Rising NEMT Insurance Premiums and Ways You Can Reduce Your Costs

By May 27, 2020

As a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) service provider, fleet insurance for all of your vehicles is an important and necessary part of doing business. 

But insuring your fleet can be expensive and the processes you have to undergo to keep your fleet safe—and your drivers well-trained—are time consuming and sometimes complicated. If you’re new to NEMT or you’re looking to expand your fleet, you may have some questions about NEMT vehicle insurance and what that looks like as your company grows and expands over time. 

Here’s a little insight into the NEMT insurance industry:

NEMT businesses, even those that operate on federal contracts, are generally regulated by the states where they do business. In most cases, NEMT operators must obtain at the very least the minimum insurance level that’s required by the state. On top of that, NEMT companies that contract with state NEMT program managers for passengers are often required to have additional coverage.

There are a variety of vehicle-related insurance coverages an NEMT operator may choose, for example basic liability insurance for each vehicle or additional coverage that further protects your fleet from loss or damage.

As you’ve probably noticed with your personal vehicles’ premiums, automobile insurance has seen a steady increase over the past 10 years.

In 2008, for example, the average expenditure on auto insurance was $790.66. By 2017, that expenditure had jumped to more than $1,004.

In 2020, full-coverage for auto insurance per year for a driver with a good driving record and good credit history is $1,427. Even one small infraction, like a speeding ticket, quickly propels that average cost upward to more than $1,780. 

While not an exhaustive list, NEMT insurance rates are determined by a number of factors including:

  • Vehicle type
  • Vehicle safety features and vehicle maintenance
  • Number of vehicles in your fleet
  • Number of drivers on your team
  • Your drivers’ experience levels and your company’s overall track record of safe driving
  • Your drivers’ driving records and your company’s history of hiring drivers with good driving records
  • State and local requirements, including geographic conditions and other dangers on the road
  • Number of past insurance claims filed, including at-fault accidents and other issues.
  • Your company’s risk mitigation plan (for example driver training, retraining and certifications) to decrease the likelihood of accidents and other issues

For professional driving services like NEMT providers, additional factors may come into play that affect your rates such as safety equipment and other safety-related guidelines.

What causes my NEMT insurance rates to be so high?

Just like personal auto coverage, a poor driving record and the number of previous claims can negatively affect your rates and make them higher.

But NEMT operators also have specific factors that can make their rates higher, regardless of how clean their drivers’ records are and if there have never been other claims. Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Wheelchair and stretcher-supported vehicles: If your fleet includes wheelchair accessible vehicles like vans or buses or you have vehicles that are equipped to transport stretchers, right out of the gate, your rates are likely to be higher than transportation companies who utilize more standard cars and other vehicle types for passengers.

It’s not that a wheelchair accessible van is more likely to be in an accident per se, it’s about the overall risk of operating that type of vehicle. Wheelchairs require additional training and equipment to secure inside your vehicles. If the rider’s wheelchair is faulty or if your driver does not properly secure the wheelchair, it may fall over or become loose during transport. That puts your rider, other riders and your driver at risk. 

The situation is similar for vehicles that transport patients on stretchers. Also, passengers who require wheelchairs and stretchers may likely have other complicated health issues that increase your risks—and therefore your insurance company’s potential liability—as you transport them from one location to another.

Another factor that can impact your rate is the correlation between the number of vehicles you have and the number of drivers you have. The more vehicles you have on the road and the more drivers you have employed to drive those vehicles, the higher your rate will likely be.

How can I reduce my rates?

Insurance rate deductions vary from company-to-company, but here are a few general ideas that may help you reduce your rate:

  • Routinely train, and where appropriate, certify your drivers for driver safety. This could include defensive driving techniques, avoiding hazards, avoiding distracted driving, and drug and alcohol training.
  • Routinely train, and where appropriate, certify your drivers for passenger safety. This could include: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, how to deal with a medical emergency, how to handle bloodborne pathogens, how to properly secure wheelchairs and stretchers, what to do in an emergency and how to ensure passenger safety. 
  • Bundle your insurance plans with a single provider
  • Conduct routine vehicle maintenance, with appropriate documentation, on all your vehicles
  • Install anti-theft devices in all your vehicles
  • Install video and audio monitoring devices

New NEMT insurance discount opportunity

CTS Software, the creator of TripMaster, is working with one of the nation’s largest insurance providers to introduce a special opportunity that could give TripMaster customers up to a 20% discount on insurance with the usage of TripView dash cams.

TripView is a recently added module to the TripMaster suite of services.

With TripView camera integration, NEMT operators may qualify for this special discount. In addition to saving money on insurance, these cameras offer video and audio monitoring of your fleet with accident notification alerts. With audio and video stored in the cloud, you can quickly retrieve data to review driver performance and see how well each driver is meeting your company’s standards and regulations. 

The cameras also give you additional insight into where your fleet is at all times and can help you more efficiently run your NEMT operations.

Other types of insurance

In addition to liability and full-coverage auto insurance for your fleet, you may also want to consider a number of other insurance policies for your NEMT operations. 

Some other coverage examples include:

  • Property insurance
  • Umbrella coverage
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Coverage for abuse or molestation claims
  • Health insurance for your team
  • Professional liability coverage
  • Public liability coverage

Need more information about NEMT insurance and how TripView can help you save money on your premiums? Contact a TripMaster advisor today.§