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New Guy with Insurance Question

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Mitragorz, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    Hey guys. I've been visiting this site at the beginning of each winter for the past few years, when the "Hmm... I kinda want a plow..." bug bites.

    I apologize that my first post here is about insurance, I'm sure you're all tired of talking about it. I've searched and searched Google and this forum in particular for answers, but the threads seem to turn into pissing matches between the pro- and anti-insurance groups, or the advice seems geared to guys with commercial contracts.

    This is probably the most helpful thread I've found on the subject: http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=21346

    But I'm not a big operator. I'm not a landscaper who plows during the winter. I don't have any commercial contracts. I'm just one guy who's looking to plow some driveways here and there to make an extra buck.

    My full-time job... Well, I'm a pilot. I work, on average, 10 days a month. Lots of downtime to do other things. Like plow.

    I don't even have a rig yet. My DD is a 2005 Silverado, 6" lift and 35s. Not ideal for a plow truck; The poor gal's already on her second transmission, third transfer case, and third rear diff. I've got my eyes on a few trucks locally, but I don't want to pull the trigger until I determine that my odds of LOSING money are relatively low. To add salt to the wound (ha!) I'm from Long Island, where winters are *typically* pretty mild. It seems like the deal breaker is going to be insurance. If I can't afford it, then I can't afford it, and I'll give up on this idea. The plow truck would likely sit idle for the rest of the year. I just don't need it.

    So my question is: For a small guy like myself, where would I look for affordable insurance? One guy, one truck, plowing driveways a few times a month... Maybe... My pickup is insured through Geico, and I've got two motorcycles insured through State Farm. I imagine, for something like this, and independent would be the way to go. But I don't even know where to start.


    EDIT: Plowing only... No snow blowing, shoveling, sanding, salting, etc. Strictly plowing driveways.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  2. coppertec

    coppertec Member
    from calgary
    Messages: 52

    find a truck that you would work with, then talk to a bunch of insurance brokers who will look for the best insurance coverage on your behalf based on the info you supply them-field history, truck, type of truck, liens on the truck, driving history, and then a general liability coverage. i was quoted this week as high as 7800 a year, down to 1600 a year. the cheaper one happened to be through my boss's contact at the dealership, so i lucked out. point being, talk to a lot of brokers who will shop on your behalf.
  3. jhenderson9196

    jhenderson9196 Senior Member
    Messages: 615

    You'll need commercial truck ins. That's not that bad. Youll also need a commercial liability policy, separate from the truck. That's more expensive. Just drives and no commercial properties will help. Talk to a local independent agent and see what he says. I have a pretty good agent, but a plowing rider on my liability policy cost more than the policy itself. Good luck.
  4. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    Is that it? Those two things? What about "Snow Plow Insurance? Is that something different? Would that be overkill for a guy like me? I don't want to chat with an agent and have them sell me more than I actually need.
  5. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    I dont thing there is such thing as "snow plow insurance, you just need insurance for your truck & a general liability policy that includes snow plowing with your truck. get a min. of 1 million liability, 2 mill if you plan on any(even small) commercial.
  6. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    Thanks guys, this is just the kind of info I was looking for.

    It's things like this: (http://www.progressivecommercial.com/insurance/snow-plow-insurance.aspx) that threw me off about the insurance. I searched Google for info on snow plow insurance, and that was the first result. I wasn't sure if that was a specific kind of policy or what. But, again, that seems to be geared more towards actual business owners.

    It looks like commercial plates and title transfer will run around $175-ish, depending on the weight of the truck. I guess I'll start calling some brokers. I look at the price of the truck as an investment to be paid off over time, plus I'm sure I could unload it in a pinch if I really needed to. As long as I can clear insurance for the year, plus a little bit, I think that'll be good.

    Thanks again, guys, I appreciate the help. If anyone knows of any good, plow-knowledgeable brokers or agents, please post up here, or PM me.
  7. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    I finally got around to going to my State Farm agent. I've know the girl that handles the commercial policies for years. Got quoted $123/mo for Commercial Auto, and about $3k for GL. However, she said that I didn't need the GL because the liability on the auto policy would extend to any "slip-and-falls." I asked 6 different ways and gave a dozen different scenarios, and she held firm that I'd be covered. She put in a call to the main commercial branch to see if they had any plow-specific policy, and they said the same thing.

    She wound up giving my the min coverage required to sub for the town, should I decide to do that.

    Now all I need is a truck!
  8. Snoviper

    Snoviper Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    Same here

    "Mitragorz" I am at the same point here, just starting out. I have been checking in to insurance as well. I did check with progressive and my current insurance Geico. They both require add on insurance (higher premium) to bump you up to a commercial truck insurance for plowing anything other than your own property. I have not checked in to GL insurance yet. I have full time job so I kinda wanna make this break even or small loss this winter do to investment in equipment. I will plow my own driveway plus some family driveways as well, so I will at least be getting a perk from my investment. I am looking at this long term so I am going to take it slow. I may also try subbing but I really want to work on my skills this winter as I haven't run a plow in 30 years.:)
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  9. SnowClear

    SnowClear Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Hmm. State Farm is a good agency for local plow companies with competitive rates. Just to be safe, you should read the policy yourself. Paying extra attention to exclusions and limits of liability if your just going with auto only.

    Commercial auto liability is usually confined just to auto related incidents only, but each state is different. The word "any" is all-inclusive and might be a little to liberal when describing covered slip-and-fall occurrences. This is where the GL policy is important because the policy language is more inclusive as opposed to exclusive like an auto policy is.

    Here is a short article that describes the necessity to have a commercial auto policy that lists snow removal as a covered activity.

    Depends if the minimums are enough to cover you or not. Make sure you form an LLC, which is very easy to do and minimal cost, and then insure the LLC. By forming a LLC you will insulate any personal property from a lawsuit (most of the time).

  10. Ben/Insurance

    Ben/Insurance Sponsor
    Messages: 166

    Mitra, I am a Long Island based independent insurance agent and I'm happy to give you some free unbiased direction and advise. Your State Farm agent is incorrect when he/she says that your commercial auto policy will respond to trip and fall claims. It won't. That's what General Liability Insurance is for. You can reach me at 516-233-3515 or BPalmeri@Archerins.com. I'm a sponsor here in another section that deals with insurance.