A thorough risk assessment will lay the foundation for your company’s safety and best practice out on the road, and most insurers will take it as a sign that you’re dedicated to operating as accident-free as possible. And regular driver training will ensure that bad habits don’t creep in. Richard Flint, head of transport at North Yorkshire Police, tells FleetNews.co.uk: “Make employees aware that you will monitor accidents and take action where necessary, such as retraining.”
There are more steps you can take to lower the cost of covering your vehicles, including the following five.
1 Install camera technology
All sorts of safety tech can now be installed on your vehicles, with the aim of servicing three main needs: vehicle tracking in the event of theft and to better aid route planning; monitoring driving behaviour and recording accidents should they occur; and alerting other road users and nearby pedestrians to your intentions.
Exterior cameras, in-cabin monitors and anti-collision detection devices are available from specialist suppliers such as Brigade Electronics. These will afford you protection against the growing trend for fraudulent, ‘crash for cash’ claims, while also helping you to identify whether drivers, especially younger ones, could do with additional training.
2 Increase your excess payments
First of all you need to check that your provider will allow you to raise your excess payments. If they will, then this could be a very effective way to preserve your bottom line. Essentially, by paying a bigger excess, you pay cheaper insurance rates. It’s an ideal solution for companies who are proud of their safety record and confident their best practices will avert future incidents.
However, it does mean that minor incidents could be very costly due to increased excess payments, possibly far outweighing the increased premiums you’d have paid before any change to rates.
3 Shop around before renewing your policy
Wading through thousands of words of providers’ insurance policy small print is enough to make any fleet manager reach for the phone, call their current provider and simply renew their existing deal. But sometimes easiest is not cheapest. Digging around for the best deals might mean you find a policy which lets you pick and choose what is covered and what is not. Items such as windscreen replacement or breakdown cover could be removed entirely and underwritten by separate policies.
4 Combine policies
Your insurer may allow you to roll certain policies into a single, cheaper one. Sheer economy of scale might mean that, should you run the fleet of a larger company, you may be able to add your public and employee liability insurance to your vehicle cover for a cheaper overall rate. Smaller companies may find it harder to convince insurers to offer similar options.
5 Manage your younger drivers carefully
As with private driving, young people aged 17 to 20 are twice as likely to make a claim as any other driver. Many of these claims happen at night. This might mean you need to stipulate that company vehicles are not to be driven after a certain time, and that fronting - the practice of putting younger drivers onto a company’s fleet policy even though they’re not directly employed by it - is not taking place.
For more tips on lowering fleet insurance, head to BusinessZone.co.uk.