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Auto Hauler driving on highway.

Auto Haulers: Protect Your Business

Most business require a variety of insurance coverage.  Truckers face the added expense of downtime coverage, bob-tail coverage, and more.  Auto haulers often need even more cargo insurance due to the potential liability to the individual cars being transported.  Meet with your insurance broker on a regular basis to make sure you have adequate insurance.  You may even consider buying some type of umbrella coverage or excess liability coverage to further protect your business and personal property from the cost of any unexpected or large liability.  Be sure to confirm what types of losses are covered.  Most policies have some exclusions.

Recovering Your Losses

Umbrella policies and liability insurance protect you if you are at-fault for someone else’s injuries or losses.  In most cases, truckers have that covered due to DOT regulations and motor carrier requirements.  Getting their own losses reimbursed is where truckers often find themselves under-insured or uninsured.  Almost all of our clients, past and present, have under-insured or failed to insure for downtime losses.  This isn’t necessarily negligence on their part.  It’s a consideration of doing business.  Downtime coverage can be quite expensive and often doesn’t cover your true losses.

Required Versus Optional Insurance Coverage

No one plans to be in an accident, and you certainly don’t want to over-insure yourself. You don’t want to lose money by paying for unnecessary insurance.  So, how do you decide?

Of course, you must carry the minimum insurance as required by law.  In addition, your customers may insist on a certain level of higher coverage to use your services.  If you’re leased to a motor carrier, they may require additional coverage. In most other cases, you decide based on your risk tolerance and financial situation.  For example, your business may have adequate savings to cover your expenses for up to two months while a new owner operator may not have yet acquired significant reserves.  The new owner operator may opt for some downtime coverage while the seasoned trucker with savings may decline downtime coverage.

Not At-fault?  Another Road to Recovery

Downtime losses may be recovered from the other party or their insurance if you weren’t at fault.  This could be your best option for recovering a significant portion of your true losses.  If you obtain minimal downtime coverage, you can still pursue the at-fault party for the remaining amount not covered by your own insurance.  In most cases, compensation will take time and require proof of lost income.  Plus, you’ll need to show that you did everything possible to get back on the road quickly.  This may include renting comparable equipment when available and following up with the shop regularly.

One Auto Hauler’s Experience

We had an auto hauler client instructed to back into a garage, directed by the garage employee. The employee kept directing the auto hauler to continue backing until the trailer of the auto hauler smashed into the RV sitting behind him in the shop.

The RV owner made a demand to the auto hauler for the cost of the RV’s repairs. We made a demand on the garage for the damage to the auto hauler’s damaged trailer because it was down for two weeks for repairs, new parts, and welding. We were able to resolve the cost of repairs and the two weeks of lost income while redirecting the RV owner’s demand to the shop for payment.

If you’re in a similar situation, contact us for a free consultation.  Call 904-278-7688 or complete our form.

Read more about auto haulers with accident claims.

Article reviewed for accuracy by attorney Kelsea Eckert.