Auto insurance scores are not a common topic among fleets, largely because many fleets don’t understand how these scores can impact their business. In addition, many fleets confuse insurance scores with CSA scores. They’re related, and calculated using similar information, but they are different and have alternate impacts on your fleet. Considering all that fleet managers have to focus on, an insurance score may seem like a minor concern—but it shouldn’t be.
One of the most important tasks asked of a fleet manager is to reduce costs. Insurance costs can be great for fleets, especially those with a larger number of accidents, inspections, and poor credit history. Do all that you can to reduce your insurance costs by arming yourself with insurance score knowledge and tips to increase them.
An insurance score, or insurance credit score, is a rating that insurance companies use to determine the probability of a claim from the individual or company. It utilizes a statistical model to determine the values of these scores, assigning positives and negatives to details in your credit report. It’s very similar to an individual credit score in that regard. The difference is that insurance companies have their own scoring models and data. This model is focused more on the likelihood of an accident and claim.
The insurance score range is 200 to 997. The higher the score the better, and anything over 770 is favorable—much like a typical insurance score. A higher score results in lower insurance premiums. This is quite different from CSA scores, in which a lower score is better and results in lower premiums for fleet insurance.
An auto insurance score is determined by a number of factors, your credit report being the main component. In essence, insurance companies use your credit reports to create scores like credit reporting agencies do. However, they have their own scoring method.
When calculating scores, insurance companies do not measure your ability to pay back a loan. Instead they replace that factor with the likelihood of a claim. They also may use some of the same data as reporting agencies, such as your total debt and the types of credit that a business has in use. Other factors and data that play into insurance score calculations include:
The metrics insurance companies use vary from state to state and each company has their own nuances when calculating scores. Therefore, it can be difficult to know your insurance score at any given time. However, you may be able to find these scores on traditional reporting sites such as Experian, Equifax, and even Credit Karma. TransUnion also has an easy-to-read section that specifically lists auto insurance scores. You can also use technological solutions, such as fleet management software, that integrates with your insurance plan. It not only monitors driver behavior to reduce instances that increase premiums, but it also creates individual driver scores and overall insurance risk scores.
It might seem strange to consider credit reports when determining insurance premiums and risk of claim. This seems even more bizarre when you take into consideration the number of factors that play into accident risk: safety policies, maintenance, driving conditions, and driver behavior. While all of those factors (and more) are used to calculate premiums, there is a real and comprehensive reason insurance companies use insurance scores in their calculations. There are actuarial studies that prove the financial affairs of a company or individual are good indicators of claim risk.
While insurance companies use both CSA scores and insurance scores to calculate premiums, they are two very different things. We’ve mentioned that insurance scores use your credit report and an algorithm determined by the insurance company. A CSA score isn’t based on your credit at all. In fact, it has much more to do with your driving and inspection history.
A CSA stands for compliance, safety, and accountability. A low CSA score means that your fleet has had fewer accidents, fewer inspection violations, and maintains vehicles to safety standards. This score plays into your ability to attract clients since they will use this score to determine whether or not they want to work with your company. It’s also used by the DOT (Department of Transportation) to determine whether or not your fleet needs to be monitored more closely. Insurance companies also use these scores to determine risk, but the score is not specifically designed for insurance uses.
When fleets work towards improving their fleet and driver safety, they do it for a number of reasons. It may be to reduce costs—either maintenance, insurance, or otherwise. It may be to reduce employee turnover and to help drivers feel safe on the job. It may be to improve CSA scores to help attract more customers and improve the company’s reputation. But it’s often not for the purposes of improving an insurance score. It’s a commonly overlooked factor in the calculation of insurance costs. Luckily, improving driver behavior, maintenance, and inspections can impact your insurance scores. However, if you’re forgetting to look into ways to improve your credit score, then you are surely missing an opportunity to reduce your insurance costs. If you are not focusing on your fleet insurance score, you’re not fully grasping all that your insurance takes into account.
