Finding the right cargo and trucking insurance in Alberta can be a challenge for commercial fleet owners and operators looking for coverage that meets their operational needs. In your search for appropriate policies, fleet owners and operators should begin with a thorough assessment of their specific situations.
Here are some of the key questions to ask yourself:
- Where does your fleet travel? Does it remain within Canada, or go to the United States? If your vehicles enter the United States, how much mileage do they typically cover during an average trip?
- What type of cargo do your vehicles carry?
- What is the typical value of a cargo load?
- According to your service contracts, who is “solely responsible” for cargo — you or another party?
- Do you ever haul dangerous cargo?
As with most types of commercial auto insurance, trucking insurance in Alberta is typically available in several broad categories, which offer varying types of protection to fleet operators with differing needs. While it is not normally possible to get a cargo or trucking insurance policy that is completely customized specifically for your operations, a good broker will leverage his or her specialized knowledge to get you the best possible protection at the lowest possible price.
Industry-Specific Trucking Insurance Factors to Keep in Mind
New technologies are having a profound influence on trucking insurance in Alberta, and it’s something consumers need to be aware of as they search for appropriate coverage. Electronic on-board reporting (also known as E-Logs) and geographic tracking satellites intended to speed up border crossings both generate data that insurance providers are interested in learning.
Telematics also continue to penetrate into the Canadian vehicle insurance industry, and fleet owners may be able to leverage telematics to help secure future discounts for safe, responsible driving and sound vehicle upkeep.
Be Aware of Dangerous Goods Regulations
Freight operators must adhere to strict legal requirements to ensure public safety when transporting hazardous materials on Canadian roads. Current legislation is anchored by the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (TDG), which mandates the type of insurance coverage fleet operators must have. These laws are complex, and it is recommended that you enlist the assistance of an independent broker to help you make sense of them.
Fines for failing to adhere to the tenets of the TDG are very steep, reaching levels as high as $100,000 with possible imprisonment. You should expect to carry at least $2 million in liability coverage if you transport dangerous goods within Canada, and a minimum of $5 million if your vehicles enter the United States.
In addition, fleet operators are responsible for providing clear warning signs that let other drivers know if your vehicle is carrying dangerous goods. Drivers must also undergo specialized training and follow detailed reporting protocols, including manifests and storage itineraries. They must also be trained in how to react in the immediate aftermath of a collision or spill, and how to properly report such an event to authorities.
Fast Facts about Customs and Excise Bonds
In addition to the right type of trucking and cargo insurance, you may also need to carry customs and excise bonds. These are often compulsory if core elements of your business include the import, export, manufacture, distribution or sale of commercial goods in Canada.
Customs and excise bonds guarantee payment of all taxes, tariffs, and duties due to the federal government upon the importation of goods. In essence, they create a three-way contract between you, the government, and your insurance company that enables the government to collect payment from your insurer if you fail to meet all customs requirements for any reason.
Excise bonds have a similar function, except that in this context, they specifically apply to controlled substances including liquor and tobacco. In the majority of cases, custom and excise bonds are mandatory, and there are legal penalties in place for operating without them.
Trucking Insurance in Alberta: Questions? Concerns? Call Lane’s for Answers
Trucking and cargo insurance can be very complex, and getting the coverage you need at the lowest possible price is extremely difficult without an independent broker on your side.
The knowledgeable professionals at Lane’s Insurance can answer any and all questions you may have about these highly specialized types of coverage, which are only offered by select providers. Contact Lane’s Insurance today to learn more, or visit Lane’s online to get a fast, free trucking insurance quote.