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Truck Insurance

Unlike insurance coverage on trucks used for personal or recreational purposes, commercial truck insurance can offer unique coverage such as pollution liability, and even options to cover specific regional regulations for business vehicles. Commercial truck insurance can also be referred to as long-haul truck insurance.

Some coverage allows truck owners to base the cost of the policy on mileage or gross business revenues; however this type of pricing might mean that you will pay more for the insurance when business is doing better.

Trucks used for commercial reasons that are used on United States roads are required to be insured with commercial truck insurance. Whether the vehicle is a refrigerated truck, flat bed semi, dump truck, car hauler, or logging truck, it must have a commercial truck policy. The policy may be for owner-operators, or for corporate fleet vehicles.

Commercial truck insurance coverage can be tailor made for small companies and even single trucks. Or a policy can be written to cover large fleets of vehicles that can include commercial vehicles that are leased or subcontracted. It is important to carry this coverage as United States accident statistics show that every sixteen minutes an accident occurs that involves a big truck. These accidents often result in death, injuries, and sometimes include multiple vehicles. In order to protect your business you need to carry commercial truck insurance.

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance

This type of coverage insures what the truck is carrying and not the vehicle or driver. The policy will protect the truck owner, business, or client if the cargo is lost or damaged during transport or while the cargo is stored at a terminal. Often this freight insurance is limited by a maximum load value per vehicle. The cargo is typically appraised prior to shipment in order to assess the specific cost of replacement value in order to fully protect the trucking company or driver from loss liability.

Some motor cargo policies will also cover the cost of storage for the freight if something happens to the truck or there is another reason the cargo can’t be delivered. This option is often called Warehouseman’s legal liability.

Understanding Commercial Truck Insurance Types

Often called semi-truck insurance, commercial truck insurance offers several types of coverage including:

  • Primary Liability Insurance – required by law, businesses or owner operators have to have this type of insurance in order to legally put their truck on the roads. Commercial truck liability insurance covers those who are injured or their property damage because of an accident with the truck where the driver is at fault. US federal law requires $750,000 minimum coverage for each truck driver on the road. If the truck driver is at fault in an accident the policy would cover the amount up to the limit, then the truck driver or company would be liable for additional amounts. Often truck drivers and companies will choose to carry primary liability insurance in an amount that is higher than the minimum limits required.
  • General Liability Insurance – covers incidents that occur when you are not driving, including while stopped at a rest area, when loading or unloading the truck, and theft or vandalism any time the commercial vehicle is parked. The specifics of general liability insurance coverage can fluctuate between different insurance providers. Make sure you don’t make assumptions and know exactly what your policy covers. This type of coverage is typically to cover the truck and contents besides the cargo.
  • Motor Truck Cargo Insurance – protects the actual cargo or freight that is being transported in the commercial truck. While not required by law, your clients may demand that you carry this insurance and that it be at a specific limit before they contract for your services.
  • Non-Trucking Liability Insurance –is often called bobtail or deadhead insurance. This coverage specifically protects your truck while it is stored or parked and empty of cargo when you aren’t working.

There are also other options specifically intended for independent truck drivers operating vehicles they own, lease, or rent. Occupational and Accidental Injury Insurance acts as a type of workman’s compensation for the driver/owner, paying for medical and living expenses if they are hurt on the job.

Driver Requirements for Commercial Truck Insurance

Typically in order to drive and insure a commercial truck the driver must have a CDL or Commercial Driver’s License. Even if the type of vehicle doesn’t require this type of license, insurance carriers have the right to request specific driver requirements in order for the insurance coverage to be valid.

There are federal requirements that the drivers for vehicles over a certain size must have a CDL. For more information on Federal Requirements for long haul trucking see here.

The insurance company can impose additional conditions that may include:

  • Higher age limits than typical licensing requirements
  • Specifying driver history include a set minimum number of years experience driving a truck
  • They can also limit the number of at fault accidents, acceptable moving violations, or major violations that are accrued over a specific number of years

Summary

Commercial truck insurance offers several options and types of policies to provide liability coverage for personal injuries and property damages, the loss or damage of the freight you carry, and truck coverage if it is carrying freight, parked at a terminal, or in your driveway.

Small Business Auto Insurance

Small business auto insurance or commercial auto insurance protects your business when you or your employees are out on the road doing company business or anytime they are driving company vehicles. This type of insurance coverage can pay for medical expenses if the driver of a company vehicle is involved in an at fault accident. It may also protect the business by paying for damage to property caused by the driver of a business vehicle or for the medical expenses of those the driver injured in the accident. This is important because if you don’t have enough small business auto insurance to cover the costs of the accident, the business will have to pay the costs.

