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    Comprehensive Insurance: Commercial Trucking

    Having a commercial truck policy is critical for any commercial trucking company. After all, a valid insurance policy is a safeguard that protects trucking businesses from liabilities arising from accidents.

    The financial loss arising from an accident involving an uninsured truck can be enough to bankrupt a trucking agency. In 2018, a total of 4,136 individuals died in accidents involving large trucks. This is higher by 31% compared to the number of fatalities recorded in 2009.

    Comprehensive Insurance: Commercial Trucking

    Accidents involving commercial trucks are also costly. In 2018, the average economic cost of fatal truck accidents was around $1,659,000. On the other hand, the average economic cost of disablements resulting from commercial truck accidents was around $96,200.

    The figures mentioned above highlights the need for commercial truck agencies to have the required insurance coverage for their fleet. With the proper coverage, trucking companies can help ensure that they will not face financial ruin in case one of their trucks figured in an unfortunate incident.

    Why Commercial Truck Insurance Is So Important

    Commercial truck insurance is important because it is a type of vehicle insurance covering trucking companies as well as their drivers, for an additional layer of security. When commercial trucks have these policies, it is guaranteed coverage against losses and damages.

    Trucks are expensive and even the smallest accident involving a commercial truck can cause the trucking company serious financial setbacks. Having drivers with a commercial driver's license and training is not enough to get security, having vehicles insured is important, too.

    Just like any other motor vehicle, a commercial truck is required to have this policy in order to operate. Operating a commercial truck without proper auto insurance is illegal. Drivers and truck owners run the risk of facing stiff penalties when they operate uninsured trucks.

    Common Accidents that Drivers Face on the Road

    Vehicular accidents can occur anywhere and at any time of the day or night. These mishaps can occur not just on highways or freeways but even on small roads. They can also happen in different weather conditions. The possibility of it happening even increases for a driver who uses a box truck, cement mixer, dump trucks, most types of cargo trucks, and other types of trucks on the road.

    The type of injury and the amount of damage that a vehicular accident can cause depends on the type of incident that a driver gets involved in. Here are some of the most common vehicular accidents that drivers face on the road:

    Vehicle Rollover

    Comprehensive Insurance: Commercial Trucking

    A vehicle rollover is one of the deadliest types of vehicular accidents. Around 35% of deaths from passenger vehicle crashes are caused by this kind of tragedy. This happens when an automobile tips over onto its side or roof.

    Data from Safercar shows that 95% of single-vehicle rollovers are tripped. This means that the vehicle left the road and slid sideways. This is caused by a vehicle's tires digging into soft soil or striking an object, thus causing the automobile to rollover.

    Single Vehicle Accident

    This is a type of vehicular mishap wherein there are no other vehicles involved. Examples of single-vehicle accidents are crashes with animals, trees, or fallen debris.

    A single-vehicle accident can also be a result of a defect in the vehicle. An example is a crash resulting from a tire blowout. Brake failure is another common cause of single-vehicle accidents.

    These underscore the importance of keeping a vehicle in top condition before a long haul.

    Rear-end Collision

    This is a type of vehicular accident wherein a vehicle crashes into the automobile in front of it. Crash incidents such as these can be a result of driver inattention, panic stops, or tailgating.

    Rear-end accidents can also be a result of reduced traction because of unfavorable road conditions caused by weather conditions such as snow, sleet, or storms.

    Side-impact Collision

    Side-impact collisions are also known as broadsides or T-bone collisions. In this kind of vehicular accident, the side of a vehicle receives the impact of the hit. These are common at intersections or parking lots.

    The damage caused by this type of incident is often more severe compared to rear-end ones.

    Comprehensive Insurance: Commercial Trucking

    Head-on Collision

    Head-on collisions occur when the front ends of two vehicles hit each other. Among vehicular accidents, head-on collisions are often fatal. The severity of the impact and damages during head-on crashes depends on the speed of the vehicles involved.

    The common accidents described above are often due to:

    • Speeding
    • Drunk driving
    • Reckless driving
    • Distracted driving
    • Weather conditions
    • Unsafe lane changes
    • Improper turns
    • Tailgating
    • Potholes
    • Tire blowouts
    • Vehicular defects
    • Animal crossings
    • Street racing

    Types of Commercial Truck Insurance Policies to Look For

    There are several types of coverage within commercial truck policies. Each type provides coverage for different situations. Knowing the difference between each type can help an owner-operator determine which ones the company needs.

    Bobtail Insurance

    This type of coverage or commercial insurance policy covers a truck driver who gets involved in and is responsible for an accident while driving a truck under someone else's trucking liability.

    This policy does not cover physical damage to a truck. It only covers the costs associated with a primary liability like legal fees, settlement expenses, or medical expenses for injuries.

    Limited Depreciation Coverage

    Limited depreciation covers the difference between the amount paid by the primary insurer and the original purchase price of the commercial truck. This policy comes into play in the event of a total loss of a vehicle.

    Mechanical Breakdown Insurance

    A mechanical breakdown policy covers truck repairs unrelated to a vehicular accident. You can utilize this for repairs above a manufacturer's warranty. This kind of policy can be of great help in managing expenses when repairs are needed.

