Since there are many different types of commercial truck coverages out there, it can be a challenge to figure out which insurance types you need when it comes to protecting your fleet from liability. However, trucking insurance can be costly depending on the size of your fleet and the value of your cargo.
Understanding the benefits of different types of truck insurance policies can help business owners choose the best protection for their fleets — without overspending. While there are legal minimum amounts for insurance, choosing higher coverage limits when possible can provide greater peace of mind down the line.
Full coverage, also known as comprehensive trucking insurance, helps cover costs if your vehicle is damaged or stolen in an event that isn’t a collision. This can include vandalism, falling objects, fire, and more. It is one of the more expensive types of insurance coverage since it covers most scenarios and trucking risks that drivers face.
On the other hand, collision insurance coverage provides insurance coverage for truck damage that is the result of your truck hitting an object or another vehicle. While these aren’t legally required, it is highly recommended that trucking companies invest in this coverage since the cost of repairs can be significant for larger fleets.
A mandatory form of commercial truck insurance is public liability insurance or primary auto liability insurance. This trucking federal requirement can help cover the cost of property damage and provide protection when a third party is injured in a trucking accident.
All motor carriers and freight forwarders need a combination of bodily injury and property damage coverage in the event of a collision. The price of third-party medical bills, legal fees, and more can quickly add up for both smaller and larger fleets.
Liability coverage is a crucial investment, especially for businesses that operate heavier trucks. It can be relatively expensive compared to coverage for smaller cars because of the greater potential for severe damage.
Although general liability insurance isn’t typically one of the trucking coverages required for trucking companies, it can be useful for non-trucking-related incidents. For instance, if a customer slips and falls at a warehouse, then this insurance policy can help pay for their medical bills.
It can also cover the cost of slander and other advertising-related injuries that can harm the reputation of your trucking business. This is a recommended investment for trucking businesses that are heavily reliant on social media and other forms of advertising in the event of a worst-case scenario.
One of the types of commercial truck coverages that is often overlooked is uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. It is legally required by 20 states and the District of Columbia for drivers since it helps cover the cost of accidents with an at-fault driver whose insurance coverage is too low to cover the medical expenses of injured people.
In addition, investing in passenger accident coverage can provide medical benefits to authorized passengers who are injured while traveling with a truck driver under the authority of the motor carrier. Although it isn’t mandatory, it is a recommended purchase since it can reduce future expenses and costs less than other trucking insurance plans.
Fire and Theft with Combined Additional Coverage (CAC) insurance, or specified perils insurance, is particularly useful for those that operate heavy trucks. This is usually an add-on type of commercial truck insurance that provides protection in the event of a fire, theft, earthquake, lightning, flood, vandalism, collision with an animal, and others.
It can cover the cost of repair or replacement for your truck, making it particularly useful if you operate in a state that frequently experiences natural disasters. Depending on if you are leasing onto a motor carrier, it can be an optional type of coverage unless it is required by the company.
In terms of coverage for tow trucks and other trucks that carry cargo, truck insurance policies like motor truck cargo can help cover the cost of losses and damage for commodities that are being transported by the truck driver. It is more commonly known as cargo insurance.
Since carriers are responsible for the cargo when it is in their possession, it is a legal requirement for both Household Goods Motor Carriers and Household Goods Freight Forwarders, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Minimum insurance requirements for cargo range from $5,000 per vehicle to $10,000 per occurrence. However, coverage costs for cargo can vary significantly depending on the value of goods you are transporting and whether they are hazardous in nature.
Non-trucking liability insurance can help cover the cost of medical and legal expenses linked to third-party injury and damage to other peoples' property caused by a truck driver who is using it for non-business purposes.
This can include scenarios such as helping a friend move houses or driving to the grocery store. Since most trucking coverages only apply when you are using a truck for business purposes, this can be very useful. However, it is important to note that it doesn’t cover the cost of damage to your truck.
Although it is not usually a legal requirement, it is often required by motor carriers when owner-operators sign a lease agreement. An alternative to non-trucking liability is bobtail insurance, which only provides coverage when a truck is not carrying a trailer.
Another type of commercial truck insurance that may be overlooked by truck owners is general liability insurance. In addition to the risks that truck drivers face, trucking businesses are also vulnerable to other events that can harm their reputations. This includes customer property damage, copyright infringement, and accidental customer injuries.
While it isn’t a legal requirement, general liability insurance can come in handy since legal and medical fees can be expensive, particularly for owners of small fleets and those with limited monetary resources.
To add to this, trucking businesses may also appreciate the use of a rental or substitute vehicle under the loss of use policy. This is another add-on insurance plan that can cover the cost of rental vehicles or other modes of transportation during the period of time that the insured's party’s truck is being repaired.
Truck owners who want to learn the basics of insurance coverage for their business may want to explore some common questions and concerns shared by the trucking industry.
A loss run report provides a history of any insurance claims your business has filed over a period of time. This can help insurance companies evaluate risk during the underwriting process since they can determine whether there are common hazards that take place in your trucking operation or whether you have a clean record.
Truck deadheading is defined as the process of driving a semi-truck with an empty trailer without any cargo. This usually occurs when a trucker drops off a load but has to drive to another location to pick up a second load.
Although they are often used interchangeably, there are clear differences between non-trucking liability insurance and bobtail insurance. Bobtail insurance only provides coverage for trucks that do not have an attached load, while non-trucking liability protects truck drivers using a truck for non-business purposes, whether or not there is a trailer in tow.
The cost of cargo insurance depends on the insured value multiplied by the policy rate of an insurance company. Usually, this is equal to the commercial invoice value of the cargo in addition to the total cost of freight, with an additional 10% for expenses.
Yes. Since a non-trucking liability policy only provides coverage when a truck is being used for non-business purposes or when a trucker is off the job, you will need to invest in other types of commercial truck coverages such as property damage coverage and physical damage coverage to cover your truck when it is being used for business purposes.
Once you have decided which combination of truck insurance policies is the best fit for your business, you should reach out to several insurance companies so that you can do a comparison of quotes and coverage limits. Other factors to take into account include whether or not the company offers 24/7 claims reporting and is financially well-rated.
To learn more about how to choose trucking insurance for your business and to access more information on commercial truck insurance, browse our other articles on Assured Standard!