Just like your credit score, your insurance score is not permanent. It’s a continuously updated score that considers multiple factors, which can be improved. This can largely be done by improving your credit report and includes:
You should avoid maxing out your credit cards, and try to limit the number of insurance claims you file. Of course, doing so depends on your ability to increase safety and decrease accidents. Increasing your insurance score is about creating a good behavioral record on top of a good financial standing. To accomplish both, consider the following:
The first thing you need to do is to get a copy of your credit reports from each reporting bureau. It’s recommended that you get a report from each rather than just one because one report may have different information. This is because certain companies report only to one or two credit bureaus and not the other(s). By checking your report, you can identify all of the negatives that are impacting your score. You’re able to get one free credit report each year, or you can use services such as Mint or Credit Karma to keep track of your reports throughout the year.
Certain negatives can be disputed and potentially removed from your credit report. Other disputes will impact your credit less with each passing month and eventually fall off of your record.
Knowing what’s on your credit report helps to identify what needs to be fixed and gives you a goal to work towards with specific actions to reach these goals. This may include ensuring payments are made on time, paying down credit, and reducing credit usage. You should also make behavioral changes like reducing speeding, hard braking, and other aggressive maneuvers. Insurance companies don’t just rely on your credit history to calculate scores, they use driving records as well. You can use telematics systems to monitor driver behavior and improve training and safety of your fleet.
Implementing a driver score algorithm and integrating it with your insurance plan can help you lower insurance premiums. It calculates a daily driver score for each individual based on their driver behavior. These scores are compiled and averaged to create a risk score, which insurance companies use to calculate premiums. This has the potential for reducing your premiums by encouraging driver safety.
Learn more about insurance scoring, fleet tracking software, and asset tracking at Azuga.
If you utilize company vehicles during the course of business, you might want to familiarize yourself with enterprise fleet management and maintenance. Operating a fleet can be a challenge. Luckily there are things that you can do to make your life a lot easier. In this article, we will answer what is an enterprise fleet? Plus, we’ll outline four key tips you should know about enterprise fleet management and an additional three tips about enterprise fleet maintenance.
An enterprise fleet, simply put, is a fleet of vehicles leased or owned by a business. Automotive Fleet Magazine defines enterprise fleets as commercial entities with 15 or greater vehicles. A wide range of businesses operate enterprise fleets. For example, delivery businesses and many businesses who do on-site service calls or have representatives travel to meet with clients have enterprise fleets.
The enterprise fleet industry is huge in the United States. Automotive Magazine recently released a report that outlines the number of cars and trucks that are leased or owned by enterprise fleets in the United States. Fleets in the U.S. leased 431,000 vehicles last year and owned 204,000 vehicles. There are a total of 727,000 trucks being leased by enterprise fleets and 1,860,000 trucks are owned by them.
In some areas, enterprise fleets are also made up of vehicles that are privately owned (or leased) by employees but used for business purposes. These are known as “grey fleet” vehicles.
Enterprise fleet management can be a challenge. It’s a fast-paced job that requires you to stay on your toes. Fleet managers are often responsible for drivers and accountable to management. Below are four tips on how to excel in enterprise fleet management:
When a business lacks purchasing and disposal guidelines for fleet vehicles they may be giving up thousands of dollars through inefficiencies. Consistency is very important in enterprise fleet management.
Your company should look into bulk purchasing and understand the right time or number of miles at which to best sell a vehicle. Enterprise fleet managers should spec out options for fleet vehicles and assemble a purchasing plan. In addition, they should gain insight into the optimal time to dispose of fleet vehicles.
Fleet drivers face a whole host of distractions and safety hazards on the job. Great fleet managers know how to get ahead of things that might become problems. Invest in safety before accidents happen.
Investing in safety may look like hands-free devices for your drivers, installing an app that monitors driver behavior on their phones, or an in-cab camera that oversees drivers while they’re on the road. Ultimately, being proactive about safety will save your company money in the long run.
Many fleet managers find it useful to incentivize drivers to perform well. Drivers may be encouraged to achieve higher fuel efficiency or perform vehicle inspections regularly. No matter what goal you set, you should hold your drivers to a high-performance standard.