    Comprehensive Insurance: Commercial Trucking

    Motor Truck Cargo Insurance

    A motor truck cargo policy provides coverage for the freight or commodity of a truck. It also provides liability coverage for cargo, including losses stemming from fires, collisions, and other vehicular accidents.

    Some policies also cover the cost associated with the removal of debris resulting from a vehicular accident. It can also cover the cost of preventing further loss to damaged cargo, legal fees, and freight charges lost by the client.

    Motor Carrier Insurance

    This is a mandatory policy that pays for damages that a truck causes to other people and their properties. Motor carrier insurance includes bodily injury insurance and property damage coverage.

    Motor Truck General Liability Insurance

    This type of insurance covers the most common types of third-party injuries and accidents. Motor truck general liability includes coverage for accidental injuries and damage to property.

    Non-Trucking Liability Insurance

    Non-trucking liability provides coverage for when a commercial truck gets used for personal errands. Since trucker's liability covers only activities connected to business use, personal activities are excluded.

    Examples are when a truck driver uses a commercial truck as a personal vehicle to buy groceries or while driving back from a completed job.

    Trailer Interchange Coverage

    Trailer interchange insurance provides coverage for truck trailers being pulled under a trailer interchange agreement. The scope of this policy includes physical damage for trailers owned by, rented, or loaned from someone else.

    Comprehensive Insurance: Commercial Trucking

    With trailer interchange insurance, the non-owned trailer gets protected against collision, explosion, fire, vandalism, and theft.

    On-Hook Coverage

    The on-hook coverage is a type of coverage on damages that a truck incurs while getting towed. It will cover damages such as collision, theft, vandalism, or fire while getting towed or hauled.

    This is a must for trucking agencies with large fleets and their own tow trucks.

    Optional Downtime Coverage

    These are auto insurance policies that provide trucking companies with financial protection while a truck is getting repaired and it's going to take time before the said truck gets back on the road.

    Trucking companies lose money while a vehicle is getting repaired. With optional downtime coverage, the trucking company can request financial compensation to make up for the time and money lost during vehicle repairs.

    Passenger Accident Insurance

    This policy will cover medical payments to commercial truck passengers. It also provides coverage for accidental death and dismemberment for commercial truck passengers.

    This type of policy is an add-on to a truck's standard liability plan.

    Physical Damage Coverage

    Trucking physical damage coverage refers to a group of insurance coverages that protect a commercial truck. Physical damage coverage includes:

    • Collision insurance - provides coverage when a vehicle gets damaged during a collision.
    • Comprehensive insurance - provides coverage for almost any damages incurred by a truck. The only exception is damages covered by collision coverage.
    • Fire and theft with CAC - provides coverage for damages resulting from specific non-collision events. Examples are damages incurred during fire, theft, floods, hailstorms, lightning, and earthquakes.

    Factors to Consider When Choosing a Commercial Truck Insurance Provider

    Choosing the right commercial truck insurance company is a crucial decision to make. Learning about things to look for can help ensure that a trucking company receives the best coverage at competitive prices.

    Here are some of the factors that a commercial truck company should consider when choosing a partner insurance provider.

    Expertise

    Although there are numerous insurance providers, it is best to select one that specializes in trucks. Having an expert working is advantageous as they have in-depth knowledge of the motor-carrier requirements of various state agencies.

    These trucking experts are also aware of the different requirements of each state and can help trucking agencies make sure that they have the complete requirements in order to operate in a particular state.

    Professional Record

    Partnering with an insurance provider with a good track record can help put a trucking company at ease. This is one reason why businesses that have a long and clean track record are preferred by most trucking companies.

    Insurance companies with healthy financial records are also preferred. This signifies that the company has enough reserves that enable them to pay insurance claims on time. Even if an insurance company receives multiple claims at the same time, they can settle all obligations on time if they have robust financial health.

    Trucking companies can also check the information available from national rating companies. These rating agencies actively monitor the customer service performance and financial strength of insurance providers. Trucking companies can use this information as a guide in assessing the track record of the insurance company that they are looking at.

    Coverage

    Although insurance companies offer standard coverage, there are minute differences that can be useful to a trucking company.

    Some providers offer additional coverage and special protection plans for commercial trucks. Commercial truck agencies should carefully look at the terms, conditions, and coverages that an insurance company offers.

    Moreover, there are ways to get blanket or umbrella policies for other needs including cargo coverage, personal auto insurance, rental reimbursement with downtime, workers compensation insurance, and related policies.

    Pricing

    In searching for the best commercial vehicle insurance provider, the cost of commercial truck insurance is extremely important. Low pricing may be attractive but it should be considered in relation to the extent of the coverage being offered. Low-cost policies often have limited coverage. Trucking companies should ensure that the benefits that they are losing can be justified by the money that they save on monthly costs.

    One factor that can sharply drive costs up is the driving record of the truck driver. A good driving record can help reduce insurance premiums.

    However, insurance companies have different ways of treating the records of drivers. Commercial truck agencies can request a truck insurance quote from several companies in order to make an objective comparison.

