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    Bodily Injury Liability: Commercial Trucking Insurance

    For trucking companies, investing in liability insurance is typically required by law to protect the business interests of a motor carrier and their employees.

    According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration statistics from 2018, 5096 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, which is a 1% increase from 2017. However, the amount of fatalities is still 3% lower than the 21st-century high of 5231 in 2005.

    A motor company should have general liability insurance, which consists of collision coverage and comprehensive insurance. These only cover damage to vehicles caused by collisions or other accidents, without taking into consideration the trucker or driver behind the wheel.

    In contrast, bodily liability insurance provides additional liability coverage if a vehicle causes injury or death to a person and the driver is considered at fault. It can cover expenses related to medical bills, wages, personal injury claims, and other claims related to covered damages.

    As a result, injury liability policies can provide trucking companies greater peace of mind.

    Understanding Commercial Truck Insurance

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    Commercial truck insurance comes in many shapes and forms. Depending on the type of vehicle, individual needs, and the minimum requirements per state, there are several types of insurance coverages that can keep a business from having to pay unnecessary expenses out of pocket.

    General Liability Insurance

    Motor truck general liability insurance is coverage that protects you from injuries or property damage that has been caused by business activities, not directly related to operating a truck. This includes things like loading and unloading cargo with a forklift, crane, or front end loader without being attached to a vehicle, libel and slander, and more.

    If you’re a for-hire trucker or motor carrier, you’ll most likely need motor truck general liability insurance to protect against damages. Such policies also tend to include completed operations insurance, which covers a contractor's liability for property damage or injuries to a third party even after work has been finished.

    Property Damage Liability

    Property damage liability helps pay for damage done to someone else's property. This covers the cost of repair for vehicles, houses, buildings, and other expenses that can be caused by a crash.

    As part of liability insurance, property damage coverage also limits the number of legal defense costs that occur in the event that you are sued for these damages.

    Bodily Injury Liability Insurance

    Bodily injury liability insurance protects for-hire truckers who need to obtain specific filings under their own authority. In this spectrum, medical care is covered along with hospital bills related to injuries.

    It is always combined with property damage liability coverage, creating the primary auto liability insurance portion of a commercial auto insurance policy.

    Each state has its own specific laws that determine the minimum limit requirements of bodily injury liability insurance, along with federal government laws on the quantity of bodily injury liability insurance required.

    Examining Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

    Apart from New Hampshire and Florida, every state in the United States and the District of Columbia require drivers to be covered by bodily injury liability insurance. This provides coverage for physical injuries that can otherwise be extremely costly for both businesses and individuals.

    Bodily injury liability coverage includes two main coverage limits:

    1. Per-person limit: This applies to each person who gets injured in an accident.
    2. Per-accident limit: This applies to each accident where multiple people obtain injuries

    To determine the minimum requirements for bodily injury liability, each state notes the coverage limits with numbers like 20/40.

    The first number indicates the per-person limit, which is the maximum amount of money the insurance provider needs to pay for one person injured in an accident minus the policy deductible. The second number is the per-accident limit, which is the total amount of money the insurance company will pay for the whole accident involving multiple injuries.

    For instance, a 20/40 policy covers a maximum of $20,000 for a single person's injuries, while the $40,000 amount provides the payment for the injuries of everyone in the vehicle hit by the truck driver.

    One of the major benefits of this coverage is that it takes some of the financial burdens of a personal injury by helping fund medical payments. Usually, the injured person would file a bodily injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company. This needs to include information on things like:

    • Soft tissue wounds
    • Broken bones and head injuries
    • Whiplash trauma
    • The date of the injury
    • How the injury occurred
    • The diagnosis
    • The length of treatment and recovery the aggrieved party needs to undergo

    Estimating Costs of Commercial Trucking Insurance

    To look at the typical cost of expenses that a business would pay for commercial trucking insurance, it's worth looking at a variety of factors. On average, primary auto liability coverage for employees costs about $5,000-$7,000 on an annual basis.

    Some other factors that would affect your insurance costs are:

    • Age
    • Driving records
    • Age and condition of your equipment
    • Cargo
    • State requirements
    • Trip duration

    Choosing the Right Commercial Trucking Insurance Provider

    To choose the best provider that provides coverage for your services, it's worth doing detailed research into the type of liability insurance that your business needs.

    Looking at whether the company offers an unlimited policy would mean result in almost full coverage of hazards and losses under the type of insurance.

    Deductibles, type of cargo, 24/7 claims reporting, available references and more may help determine a provider's level of service, monetary value, and overall expertise.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Commercial Truck Insurance

    Does my trucking company need commercial truck insurance?

    Often, primary liability truck insurance is a requirement of a trucking license, because it helps protect people and property from damage caused by trucks. General liability insurance would also come in handy to protect employees.

    What happens if I don't have commercial truck insurance?

    Without commercial truck insurance, the extensive costs of bodily injury and property damage from uninsured truck accidents may lead to unforeseen financial burdens that can severely impact a business.

    How do I make a claim with my commercial truck insurance?

    To file an auto insurance claim more easily, the driver needs to document all details of the accident and contact their insurance provider from the scene of the accident as soon as possible.

    Additional Resources

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration

    The U.S.Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides information on preventing illness and injury for truckers.

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 

    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides a range of commercial truck driving insurance resources and more.

    Protecting Your Drivers With Bodily Injury Liability

    Having more general liability insurance coverage can help a truck driver stay safe on the road by giving them the safety blanket they need in the event of an accident on the road. If they are at fault, this can help companies avoid paying large sums of money out of pocket.

    Before you get insurance for your drivers, make sure to find a general liability insurance plan that provides coverage with higher limits so that it protects the interests of your company. Otherwise, the financial costs of property damage, bodily injury, and medical expenses can take a toll on your profits.

    In the event that you're unsure what type of auto liability insurance to purchase, one of the things you can do is to consult an insurance agent to help you find the right choice for your vehicles.

    For information on what type of insurance coverage is best for you, we provide useful insurance quote comparisons and valuable insights for the trucking industry at Assured Standard.

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    Assured Standard will protect your business with the right insurance, depending on your needs. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to have the right general liability insurance experts on your side. Protecting the future of your business starts today.
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