Commercial truck insurance is a set of auto insurance policies aimed at businesses, entrepreneurs, and anyone who uses or owns commercial hauling vehicles. Commercial trucks are most commonly used for special cargo, transporting merchandise and heavy goods, towing vehicles, agri-business, and more. If you run a business that uses a fleet of commercial utility vehicles, you will need to have commercial truck insurance to protect yourself from untoward incidents.
Why Do You Need Commercial Truck Insurance?
As a truck owner or a business owner/entrepreneur operating commercial vehicles, you may own a fleet of commercial trucks – or ‘commercial utility vehicles’ as they are also called. These commercial vehicles help you run your firm/business and achieve sufficient scale to turn a profit. You may also be a freight business owner who is hired by individual clients/companies to transport important cargo.
In both cases, the customer is trusting you with transporting their freight – which may be worth thousands – in a responsible manner! It’s absolutely necessary to have insurance to help cover any losses or damages arising from an accident. These include losses due to:
- Truck driver fatigue
- Delays due to traffic
- Cargo theft
- Vandalism of the cargo or truck
- Damages due to natural hazards (winds, rain, hailstorms)
- Road accidents
What Does Commercial Truck Insurance Cover?
There are different coverage options for rig/truck owners to choose from when comparing commercial truck insurance policies. The type of coverage needed may differ based on the type of business you work in like industrial goods, consumer goods, construction material, hazardous materials, agribusiness, or any other cargo.
Here are the major types of coverages offered under commercial truck insurance:
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance:Covers out-of-pocket expenses on repairs.
- Physical Damage Coverage:This covers any physical damage to your trucks from road accidents.
- Passenger Accident Insurance:This covers any medical costs that may arise when a non-employee passenger is injured in an accident.
- Limited Depreciation Coverage:This covers the gap between the fair market value that the insurance company will likely pay for and the cost to replace the vehicle.
- Motor Truck Cargo Insurance: It covers non-hazardous freight material and liability for cargo.
- Motor Truck General Liability Insurance:Provides coverage for commercial trucks in case of bodily injury claims, personal injury, property damage liability, medical payments, etc.
- Non-Trucking Liability Insurance:This covers you in case an accident occurs when you are driving the truck for personal use.
- Optional Downtime Coverage:Provides coverage for any financial losses incurred while your truck is in for repairs.
- Trailer Interchange Agreement Insurance:Covers the insured’s legal liability for damage to trailers of others.
- Bobtail Insurance: Provides coverage for a tractor when operated without a trailer.
What Types Of Trucks Are Covered Under Commercial Truck Insurance?
Commercial trucks can include the following:
- Commercial lorries
- Cement blenders
- Pick-up trucks
- Tow trucks
- Other heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
- Garbage trucks
- Logging trucks
Factors Affecting Commercial Truck Insurance Cost
Commercial trucks come in a wide variety of weight classes, sizes, utility levels, and categories. The rates for commercial trucks handling hazardous substances will also be higher than those handling non-hazardous ones.
The major factors affecting commercial truck insurance rates are the following:
If you own a fleet of commercial vehicles through your business, you will need to have a very good USDOT operating history. Any violations could lead to higher insurance rates overall. This is also why it is much cheaper to lease commercial trucking activities to a professional company instead of operating on your own.
Type of cargo
Commercial truck rates can vary depending on the type of cargo being carried. For example, trucks that transport heavy machinery or farm equipment can cause more damage and hence cost more to insure than trucks that transport freight like fresh produce.
Garbage trucks and vehicles dealing with hazardous substances can cause more damage in an accident than normal vehicles.
Type of vehicle
A heavy semi-truck will cost you more in insurance than a lighter pickup truck because of the possibility of more damage in an accident. Newer commercial trucks will also cost more to insure as their repairs can be expensive.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has set a minimum liability limit of $750,000 combined single limit (CSL) or $1,000,000 CSL for truckers who need a federal filing. There may also be contractual requirements that need additional coverage for your cargo or trailer interchange.
Commercial truck insurance can vary widely depending on which state you live in. Currently, the highest truck insurance rates are in Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, and Florida.
Just like a passenger vehicle, truck drivers with many violations on their record can be charged higher truck insurance rates. Some cargo can be very dangerous if not driven at proper speeds and in accordance with traffic rules – so make sure you drive properly and safely.
How To Get Cheap Commercial Truck Insurance
Break down insurance premiums into monthly payments
Since most yearly insurance premiums can amount to more than $5000, it can be daunting to pay it all in one go. The better way to pay for trucking insurance is to break it down into smaller, monthly payments that will be more affordable in the long term.
Pick and choose your coverage wisely
While you may feel that having comprehensive coverage is the best option there is, it could also put a lot of stress on your budget. You can always reduce the total insurance cost for your commercial truck by raising your deductible amount and excluding coverage you think isn’t required.
Try and score discounts wherever possible
Some truck insurance providers will offer special discounts that you can use to further reduce the cost of commercial truck insurance. These include:
- Paid-in-full discount:A flat discount is offered when you pay your policy amount in full. This discount can often be as high as 15%.
- Business Experience discount:You’ll be eligible for this if you’ve been in business for three years or more and have a good track record.
- CDL discount: You can get a discount if you have had a valid commercial driver’s license for the past two years.