The Ultimate Guide to Telematics and Your Commercial Auto Fleet

What if you could know the last location of all your vehicles?

What if you could have readily available data to use to improve your fleet’s efficiency?

What if you could reduce the cost on your commercial fleet insurance?

A fleet telematics insurance policy can do exactly that. These are just a couple of the many benefits associated with telematics auto insurance.

Read on to find out about how telematics can help improve your company’s bottom line.

What Is Telematics Insurance?

Telematics refers to the gathering of vehicle information and data to measure the performance of vehicle use. This data is gathered through dashboard plugin devices, GPS, and wireless devices. This is also referred to as GPS tracking.

Telematics might sound complicated. You already use many aspects of telematics in your day-to-day life, though.

Between 30 and 40 percent of all commercial and government vehicles in the U.S. have telematics. Auto telematics is becoming an increasingly common part of auto insurance for commercial and non-commercial drivers.

You always want to keep your insurance costs as low as possible and one of the smartest, most impactful ways you can do this for your commercial fleet insurance is implementing a fleet telematics program.

What Information Does Telematics Provide?

Telematics provides extensive information about your fleet with very little effort on your part. This includes information on the routes your drivers take, how your fleet vehicles are used, and how much fuel is used.

You can also find out exactly how well your drivers drive. You will get information on hard braking, fast accelerations, and whether your drivers are speeding.

If your drivers are only allowed to use vehicles at certain times, you may be able to set up alerts if there is any unauthorized driving.

Telematics information also can provide alerts in the event of a breakdown or an accident.

How Do Telematics Providers Track Your Fleet’s Information?

Telematics vendors provide a device that is installed in each fleet vehicle called a dongle. These devices can be provided by your insurance agent at no cost and provide a discount on your insurance premiums. Mobile apps on your phone are starting to be used. In the future, it is likely the computer system in cars will connect directly.

For now, when you receive the dongles for your fleet, they will have instructions on how to insert them into the OBD port. This port is usually in the lower dash area near the vehicle’s steering column. It’s very small, but provides extensive information.

Your commercial auto insurance telematics provider will let you know which dongle goes with which vehicle. Once the device is plugged in, you will need to activate it.

Telematics vendors typically provide an online dashboard to view and analyze all your fleet’s driving activity. Here you will be able to review your fleet performance metrics in real time. Some of the key data will be speeding, hard brakes, aggressive take-offs and routes taken. If you stop participating in the program, you will likely need to return the telematics devices to your auto insurance provider.

Although installing telematics devices may sound expensive, some insurance providers will provide them for free. We work with State Auto Insurance who offers Fleet Safety 360, a full reporting telematics program at no cost, plus an upfront 10% discount with the possibility of a maximum 25% discount on your commercial fleet insurance.

How Can Fleet Telematics Help My Business?

#1 Telematics will improve your driver safety when properly used. This can reduce accidents, delays in delivery, and driver injuries..

#2 Telematics integrated with your business auto insurance can provide you with valuable information that will save your business money through efficiencies and premium discounts.

Save on Fuel and Maintenance

For example, you will know exactly where each of your vehicles and each of your drivers are at all times. You can ensure that drivers don’t drive their vehicles for personal use.

You can also be sure that drivers stick to their required routes. If your drivers frequently stray from their routes, it can cost you time and money. If they’re doing personal errands on company time, you end up paying for their gas money and the lack of production.

Telematics can also help you find the best route for your drivers. The most economical route may not always be the shortest route. For example, there may be times when traffic is heavy and your drivers would save time and gas by taking a longer route.

Vehicle downtime due to maintenance issues can cost your business in customer servicing delays. Know the “health condition” of your all your vehicles in real-time. Telematics will notify you of all vehicles alerts as they happen so you can schedule any needed repairs before your driver returns to your lot that evening. (Note: the mobile app version will likely not provide vehicle diagnostics.)

With telematics, you can see how fuel is being used and the condition of your vehicles in real time so you can better manage your fleet. Some telematics providers even provide information on weather conditions. You can use this information to help your drivers find the best route for their work.

Improve Driver Safety

Know how your driver’s are doing without relying on a “How’s my driving?” phone call. Have the information at your fingertips to coach your fleet drivers more effectively. Unless you take the time to ride with each of your drivers, you may not know their driving habits. Telematics provides you with information about how hard your drivers brake, how quickly they accelerate, and if they speed.

You can use the information to coach your drivers on safer driving habits. Aggressive or reckless driving is costly from a public image standpoint to a costly lawsuit from an injury accident.Your employees are your biggest asset, but one bad driver will be your biggest liability and threat to your business’s future.

Faster Response to Breakdowns

Know if your vehicle breaks down or is in an accident. If your driver’s vehicle breaks down or is in an accident, you will know in real time, allowing you to quickly dispatch a new vehicle with the information you receive from telematics. You can ensure that any goods in the vehicle are still delivered to your customers on time.

You can also receive regular maintenance reminders. This makes managing your fleet easier and avoid costly breakdowns and repairs, saving your business time and money.

Potential Discounts on Auto Insurance

Our program provides a start-up discount of 10% for implementing our telematics program. As a result, you can save money on the cost of your auto insurance. Our insurance provider reviews your telematics information at the end of each policy year . If your drivers score well in terms of safety, you will receive a discount on your insurance. Your discounts at renewal will range from 0% – 25% and we currently do not have a surcharge for bad driving.

The reason insurance providers give you a discount is that using telematics lowers their risk. Telematics is beneficial for everyone involved. It saves your business money and it lets your insurance company know that your drivers are observing safe driving habits.

Even a small discount can result in thousands of dollars in savings over the long term.

Get Started with Telematics

If fleet safety and efficiency is appealing to you, then you should consider telematics insurance. Without telematics, you have to gather data about your fleet and its efficiency manually. Tracking mileage and gas costs could take hours of your valuable time.

Richie Buchanan with ISU Insurance and Investment Group is here to help business owners in the Indianapolis, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky areas (expanding soon) to properly protect what is most important to you.

If you want to learn more how a no-cost, fleet telematics program can integrate with your commercial auto insurance policy, we can help. Learn more about telematics and tell us a little about you by clicking here.

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Are you ready to save time, aggravation, and money? The team at Buchanan Insurance Agency is here and ready to make the process as painless as possible. We look forward to meeting you!