Commercial Truck Insurance in California: What New Drivers Need to Know

Admin April 29, 2019 StrongtieInsurance

If you’re a new commercial truck driver in California, you’re about to embark on an exciting and lucrative career that could take you to new places. Most truck drivers consider their career a lifestyle. Being on the road – away from friends and family for long stretches of time – can be a challenge. Even if you’re a short-haul truck driver, dealing with California traffic can sometimes be intimidating.

One way to put your mind at ease is to get comprehensive truck insurance. Commercial truck insurance isn’t just a nice thing to have in California – it’s required by law.

You have some options when choosing your commercial truck insurance. It can sometimes be difficult to select commercial truck insurance for new drivers. Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable truck insurance options, and insurance companies like Strong Tie Insurance have years of experience providing truck drivers with the coverage they need to meet state requirements and stay protected.

Here’s what you need to know about commercial truck insurance in California.

What are the Different Types of Truck-Related Coverages?

Commercial truck insurance providers can cover almost any type of truck, including fleets and vehicle owned by large trucking companies. Coverage is available for:

  • Local truck drivers
  • Intermediate and regional truck drivers
  • Long-haul and OTR truck drivers
  • Dump trucks
  • Tow trucks and auto haulers
  • Dry freight, reefer, container, and lumber haulers
  • Hazardous materials carriers

There are two types of coverage that are essential for commercial truckers in California. These include:

  • Physical damage and property damage insurance
  • General liability (including bodily injury) insurance

However, other types of trucking insurance coverages are available at your discretion. It is often in your best interest to invest in these types of coverages to ensure you or your company aren’t financially liable in the event of a disaster. Other forms of coverage include:

  • Motor truck cargo insurance
  • Excess liability insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Bobtail insurance (covering your tractor when operated without a trailer)
  • Limited depreciation coverage
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance
  • Non-trucking liability insurance
  • Supplemental towing and clean up insurance (for towing companies)

Some of the best insurance companies offer additional benefits. For example, Strong Tie Insurance offers customers annual roadside assistance for just $149 each year.

What are the Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements in California?

The state of California has specific insurance requirements for commercial auto drivers. These are particular for every type of driver, whether you’re an OTR truck driver or you drive a large passenger vehicle like a bus.

The requirements mostly pertain to the amount of coverage you need to legally operate in the state:

Passenger Carriers

The amount of coverage required by passenger carriers depends on the seating capacity of the passenger vehicle. In California, the requirements are as follows:

  • 1 to 7 seats: $750,000
  • 8 to 15 seats: $1,500,000
  • 16 seats or more: $5 million

Property Carriers

As an authorized for-hire motor carrier that transports regulated commodities (except for household goods), you must file proof of public liability. This includes bodily injury insurance and property damage insurance.

In California, the requirements for property carriers are as follows:

  • Vehicles less than 10,000 lbs.: $300,000 liability
  • Vehicles 10,000 lbs. or more: $750,000 (single limit)

Household Carriers

A household goods (HHG) motor carrier is a motor carrier that offers some or all of the following services in their ordinary course of business providing transportation of household goods:

  • Inventorying
  • Protective packing and unpacking of items at residences
  • Loading and unloading at personal residences
  • Binding and nonbinding estimates

In the state of California, HHG motor carriers are required to have the following commercial truck insurance coverage:

  • 250/500/100 or $600,000 combined single limit (CSL)

The three numbers refer to the minimum liability coverage required for bodily injury and property damage. Specifically:

  • $250,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $500,000 for bodily injury per incident
  • $100,000 for property damage
  • Or, $600,000 CSL

Interstate Motor Carriers of Petroleum Products

Interstate motor carries of petroleum and petroleum waste products must have comprehensive coverage to comply with California state requirements. Specifically, they must have:

  • $500,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $1 million for bodily injury per incident
  • $200,000 for property damage
  • Or, $1.2 million CSL

These rates apply to the vehicle and driver. Additional insurance may be required for the property being transported.

Hazardous Substance Carriers

Hazardous substance carriers, or “HazMat” carriers, must obtain a special CDL to be licensed to transport materials and products that pose a risk to the health, safety, and property of the general public during transportation.

Federal regulations apply to HazMat carriers. In addition to the CDL qualification, carriers must obtain the following insurance coverage:

  • $5 million CSL or $1 million CSL (depending on the materials being carried)

It’s important to note that drivers who operate without the minimum amount of coverage required by law could face fines and other penalties. These penalties can become major financial liabilities for your company, so it’s always safer and more cost-effective to obtain coverage.

How Much Does Commercial Truck Insurance Cost?

Commercial truck insurance companies have varying prices for their insurance. Prices and regular payments may differ depending on a driver’s history and experience, the type of commercial truck being driven, and the type of materials being carried in the commercial truck.

Additional types of insurance, such as limited depreciation coverage, also have varying prices, but they are generally affordable. On average, owner-operators can expect to pay as much as $14,400 per year or $1,200 per month for truck insurance. These are high estimates, however, as the price of insurance may vary.

Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable commercial truck insurance rates available from companies like Strong Tie Insurance.

Strong Tie Insurance is one of California’s leading commercial truck insurance providers. Having protected people and their businesses for over 20 years, we’ve come to understand the risks commercial truck operators face on a daily basis.

We offer a wide range of policies and cover trucks of all types and sizes. Whether you haul hazardous materials or you make deliveries in the immediate area, contact Strong Tie Insurance today to get a quote for your commercial truck.