Below are some of the common questions we are asked. If you don’t see your question here, please click Find an Agent.
Why do most insurance companies object to taking an occasional passenger in my truck?
Unless your FMCSA authority allows you to haul paying passengers, you have no legal authority to take riders. The only way someone riding in your truck would be acceptable to most insurance companies is if they are an employee of yours. Otherwise they are a member of the public with no control over your truck. If they are injured in a crash that is your fault, they can sue you. Since you exceeded your authority by giving them a ride, your company can’t defend you and the settlement is likely to be high.
I’m thinking about leasing onto a large regional carrier. I have to sign a Hold Harmless before they’ll let me work for them. What does this do?
A Hold Harmless clause in your contract with the carrier protects them from liability for damages or losses that you cause while operating on their behalf.
The shipper I’m hauling for wants proof that my policy has a Waiver of Subrogation endorsement. What is that?
When your insurance company attaches this endorsement to your policy it is saying your shipper can’t be held liable for any accident you have that they may have caused. Let’s say the shipper insists you pull their trailer to deliver their product. Unknown to you, the trailer’s brakes are shot and this causes you to jackknife, which leads to a multi-vehicle accident. Even if the bad brakes on the shipper’s trailer caused the accident, only your policy will pay the claim. Your insurance company can’t recover, or subrogate, from the shipper’s insurance company.
What is an MCS-90?
The MCS-90 is an endorsement to the ISO Business Auto and Motor Carrier Coverage Forms. If you operate as a FMCSA regulated motor carrier, you are required you carry commercial auto liability insurance for the protection of the public. It is very important that you insure all the vehicles you own and / or operate because the MCS-90 obligates your insurance company to provide coverage to injured members of the public even if the company is not aware that you own or operate the truck that caused the injury. Click here to learn more about this important endorsement: https://easternatlanticins.
What does Hired Auto Liability cover?
Hired Auto coverage provides Liability insurance for vehicles you lease, hire, rent, or borrow to use in connection with your business.
What is stated amount physical damage coverage?
A “Stated Amount” is the value you tell us your commercial vehicle is worth. If you sold your truck, tractor or trailer this week, the price you’d expect to get for your vehicle would be its stated amount.
At Eastern Atlantic, we believe stated amount coverage allows you to insure your truck, tractor or trailer for what it is actually worth. The stated amount includes your vehicle’s condition, the value of a new engine, special equipment, special modifications, or improvements you may have added since the date of purchase.
HOW IMPORTANT IS AN ACCURATE STATED AMOUNT IF I HAVE A CLAIM?
If you have an accident, Eastern Atlantic will compare the stated amount you gave us when you asked us to insure your vehicle with its actual cash value, or ACV, at the time of your accident. Eastern Atlantic will pay the lesser of these two amounts. Therefore, it is very important to make sure the stated amount you tell us is as accurate as possible and that you review your stated amounts at renewal time.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I UNDERESTIMATE MY STATED AMOUNT?
If you don’t give us an accurate stated amount, we will not be able to give you what your vehicle is really worth at the time of the accident if it is a total loss. If your vehicle is not totaled, we can only pay up to the stated amount, or the ACV, whichever is less, to repair it.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO DETERMINE MY STATED AMOUNT?
Determining stated amounts is a process that requires a little of your time and a good knowledge of how your truck, tractor or trailer is equipped. However, the more accurate your stated amount, the more accurate your physical damage premium is likely to be, and the less chance you take of being underinsured.
A good way to start is to check out a number of sites on the Internet such as:
You might also consult:
- The manufacturers of your vehicles.
- Dealerships specializing in selling vehicles of the types you own.
- Banks and other commercial vehicle lenders.
ESTIMATING YOUR STATED AMOUNT
Whichever method, or combination of methods, you choose; remember to include your best estimates of the following:
- The condition of your vehicle (including its mileage).
- Have you installed a new engine, transmission or other major component? Have you rebuilt any of these?
- Have you added any new, or upgraded any pre-existing special equipment?
With a little time and attention to detail, you can feel more assured your commercial vehicles are adequately insured and that you are paying a fair premium for your coverage.
If you still have questions about stated amount physical damage coverage, please read your policy, including your STATED AMOUNT INSURANCE endorsement, form CA 99 28, or contact your agent.
