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Commercial Truck Insurance

Commercial truck insurance is a specific grouping of insurance auto policies developed to cover trucking needs. The trucking policies start with primary liability and build upon that foundation with various additional coverages. Primary liability truck insurance is often required as part of a trucking license — it protects people and property from damage caused by your truck. 

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Commercial Truck Insurance 101

If you are a driver and want to drive on your own authority, then you will need primary liability insurance. If you are an owner-operator of a trucking company, then you’ll expand your trucking insurance to include general liability, as well.

Need insurance to drive? Primary liability is your goal. Need to get your trucks on the road? You’ll need general liability.

A primary insurance policy will only cover the damage to another vehicle or to a person in the event of an accident. At the very least, the public is protected. General liability, however, offers additional protections in the case of a lawsuit or a libel/slander/false advertising claim against your business. Most insurance experts would encourage you to invest in a general liability commercial trucking plan. All trucks require at least $750,000 in insurance coverage. Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) might require certain trucking operations (for example, those that haul cars) to show proof of adequate general liability coverage.

According to Trusted Choice (a group of independent insurance agents), the average cost of a commercial truck accident in the United States is $59,000 — and one in three small businesses will fold because of uninsured costs related to an accident or lawsuit. Covering yourself with the right insurance is a business-saving tactic.

Commercial Truck Insurance Vs. Commercial Auto Insurance

Trucking is different than driving around the city in a work van. Drivers often haul a large amount of merchandise or materials, across state lines, for long hours. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) — the governing body over trucking — requires certain insurance minimums needed by owners before their trucks can even hit the road. Drivers have to prove they have a minimum of primary truck insurance to be approved by the FMCSA. Leasing agreements for the trucks might also require proof of general liability truck insurance.

Why won’t a commercial auto policy cut it? Well, the trucking world ultimately has different day-to-day risks than cars/vans, and for-hire truckers need truck insurance, not commercial auto. Otherwise, truck drivers might find themselves vastly under-insured under a commercial auto plan (or unable to get behind the wheel at all).

What Commercial Truck Insurance Covers

With a general liability commercial truck policy, you’d be covered in the following situations:

  • Bodily Injury: If someone is hurt by your truck this pays for medical bills and the potential lawsuit costs that may arise. This also covers someone who might slip and fall on your property.

  • Damaged Property/Damaged Commodities: If your truck damages someone’s property, this will cover the cost to fix and replace the property. Also, general liability insurance will cover the cost and damages if you deliver commodities to the wrong address.

  • Driver Accidents At Delivery Locations: Many variables fit under this particular category, but if your driver causes any damage to property at another site, your general liability will cover the damage.

  • Libel, Slander, & False Advertising Claims: If you conduct any sort of advertising or represent your brand out on the road, general liability coverage also helps out in the event of a libel, slander, or false advertising lawsuit.

What Commercial Truck Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Commercial truck insurance policies don’t cover everything. Look for additional endorsements to cover these possible scenarios:

  • Specific Vehicles That Aren’t Trucks: It should go without needing a mention since truck is in the title, but this insurance is specific to certain types of trucks. The following vehicles are not covered under commercial truck insurance: cement trucks, limos, hearses, buses, passenger vans, or ice cream trucks.

  • Driver Injuries: The basic insurance policies are about protecting other people (paying for damage and medical bills and safeguarding you in a lawsuit). If you’d like to protect your worker’s injuries, those claims would be part of a worker’s compensation insurance plan.

  • Damage To Your Trucks: General liability covers the cost of damage to others, not yourself. If you want to insure your own trucks, you’ll need physical damage coverage. While it isn’t required by law to insure your own property, it’s smart.

  • Lost Product Due To Broken Refrigeration: If a refrigerated truck (reefer) breaks-down or the cooling component breaks down, you will need specific insurance to cover the replacement and the loss of cargo.

  • Loss Of Cargo: The federal government might require you to carry a minimum of $5,000 in cargo coverage but truck drivers are often carrying cargo worth far more than that, so you might want to invest in more coverage.

  • Loss Of Income After An Accident: If your truck is in an accident and it takes some time to get your businesses back up and running, your insurance won’t cover the loss of income. You’d want to specifically look into business income insurance or business interruption insurance to cover those gaps.

Additional Types Of Commercial Truck Insurance

As stated before, primary liability truck insurance and general liability truck insurance are the basic requirements needed to drive and follow the rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Let’s revisit those again and outline other possible truck insurance policies that are available through an Hees Insurance agent:

  • Bodily Injury Liability
    This coverage applies to injuries that the policyholder and family members listed on the policy cause to someone else. These individuals are also covered when driving other peoples’ cars with permission. As motorists in serious accidents may be sued for large amounts, drivers can opt to buy more than the state-required minimum to protect personal assets such as homes and savings.
  • Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
    This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident. It may also cover funeral costs.
  • Property Damage Liabilty
    This coverage pays for damage policyholders (or someone driving the car with their permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings or other structures hit in an accident.
  • Collision
    This coverage pays for damage to the policyholder’s car resulting from a collision with another car, object or as a result of flipping over. It also covers damage caused by potholes. Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000—the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Even if policyholders are at fault for an accident, collision coverage will reimburse them for the costs of repairing the car, minus the deductible. If the policyholder is not at fault, the insurance company may try to recover the amount it paid from the other driver’s insurance company. If the company is successful, policyholders will also be reimbursed for the deductible.
  • Comprehensive
    This coverage reimburses for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as fire, falling objects, missiles, explosions, earthquakes, windstorms, hail, flood, vandalism and riots, or contact with animals such as birds or deer. Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, though policyholders may opt for a higher deductible as a way of lowering their premium. Comprehensive insurance may also reimburse the policyholder if a windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer separate glass coverage with or without a deductible. States do not require the purchase of collision or comprehensive coverage, but lenders may insist borrowers carry it until a car loan is paid off.
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
    Uninsured motorist coverage will reimburse the policyholder, a member of the family or a designated driver if one of them is hit by an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for the other driver’s total loss. This coverage will also protect a policyholder who is hit while a pedestrian.

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