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    Texas Commercial Trucking Insurance

    Texas Commercial Trucking Insurance

    In Texas, there are 172,000 truck drivers employed. In addition, 15% of all occupations in Texas are held by truck drivers. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas has the highest number of fatal truck accidents in the United States. Texas roadways were the scene of more than 13% of all fatal trucking accidents in the United States while having less than 8% of the country's population.

    In Texas, trucking companies operating in Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Austin, or El Paso must have commercial truck insurance. Commercial trucking insurance will help you cover the costs related to collision-related damage to your truck and other vehicles and litigation involving injuries and deaths. In Texas, commercial truck insurance is expensive but mandatory for commercial trucks and drivers.

    Requirements For Commercial Trucking Insurance In Texas

    Local Truckers

    Local truckers and new businesses are required by Texas law to maintain a certain amount of liability insurance. How much you require depends on the type of freight you pull and the distance you travel. If you do not cross state lines and your truck exceeds the GVW, you must obtain a TXDMV Number and maintain the following minimum liability insurance coverage:

    $300,000Liability Insurance (Household Goods)
    $500,000Liability Insurance (General Freight)
    $1,000,000Liability Insurance (Oil Transport)
    $5,000,000Liability Insurance (Hazmat)
    $5,000 per vehicle $10,000 per catastropheCargo Insurance (Intrastate Household Goods Movers And Interstate Contract Carriers)

    Insurance requirements for truck drivers leaving the state are specified in greater detail. In addition to the aforementioned, you must comply with all federal semi-truck insurance requirements. Most federal liability limits can be $750,000 or $1,000,000.

    Your insurance agent must submit specific filings to both Texas and the FMCSA. Additionally, your agent or company should handle these files on your behalf. These forms demonstrate to the government that you have met all DOT truck insurance requirements. They must be submitted prior to receiving authorization. Some common forms include:

    • Form E
    • Form H
    • Form MCS-98
    • The BMC-99

    What Commercial Trucking Insurance Covers In Texas

    Your coverage requirements will vary based on your cargo, normal route, and other factors. These are some of the different types of Texas commercial truck insurance cover:

    Commercial Auto LiabilityTypically covers injuries to other people and property damage if you cause an accident. It may also cover the cost of your legal defense in the event of a lawsuit.
    Physical DamageA general term for a range of insurance policies that protect your truck or other commercial vehicles. This includes collision insurance and your pick of full comprehensive insurance or fire and theft insurance with combined additional coverage (CAC).
    Medical Payments CoverageOften known as MedPay coverage, this can cover your and your passengers' medical bills in the event of an accident regardless of who was at fault.
    Uninsured Motorist InsuranceOften comprises 3 separate coverages that are grouped together. You are often protected if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
    Trailer Interchange InsuranceThis type of physical damage insurance is essential for trailers being towed under a trailer interchange agreement. This insurance protects you financially if your trailer is damaged by an accident, theft, fire, explosion, or vandalism.
    Non-trucking Liability InsuranceCan provide truck insurance coverage with an unlimited radius when you are under a permanent lease with a motor carrier and are not driving under dispatch.
    Motor Truck Cargo InsuranceRequired by for-hire truckers to cover liability for cargo that is lost or damaged due to collision, fire, or striking of a load.
    Motor Truck General LiabilityFor-hire truckers and motor carriers must have this type of insurance for bodily injury or property damage stemming from business activities unrelated to their main operations.
    Garage Keeper’s Legal Liability InsurancePays to repair or replace a car you are towing or hauling if it is damaged by a fire, theft, collision, explosion, or vandalism.
    Storage Location InsuranceProtection for owners of towing and service station businesses. It safeguards a customer's vehicle while it is parked, stored, or serviced in a covered place.
    Workers’ Compensation InsuranceAlso known as workers' comp, a type of insurance that many companies are required to have. It can pay medical expenses and a percentage of missed wages for injured employees. Additionally, it protects businesses from litigation connected to working conditions.

    Types Of Trucks Covered By Commercial Truck Insurance In Texas

    Types Of Trucks Covered By Commercial Truck Insurance

    Every type of truck is insurable. Different insurers provide coverage for various vehicle types, so you may need to browse around to obtain coverage for yours.

    The following are examples of common truck types covered by the majority of insurers:

    • Box trucks
    • Cement mixers
    • Dump trucks
    • Tow trucks
    • Semis
    • Tractor trailers

    Cost Of Commercial Trucking Insurance In Texas

    In Texas, the average cost of truck insurance is $13,606.

    The average premium ranges between $11,540 and $15,546.