    Reputable Commercial Truck Insurance Providers

    Here are some of the best commercial auto insurance providers that trucking companies can check.

    1.) American Family Insurance

    This is the best insurance provider for truck owners with accidents on their records. American Family Insurance provides competitive pricing even if the truck driver has violations such as speeding tickets.

    American Family Insurance is also known for having a good record of consumer complaints on state regulators. 

    2.) Geico

    Geico is the best insurance company for commercial truck agencies looking for competitively-priced insurance policies. Geico is an excellent choice for trucking companies that are after state-minimum coverage.

    This company also has a high level of positive experience from customers who have insurance claims.

    3. Progressive Commercial

    Progressive Commercial is the best insurance provider for commercial truck agencies that are looking for a wide variety of insurance options.

    Progressive Commercial is one of the largest insurance companies in the United States. It provides customized commercial truck coverage and federal filing assistance for its customers.

    4.) Strong Tie Insurance

    Strong Tie Insurance is the best commercial truck insurance provider for those who are after affordable insurance premiums.

    Customers also gave the organization positive reviews when it comes to their customer service. Strong Tie Insurance provides insurance coverage to small and large trucking companies from their offices in California and Florida.

    5.) Travelers Insurance

    Travelers Insurance is the best provider for those who are after the best discounts. It offers a wide variety of insurance coverage options for commercial truck agencies.

    Travelers Insurance also has excellent financial strength to support customers' claims.

    6.) Liberty Mutual

    Liberty Mutual claims to be the fifth-largest insurance company in the world-and rightfully so.

    Liberty Mutual is an excellent commercial truck insurance provider when it comes to customer satisfaction. Its mobile app makes transactions seamless and allows customers to track claims, pay bills, and review policy documents.

    Common Misconceptions About Commercial Truck Insurance

    Gaining a better understanding of how truck insurance works can be a great help to a trucking company. Part of this is separating facts from misconceptions that might put a commercial truck agency in jeopardy.

    1.) A motor carrier's insurance provides complete coverage

    The coverage that truck drivers enjoy ends when the driver is using a truck for non-business use. For a company to have complete coverage, a driver should have non-trucking liability to cater for the details beyond the coverage limit of the initial policy.

    2.) An insured commercial truck has coverage no matter who is driving it

    Most insurance agencies will only provide coverage for truck drivers who are specifically named in a policy.

    However, there is a way for any driver to have coverage while driving any insured vehicle. A policy that has "permissive use" means that the policy covers whoever is given permission to drive the insured vehicle.

    3.) Insurance premiums cannot change

    Although the computation of insurance premiums depends on a lot of factors, there are ways for a trucking company to lower its insurance costs.

    A clean DOT safety record can go a long way towards lowering insurance premiums. In order to achieve this, a commercial truck company can formulate a road and driver safety program that can help truck drivers avoid accidents and traffic violations.

    Installing dash cam systems can also help. A dashcam system can help promote accountability among truck drivers. Dashcam systems can also help protect a commercial truck company against fraudulent claims.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How important is commercial trucking insurance?

    Commercial trucking insurance is critical to commercial truck businesses. It insulates a trucking company from costly bills whenever one of its trucks gets involved in an accident. Auto insurance is also a requirement for any commercial truck in order to stay legal on the road.

    How do I pick the commercial auto insurance provider that works for me?

    Picking the best commercial insurance provider will depend on the needs of a trucking company and its owner-operator. Carefully browse through the insurance coverage that the insurer offers and determine if it will suit the insurance cover you need.

    Although low premiums are attractive, commercial truck agencies should ensure that the policy will not sacrifice benefits that are crucial to them. It is also helpful to check professional reviews and ratings to gain a more in-depth look at the financial status and professional records of a prospective commercial insurance provider.

    How much does commercial trucking insurance cost?

    The average monthly cost of a commercial truck policy ranges from around $750 for specialty truckers and $900 for transport truckers.

    However, these are just rough estimates. Commercial insurance providers consider many factors in calculating rates. You can ask for a quote from an insurance agent on a particular offer that would meet your ideal policy.

    How do I make claims with my commercial truck insurance policy?

    Filing claims with a commercial truck insurance provider is just a matter of calling the company and reporting the accident encountered by the truck driver.

    It is best to have all the relevant information at hand before calling the insurance company to ensure a smooth claims process. Take note of everything that happened during the accident and have pictures of the accident ready.

    Before filing a claim, evaluate if you need to call your provider. If the assessed cost of the damage is lower than your deductible, it may be a better idea to just pay for the damage out of pocket.

    Additional Resources

    Vehicle Theft Prevention

    This is a useful article on how drivers can prevent vehicle theft.

    Pedestrian Safety

    This article can help truck drivers become more aware of how they can make roads safer for pedestrians.

    Investing in Commercial Truck Insurance

    Getting commercial truck insurance coverage is essential to ensure that your business won't be financially harmed if inevitable accidents come about.

    Do you have any questions about coverage options? Need help finding the best comprehensive commercial truck insurance for your fleet? Let us help you! Contact Assured Standard today!

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