How It Works
Explore the different commercial truck insurance companies, narrow down your options based on your coverage needs, then apply to your top choice. Wait for the underwriting team to process your request.
Insurers follow varying criteria when assessing insurability. However, most institutions prioritize truckers with excellent driving records, solid business experience, good cash flow, and high credit scores. Meanwhile, trucking startups with multiple violations and unpaid tickets might fall under the high-risk category.
Once your insurer approves your policy, you’ll receive an official offer. Your policy contract should indicate specific terms of the agreement, including the annual premiums, claim limitations, covered incidents, and add-on coverages, among other details.
After this, you’re officially insured. Pay your premiums on time to ensure that your policy stays active 24/7/365.
If you, your drivers, trucks, or business sustains damage from a covered incident, file a claim. Most insurers take less than a week to process claims. If the underwriting team approves your claim, you should receive sufficient funds.
Note: Check your policy’s deductibles. Many commercial truck insurance companies set $500 deductibles, which policyholders would have to shoulder before receiving compensation for their claims.
Requirements For Commercial Truck Insurance
Don’t blindly jump at the first cheap commercial truck insurance offer you get. Keep in mind that you have to meet the minimum coverages set by your state and the FMCSA. Overlooking the mandated guidelines has several consequences, from license suspension to expensive legal charges.
As we mentioned above, the FMCSA requires $750,000 to $5,000,000 worth of coverage. However, how much should you get? Your mandated coverage needs generally depend on your type of freight, which include the following:
Semi-trailer freight truck
Non-hazardous freight <10,001 lbs.
Non-hazardous freight >10,001 lbs.
Oil tanks by private/for-hire carriers
Importance Of Commercial Truck Insurance
Many truckers avoid commercial semi-truck insurance requirements so they wouldn’t have to spend so much on premiums. However, insurance fees are a small price to pay for liability protection. You should never skimp on commercial insurance for your trucks because they:
Help You Avoid Lawsuits
Although trucking repairs come with a steep price, they don’t hold a candle compared to the legal liabilities of road accidents. Many trucking startups go bankrupt after just one lawsuit. Most repairs only cost a few grand at most, but attorney fees and settlement charges could set you back by $15,000 to $20,000
Considering the thousands of dollars in potential losses, the survival of your business following road accidents depends on your policy. So, don’t skimp on coverage. Generally, your policy should have sufficient coverage to pay for your trucks, driver’s hospital bills, cargo damages, and third-party damages.
Provide Financial Protection
Commercial trucking insurance covers a broad range of third- and first-party financial liabilities. Apart from vehicular repairs and replacements, they also compensate for bodily injuries, cargo damages, and legal settlement charges. If you have insufficient coverage, you’ll have to pay these bills out of pocket.
Cover Damages Caused To Others' Property
If you get into a road accident, you will be held responsible for any damages and injuries you cause to the other parties involved. At-fault motorists with insufficient insurance could face several legal charges.
However, you don’t necessarily have to pay for third-party property damages yourself. As long as you abide by the state-mandated coverage needs, you shouldn’t face any issues resolving third-party damages — your insurer will settle your liabilities.
What Commercial Truck Insurance Covers
Commercial trucking insurance coverages vary on a case-by-case basis. For instance, while the cheapest commercial truck insurance options only offer general third-party liability protection, customized policies loaded with add-ons also cover first-party property damages.
However, standard coverages typically have the same terms and conditions. Understanding the scope and limitations of truck insurance will help you determine if you need extra coverages or not.
Who Is Covered Under A Policy?
Truck insurance policies cover the designated driver and passenger/s, along with the involved third parties — like pedestrians and motorists. Liability coverage also applies to third-party property damages. If you opt for property damage coverage, your policy can also pay for your insured vehicle’s repairs.
What Are The Things Covered?
Commercial truck insurance can help pay for first- and third-party damages following covered incidents, such as:
Truck insurance covers a broad range of collision and non-collision accidents. Most policies help truckers pay for bodily injuries and property damages, but more comprehensive policies also cover first-party repairs.
If you or your drivers are ever caught in a fire, cyclone, storm, flooding, or earthquake, comprehensive insurance will help pay for vehicular damages.
Comprehensive insurance policies cover theft and vandalism to the insured vehicle, but they don’t pay for the missing items inside. Generally, avoid carrying high-value belongings in your truck.
Personal Accident Coverage
Truck insurance with personal accident coverages can help pay for treatment and recovery if you or your insured driver sustain injuries from covered incidents. Pair this policy with an extensive health insurance plan for best results.
General liability insurance protects policyholders from the financial and legal liabilities associated with third-party damages and injuries.
Many commercial truck insurance companies provide free roadside assistance.
What Are The Things Not Covered?
Unfortunately, commercial truck insurance companies cannot shoulder all the risks and liabilities your business faces. Claims often get rejected if they involve the following:
Although some policies approve claims from at-fault motorists, standard truck insurance policies typically reject cases involving drunk driving. Remember: DUI is a punishable offense.
If you opted for a Loss of License add-on coverage at the start of your policy, you could still file claims even if you accidentally lost your license. However, this coverage does not extend to unlicensed individuals operating commercial trucks.
Standard truck insurance generally doesn’t approve claims from at-fault clients, but some add-on coverages provide limited bodily injury liabilities involving contributory negligence.
General liability doesn’t cover consequential losses/damages. However, adding cargo insurance to your policy ensures that your freight is protected from collision and non-collision accidents.
What Are The Types Of Trucks Covered?