    These rates are based on truckers with a single truck who require liability, cargo, and physical damage insurance. There are several factors that affect the cost, including what you are transporting, your driving record, and the length of time you have been in operation.

    Registration Programs for Commercial Fleet Services

    The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) has various registration programs to match the needs of commercial fleet services or businesses with trucks moving across Texas.

    Apportioned Registration

    This is also known as the International Registration Plan (IRP) and provides your business with the freedom of interstate travel. As a result, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of purchasing trip permits every time. New account applications are processed through Regional Service Centers.

    Registration fees depend on the distance percentages for every jurisdiction where your commercial vehicle or fleet operates. They are payable by:

    • Personal check
    • Business check
    • Cashier’s check/money order in person
    • Online via electronic check
    • Credit card

    Forestry Registration

    TxDMV issues forestry vehicle registration for vehicles used solely for moving forest products:

    • Logs
    • Debarked logs
    • Untreated ties
    • Stave bolts
    • Plywood billets
    • Wood chips
    • Stumps
    • Sawdust
    • Moss
    • Bark
    • Wood shavings
    • Property used to produce them

    Forestry Vehicle License Plates are renewed annually, with the registration year being April 1 through March 31 of the next year. Fees are prorated for license plates issued for less than 12 months. Applications may be mailed or submitted in person at a TxDMV Regional Service Center.

    Registration fees are based on the following factors:

    • Gross vehicle weight
    • Local county fees
    • Cab card and plate fees

    All payments are made alongside the actual application process. Fees may be paid in the same way apportioned registration fees are paid.

    Reminder: A vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 55,000 pounds or more must provide proof of payment of the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) at the time of registration. 

    Multi-Year Fleet Registration

    This registration program is available to individuals and businesses registering at least 25 Intrastate non-specialized plated units in Texas. It streamlines the process of vehicle registration and inspections.

    Commercial fleets may include different types of vehicles, including the following:

    • Buses
    • Trucks
    • Trailers
    • Mopeds
    • Motorcycles
    • Token trailers
    • Passenger cars
    • Combination power units

    There is no fixed or maximum number of commercial fleets that you can utilize on one account. However, the units shouldn’t have another plate designation (e.g., apportioned, forestry).

    Registration periods can range from one to eight years. All units share the same expiration date, regardless of what their vehicle class is or how many units are within your fleet. 

    Prorated existing registration credit aside, the following fees will be collected for the entire registration period during your initial registration:

    • Registration fees
    • One-time $10 fee per unit
    • Local county fees
    • Plate fees
    • P&H fees

    Standard license plates have a one-time license manufacturing fee amounting to $1.50 for every plate or set of plates. Meanwhile, custom logo license plates have a one-time license manufacturing fee of $8.00.

    Texas registration fees are payable online via electronic check or credit card. You may also pay for them by check or money order at a Regional Service Center.

    Token Trailer Registration

    The multi-year registration program is for Texas trailers eligible for Token Trailer license plates. This will make updating token trailer registrations easier for business owners.

    The program provides a "non-expiring" license plate for token trailers. This means there is no expiration date on the plate. There are also no validation stickers issued for renewal.  This removes the need to locate and issue new plates or stickers every year. 

    You can register for a term of up to five years, but not less than one year. The registration receipt already serves as evidence of active registration. 

    To qualify for token trailer registration, semitrailers must have a gross weight of more than 6,000 pounds. There is no minimum number of token trailers required.

    You will need to pay for the annual $15 registration fee and all local fees during the initial registration, regardless of the registration period. Payments can be made in various ways:

    • Cash
    • Credit card
    • Personal check
    • Business check
    • Cashier’s check
    • Money order in person
    • Online via electronic check

    Commercial Vehicle Registration Plates In Texas

    In Texas, commercial vehicle registration is necessary for vehicles used primarily to transport people, equipment, or other assets for hire or profit.

    Apportioned Registration

    Apportioned Registration — otherwise known as the International Registration Plan (IRP) — is a requirement for vehicles that are used in at least two jurisdictions that allocate or proportionally register commercial vehicles.

    It is also required for vehicles used to transport people or property for hire or for profit, as well as:

    • Two-axle vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds in gross vehicle weight
    • Vehicles with three or more axles, regardless of their gross vehicle weight
    • Vehicles used in combination, weighing more than 26,000 pounds in gross vehicle weight

    Call 1-800-299-1700 and select option #5 to learn more about the IRP.

    Combination Registration

    A single plate is issued. When a truck or truck tractor weighs more than 10,000 pounds and is used with a semitrailer that weighs more than six thousand (6,000) pounds, the combination plate must be registered for the combined gross weight of the two vehicles.

