It may seem obvious, but when you’re booking your freight shipments or coordinating shipments for clients, the carriers you use need to be insured. They need to be insured for more money and more contingencies than your average car, and you also need to confirm their insurance (or liability) in the event something happens to the shipment.
Not only do they need to be insured, but it needs to be up to date and appropriate for the shipment you plan on sending. That can be the tricky part – not all carriers keep up as well as they should on their insurance.
But which insurance do they need, and what should you be checking for?
How can you find out what insurance your carriers have, or their safety ratings?
What types of insurance are out there for carriers?
There are multiple types of insurance out there, which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists on their site. The list there is for the minimum required – not necessarily the maximum available or the only insurance you should look for.
There are several variations of insurance that a carrier should have.
The first is public liability – insuring against bodily injury, property damage, or a need for environmental restoration. This sounds similar to what you get for a car, but it’s for a much higher amount, and covers more than car insurance strictly would.
They also need to have cargo insurance, the specific type depending on what type of goods are being transported.
Plus, there’s hazmat safety permits, as well as any necessary service of process agents forms.
Many carriers maintain their own insurance, but their concern is primarily over their own assets, not necessarily your cargo. The truckers that transport your cargo also will have insurance, but much like the carriers, their insurance is primarily to cover what matters to them – not necessarily your goods.
On top of that, if they’re maintaining only the minimum level of insurance required by law, what happens if the worst happens? Is that a risk you want to take?
How often do you check with your carriers to see how their safety rating is holding up? Do you know which carriers are at risk of safety, authority, or insurance stats dropping below satisfactory levels?
There’s tools out there for managing and monitoring carrier insurance and information
The smart freight brokers already know they can’t possibly keep up on every single type of insurance, safety rating, or paperwork required for fully protecting the loads they manage for their clients.
So they turn to tools – tools like DAT Carrier watch, and SaferWatch.
DAT Carrier Watch allows freight brokers to monitor their carriers, receiving email alerts for when the data for their carriers changes, as well as customize how carriers are qualified in terms of safety and authority ratings.
If one of your carriers is no longer qualified, due to lapses in insurance, safety rating problems, or any other issues – DAT Carrier Watch tells you. It’s all the details you need to know about the insurance your carriers have, allowing you to make an informed decision on whether or not you should purchase additional, third party insurance to supplement what they have.
Alternatively, there’s SaferWatch – an alternative to DAT that has a different interface and different tool sets. It works in much the same way, however.
SaferWatch lets you find, qualify, and monitor everything you need to know about your carrier’s insurance. Its goal is to mitigate the risks involved in being a freight broker.
After all, there’s no way for you to know or plan for every possible problem that might arise. That’s what insurance is for.
SaferWatch grants full access to carrier authority, their certificates of insurance, and their safety ratings.
Another tool to log in and check before booking shipments? Great.
If you’re using Brokerware, integrations with the top two carrier insurance management tools come standard. You don’t have to worry about adding it on or whether or not these partner integrations are only for clients who pay extra – it’s just what we provide as a default.
Your transportation management software should offer similar types of integrations, at least, if they’re able to provide a comprehensive solution for you.
Managing the carrier insurance and safety ratings is an essential, and integral, part of third party logistics. Running a freight brokerage requires more than just booking shipments – it’s knowing which carriers have the best rates and the best safety track records.
Your clients care about their cargo getting from one place to the other safely, in one piece, and insured against any problems that arise.
And so should you.
That’s why you need a transportation management system that lets you monitor the essential safety needs from within the system itself – rather than logging into yet another tool to check on the essentials before you book a shipment. Do you really have the time for that? Are you absolutely sure your entire team does due diligence before booking each shipment?
Take the worry out of it.
Use a TMS that has carrier insurance and safety integrations built in.
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