Whether you're new to the trucking industry or in it for the long haul, we're here to help you better understand the commercial trucking insurance process.
Every trucker needs a truck stop… a place they can rest and get a little peace of mind (and maybe a snack and a cup of coffee). Consider this guide your truck stop for everything you need to know about commercial trucking insurance. Prepare to de-stress, find some new treats, and hit the road again feeling better prepared for the potholes you might encounter.
Keep reading to learn what’s covered under a trucking insurance policy, what’s not, and how you can keep your drivers and vehicles safer on the road.
What is Commercial Trucking Insurance?
If you're in the trucking business, then you know that commercial trucking insurance is important. Not only does it protect your business, but it also protects your drivers and your cargo. If something goes wrong on the road, you need to be sure that you're covered.
Commercial trucking insurance is a type of insurance that helps protect truckers and their businesses in the event of an accident or other unforeseen incident. This type of insurance can help cover the cost of repairs, medical bills, and lost wages. Commercial trucking insurance is an important part of running a successful trucking business and helps provide peace of mind for both the business owner and the drivers.
Whether you have one truck that you use for your business or have a fleet of trucks, you need commercial tracking insurance. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires it to hit the open road. Unlike commercial auto insurance, commercial trucking insurance is specifically for trucks. Types of insurance coverages vary, depending on the size and complexity of your business, vehicles, and cargo.
Types of Commercial Trucking Insurance
General liability insurance is required by every state in the U.S. If a drive is in a crash and property or bodily damage occurs, this part of the policy covers a driver’s actions while operating a vehicle on behalf of your company. Even if an accident occurs at a truck stop or loading dock or damage occurs due to load delivery, most policies will cover these incidents.
Physical Damage Coverage
Physical damage coverage offers financial relief from incidents including Vandalism, Natural disasters and Theft.As with auto insurance, if an accident results in the complete destruction of a vehicle, these policies will usually reimburse the owner for replacement costs.
Also known as non-trucking liability, bobtail coverage kicks in when a commercial vehicle driver is using a truck for personal reasons. But it does not provide coverage for vehicles towing trailers.
Motor Truck Cargo
What your trucks and trailers are carrying is as important as the vehicles themselves. Motor truck cargo coverage protects you if the freight your vehicle is carrying is lost or damaged.
Collision, fire, theft, explosion, or vandalism can damage trailers. Sometimes these trailers belong to another trucker or transportation company. Trailer interchange coverage protects non-owned trailers.
Why Commercial Truck Insurance Differs from Auto Insurance
Trucks are generally safer than regular cars, but more expensive to repair. While a typical family likely owns one or two cars, businesses often have multiple vehicles. Plus, trucks are driven by different people at different times, haul a wide range of cargo, and sometimes “hand-off” that cargo to other drivers.
As an individual, you can choose to stay home or work remotely when bad weather strikes, but trucks are often on the road all year round at all hours of the day and night.
Can You Do Without Commercial Truck Insurance?
If you’ve got a truck, or a fleet of trucks, then you need commercial tracking insurance. It’s the law. But more importantly, it’s the right thing to do. Without it, you’re putting your business at risk. If you get insured today, you can sleep soundly knowing your business is protected tomorrow.
Here are three compelling reasons every fleet operator -- from one truck to hundreds or even thousands -- should have it.
You’re protecting a significant investment. Trucks are expensive and complex to repair.
You minimize disruption to your business. Even a damaged tire or cracked windshield can delay shipments and have an impact on your bottom line. Having insurance coverage often means that your vehicles can hit the road again more quickly, saving you money and aggravation.
Employee security. The people behind the wheel are critical to your operation. When accidents happen, you’ll want to be protected from lawsuits. Better employee safety builds loyalty too!
What Types of Trucks Are Covered by Commercial Truck Insurance?
No matter what types of commercial vehicles you have, investing in the right insurance is imperative. As you expand your fleet or change-up your vehicles, be sure to re-evaluate your coverage. Commercial truck insurance covers:
Auto hauler trailers
How Much Commercial Trucking Insurance Do You Need?
Individual states set the minimums on coverage and the FMCSA sets minimum limits for truckers who will be traveling between states.
For example, if you find yourself at fault in an accident responsible for $500,000 in damage, then the FMCSA will require your policy to cover that at least. Your minimum required limit depends on the type of freight you haul.
Remember the limits above are the minimum. Most shippers and brokers require a liability limit of at least $1M no matter the freight you carry. Your deductible is what you will have to pay after a loss before your insurance covers the rest. Typically, they range from $500 to $2,000.
As with other forms of insurance, you should ensure you have just enough coverage to protect you from financial and business hardships in the case of accidents. Of course, you should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, especially where your business profitability and employee safety and satisfaction are involved.
Being underinsured or having the wrong type of coverage for your needs can destroy a company and its credibility. You can control the costs of your commercial trucking insurance by:
Knowing your facts
Dealing with experienced carriers who advise you well
Hiring experienced drivers with clean records
Verifying the employment and accident history of your drivers
Mapping out your routes carefully
Using newer trucks and keeping your current vehicles and fleet in good condition
Considering a higher deductible
Ready to Get, Expand, or Change Commercial Truck Insurance?
You’ve already taken the first step. Familiarising yourself with the types of trucks and coverages is essential.
If you’re new to commercial trucking, you’ll need to take some basic business steps like setting up a business entity and getting a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Your accountant or lawyer should be able to assist with this. Then, you’ll need to obtain a Motor Carrier Operating Authority number and a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number.
You should also prepare a U.S. federal BOC-3 filing which specifies who your legal agents are. That establishes financial and legal responsibilities within your company.
As with any major business expense, shop around and make sure you’re relying on people and companies with experience and great service:
Be sure to deal with providers who have a specialty in truck insurance.
Check customer ratings and references
Explore the different coverage options and associated costs
Look for hidden costs like fees and additional deductibles
Pay close attention to support commitments. When you need to file a claim or have a complex situation, you don’t want to be dealing with a bot at 2 A.M. when a truck driver is stranded en route to an important delivery
Technology today is as important as human customer service. Is the company’s system easy to use? Can you pay premiums online and easily add drivers and vehicles without a lot of paperwork and time?
Although you’ll probably want to get truckers insurance quotes from multiple carriers, you shouldn’t make the decision on price alone. Evaluate each of the factors above, talk to other clients, and make sure you’re not being under- or over-sold.
Let LuckyTruck Steer You in the Right Direction
Just as a terrific truck stop has showers, great food, fuel, and a place to sleep, Lucky Truck is your full-service destination for commercial truck insurance. Although you and your drivers may be unlucky sometimes when carrying freight, you can always be lucky when you’re shopping for commercial truck insurance!
If you need help getting started, feel free to reach out to us. Our experts will tell you what paperwork you need to be sure your federal account is established correctly or get you in touch with a processing agent you can rely on.
Our company prides itself on having broad and deep experience with truck insurance. And we can help you from making costly mistakes off the road!
Try LuckyTruck today to help you find the right commercial truck insurance.