Commercial trucking insurance coverages, limitations, and conditions vary based on the vehicle you wish to insure.
If you don’t use your pickup truck for commercial purposes, you’ll only need a standard auto insurance policy.
Standard liability insurance helps pay for any damages your cement mixer might do during operations.
Add on-hook coverage to your liability insurance so that your hauled vehicles are also protected.
Apart from standard liability insurance, also get cargo insurance so that you can file claims if your cargo sustains damage during trips.
Dump trucks typically cost more to insure because their size leaves them prone to accidents.
Semi-trailer trucks pay more for coverage depending on the cargo they haul — regardless of whether they get cargo insurance or not.
What Are The Types Of Coverage Available?
Truckers can customize their policies to match their business’s insurance needs, budget, and fleet size, among other factors.
General liability insurance protects you from the financial liabilities involved with third-party bodily injuries and property damage.
Liability insurance covers third-party damages, but personal injury protection coverages extend to you, your drivers, and passengers.
Motor Truck Cargo Coverage
Motor truck cargo coverage protects your vehicle and cargo from any damages while in transit, loading, or unloading.
NTL covers collision and non-collision accidents that occur while you're using your truck for non-commercial purposes.
Adding physical damage to your liability insurance policy ensures that your coverage extends to first-party vehicular damages as well.
At-fault motorists can file claims on third-party property damages and bodily injuries with primary liability.
Rental Reimbursement with Downtime
Rental Reimbursement with Downtime compensates up to 30 days’ worth of rental fees while your rental vehicle is under repair for covered damages.
If your fleet operates on a trailer interchange, this coverage protects you from various first- and third-party property damages.
Use your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverages if you get involved in a road accident with someone who has little or no auto insurance.
How Much Commercial Truck Insurance Costs?
How much does commercial truck insurance cost? The biggest mistake most newbie truckers commit is haphazardly agreeing to the first policy quotation they get. No matter how affordable the premiums might seem, always explore your options.
Truck insurance premiums typically vary based on your preferred insurer’s risk tolerance. Widely known commercial insurers often charge the industry average, but they also have stringent application requirements. Truckers with bad driving records might not qualify.
Meanwhile, commercial trucking insurance providers specializing in high-risk clients have minimal requirements. However, they charge higher premiums. From an insurer’s point of view, it’s very risky to insure truckers with high chances of getting into road accidents.
What Affects The Cost Of Commercial Truck Insurance Policies?
Although commercial truck insurance companies have varying levels of risk tolerance, they typically assess clients based on similar factors, which include:
Your truck insurer will assess the goods you regularly haul, whether you get cargo insurance or not. You’ll fall either under hazardous or non-hazardous. Note that truckers hauling hazardous, high-value items generally need more coverage.
Having unpaid tickets and multiple traffic violations spikes premiums. Insurance providers will use your driving records to gauge your likelihood of getting involved in road accidents. If you own a fleet, your insurer will also assess the drivers you hire.
Spending long hours on the road exposes you to more hazards. For this reason, long-distance truckers driving hundreds of miles every day typically need more coverage. Most long-haulers drive anywhere from 250 to 1,000+ miles per trip.
Your insurance policy generally needs sufficient funds to pay for repairs and parts replacement, so high-value, exotic trucks typically need more coverage.
Coverage and Deductible Amount
Customize your coverage limits and deductibles to get better premiums. Insurance policies with lower coverage limits and higher deductibles generally cost less — especially if you pay the premiums annually.
Don’t overlook your parking space. Insures typically reward clients who care for their trucks 24/7 with better rates. Remember: insurance covers theft and natural disasters. As such, make sure your parking space is in a secure, guarded area with surveillance cameras and guards.
Best Commercial Truck Insurance Companies
Who has the best commercial truck insurance policies? There are dozens of truck insurance companies in the market. Although the freedom to choose any insurer you want feels liberating, first-timers might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options.
To give you a good starting point for insurance shopping, we made a quick comparison review of the most reputable, widely recognized truck insurers in the country:
Progressive undoubtedly ranks among the best trucking insurance companies around. They have a solid history dating back to the 1930s, process claims swiftly, and provide coverage to truckers in all states.
However, what truly sets them apart from the rest is their extensive list of coverages. Truckers have total control of their policies. You can customize your policy limitations based on your budget, fleet size, business nature, and occupational hazards.
• Extensive coverage options
• 24/7/365 customer support
• Multiple opportunities for discounts
• Industry-high insurance premiums
• Business insurance policies only available through third-parties
Sentry serves as the one-stop shop for all your business insurance needs. As a long-standing mutual insurance company, they have the resources to offer various policies, from commercial semi-truck insurance to general liability insurance policies.
Also, clients can feel at ease knowing Sentry is backed by over a century’s worth of industry experience. They’ve been in business since 1904 and have withstood several eras of economic depression, so you can count on them to protect you for many more decades.
• Reliable, proven financial strength
• Excellent agent support
• Multiple opportunities for discounts
• No online applications and quotations
• Doesn't offer free roadside assistance
Hartford focuses on long-term protection. Not many commercial truck insurance companies can match their extensive programs geared toward driver safety, road accident prevention, and defensive driving. Moreover, partaking in these classes gets you massive discounts.
As for financial strength, this 200-year-old company boasts one of the best reviews on the market. They have A+, A1, and A+ ratings from Standard & Poor's Financial Rating, Moody's Financial Rating, and AM Best Financial Rating, respectively.
• Excellent financial ratings
• Extensive defensive driving classes
• Features group benefits
• Lack of coverage options
• Minimal policy customizability