Driver behavior monitoring makes it simple to set goals and encourage safe driving habits. Actionable goals help managers encourage drivers to improve their driving habits.
The best fleet managers know that the fleet industry is constantly changing and it's vital that managers keep up. Top fleet managers join industry associations, read trade publications and blogs, and overall keep up with what is happening in the industry.
Often fleet managers will discover new technologies to adopt when reading up on the fleet industry. This helps them keep ahead of the competition. With so much information readily available online, it’s never been easier for fleet managers to keep up-to-date and ahead of the curve.
Fleet maintenance is integral to running a top-performing enterprise fleet. Here are three tips on how to excel at enterprise fleet maintenance:
Pay attention to your maintenance costs and make note when they start to rise because of a vehicle’s age. Make sure you comprehend the warranty coverage provided by the manufacturer and the way it impacts the vehicle’s total cost of ownership. Those who excel at enterprise fleet management understand trends in the used vehicle market, the residual value of fleet vehicles, and the best time to sell fleet vehicles to obtain a cost-effective enterprise fleet.
A vital part of fleet maintenance is performing specs on vehicles. It’s important that this job is performed well. You should be aware of the demands your fleet vehicles will face. Make sure to outline vehicle usage.
The danger is that under-specing a fleet vehicle can lead to maintenance issues down the line that could put a dent in your budget. On the other hand, an over-spec’d fleet vehicle can also increase costs. Great fleet managers know the criteria involved with specing (operating conditions, what’s being carried, usage, etc.) and try to make theirs as accurate as possible.
One of the most important things to understand about enterprise fleet maintenance is the cost savings involved in preventative maintenance. Well-maintained fleet vehicles are less likely to require unscheduled downtime or repairs. Some examples of preventative maintenance are general vehicle safety checks, oil changes, and tire rotation, and inspection. Make sure to perform these activities on a regular schedule.
Good enterprise fleet management practices help leaders in the fleet management industry achieve more. Take your fleet to the next level when you implement smart technology like Azuga Fleet™. The Azuga team is here to help boost your fleet’s productivity, improve safety, and save you hundreds each year.
If you’re a fleet owner, fleet manager, or even fleet driver, you should know about the OBD-II port. It’s a standardized diagnostic port that allows you to access data from the computer in a vehicle’s engine. GPS trackers can be installed in a vehicle’s OBD-II port to provide live engine and trip data to a central hub or the driver.
In this article we will outline the basics of OBD-II ports, the history of the OBD-II port, and detailed specs on the OBD-II port pinout. Vehicles are integral to fleets and understanding the OBD-II port is essential to getting the most out of yours.
So what exactly is the OBD-II port? To start out let’s break down the abbreviation. “OBD” stands for “on-board diagnostics.” It refers to the vehicle’s electronic system that provides self-diagnostics and reporting features. This system is used by repair technicians to gain access to subsystem information in order to monitor the vehicle’s performance and properly repair it.
On-board diagnostics (OBD) is the uniform protocol that is used in most light-duty vehicles in order to access the vehicle’s diagnostic information. This information is produced by the vehicle’s engine control unit (ECU, also known as the engine control module). The engine control unit acts as the “brain” of the vehicle.
A vehicle’s OBD-II is a computer that monitors mileage, emissions, speed, and additional data about the vehicle. It’s connected to the vehicle’s dashboard and will alert the driver if any issues are detected (by turning on the check engine light for example).
The OBD-II port is accessible from inside the vehicle. It will generally be located under the dash on the driver’s side. It enables a mechanic (or anyone else with a specialized tool) to read the error code generated by the engine. Looking to install GPS trackers in your fleet vehicles? Check out our comprehensive guide to learn more about where these devices are installed.
The origins of the OBD-II port began in the 1960s. Some of the organizations involved in the preliminary framework for the standard were the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the California Air Resources Board, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Organization for Standardization.
