Getting the right insurance for your commercial trucking business can be difficult. It’s hard knowing exactly what kind of truck insurance coverage you need. There are different types of insurance for different types of trucking businesses. Use this handy checklist to help you find the right truck insurance coverage for your business.
If you are an owner-operator, you will need a few different types of insurance coverage.
Non-trucking liability: If you have a permanent lease to a motor carrier, then you will probably need non-trucking liability to cover you when you are using your vehicle for personal use.
Trailer interchange insurance: This coverage is for truckers who pull a trailer under an interchange agreement to provide cover for non-owned trailers.
Physical damage coverage: This insurance includes two parts: comprehensive and collision. It provides coverage to the truck should it be damaged in an accident in which you are responsible. This type of insurance is a necessity if you operate under permanent lease to a motor carrier because their coverage may not pay for damages to your truck in an at-fault accident.
If you drive under your own authority or are an independent contractor, you will need to have the following commercial truck insurance:
Auto liability: This is mandated by law and covers damages to other parties’ vehicles or property in an at-fault collision. Liability also pays for medical expenses for the driver and those in the other vehicle.
Motor truck general liability: This covers damages to property because of activities that may not be directly related to your truck.
Motor truck cargo: This insurance pays for damages to the cargo you are hauling in the event of a loss due to fire or collision.
Physical damage coverage: This is the same coverage as listed above for owner-operators.
Tow Truck Drivers
If you earn your income by towing disabled vehicles, you will need to consider the following types of insurance specifically for tow trucks.
On-hook towing insurance: This insurance applies to vehicles that you are towing when they are on the hook. If you have an accident while towing, it will pay for the vehicle to be repaired.
Auto liability insurance: Liability insurance covers damage that you cause to other vehicles or property and pays for medical expenses for third parties that are insured for an accident in which you are at-fault. It is the same coverage used for truck drivers driving under their own authority.
Physical damage coverage: See description for this coverage under owner-operator. It is the same for two truck drivers.
Garagekeepers insurance: This insurance covers your clients’ cars while they are in your possession, even if they are being stored on your premises. It covers claims like fire, theft, and vandalism.
Even if you’re not a tow truck driver full-time, but you still operate a tow truck, you may need this insurance. Others who need tow truck insurance could be:
- Auto club contractors
- Roadside assistance providers
- Auto repair shops
- Auto salvage haulers
Hazardous Materials Hauler
Hazmat insurance is necessary for those who haul hazardous materials. You are required by law to carry this insurance, which is designed specially for these types of transporters.
Commercial Truck Insurance Coverage Checklist
In order to find the right insurance for your business, you will need to be prepared to answer questions when getting quotes from insurance companies. Using this checklist will help you gather all of the necessary information you might need when gathering quotes from multiple agencies.
Are you an owner/operator?
An owner/operator will need different insurance, which will make sure to protect the entire company from liability.
Are you an independent contractor?
An independent contractor or someone who drives under their own authority will need insurance policies that differ from an owner/operator to make sure they themselves are protected from liability.
Do you know how many trucks and drivers you have working under you?
The number of trucks and drivers will be a factor for many insurance companies because it means that more trucks and more drivers will be on the road, leading to a higher potential for accidents.
Do you have access to the driving records of yourself and your employees?
The driving records of yourself and your employees is vital. It lets the insurance companies know whether you are your employees are safe drivers. If you have employees with records of accidents, your premiums could skyrocket.
Do you know the make and model of the truck(s)?
How new and how old the trucks under your care are will be a deciding factor when it comes to your quote. Old trucks have more of a potential to break down on the road, while newer trucks may cost more to insure. It’s important to disclose this information with your insurance provider.
Can you easily state what type of trucking business you operate?
This one is usually a given. If you’re looking for trucking insurance, you probably know what type of business you operate. However, if you are an auto body repair shop, you may not realize you need tow truck insurance. It’s important to think about the trucks you use and how often.
Do you tow trucks?
Tow trucks will require different policies than a cargo truck because they have different functions.
Do you haul cargo?
Cargo will need to be insured. You don’t want to be liable for cargo that was damaged during an accident because you had the wrong insurance policy.
Do employees have access to trucks when they aren’t working?
Whether you or your employees use the truck after hours will depend on your business. However, in most cases, they won’t be using the truck for non-business related activities. If for some reason, you do plan on using the truck for such occasions, you will need insurance that covers that.
Do you already have trucking insurance policies?
If you already have an insurance policy, it’s important to go through it one more time and make notes on the areas in which you think your business isn’t getting benefits. If you think your costs are already too high, it will be beneficial to do some shopping around to find the right truck coverage insurance for your business.