What Vehicles are Covered by Trucking Insurance?

Strong Tie Insurance March 13, 2020 StrongtieInsurance

It seems that every kind of business needs some sort of insurance. Truckers are unique in that they are not only required but encouraged to carry varying amounts of commercial truck insurance. The term “commercial vehicle” is a rather broad way to describe vehicles used to transport goods or paying customers and you may be wondering what is actually covered by trucking insurance and how it works.

Here is everything you need to know about commercial trucking insurance.

Commercial Vehicle Classification

A vehicle is technically considered a commercial vehicle when it is used for business. This blanket definition covers fleet vehicles, company cars, semi-trucks, and other vehicles used for business purposes that meet any of the following criteria:

  • The vehicle belongs to a company or corporation.
  • It belongs to an individual but is used for business purposes.
  • It is leased and in the name of the institution that owns it.
  • The vehicle exceeds a particular weight class – typically anything over 26,000 pounds is considered a commercial vehicle, regardless of its use.
  • It is used to haul hazardous material.

Commercial trucks are classified by their gross vehicle weight rating. In the United States, there are eight classes of commercial trucks:

  • Class 1: 0 to 6,000 pounds
  • Class 2: 6,001 to 10,000 pounds
  • Class 3: 10,001 to 14,000 pounds
  • Class 4: 14,001 to 16,000 pounds
  • Class 5: 16,001 to 19,500 pounds
  • Class 6: 19,501 to 26,000 pounds
  • Class 7: 26,001 to 33,000 pounds
  • Class 8: 33,000 pounds or more

Examples of Commercial Vehicles

Nearly any vehicle can be classified as a commercial vehicle if it’s used for business. There are, however, some vehicles that fall into the classified distinction more often.

  • Box or Straight Truck: a chassis cab truck with an enclosed box-shaped cargo area.
  • Semi-trailer Truck: a combination of a tractor unit, like a truck, and a trailer used to carry freight.
  • Van: often used to transport goods or specially-equipped for specific business purposes.
  • Coach Bus: a bus used for longer-distance service.
  • Trailer: an unpowered vehicle towed by another vehicle.
  • Heavy Equipment: most often used for construction.
  • Travel Trailers: trailers that weigh over 10,000 pounds
  • Taxicab: an official vehicle for hire
  • Business cars: vehicles owned by or used primarily for business purposes

Legal Issues

Because commercial vehicles are often much larger than other vehicles, accidents and injuries involving them are often more complex versus accidents involving just regular cars. Commercial vehicles are usually on the road more often and for more extended periods of time. That means there are often individual licenses, registrations, and insurances needed to operate commercial vehicles. Even for vehicles that do not require a special license or certification, commercial insurance is a must.

Commercial Insurance

Commercial insurance is meant for those who drive commercial vehicles. One of the most common would be commercial truck insurance. Since the backbone of the American economy relies on truckers, there are large numbers of truck drivers out and about every day.

There is a big difference between commercial truck insurance and commercial auto insurance. Those who drive 18-wheelers have a different set of risks and responsibilities from someone who simply operates a company car. Insurance policies for smaller commercial vehicles, like cars, taxis, and vans, wouldn’t hold up to the potential liabilities involved with a large semi-truck.

Commercial trucking insurance is then a specialized kind of insurance meant to protect truck drivers, their companies, and their equipment.

Are you adequately insured?

Strong Tie Insurance offers comprehensive commercial trucking insurance.

Kinds of Commercial Trucking Insurance

Most states require all truck drivers to carry primary liability truck insurance. This policy protects people and property from the damage you cause with your truck. This kind of coverage may meet the legal minimums, but rarely offers enough to fully protect your interests. Here are some other types of trucking insurance you may need:

  • General Liability insurance pays for damage done to someone on your property or the property of someone else while your truck is present. It can also help with libel, slander, and false advertising.
  • Physical Damage policies help cover damage to your truck and equipment after an accident or a disaster. This policy may pay for repairs or cover the current cost of your truck.
  • Motor Truck Cargo insurance covers damage to your cargo from an accident, disaster, weather, and more.
  • Bobtail insurance covers you when you’re driving your truck without a trailer.
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist insurance helps in the case you are in an accident with someone who doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover damages they caused. If something happens and you don’t have this coverage, you could be on the hook for all costs associated with getting back on the road. For many truckers, this could mean going out of business.

Reefer Breakdown insurance is a specific policy for refrigerated trucks in case of a breakdown or malfunction that damages cargo.

Where to Buy Commercial Trucking Insurance

The trucking industry deals with various regulations, requirements, and safety concerns. That means it’s paramount to find the right insurance company for your needs. The key is finding the right kind of insurance for your specific and unique needs.

Trucking insurance costs vary depending on your exact situation. Insurance companies are going to look at several factors to determine your pricing options:

  • Your Age
  • Driving Record
  • The condition of your equipment
  • The types of cargo you’ll work with 
  • State and federal requirements
  • Where and how far you’ll be driving

Finding cheap commercial trucking insurance is vital to most truckers trying to save on their fixed costs. There are some things that you can do to help bring your overall trucking insurance costs down:

  • Keep or hire drivers with excellent driving records
  • Focus on safety. A single accident or traffic ticket can raise your rates
  • Raise your deductibles. This may mean paying more before your insurance kicks in, but it can lower your monthly rates
  • Look for discounts like paying in full for specific periods of time

Call Strong Tie Insurance Today

From helping you know which policies are right for you, to simplifying the entire insurance process, Strong Tie Insurance is here to serve. Unlike other companies who try to insure everything, we understand the trucking industry and what it takes to keep you fully protected without breaking the bank. Don’t delay and call for your free consultation today!