The first on-board diagnostics system that had the capacity to be scanned to check for issues with the vehicle’s engine was introduced by Volkswagen in 1968. Over ten years later, Datsun released a very basic on-board diagnostics system. Jump forward to 1980, when General Motors revealed a proprietary system including interface and protocol that was able to generate engine diagnostics and alert the driver via a check engine light. At the same time, other car manufacturers were introducing their own versions of on-board diagnostics.
Up until this time, before standardization hit the industry, manufacturers created their own proprietary systems. This meant the tools required to diagnose different vehicle’s engines were all different. They had their own connector type, requirements for electronic interface, and each used custom codes for reporting problems.
Standardization finally came to on-board diagnostics in the late 1980s. In 1988 the Society of Automotive Engineers released a recommendation that called for a standard connector pin and set of diagnostics across the industry.
In 1991 the state of California mandated that all vehicles have some form of basic on-board diagnostics. This is known as OBD-I, a precursor to the OBD-II port.
OBD-II was created three years later, in 1994. In that year California required all vehicles sold (starting in 1996) to have on-board diagnostics as recommended by SAE. This is known as OBD-II. California introduced the legislation primarily in order to perform across-the-board emissions testing on vehicles. Due to California’s legislation, in 1996 car manufacturers started to install OBD-II ports in all cars and trucks across the country.
OBD-II introduced standardized diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). There is a slight variation among OBD-II systems. These variations are known as protocols. They are specific to vehicle manufacturers and there are five basic signal protocols:
The OBD-II port pinout gives access to the engine’s status information and Diagnostic Trouble Codes. The DTCs cover a number of aspects of the vehicle including powertrain (engine and transmission) and emission control systems. The OBD-II pinout also provides further information including the vehicle identification number (VIN), Calibration Identification Number, ignition counter, and emissions control system counters.
These DTCs are stored in a computer system. It’s important to note that these codes vary between manufacturers. There are trouble codes for a wide range of aspects of the vehicle including powertrain (including engine, transmission, emissions), chassis, body, and network. The list of standard diagnostic trouble codes is extensive.
If a fleet vehicle is brought to a shop to be serviced, the mechanic can connect to the vehicle’s OBD-II port pinout with a standardized scanning tool to read the error codes and identify the issue. The OBD-II port lets mechanics accurately diagnose issues with your fleet’s vehicles, inspect them promptly, and fix any issues before they become major problems. Ultimately the OBD-II port helps get your fleet vehicles back on the road faster and stay there longer.
Any OBD-II scan tool can read DTCs due to the standardized pinout. Scanning tools have the capacity to read from any of the 5 protocols. The standardized OBD-II port pinout is as follows:
Pin 1: Utilized by manufacturer
Pin 2: Utilized by SAE J1850 PWM and VPW
Pin 3: Utilized by manufacturer
Pin 4: Ground
Pin 5: Ground
Pin 6: Utilized by ISO 15765-4 CAN
Pin 7: ISO 14230-4 and The K-Line of ISO 9141-2
Pin 10: Utilized solely by SAE J1850 PWM
Pin 14: Utilized by ISO 15765-4 CAN
Pin 15: ISO 14230-4 and the K-Line of ISO 9141-2
Pin 16: Power from the vehicle’s battery
Your fleet vehicle's OBD-II ports may be small but they can play a big role in helping your fleet succeed. To learn about what OBD-II ports can be used to help your fleet succeed check out Azuga Fleet. This smart fleet tracking software will allow you to take your company to the next level without the growing pains.
Fleet managers should be well aware of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. Non-compliance with ELD rules can cost your organization thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Fleets that are still operating with automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) need to be aware that their technology is outdated and should be upgraded to ELDs immediately to avoid penalties.
The use of ELDs is already widespread. According to a study by C.J. Driscoll & Associates, a consulting and market research firm, 3 million ELDs and ABORDs are currently being used by fleets in the United States.
In this article we will outline what an ELD is, explain the ELD mandate, and provide a timeline of ELD rule history. In addition, we will explain the hard deadlines for ELD compliance, highlight some of the latest news about the ELD mandate, and explain what fleet managers should know.
