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For companies in the transportation industry, hiring safe drivers is obviously a top priority. But for many small and mid-sized companies in other lines of business, it's often an afterthought.
But it shouldn't be. Cars and trucks represent a significant liability exposure. And this can include not only the vehicles owned by your company, but also the personal vehicles and rental cars used by your employees on company business.
So what can a business do to control costs and liability? Here are a few key strategies:
Hire safe drivers. This is essential to sound risk management - and it helps control both your auto insurance premiums and your liability exposure. Be sure that candidates answer all the questions on your application form about their driving history. But don't stop there. Verify this information by checking their motor vehicle records - including their accident history. Since an individual's motor vehicle record is private information, the company needs to incorporate this requirement into the job description and get a waiver signed by the employee or potential employee. Today, many businesses also require drug tests and criminal background checks. Others use professional assessments about behavioral styles, values, and attitudes to validate the impression candidates make during the job interview.
Provide education. By offering classes in safe driving, you show your employees that you are serious about safety. You can reinforce this commitment by periodic reminders that driving while fatigued, distracted by texting or talking on cellphones, using alcohol or drugs, speeding, and other risky behaviors are totally off limits.
Invest in maintenance. Schedule routine maintenance and make needed repairs immediately to keep your company's cars and trucks in sound operating condition. And if employees drive their vehicles on company business, be sure they are also well maintained.
Make sure you have the right insurance coverage. Unfortunately, even when companies follow these best practices, accidents can happen. So it's essential to have the right kind and amount of insurance to cover claims for property damage or injuries caused by one of your vehicles. And if your people use their own cars for business, be sure their vehicles are also properly insured.
At Mid-State Insurance, we welcome your questions about safety and risk management as well as insurance coverage. So if you have a question about any of these areas, I invite your to talk it over with one of our advisors.