Trucking Insurance for Self-Employed Truck Drivers

Strong Tie Insurance January 17, 2020 Commercial Truck Insurance

If you’re interested in starting a trucking business or you’re transitioning into running your own operation, you’re in good company. With the increased need for commercial truck drivers, there is more opportunity than ever for those with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Of course, being a self-employed truck driver comes with a variety of issues to consider, including trucking insurance. If you were previously on someone else’s payroll, you might have been covered under someone else’s policy. Now that you’re on your own, there are a number of things to keep in mind.

Insurance FAQs for Self-Employed Truck Drivers

Do I Need Commercial Truck Insurance?

Beyond the fact that every state requires some kind of insurance for truck drivers, it’s also smart to have the appropriate coverage. Insurance might just seem like an extra cost in your budget, but it’s a vital part of your company.

Being involved in an accident could be the end of your business. Whether your truck is damaged and you’re stuck without a way to make money, or you damage the freight, someone else’s property, or another person, you could be held entirely liable. Going without insurance is simply not an option.

What Kind of Insurance Do I Need?

There are a variety of insurance types. Your specific needs will vary depending on your truck, the kinds of cargo you haul, etc. It’s crucial that you explore all of the options so that you get the right type of insurance for your needs.

Types of Trucking Insurance

In general, there are several kinds of commercial trucking insurance that every self-employed trucker should consider.

  • Liability insurance is required in most U.S. states. This kind of insurance covers the damages and injuries you cause to others. Driving without liability insurance may not only be illegal but could put you at risk. If you cause an accident without liability coverage, you would be responsible for all costs in making the other parties whole. You can imagine how those costs could add up.
  • Collision insurance helps cover your truck after an accident involving another vehicle. This coverage would help to repair or replace your vehicle in case it’s damaged. It’s often not required, but is an excellent way to protect your truck.
  • Comprehensive insurance provides an extra layer of coverage in the case of an accident. Unlike collision insurance, comprehensive coverage is used when there is an incident not involving another vehicle. That includes vandalism, certain weather events, and accidents involving animals.

Other Coverage

While there technically isn’t a true “full coverage,” it usually involves adding collision and comprehensive coverages to your existing liability policy. For commercial truck drivers, there are a variety of additional options to tack onto your policy. Of course, the kinds of insurance policies you should consider depends highly on the type of work that you do. Here are some of the most common types of commercial trucking insurance that you may want to consider:

  • Physical Damage Coverage helps to repair or replace equipment that has been damaged during an accident or theft.
  • Non-Trucking Liability covers damages made to others while the truck is not on official business. For example, if you use your semi-truck to help a friend move and are involved in an accident.
  • Motor Truck Cargo covers your cargo. Insurance plans can restrict what and how the shipment is included, so make sure you find the appropriate policy. For a wide range of cargo coverage, look for something that covers your cargo regardless of the risk involved.
  • Trailer Interchange/Non-Owned Trailer is used when you are hauling a trailer that you don’t own. Sometimes there are agreements created called “trailer interchanges.”
  • Medical Payment Insurance helps cover medical bills if you or a passenger is injured while on the job. This coverage can vary from state to state.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance protects you in case someone else causes an accident but doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover your losses.

Getting the Best Price for Your Commercial Truck Insurance

As a self-employed trucker, you are fully responsible for your trucking insurance. While this might seem like an easy area to skimp and save a few dollars, your focus should be on getting the best price for the coverage you need. Not having the right kind of insurance can put you and your livelihood at risk.

There are several factors you should consider when shopping for trucking insurance.

Price

One of the most obvious things you’ll look at when shopping for trucking insurance is the price. Your instinct might be to simply go with the cheapest quote and call it a day. Sadly, not all insurance companies are created equally, so you’ll want to consider more than just the overall cost.

It’s also helpful to understand how insurance companies come up with their numbers. Here are the most common things they’ll consider when providing your quote:

  • Your driving record
  • The age, size, and type of truck you drive
  • The kind of cargo you haul and how far you haul it
  • The types of coverages you want

Customer Service

You want to make sure you are comfortable with the service your insurance carrier provides. 

Some companies may only be able to handle claims during regular business hours. If you drive outside of these hours, you could find yourself waiting on your adjustor to respond. That’s time that goes by that you’re not on the road or that your cargo is in danger.

You should also consider how well your insurance provider understands what you do. While an insurance company that doesn’t usually deal with truck drivers might be able to offer a better price, they may end up costing more in the long run.

Insurance carriers who understand the trucking industry know how to deal with dangerous chemical spills, sense the urgency to get you back on the road, and can help with you on loss control and risk management.

Shop Around

Even if you already have an insurance company, it never hurts to shop around. You should get new quotes at least once a year to make sure you’re not only getting the best rate but that you have the right kind of coverage. You might start hauling a new type of cargo that should be covered by a different type of policy. You may also make changes to your routes that allow you to remove policies safely.

Being your own boss has many perks, but it also comes with greater responsibilities. When it comes to your trucking insurance, you have to make sure that you get the right kind of coverage to protect your business.

Self-employment means no one else is going to make sure that you’re covered. Luckily, there are experts out there who can help you make the best decisions for your company. Call us today to schedule a quote for your trucking business!