considered to have caused environmental harm. Would your business be able to manage the losses associated with the required clean up without insurance?
Consideration #5: What if you are thinking, “I like the insurance company my policy is written with but it is true that my agent is not a specialist in vacuum trucks, is there any way I can find out if I am covered correctly?”
The good news is the answer to this question is yes. A qualified commercial insurance expert specializing in vacuum trucks should be more than happy to provide you with a no cost policy review. This way you can have peace of mind in getting a second opinion. In addition, whether there are problems or not, you can often easily transfer the policy seamlessly to another agent. In other words there is a good chance that you can enjoy the benefit of working with a vacuum truck insurance specialist without having to totally rewrite your commercial auto policy. This way you can have peace of mind knowing your insurance program for your vacuum trucks is in good hands, and corrected if need be, with no inconvenience to you.
The Bottom Line:
While it can seem overwhelming the first step in being confident your vacuum truck(s) are insured correctly is finding an insurance expert that specializes in vacuum trucks. Your business is unique and you deserve the help of a vacuum truck insurance specialists that will partner with you to make sure your insurance program is the best it can be. By looking at affordable options such as increasing your current limits and/or adding an umbrella policy, or adding pollution coverage you can feel secure in knowing that your business is insured right and for a good value.