Commercial Trucking Insurance Requirements

Strong Tie Insurance July 22, 2021 Our Blog

Every state has unique commercial insurance requirements for trucks. Commercial trucks are legally required to have adequate insurance before they can drive in public—to protect both truck drivers and the people who share the road with them.

These requirements vary by state, but there are some constants no matter where you are. Here, we’ll delve into the different requirements for different kinds of trucks.

What Kind of Trucking Insurance is Required?

Generally speaking, there are two types of insurance required before you can legally drive your truck on the road. 

To get out on the road, trucks need bodily injury insurance and property damage insurance. These two insurance types will make sure you are covered for the most typical forms of damage caused by trucks while driving. 

Aside from the basic general liability policy, most trucks will add other policies to account for situations they are likely to encounter. This depends on the type of cargo they carry and other factors. Some of these extra policies are required by law, for the protection of truckers and other drivers. 

For example, bobtail insurance provides coverage for trucks when they are driving without a trailer attached. A standard trucking insurance policy doesn’t cover that situation, so most drivers will buy a separate policy to make sure they are protected at all times. 

What Are Trucking Insurance Requirements in California?

In every state, the requirements vary depending on the type of truck you are operating. However, you must stay in line with the legal requirements for your specific vehicle type.

Property carriers under 10,000 pounds must have $300,000 worth of liability coverage. Trucks weighing in over 10,000 pounds need to have $750,000 worth of coverage. Larger trucks have a higher requirement to account for the amount of damage they are likely to cause. 

Household goods carriers are subject to unique requirements among property carriers because they perform some services that other truck drivers typically don’t offer. That includes loading and unloading items at people’s homes. 

They should have a $600,000 combined single limit, or else divide their coverage between bodily injury per person, bodily injury per incident, and property damage. 

Trucks carrying petroleum or hazardous waste will also need additional insurance. They have higher insurance requirements because of the nature of the cargo they carry, and its potential to cause damage.

Drivers must purchase insurance that will be able to cover the costs of cleanup or removal in case of a spill. 

What Kind of Trucking Insurance Is Available?

There are several types of trucking insurance available, to meet the unique needs of truckers across the country. Not all of these insurance policies are mandatory, but it may be in your best interest to choose the ones that will serve you best in your career. 

Truck accidents can cause damage worth millions of dollars, so think carefully about the situations that occur most often while you’re on the road. 

Motor Cargo Truck Insurance

Motor cargo insurance is meant to cover the cargo you carry as a trucker. In the event that your cargo is stolen, lost, or damaged, this policy will cover the cost of replacing it so that the money doesn’t have to come out of your business’s wallet.

If you carry cargo belonging to other people in your trailer, this type of insurance is required by law. 

Bobtail Insurance

When a truck is driving without a trailer attached, it’s bobtailing. Driving this way can actually be riskier than driving with cargo because trucks are designed to operate with trailers attached. 

Bobtail insurance covers your truck during the time between a dropoff and pickup of another load. General trucking liability insurance doesn’t apply to this period of time, and that’s where bobtail insurance comes in. 

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance

Most truckers are likely to end up using their truck for personal trips on occasion. Whether you need to pick up a family member or end up using your truck to see a movie, any non-business use of your truck is considered personal use and falls outside the limits of your usual policy. 

What Is the Cost of Commercial Truck Insurance? 

As with most forms of auto insurance, the cost of commercial truck insurance depends in part upon your situation as a driver, from your history to the type of truck you drive.

Here are some of the main considerations insurance companies take into account. 

Each driver’s history will affect the cost of insurance. Someone with violations on their record or a history of reckless driving will have to pay a higher premium. By contrast, drivers who are experienced and responsible will attract lower rates. 

A truck’s value will also have an impact on the cost of insurance. Companies will take into account the amount of money it will cost to replace or repair a specific truck when they calculate your premium. Fleet owners should keep this in mind as they acquire new trucks. 

Companies will also assess the radius of operation of a truck. The more distance a truck covers, the riskier trips are. The routes a truck travels will also be taken into consideration because a winding mountain road comes with more risk than a flat, straight road. 

Cargo type is another factor. A truck that carries expensive or potentially dangerous items will cost more to insure. Some items carry more risk than others, like petroleum products or heavy machinery, compared to low-risk cargo like produce.

Those who own fleets of trucks may want to take out a single policy that covers all the trucks in the fleet instead of an individual policy for each one. A bundled policy may come with discounts that can save owners significant amounts of money. 

Overall, it’s important to keep these factors in mind as you get insurance quotes and search for the best possible insurance premiums. 

We offer insurance for commercial trucks at affordable rates. We provide insurance for a wide variety of trucking situations.

To learn more about how we can help you protect your truck and business, contact us at Strong Tie Insurance today.