What is a driver surcharge?
A “Driver Surcharge” is an additional charge applied to your auto liability and physical damage premium based on the driving records of all employee and long-term leased drivers operating under your authority.
At Eastern Atlantic, we believe experienced and safety conscious drivers are less likely to be involved in preventable accidents. However, not all drivers have the same amount of experience and attitude toward safety. Furthermore, some experienced drivers who have had accidents and/or violations are worth keeping but, are harder to insure. Rather than excluding such drivers or non-renewing the insureds who hire them, an appropriate driver surcharge is intended to provide the economic incentive to hire and retain the best drivers possible.
I HIRE ONLY GOOD DRIVERS. WHAT CAN EASTERN ATLANTIC DO FOR ME?
Hiring drivers with adequate experience and good driving records will lower or even eliminate your driver surcharge. But, if you have a formal safety program, low driver turnover, good hiring practices, etc., you may qualify for a substantial discount. Ask your agent for details.
If you can’t always hire drivers with the best records, here’s how the driver surcharge works:
HOW IS MY DRIVER SURCHARGE DETERMINED?
An average driver surcharge, based on the previous (36) months experience and driving records of each driver, is used to determine the driver surcharge rate. The driver surcharge rate is applied to the auto liability and physical damage (if applicable) rates to determine the driver surcharge premium.
WHAT CAN I DO TO CONTROL MY DRIVER SURCHARGE?
Avoid hiring drivers with less than two (2) years CDL experience, multiple moving violations (especially excessive speeding tickets), at-fault accidents and, of course, major violations such as DUI, DWI, reckless driving, etc. These will keep your driver surcharge rate as low as possible and could even eliminate it.
Why report all new drivers?
At Eastern Atlantic, we believe experienced and safety conscious drivers are less likely to be involved in preventable accidents. However, we realize drivers change jobs a lot. If you operate five or more trucks you may seldom go more than a few months without hiring at least one new driver. Much of our underwriting and pricing is based on the experience and driving records of those drivers you tell us about. When you hire one without telling us it can lead to problems later in the policy term.
The following questions and answers assume the unreported driver is unacceptable or, acceptable with a surcharge, under our guidelines:
I REPORT ALL MY DRIVERS. WHAT CAN EASTERN ATLANTIC DO FOR ME?
First, thank you for reporting all your drivers! If you hire or lease only experienced drivers with good records and your turnover is low, you may already have received a substantial discount or, you may qualify for one at your next renewal. Ask your agent for details.
When we become aware of an unreported driver, our response is determined by our underwriting guidelines and the circumstances of each case. The following Q&A provide a general idea of what to expect.
WHAT IF I DON’T REPORT A NOT-SO-GOOD DRIVER WHO THEN HAS AN ACCIDENT?
While no pat answer can fit all situations, this question goes to the heart of why it is so important to report new drivers. Many courts have been known to award higher settlements due to so-called “negligent hiring” practices. Depending on the seriousness of the claim and your unreported driver’s history, these awards can exceed your policy limits. If we have to pay a serious claim because of an unreported and unacceptable driver we didn’t have the chance to underwrite, we may have little choice but to nonrenew your policy. That can make finding replacement coverage more difficult and expensive for you.
HOW DOES NOT REPORTING A DRIVER AFFECT MY PREMIUM?
If you hire or contract with a driver who is outside our guidelines you may avoid paying an additional driver surcharge premium now. However, if we learn of that driver through an inspection or because he or she later has an accident, we may increase your policy premium at renewal due to your failure to report. And, you would still have to pay the driver surcharge if that driver is still working for you. By reporting all drivers promptly, Eastern Atlantic has the opportunity to advise you if a new driver is outside our underwriting guidelines. You might still have to pay the surcharge but, you could qualify for a discount for prompt reporting.
WHAT IF I REPORT A DRIVER YOU DON’T WANT TO INSURE?
We won’t tell you not to hire or contract with the driver or to terminate him or her. Our job is to insure your business – not to run it. However, we reserve our right to protect our business from unusually high risk. In most cases, we will accept the driver with a pro-rated surcharge based on the size of your operation and overall driver profile. In a worst case, if the driver is outside our guidelines, you would be asked to sign an endorsement stating if we must pay a claim because of that driver’s negligence we may seek reimbursement from you for that claim.