Accidents happen. Whether you experience an engine malfunction that results in a collision or you have an accident and lose your load on the highway, things can happen. If you drive a commercial vehicle, you most likely have commercial truck insurance.
If you don’t carry truck insurance, you could find yourself in deep trouble in an accident occurs. Of course, there are various types of insurance available, so it can be challenging to know which ones you need versus which ones are optional. More importantly, you’ll want to make prudent decisions so that you are covered, but that you also aren’t spending more than you need to. Good truck insurance coverage doesn’t have to be hard to find.
What Types of Vehicles are Covered?
Various companies cover particular types of trucks, but most general commercial truck companies will include insurance for dump trucks, flatbeds, tow trucks, box trucks, and semi-truck policies. Some insurance providers offer a mixture of options, covering both personal and commercial vehicles. It’s worth looking at carriers that offer insurance specifically for your vehicles and those that cover a more general selection of cars and trucks.
Why Do I need Commercial Truck Insurance?
In many states, it is illegal to operate a commercial vehicle without proper insurance. The first reason to carry the appropriate policy is to ensure your business is running within the law. Beyond that, auto insurance exists to protect you in the case of an accident. You most likely already carry personal auto insurance; commercial insurance isn’t much different.
The most significant difference you’ll see between personal and commercial auto insurance is that commercial policies offer increased coverage. Businesses carry more substantial risks and therefore need better coverage. Having an accident without protection could completely ruin a business, so it’s essential to consider the best options for your company.
What Kinds of Insurance Are There?
Finding cheap commercial truck insurance is easy when you know what types you need for your particular business. Here are the different kinds of insurance you may need:
- General Liability: Accidents can happen anywhere, even when not operating a truck. General liability insurance covers these kinds of instances. For example, if someone were to slip and fall at the loading dock or if the cargo is damaged while being loaded.
- Primary Auto Liability: Every carrier must have a liability policy, according to federal guidelines. This coverage does not help fix damage to your truck but exists to cover any damage you do to others while operating your commercial vehicle.
- Physical Damage: If you finance or lease your commercial truck, you may be required to carry physical damage insurance. This coverage protects your truck and trailer; it helps to repair or replace damage to your rig due to an accident, theft, or vandalism.
- Non-Trucking Liability: If there is an accident with a truck while the driver is not on dispatch, non-trucking liability kicks in. Sometimes this is called deadhead or bobtail coverage.
- Motor Truck Cargo Coverage: If you have issues with your cargo like if something is stolen or your refrigeration breaks down, you’ll want to be covered. There may be scenarios where insurance doesn’t include the shipment. For example, some policies exclude instances where the vehicle is unattended. Make sure to read and understand your cargo coverage before moving forward.
- Trailer Interchange: If your company is using a trailer it doesn’t own, there is most likely a trailer-interchange agreement in place.
- Non-Owned Trailer Liability: If you are hauling a trailer owned by someone else without an interchange agreement, you may want to rely on non-owned liability.
- Medical Payment: If you or a passenger are injured while on dispatch, you could end up with some hefty medical bills. Medical payment insurance helps cover those medical expenses.
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist: If you are in an accident and the other, at-fault party doesn’t have sufficient coverage, you may not get the necessary amount of money to be made whole. In this case, an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy will help make up the difference.
- Terminal Coverage: If you expect to have goods sitting at a specific terminal for some time, but less than 72 hours, you can get terminal coverage. This policy protects those good while they are being stored.
- Warehouse Legal: If you plan to have your cargo stored for more than 72 hours, you can consider a warehouse legal policy. This policy covers goods that are lost due to theft, fire, sprinkler damages, etc.
Obtaining Commercial Vehicle Insurance
Do Your Research
The first step in arming yourself with a truck insurance policy is to do your research. Be ready to get quotes from several companies, but make sure to compare the actual coverage and not just the price. The price and availability of insurance will depend on several factors: personal driving records, where trucks are kept, liability requirements, the condition of your vehicles, and the state where your company resides.
When obtaining quotes, make sure to have your current policy declaration page. Having this page on hand will help you compare the potential new policy with what you have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make adjustments to get the exact coverage you need.
Make Sure You Have the Correct Information
You’ll also need the driver’s license numbers and driving history for everyone who will operate one of your commercial trucks. Beyond that, insurance carriers will want the vehicle identification number (VIN) of each vehicle that makes up your fleet.
Be careful not to provide false information to insurance companies. Not being accurate could result in getting a non-realistic quote, but could land you in trouble down the road.
Commercial insurance is one of the most substantial fixed expenses for a trucking company. There are a high number of risks when a big rig is on the road: lost or damaged cargo, damage or injuries due to an accident caused by one of your drivers, damage to your vehicle, and injuries while on the job, to name a few.
Commercial insurance protects your livelihood and is worth taking the time to understand. It’s also vital that you revisit your insurance needs at least once a year to make sure you are covered.