    It is legal for a vehicle with a "COMBINATION" license plate to pull a semitrailer that has either a "TOKEN TRAILER" or a "TRAILER" license plate. But if a vehicle has a "TRUCK" plate, it may not pull a semitrailer with a "TOKEN TRAILER" plate.

    An additional registration fee of $15.00 must be paid in order to be issued a permit for a "TOKEN TRAILER" operating in conjunction with an over axle/over gross permit (1547 permit).

    Machinery Registration

    Farm tractors and implements of husbandry aside, a current registration plate or a "MACHINERY" license plate is mandatory for all machinery-type vehicles to operate on public highways. It’s also required for construction machinery and machinery used specifically for drilling water wells.

    The state inspection requirements do not apply to vehicles with a "MACHINERY" license plate. Each plate costs $5.00 a year.

    Frequently Asked Questions 

    Below are some frequently asked questions related to commercial trucking insurance and commercial motor vehicles in Texas:

    Is commercial insurance a requirement in the state of Texas?

    While commercial general liability insurance is not a requirement in Texas, it has become a norm for business owners to secure comprehensive insurance to protect themselves against liability claims. The right insurance also provides financial protection for your assets and vehicles.

    If you own a trucking business, commercial general liability insurance can cover customer injuries, property damage, and other common risks that you face. It protects you from the financial losses of claims and lawsuits. It also helps you secure leases and contracts.

    What are the requirements to operate commercial trucks in Texas?

    These are the basic requirements for commercial drivers in Texas:

    1. You must have a valid driver's license
    2. You must be at least 18 years old
    3. Provide a negative drug screening result
    4. Present a medical examination report certificate
    5. There are no warrants or pending criminal charges against you

    Additionally, the Texas Department of Public Safety has created a flow chart that will help you determine the classification of a commercial driver's license that you need to operate legally.

    What qualifies as a commercial vehicle in Texas?

    A commercial motor vehicle is a self-propelled or towed vehicle used on a public highway to transport passengers or cargo. Its gross weight or registered weight should be less than 48,000 pounds. Other conditions include:

    • The vehicle has a gross weight or registered weight of over 26,000 pounds and is designed for over 15 passengers, including the driver. The same applies to school activity buses
    • The vehicle transports hazardous materials and practices the conditions under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

    CMVs may be used as personal conveyances under what circumstances?

    A driver may record personal use of a CMV as off-duty only when they aren't doing work for the motor carrier. A driver can also use the CMV for personal reasons, even when loaded, as long as the load isn't being transported for the motor carrier's business benefit.

    However, remember that personal conveyance should not affect the driver's or the motor carrier's responsibility to operate the vehicle safely. Motor carriers can set personal conveyance limitations to ensure the safe and responsible operation of their CMVs at all times.

    Quick Traffic Statistics In Texas

    Commercial motor vehicles in Texas contributed to a total of 38,149 crashes in 2021. Drivers should be aware of the following statistics, so they can be more responsible on the road.

    Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities

    In 2021, Texas saw a 4.17% increase in fatality rates in 2020. Let’s take a look at the statistics:

    • 2021 fatality rate on Texas roadways: 1.56 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles
    • 2021 death toll: 4,489 deaths, a 15.22% increase from 2020’s 3,896 recorded deaths
    • A total of 1,037 people were killed in vehicular accidents at or related to intersections
    • A total of 239,539 people were injured due to motor vehicle traffic crashes
    • Distracted driving deaths decreased 17.34% from 2020 to 433

    Substance-Impaired Driving

    Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has always been a common reason for crashes.

    • In 2021, there were 15,558 crashes related to driving under the influence of alcohol
    • In 2021, 1,077 people died in crashes related to drivers under the influence of alcohol
    • In 2021, DUI (Alcohol) crashes were more common between 2:00 am and 2:59 am
    • In 2021, there were 3,430 crashes related to driving under the influence of drugs

    Occupant Protection

    Driver behavior is a common cause of traffic fatalities. Here are some numbers to back it up:

    • In 2021, speeding was responsible for 1,522 deaths
    • In 2021, 1,219 fatalities were attributed to not wearing a seat belt
    • In 2021, distracted driving resulted in a total of 93,560 crashes across Texas

    Drowsy driving crashes typically occur between midnight to 2:00 am, 4:00 am to 6:00 am, and 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

    Other Insurance Types

    The best way to choose the most cost-effective truck insurance is to compare multiple quotes and determine how they can protect your assets and your business.

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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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