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How does my trucking business’s SAFER score affect my insurance rates?

Your SAFER score may not only signal issues within your trucking business. It can directly impact your truck insurance rate. Learning more about how this score works and how an insurer views this score will help improve audit performance and keep insurance premiums low.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Goes Into a SAFER Score

As you likely know, in 2014, the FMCSA centralized its audit data. They called it the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records system, a.k.a, SAFER. Their goal was to improve driver safety and keep unsafe drivers off the road.

The SAFER score, also known as BASICs, includes several areas within the typical trucking business:

  • Driving record — This includes the number and types of driving violations like speeding, reckless driving, or texting while driving in a commercial vehicle among your drivers.
  • Crash Indication — This looks at the involvement of those drivers in crashes, making note of severity and frequency to calculate a score.
  • HOS Compliance — This part of the score is determined by the number of times drivers are found to be driving while sick or fatigued, including requiring or permitting drivers to drive more than 11 hours.  Failing to properly keep records to demonstrate compliance can also lead to a poor score.
  • Vehicle maintenance — That includes regularly scheduling and completing maintenance and making timely repairs when a concern comes to light. Proper load securement also falls into this category.
  • Controlled Substances — This is a look at any violations involving the use of impairing substances, including misuse of prescribed or over the counter drugs. A trucking company might also fail this part of the audit if they do not properly test drivers for substance use.
  • HM Compliance — This involves how hazardous materials are labeled and transported.
  • Driver Fitness — Are the drivers trained well, licensed, and capable of driving the trucks they are driving?

How the SAFER Score Impacts Your Trucking Insurance Premiums

Audits like these may seem like a hassle. But ultimately centralized data and regular external audits hold you and your competitors accountable for driver, customer, and public safety.

It, therefore, makes sense that the SAFER score will be a major factor when determining how much your trucking company pays for truck insurance.

If you have poor SAFER scores, the FMCSA can label you as an unsafe carrier. Not only is this information available to potential customers. It’s also made available to insurance.

Your insurer may consider your company to be high risk. They will charge you more in the form of higher premiums and a high per vehicle deductible.

How to Improve Your SAFER Score and Lower Your Premiums

These high rates will typically stay in place for a minimum of 12 months or until your score improves. To improve your score, you must evaluate why you received a poor score.

  • Which areas can you quickly improve to have the greatest impact? Start there. If you failed the maintenance portion of the SAFER score, establishing a pre-trip inspection checklist is a great way to get this score up. Add items to the list that are commonly overlooked.
  • Reinforce safety protocols and proper procedures within the organization. Reward safe driving. Discourage cutting corners and taking unnecessary risks. It’s not worth it.
  • If over-scheduling drivers or over-promising to customers by office staff is putting extra pressures to perform beyond their capacity, address these occurrences.

Evaluate your insurance options. While your premiums and deductibles are higher until the score is improved, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get the best rates to make the best out a tough situation. We do the insurance shopping for you to find you the best rates. Get your free quotes today.