We all want to reduce costs and save money in downtime claims. There is a process to follow to minimize downtime during the claim handling process. Without it, costs will only increase and add up over time when multiplied across all other downtime claims.
What costs can increase? To start with, storage fees. Depending on the regulations in each state, storage fees can quickly become a significant cost. Some yards charge separate storage fees for the trailer, tractor, and cargo. In some cases, the yard can take possession of the unit.
In many cases, drivers who aren’t driving are also not earning. The claims process could take 90 days or longer. It’s best for everyone to get your driver back on the road as soon as possible.
Getting Your Driver Back on the Road
Below are some claim handling steps you may want to consider adding to your process:
Step 1: Determine if driver has rental coverage
Rental coverage allows the driver to resume deliveries and continue to earn income. Typically, the cost of rental would be lower than paying out downtime wage loss.
Step 2: Don’t wait until liability has been accepted
The next step is to contact both carriers of the claim regardless if liability has been accepted. Many TPAs will wait until the police report is completed, which can take anywhere from 15 to 60 days. Often, truckers don’t understand that if it’s not their fault, they should still file a claim. Their assumption is that if they report the claim to their carrier, their premiums will increase.
Step 3: Identify a certified shop to complete repairs
Using certified shops that are licensed will make it easier to process the claim. You will get a fair price and know that the job is done correctly. If you are unfamiliar with a specific shop, make sure they are certified by the manufacturer of the truck. In states such as New Jersey, some shops are certified, and some are not.
Step 4: Have estimates ready for field adjuster during inspection
By having estimates completed by a certified shop in advance of the inspection, a price can be agreed upon quickly. This will minimize the possibility of supplements arising. Some carriers will not want this if they have knowledgeable staff that can handle estimates internally and negotiate directly with the repair shop.
Step 5: Have parts ordered immediately
Once you determine which shop will be doing the repairs, be sure they order the parts as soon as they know what is needed. Many shops will wait until they receive a check for the approved repairs before ordering any parts.
Some of these steps can be challenging, but when followed, it will help in minimizing claim handling downtime.
Tractor rental coverage is a good thing. It’s always best for a driver to have rental insurance. It’s not very expensive and ensures that they get back on the road quickly if an accident occurs.
In and out as quickly as possible. It’s important to get the truck in and out of the repair shop as soon as possible. This will get the driver back on the road.
Timing is everything. A repair shop needs to be identified quickly, and be available to perform an inspection.
Make sure the shop is certified. By using a shop that is certified for the truck being repaired, you should receive a fair price and first-rate work.
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