The consequences of dishonesty regarding the information provided for an insurance policy can be devastating.
Recently a gentleman from Indiana contacted me. He said he was starting his own trucking business and would like an insurance quote. He had previously owned a trucking business and was looking to re-enter the industry. We discussed trucking in general, and it was obvious that his previous experience had been important. We even shared a few stories of truck drivers and our individual experiences of the negative impact of the ever expanding FMCSA regulations on trucking.
All in all a great conversation between two old fashioned truck owners.
We started and completed his request together. It provided information about its drivers, trucks and trailers, as well as its specific operational details. It looked very promising. I was optimistic for him and believed he would receive quotes that would fall on the lower end of the premium rates.
I submitted his application to several insurance companies, as I usually do, to see which insurance company would offer him the lowest premium for the amount of coverage he was looking for. To my surprise, each of these insurance companies “refused” (a polite word for refuse) to provide an insurance quote.
I have reviewed all the information. No driver had a ticket or violation, there was only one insurance claim from the gentleman’s past (which is not uncommon for most of us), and the trucks and the trailers were all on the newer side.
I wanted to find out more and see if there was anything that I did incorrectly that caused all insurance companies to refuse to quote this gentleman. I contacted one of the insurers to which I had submitted his request. They informed me that his previous FMCSA operating authority had been revoked by the FMCSA because his insurance had been canceled by the insurance company.
It was then that I learned, as Paul Harvey said, the rest of the story. Everything the gentleman told me about his past as a truck driver was true. But it’s what he didn’t tell me that made all insurance companies refuse to quote.
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I called him and asked if this was a mistake or if he knew his previous FMCSA operating authority had been revoked because his insurance had been canceled. It was then that he revealed why he was re-entering the trucking industry with new authority. Remember that insurance claim? Well, this claim was for an accident in which one of his trucks was at fault, and neither the truck nor the driver involved in that accident was listed on his commercial auto insurance policy. The owner had only listed one of his many trucks on this policy and had purchased a personal auto insurance policy for his additional trucks in an effort to save money. As a result, it has not been able to purchase insurance to restore its former federal operating authority.
He believed he could just start a new business and be able to continue his trucking business. This is not the case. Worse yet, he will probably never be able to own a trucking business or operate under his own authority again.
If you are ever tempted, or if someone (a business partner, friend, or even an insurance agent) suggests you do so, mislead your insurance company, don’t! Here are some of the most common deceptions (lies, basically) that I have encountered:
- Does not include all vehicles owned or operated by police (this includes trucks and trailers).
- Not including all drivers on the policy.
- Use someone else’s address as your garage address.
- Use a post office box address as the physical location of the business.
While these deceptions can lower your premium, they are also valid reasons for an insurance company to terminate your insurance policy. Once that happens, it follows you like a bad smell after hitting a skunk. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get rid of it and no one wants to park next to you in the truck stop. This is essentially how insurance companies treat dishonest truck owners.
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