Lower Auto Insurance with Fleet Telematics
Written by: Eric Petersen, CIC
We all know that in today’s world, data is king.
Fortunately, tree services have access to so much more data now than they ever did before. This data can help business owners make sound decisions to improve their company. By using a fleet telematics system, a tree care company can gather vital statistics and data on their vehicles and their drivers thereby improving their bottom line in a number of ways, especially by lowering their auto insurance.
With auto insurance costs on a steady rise, I want to look at three key ways a strong fleet telematics system can help lower your business auto insurance cost.
1. GPS Tracking
The more data an insurance company has, the more confident they feel in the prices that they offer to their customers. Tree care companies that install Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking software can summarize their data and give it to the insurance company to show how they manage their fleet and how they deserve lower auto insurance pricing.
I do want to mention that, there is often a misconception that installing GPS tracking software within your fleet signifies a lack of trust between you and your employees. To quickly dispel any negative feelings about GPS tracking software, explain to your entire team the reasons for using the technology and how it will benefit them. Knowing where your vehicles are will help you provide more accurate information to clients regarding estimated arrivals to job sites, thereby increasing customer satisfaction. If a crew gets a job done faster than planned and has time to do another (more hours=more money for the crew), GPS can identify which vehicle to send to the next job based on current locations. Lastly, this will help you ensure vehicles are being used within company guidelines (which of course are described in the vehicle use section of your employee handbook, right?) limiting the liability to the company and helping to avoid an unsafe situation.
2. Vehicle Maintenance
A strong fleet maintenance program shows the insurance company how serious the business takes preventative maintenance by attempting to avoid issues with their vehicles. This obviously will lessen the number of accidents and therefore claims an insurance company needs to pay out.
Of course, the benefits of improving your fleet maintenance stretches beyond just lowering your business auto insurance. Limiting vehicle downtime maximizes your crew’s efficiency. A good telematics program will monitor things like engine hours, total mileage, as well as potential faults within the vehicle that your employees may not be able to see during the pre/post-trip inspections. Speaking of which, these inspections should be done as well as logged for DOT compliance. Check out this article for more information on DOT COMPLIANCE.
3. Driver Behavior
Distracted driving has destroyed the auto insurance results for insurance companies in recent years. There are so many small fender benders today that insurance companies are raising their prices to keep up with it and distracted driving is the main culprit. Simply put, if a tree service can monitor the driver’s behavior the chances of an accident get reduced dramatically.
When your drivers know they are being monitored, they are more likely to drive with increased awareness and limit their distractions (texting or eating). This intentional focus on better driving is actually a good thing for them as no one wants to get in a car accident, but we all get over-confident in our driving abilities and take unnecessary risks while driving. Consider different ways to reward your drivers for strong driving habits to show them you support their safety. A good telematics system will also provide you with more data to show how/why accidents are happening, giving you the data to help prevent future accidents from occuring.
It is without a doubt that fleet telematics is here to stay and will have a significant impact on your bottom line, especially with your business auto insurance. Telematics provides the proof to the insurance company that a tree service will be a profitable risk for them and highlights reasons why that individual tree service should get lower auto insurance rates. I should also mention that as far as I’ve seen, tree services are not being penalized by insurance companies for poor driving habits.
I encourage you to check with your insurance agency and see if there are any options available directly with your insurance provider. If not, I encourage you to reach out to an ArboRisk team member to discuss how we can help you set up a telematics program free of charge.