Why Get Semi-Truck Liability Insurance?

Strong Tie Insurance December 6, 2021 Our Blog

If you’re thinking of starting your own semi-truck business, getting cheap commercial insurance is not just essential but also a requirement before you can start your operations. 

Semi-truck insurance, also known as owner-operator insurance, is a liability insurance policy that covers injuries or losses to third parties caused by the driver’s negligence. Given how in the U.S. alone, the trucking industry is responsible for transportation 70% of the country’s goods, it’s important to ensure your truck is always secure in the event of an accident. 

What is Semi-Truck Insurance?

Semi-truck insurance, often known as owner-operator insurance, is a term used in the trucking business to describe a group of policies available to drivers. Several of these insurance cover truckers’ legal responsibilities in a variety of situations, including hauling cargo and driving for leisure.

How Does Semi Truck Insurance Work?

You are responsible for liability coverage if you operate under your own authority, and some other coverages can round out your insurance package to further safeguard your investment and financial exposure.

Owner-operator truck insurance works by protecting you from claims involving property damage, bodily injury, and accidental death, as well as ensuring that you follow all applicable laws and client contracts.

Most states have auto insurance regulations, which can protect you from the significant costs of an auto accident. 

Types of Situations You’ll Need Semi Truck Insurance Coverage

Truck drivers must be cautious of distracted driving, speeding, and overloading — in addition to poor road conditions, harsh weather, and poor road design.

Distracted driving in vehicles, and much more so in trucks, can have significant repercussions. Because of the extra weight and shape of the truck, it is top-heavy, and the driver is unable to react on time to avoid an accident.

Overloading and poor truck maintenance pose risks that are specific to trucks. Because trucks carry a heavier load than other vehicles, overloading them past the permitted limit causes even more imbalance, making turns and corrections difficult at best.

Types of Semi-Truck Insurance Coverages

The benefits of truck insurance, like any other sort of insurance, are dependent on the plan. What insurance needs to cover is often determined by the type of truck, regular routes, and other considerations.

Primary Liability Insurance

Damage to the truck or trailer is covered by primary liability insurance, and most owner-operators require a minimum of $750,000 in coverage. If you’re hauling hazmat or other potentially hazardous loads, that number will rise.

Non-Trucking-Liability (NTL) and Bobtail Coverage

You’ll need NTL and Bobtail coverage if you’re an owner-operator operating under a company’s authority. When drivers use their trucks for non-business purposes like a trip to the grocery store or a trip with friends, NTL covers them.

Physical Damage Insurance

This protects your insured truck from loss or damage caused by an accident with another vehicle or object. Physical damage insurance is vital for motor carriers and owner-operators to have, and it is often needed if a lienholder is present. 

Motor Cargo Coverage

This is a liability coverage against the risks of direct physical loss, covering motor truck cargo while in transit and during loading or unloading. It also protects property while it is being transported to a terminal or dock for eventual distribution.

Requirements for Semi-Truck Insurance

For commercial auto drivers in California, there are unique insurance requirements. These are unique to every sort of driver, whether you operate an over-the-road (OTR) truck or a large passenger vehicle such as a bus.

Not all insurance plans are created equal, and each state may have different minimum insurance requirements for commercial trucks based on weight and cargo type. Additionally, truck insurance needs vary depending on the type of truck you drive and the commodities or materials you transport.

The following are the vehicle types and their minimal insurance requirements:

  • Commercial vehicles transporting household products weighing less than 26,000 pounds require insurance coverage of at least $500,000.
  • Trucks transporting oil or hazardous materials, on average, require $1,000,000 in insurance coverage.
  • Commercial vehicles transporting hazardous chemicals or garbage should be insured for at least $5 million.

Your insurance agent is required to file certain filings by both California and the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). These files should be handled by your insurance agent or insurance provider.

These documents demonstrate to the government that you have met all of your Department of Transportation (DOT) truck insurance obligations. Before you may get your authority, you must submit them. Some common forms include:

  • Form MCS-90
  • MCP-65
  • Form H
  • The BMC-91

It might be difficult to determine which insurance policy is best for you. That is why it is critical to get legal advice to better understand your needs.

Find Out the Right Semi-Truck Insurance for Your Needs

When getting started with semi-truck insurance to cover your business’ vehicles, you’ll need the help of an experienced and reliable provider. Our 20 years of experience can help ensure that you’ll get the best coverage that would fit your needs.

We’ve built particular partnerships with businesses, contractors, body shops, hotels, vehicle dealers, car rental companies, and others to accomplish precisely what you’d expect an insurance company to do, which is to seamlessly handle problems and surpass your expectations.

Shopping around for the finest insurance quotes online is the best approach to ensure you’re receiving the best deal.

Because every business is different, you’ll want to speak with an insurance expert who can assess your needs and provide appropriate recommendations.

If you have questions about semi-truck insurance, you may also contact us at Strong Tie Insurance today!