Semi Truck Insurance for Beginners

Strong Tie Insurance March 18, 2021 Our Blog

Insurance is one of the best ways to protect yourself out on the road. There are plenty of policies catered to the unique needs of truckers, ranging from insurance that covers the cargo you carry to general liability for your truck.

Before you choose an insurance policy for your truck, brush up on the basics of insurance for commercial trucks

Why is Truck Insurance Important?

Insurance for commercial trucks is vital to any trucking operation. It’s even required by law in California. Property carriers, or any person who gets paid to move property in their vehicle, must meet minimum insurance requirements.

For  carrier vehicles under 10,000 pounds, the insurance minimum in California is $300,000 liability. For vehicles over 10,000 pounds, insurance should cover $750,000 in liability. Semi trucks fall into the second category.

Trucks face different insurance minimums and standards than other vehicles simply because driving a truck is a very different experience than driving a standard vehicle, and it comes with a different set of risks. Truckers tend to need more extensive coverage plans to cover any potential incidents, or else their policies may not provide sufficient coverage.

These insurance minimums can vary by industry, however. Carriers that transport potentially dangerous materials like petroleum or hazardous substances may need to meet higher coverage amounts.

Insurance for Every Kind of Truck Driver

Different truckers will have different coverage needs, depending on what kind of operation they work with. No matter what kind of trucker you are, there’s insurance catered to your unique career. Whether you’re driving a truck owned by someone else or are an owner-operator, you’ll need to invest in commercial insurance.

Primary insurance is necessary for every truck driver to legally get out on the road. It covers any damage to a person or vehicle during an accident involving your truck, and that’s important for any driving career.

However, owner-operators should seek out insurance plans that include general liability in addition to primary insurance. General liability insurance protects your business against insurance claims that would be of concern to a business, like customer injuries and property damage.

Bobtail insurance applies to the times when you drive a truck without a trailer attached to the cab. After you drop off a trailer full of goods, for example, you may be left without a trailer attached until you arrive at your next destination to pick up another load of cargo. Standard commercial trucking insurance doesn’t cover this period of time.

Non-trucking liability is a type of insurance that could be useful for anyone leasing a truck from a motor carrier. This insurance specifically covers the times when you drive a truck for personal purposes not related to transporting goods. If you damage someone’s property with your truck during this time, non-trucking liability insurance will cover the cost.

What Types of Truck Insurance Are Available?

Commercial truck insurance is designed specifically for truckers, and the insurance companies know the kind of coverage you need.

Cargo insurance covers the cargo that you carry as a trucker. Since you’re moving cargo that belongs to someone else, it’s important to have it covered by insurance in case it gets damaged, lost, or stolen.

When you’re insured, the insurance company will cover the cost of replacing damaged or missing cargo for you. It also covers your trailer itself, which is an important part of any truck. There’s cargo insurance to cover every kind of product out there. Certain kinds of high-risk cargo like liquids or hazardous items will cost more to cover.

Physical damage insurance covers your vehicle and property. There are two kinds available: collision and comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance applies to any collison your truck has with another vehicle or an object like a sign post.

Comprehensive insurance, on the other hand, applies to any physical damage that happens to your truck. It includes vandalism, damage with natural causes, and theft. Anything that happens to your truck caused by an outside force falls into this category.

General liability, as mentioned above, is also known as business liability insurance. It covers the risks associated with business activities outside your truck. This includes someone slipping and hurting themselves at your building, a fire on the premises, and a driver’s actions on a business’s behalf.

Excess liability insurance is designed to fill in the gaps of your main insurance policy. It provides additional coverage for any policy you already have, if the policy doesn’t totally cover the damage or loss you have incurred.

This kind of coverage extends the value limit of your existing policy, but it doesn’t expand the terms of that policy. In other words, it just adds more monetary coverage to your insurance plan.

How Much Does Truck Insurance Cost?

Like all auto insurance, truck insurance depends partially on your profile as a driver. First, your age affects your insurance rates. Young drivers under 25 years old tend to have higher rates due to the higher risk factor associated with young, less experienced drivers.

Your accident history is another factor insurance companies refer to. They will charge higher rates to insure a person with multiple accidents and other driving violations in their history, to account for the higher level of risk involved in insuring such a person.

If your truck tends to carry very expensive cargo, your insurance premium may be at a higher rate to match that value. It costs more to replace expensive items if they are damaged or lost, so they charge accordingly. The same principle applies to dangerous cargo, like liquid fuel or hazardous, toxic materials.

Get Truck Insurance Quotes Today

The best way to find a price that’s right for you is by getting quotes from more than one insurance company. That way, you can compare prices and find the option that fits your needs and your budget.

Now that you have a basic understanding of insurance for commercial trucks, it’s time to start looking for the right policy for your needs. Strong Tie Insurance has a range of affordable policies for truck drivers, covering a wide range of needs. Contact us today to get an insurance quote.