If you want to drive for a living, then you need commercial truckers insurance. While it is not something that you’ll likely daily, when you do need it, you’ll be glad you have it.
Truckers insurance should be considered an essential part of your business. Everyone on the road needs to have adequate coverage. Not doing so is illegal and can land you in a lot of trouble. The average auto liability claim is $3,638 for property damage and $15,270 for bodily injury in the United States. That is for all vehicles.
A semi-truck has the potential to cause significantly more expensive damage and severe bodily harm. The average cost of a commercial truck accident in the U.S. is $59,000. One in three small businesses ends up closing permanently due to uninsured costs related to a lawsuit or accident.
When things go wrong, you must have valid truckers insurance or you could end up with an enormous lawsuit, fines, or worse.
People who are caught driving without insurance may receive points on their license, which can affect their ability to drive. They could lose their licenses completely, have their vehicle impounded, incur court and reinstatement fees, or even face jail time.
What Kind of Commercial Truckers Insurance Do I Need?
Trucking isn’t the same as driving smaller vehicles, like a work van. You are hauling large quantities of cargo, often across state lines. You spend hours working in your vehicle. The rules and regulations that apply to truckers are overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The FMCSA sets the rules for minimum coverage. You must prove that you meet the minimums before you are approved by the administration.
If you are a driver, then you will need to obtain primary liability insurance. This type of policy covers damage to other vehicles or people if you are in an accident. It is a requirement because it ensures that there is protection in place for the public when you drive.
If you are an owner-operator of a trucking company, then you should obtain general liability insurance. This type of policy offers the same coverage plus additional protection in case of lawsuits or false advertising, libel, or slander claims against your operation.
Truckers insurance experts usually recommend general liability for better protection. The legal minimum is at least $750,000 in coverage. There may be additional requirements enforced by the FMCSA, like proof of adequate general liability coverage when hauling cars.
What Do I Need to Apply for Truckers Insurance?
The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to set up your truckers insurance policy. The process will require:
- A current insurance policy declarations page or dec page if you have one. If you don’t have truckers insurance, then you can use your personal auto insurance dec page or request a copy from an old policy from a previous insurer.
- Drivers license numbers and driving history for all drivers being insured. That also includes records of any speeding tickets they received in the past.
- The vehicle identification number (VIN) of each vehicle along with a list of all safety and security features on each. If you don’t have the VIN with you, you can provide the manufacturer, model, and year, and any other relevant details.
Even if you plan to start the process online, you should have these items available. You will need the information to request a quote and may need to submit copies for the insurer’s review and record.
What Does Truckers Insurance Cover and What Is Not Covered?
Every driver should know what their truckers insurance policy covers and what it doesn’t. General liability will cover:
- Bodily Harm – If a person is hurt as a result of an accident involving your vehicle, their medical bills, and the potential lawsuit are covered by your insurance. This includes coverage for people who are injured after a fall on your business’ property.
- Property or Commodity Damage – If someone else’s property is damaged by your truck, insurance will pay to fix or replace it. General liability will also cover damages that result in commodities delivered to the wrong location.
- Delivery Location Accident – If you or your driver cause damage to a delivery location, truckers insurance will pay to repair it.
- Slander, Libel, or False Advertising Claim – If you face a slander, libel, or false advertising claim against your brand, it will likely be covered by your insurance.
There are things that you may need that are not covered by the average truckers insurance policy. Things that won’t be paid for under general liability include:
- Non-Truck Vehicles – Truckers insurance is meant for trucks, but not all commercial vehicles qualify for this type of coverage. For example, it will not cover limos, ice cream trucks, passenger vans, hearses, cement trucks, or buses. You should seek different types of coverage for these vehicles.
- Driver Injury – The insurance policy will cover medical expenses for others, but not for you or your workers. You will need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance to protect your drivers in case of an injury.
- Truck Damage – If your trucks are damaged, general liability will not pay for it. The coverage applies to other vehicles, not the ones you own. You must obtain physical damage coverage to insure your trucks. It isn’t a legal requirement, but it’s a good idea.
- Refrigeration Related Loss – Damaged refrigeration units on trucks can lead to expensive product loss. This type of loss is not covered by general liability insurance.
- Cargo Loss – If cargo is lost while traveling or as a result of an accident, it is not covered by general liability. You will have to pay for cargo coverage. The federal government requires some drivers to pay for at least $5,000 worth of cargo coverage.
- Income Loss from Accidents – If you or your drivers lose income after an accident, this is not covered by your truckers insurance. Instead, you will need business interruption insurance to close the gap and protect your operation.
Other Types of Commercial Truckers Insurance
The more protection you have, the better off you will be in case of an accident or incident. It can be difficult to balance the expense of insurance with the potential safety net it provides. Depending on what you haul, you may want to consider adding other types of insurance, like:
- Motor Truck Cargo Insurance – This type of insurance will protect your commodities if you end up in an accident, disaster, or are stranded and lose cargo as a result.
- Bobtail Insurance – This insurance covers you if your truck ends up in an accident with no trailer attached.
- Reefer Breakdown Insurance – This coverage would protect you in case cargo is lost due to a refrigeration breakdown or collision. Check the policy’s exclusions because some will not cover frozen food, tobacco products, or seafood.
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance – If you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, this type of coverage will protect you.
Visit InsureTrucking.com to learn more about commercial truckers insurance or to request a free online quote.