Electronic logging devices, also known by their acronym ELD, provide an accurate, streamlined method of recordkeeping for drivers and fleet operators. These records are often mandated by law. ELDs make the mandatory task of recording a daily logbook easier.
ELDs are connected directly to the vehicle’s engine. They provide stellar data for fleet managers to utilize. Data from ELDs is sent to a telematics system. Managers and office personnel can use this system to review hours of service (HOS) statuses, generate reports, and come up with optimized routes for drivers.
Electronic logging devices capture a wide range of information from the vehicle including date, time, vehicle identification, motor carrier identification, geographic location, miles traveled, engine power up and shutdown, yard moves, and engine diagnostics and malfunction data. ELDs also log information on the vehicle’s driver such as their logon/logoff, HOS, driver or authorized user identification, duty status changes, personal use, and certification of driver’s daily record.
ELDs record all of this data automatically. However, if there is an issue or omission, some entries can be manually edited by the driver or support staff. These edits are tracked and must be approved by the driver.
Organizations can utilize the data from ELDs to better understand which drivers need coaching, which routes are the most profitable, and which routes are the most expensive in terms of fuel consumption and time. HOS information, recorded by ELDs, can even be displayed in the cab. This allows the driver to monitor how many hours they have left and display the information easily to a roadside inspection.
The ELD mandate was created in 2012 when the United States Congress enacted the bill “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (commonly known as MAP-21). This bill outlined criteria for highway funding but also contained a provision that mandated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to create a rule requiring the adoption and use of ELDs.
So why did the FMCSA implement the ELD mandate? According to the FMCSA “the rule is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share RODS [Record of Duty Status] data.”
After being required by congress in the 2012 bill MAP-21, the FMCSA released a notice in March of 2014 that proposed creating amendments to its safety regulations to enact the ELD mandate. Comments for the proposed mandate were due by May of 2014.
The FMCSA finally published the ELD mandate in December of 2015. The mandate requires the use of ELDs for vehicles in the commercial bus and truck industries.
The first deadline laid out in the FMCSA’s ELD mandate was December 18, 2017. By this date, all drivers and carriers subject to the ELD mandate had to have either an ELD or an AOBRD installed in their vehicle.
According to the ELD mandate, AOBRDs could be used up until December 16, 2019 (as long as the device was installed before December 18, 2017). After this date, all drivers and carriers were required to use electronic logging devices.
2019 was the last year that drivers could use AOBRDs. If your fleet is still using them, it’s time to upgrade as soon as possible. The ELD mandates 2019 as the final deadline to switch.
Much of the latest news about the ELD mandate has revolved around the December 2019 deadline to switch over from AOBRDs. Recently, Transport Topic noted that “motor carriers should not underestimate the amount of planning and training needed to ensure a smooth rollout [of ELD devices]”. This is according to a panel at the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition in 2019.
FreightWaves reported that right up to the ELD Mandate 2019 deadline, adoption rates of ELD devices remained low. Many businesses were waiting until the last possible moment to switch over.
One of the most pertinent pieces of recent news comes again from Transport Topic, who reported that commercial vehicle inspectors are not offering a grace period of “soft enforcement” for truckers who have not switched to ELDs. At this point in time, if your fleet is operating without ELDs, you may face an out-of-service violation.
The deadline to equip fleet vehicles with ELDs has long passed. If fleet managers want to avoid potential penalties or fines they should make sure their vehicles are all equipped with the necessary items. This includes a certified, registered, regulation-compliant ELD, an ELD user manual, an instruction sheet for reporting ELD malfunctions, and instructions for the data transfer mechanisms your ELD is capable of. Fines for non-compliance can be costly and total thousands of dollars.
Fleet managers should also be aware that ELDs are not allowed everywhere. There are certain areas that prohibit commercial vehicles from operating with an ELD including any U.S. government or government contractor facilities.
The ELD mandate is especially important for fleet managers to know and understand. The deadline to comply has long passed and fleet vehicles now must be equipped with ELDs. To learn more about this important mandate and optimizing your fleet, head to Azuga. The Azuga team is here to help boost productivity, optimize route planning, and so much more.