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Commercial Truck Insurance Guide by State

Commercial Truck Insurance Guide by State
by Arthur Williamson

In the United States, commercial trucks are among the most popular modes of transporting goods and materials. This underscores the importance of ensuring that all trucks on the road are fully-insured. Commercial truck insurance can protect a trucking company from severe financial harm as a result of accidents.

Indeed, an estimated 15.5 million commercial trucks are operating throughout the country.  Of the sid number, 2.2 million are tractor-trailers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, trucking companies employ approximately 7.4 million individuals.

Although trucks are big and look invulnerable, they are also prone to accidents. In 2018, 4,136 people died as a result of large truck crashes. Of the said number, 74% died in crashes that involve tractor-trailers while the rest involves single-unit trucks. This is why commercial truck insurance is a necessity for trucking owners. 

Consequences of Driving Without Insurance

Just like with any other motor vehicle, driving without the required insurance policy will result in penalties. The amount of liability depends on the state where the violation was committed. Each state has its laws regarding motor vehicles.

Monetary Fines

West Virginia has stiff fines for truck drivers driving without insurance. A first-time offender can be fined up to $5,000. The said amount is also the penalty for second and third-time offenders. On top of the fine, the state has the right to suspend the driver’s license of a first-time offender until such time that the driver can present a valid proof of insurance.

In North Carolina, driving without auto insurance is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The fine is considerably low at just $50. State authorities can suspend the registration of the vehicle in question for 30 days. The maximum fine that North Carolina imposes is $150 for third-time offenders.

Financial Loss and Impact on Business

Aside from the monetary penalties, the financial loss associated with driving without auto insurance can be burdensome. The delivery of the cargo that the truck is carrying will get delayed. This can lead to a violation of freight agreements, resulting in further penalties.

The suspended driver and truck will also lose the opportunity to earn for the trucking company during the suspension. In an industry where competition is stiff, a missed delivery deadline can result in a contract not getting renewed and business moving to a competitor.

In some states, a truck driver without insurance faces the prospect of losing a license. For example, in California, if you do not have commercial truck insurance and you figure in an accident, there is a possibility that you might lose your license. This is regardless if the accident was your fault or not.

In other states such as Alaska, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, and West Virginia, there is also a possibility of receiving jail time of up to one year.

With all the possible penalties and consequences of driving without auto insurance, there is no reason why a trucking company should forget getting their fleet insured regardless of commercial truck insurance costs.

Commercial Truck Insurance by State

Due to each state's different laws, getting auto insurance for a commercial truck also differs per state. This is why a trucking company and the truck driver must be aware of each state’s commercial truck insurance requirements, especially for those who ferry goods and raw materials interstate.

Liability Requirements

In the state of New York, aside from the requirement of commercial vehicles having active liability insurance, a commercial truck should have a minimum level of coverage amounting to $30,000.

In Colorado, there are different minimum coverage requirements for different types of vehicles. Property-carrying vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds, for hire, and engages in interstate commerce should have a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance.

If you are operating a property-carrying vehicle over 10,000 pounds that carry hazardous materials, the minimum required liability coverage is between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000. The difference in the liability coverage depends on the type of hazardous material a commercial truck carries.

Nebraska also has its requirements for those who need auto insurance. The minimum liability for bodily injuries is $25,0000 per person or $50,000 per incident. The minimum property damage liability should be $25,000 per incident.

If you are unsure of the requirements for a particular state, commercial truck insurance companies know these regulations. You can get in touch with a representative from any of the top 10 commercial truck insurance companies for a better idea of the commercial truck insurance requirements you need to comply with.

Premium for Uninsured Vehicles

Aside from the penalties that a trucking company or a commercial truck driver faces while driving without valid auto insurance, having a lapsed insurance policy also means that the new policy will cost more. This is because of the No Insurance Penalty that the trucking company needs to shoulder.

Just like with the auto insurance requirements, the No Insurance Penalty also varies per state. Some states have stiffer penalties compared to others.

If you are in the state of California, you can expect a 36% hike in insurance rates if you have a lapsed policy. For those operating in Massachusetts and North Carolina, having a lapsed policy will mean that you will see an increase of 30% on your insurance policy.

A Few Questions to Ask About Truck Insurance

What Type of Coverage Do I Need?

Although there are different types of insurance coverages for commercial trucks, not all of them are required. The most basic and important ones are Commercial Auto Liability, Physical Damage Coverage, Motortruck Cargo Liability, and Non-owned Trailer Coverage.

These are must-haves when it comes to commercial truck auto insurance. The other coverages are optional, but it will be better if you have them to have ample coverage for whatever situation arises.

What Kind of Filings Do I Need?

A filing is proof that a commercial trucking company has enough liability insurance to satisfy federal and state requirements. They are also known as financial proof of responsibility.

Federal filings are crucial to commercial trucking companies that operate across state lines. They are also requirements for those who engage in regional trucking or transport non-exempt commodities within state lines.

On the other hand, a state filing is a requirement if a truck will transport exempt goods within a particular state.

These requirements can vary depending on the state that that commercial trucking company will be operating on. Familiarity with regulations of different states can help avoid untoward incidents and unintentional violations.

What Can I Do to Save on Premiums?

One of the best ways to have a lower commercial trucking premium is by increasing your deductibles. A deductible is the amount of money that a commercial trucking company pays toward an insured loss.

Another way of saving on premiums is by instituting stricter standards when hiring truck drivers. A bad driving record and credit score will significantly impact the amount that a trucking company needs to pay for an auto insurance policy.

Proper training of truck drivers can go a long way towards getting better premiums. The smaller the number of claims a driver makes, the better premiums a trucking company will have.

Additionally, you can adjust your coverages if you’re looking to save on the cost of your commercial truck insurance. Not all trucks are the same. Physical damage coverage, for instance, is commonly needed for trucks with an outstanding lease or loan. Be that as it many, it’s essential that you ensure you're satisfied with your coverage before starting your policy.

Our Commercial Trucking Company Has Different Types of Trucks. Do They Have the Same Insurance Requirements?

No, the requirements for commercial auto insurance varies depending on the type of commercial vehicle. A trucking company needs to consider some factors such as the vehicle's weight and the type of goods or products that the vehicle will transport.

There are also special insurance requirements required for some commercial trucks. An example is a truck that transports hazardous materials. For these types of vehicles, a commercial trucking company needs Hazmat Truck Insurance. This is not a requirement for those transporting regular products.

Conclusion

An insurance policy for a commercial truck is like a safety net. It is in place just in case the truck driver or the trucking company will need it. It can help protect both the driver and the company from liabilities that can lead to financial ruin.

Because of the intricacies resulting from different state laws, getting auto insurance for a commercial truck can be confusing. Each state has different laws and requirements, and a trucker or a trucking company may not be aware of all these requirements.

Getting the assistance of the Best Commercial Truck Insurance Company like Assured Standard can help make the process easier. It is also an excellent way of ensuring that all the trucks in a commercial trucking company has more than enough insurance coverage at all times. That said, contact Assured Standard today! 

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