Insurance is one of the most confusing aspects of owning for a trucking company. It’s tempting to just search for commercial truck insurance near me and find an online company and buy the policies they offer. But knowledge and preparation are necessary if you want to make the best choices for your business. After all, the decisions made today can have a significant impact later.
Researching commercial truck insurance will help you better understand the purpose of the various types of trucking insurance available and how they work. With this information in mind, you remain in control of your coverage, no matter what company you decide to buy from. Read on to learn about the most common types of trucking insurance, including the ones you’re legally required to have and others you shouldn’t operate without.
The basis for all truckers, both drivers and owner-operators alike, is liability insurance. The FMCSA requires all commercial trucks to be insured with a liability policy with a $750,000 limit. Failure to insure your trucks can ruin your business in an instant. All it takes is one accident without the right insurance to have licenses suspended and financial penalties levied.
Primary liability coverage pays for any damage your truck does to another’s vehicle or property. Every truck in your company must have this form of commercial truck insurance. It prevents you from having to pay directly for any damages that a truck under your name causes to someone else, regardless of whether it was you or a hired driver operating it at the time.
This commercial truck insurance coverage protects your company from non-trucking related claims. This includes injuries or damage caused while someone is one company property. It also covers damages caused by a driver who was on another person’s property, like a warehouse or delivery terminal. Delivery errors may also be covered under general liability.
Drivers are responsible for having their own non-trucking liability policy. If a driver gets into an accident while driving a rig, but not while under dispatch, liability insurance won’t cover any of the damages. A non-trucking insurance policy will act the same way as a primary and general liability policy in the event a driver is in an accident or causes property damage while operating your rig for non-business purposes.
You will also want to investigate bobtail insurance, which functions similarly to a non-trucking liability policy, but only goes into effect when a driver is operating a semi-truck without a trailer attached.
Liability insurance might protect you from being financially responsible for damages, but it does not pay for any harm done to your own truck after an accident. Physical damage policies work like comprehensive and collision car insurance. The extent of coverages and exclusions will vary among providers, but all of them are designed to protect against major risks including:
Theft and vandalism.
Collisions with other cars, objects and wild animals.
Some comprehensive policies already have fire coverage, but others offer it as an optional extension. When you buy a physical damage policy, you must report the estimated value of your truck. This is known as the stated amount. In the event that your truck needs replacing, you will only be compensated for the market value, called the actual cash value (ACV) in insurance terms.
Motor Carrier Cargo Insurance
Once you’ve bought all the necessary commercial truck insurance policies to protect your truck, it’s time to cover the cargo it carries. Most shippers will require proof of cargo insurance before you sign a contract, but even if they don’t, you should never operate a trucking business without protecting the goods you and your drivers haul.
Motor carrier cargo insurance is highly flexible. You set the limits and there are numerous extensions that incorporate equipment damage, loading and unloading damages and refrigeration breakdowns. If a truck is damaged and the goods can’t be delivered, cargo insurance makes sure that you aren’t the one responsible for paying the shipper’s financial loss.
If you’re working under a trailer interchange agreement, this form of commercial truck insurance will act as your liability policy. Physical damage policies only cover property that you own, so you’ll want a trailer interchange coverage whenever you’re hauling a trailer that doesn’t belong to you. You might also be able to find this type of coverage listed as non-owned trailer liability insurance.
If you or a passenger is hurt in an accident, this commercial truck insurance will help cover medical expenses. Remember, liability insurance will cover other drivers’ health costs, but not your own. After an accident, you could need emergency treatment, doctor’s appointments, or physical therapy that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Anyone who operates a commercial vehicle should have some type of protection against the hefty cost of medical bills after an accident.
You might be so focused on your own trucking insurance that you don’t consider other drivers’ coverage. Even if you’ve done an amazing job building a policy that covers every risk imaginable, you could still wind up facing thousands of dollars in losses or damages if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who is uninsured or lacks adequate coverage.
Semi-trucks are expensive to maintain and even more expensive to repair or replace. If a driver doesn’t have the liability insurance necessary to compensate you after an accident, then this commercial truck insurance will swoop in and offer you compensation. This coverage can also pay for the medical expense you incur from an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, including hit-and-run accidents.
How to Get the Best Coverage for Your Trucking Business
If you’re looking to work with someone that can provide you with competitive commercial truck options near me and specializes in trucking insurance coverage, reach out to the Truck Insurance Pros. Truck Insurance Pros has been in the insurance business since 1947. They have the experience and know how to ensure you are properly covered at the most competitive premiums.