Not just for accidents and property damage caused by your company vehicles or drivers, business auto insurance coverage may also cover damage to business cars, trucks, or vans that are caused by fire, theft, windstorms, hail, flood, and vandalism.

Small business auto insurance can provide coverage in company provided vehicles, or if your employees drive their own vehicles. Most states require businesses to have some type of commercial auto insurance. Check this interactive state map for the minimum basic auto insurance requirements in each state. The requirements for business liability may be different, but this gives you a starting point.

Why Your Small Business Needs Commercial Auto Insurance

If you lease, own, or rent any type of vehicle for your small business, you need to have small business auto insurance coverage. A commercial auto insurance policy will cover vans, cars, trucks, and any other type of motorized vehicle if it is used in the line of business. Business vehicles are not covered by personal auto insurance, nor are they covered by regular business liability insurance, you have to have a separate auto insurance policy for your small business.

If the business doesn’t own any vehicles, you rarely use your personal vehicle for business, and your employees don’t use there personal vehicles for business use, then you may be able to state on your personal vehicle policy that it is used occasionally for business and not be required to purchase a business auto insurance policy. You should check with the company that insures your personal vehicle to see if your circumstances allow this option.

Another option for small business owners if you have more than two vehicles that are used for business purposes is fleet insurance. This type of coverage is often used by businesses that have multiple vehicles. It can offer options like one deductible for all vehicles instead of a deductible for each individual vehicle. This way if several of your business vehicles are involved in the same accident, you only pay one deductible for the accident.

Cost Effective Tips for Small Business Auto Insurance

In order to find cost effective auto insurance coverage that will protect you or anyone else you permit to use a company car, truck and/or van, you should start buy getting several quotes on the same insurance limits and options from different companies. This part you can probably do online at a commercial insurance comparison website. This will allow you to compare pricing.

Once you’ve narrowed the field to a couple of quotes, talk to the agent or broker about your business specifics and if there are any options you haven’t considered. For instance you may want to provide roadside assistance in order to keep your driver with the vehicle if it breaks down. This can cut down on theft and vandalism of company vehicles.

You will want to ensure that the company you get your small business auto insurance from provides ongoing support so that as your business grows and changes you can keep your coverage up-to-date.

Summary

If you have any vehicles titled in the company’s name, or if lease, rent, or use any vehicle regularly for you business, then you should have a small business auto insurance policy. All states require some form of auto insurance and you are mandated by law to carry the required minimum. If you have employees use their own vehicles within the business, say for deliveries, then you should also have a business insurance policy to cover at least the liability of your company if your employee gets into an accident while using their vehicle for business purposes.

Small business auto insurance can cover physical damage to the insured vehicle, property damage done to stationary objects (like a telephone pole), damage done to company vehicles by a variety of causes outside an accident like fire, theft, vandalism, or hail, and even medical coverage for anyone injured in the accident, including the driver. There are also options available like roadside protection.

The cost of your small business insurance policy is determined by a number of factors, use, mileage driven, and the driving record of employed drivers.

Online Business Insurance Quote

Getting quotes online for your business insurance can prove to be an effective tool. You can get several quotes based on the same information, which provides an effective way to make price comparisons. Actually purchasing business insurance online might not be the best choice for your business. In fact, many online business insurance quote websites will send you the quotes, but to purchase you have to speak with an agent or broker.

When you are searching for online insurance quote sites for your business, it is important to understand that there are actually three types of websites that will provide insurance quotes.

The first is the insurer. This is a company’s website, say like State Farm, Progressive, or Safeco. You fill in the requested information for the type of business insurance you are interested in and the single insurer will provide you a quote and basic information on the policy. Typically on these websites, after you get the quote you will be contacted by an representative of the company to finalized the policy and make the purchase.

The second type of online insurance quote mirror’s the above, only after you received the quote from the insurer, instead of a representative calling you, the website will direct you to a search engine to allow you to choose a local agent that will take the quote, make sure you’ve considered all the options and understand the coverage, then the agent will finalize the business insurance policy and will become your point of contact with the insurer.

The third type of website is owned and operated by a third party, and this online service offers insurance quotes on multiple companies. You input the information on what you are looking for one time, the website sends this information out and you will typically get quotes from several different insurance companies. It is important to do a little research before choosing a third party website to get quotes. Many are legitimate, but some aren’t. Some may not even be licensed to sell insurance within your state. Once these third party companies give you the quotes, they often will urge you to purchase the policy online.

At this point it is up to you to decide if it is appropriate for your business to purchase business insurance online.

Deciding to Buy Business Insurance Online

If you got several business insurance quotes and are thinking about buying online, there are several things you should consider. Think about your business. Its size, how well you understand the liability risks that concern your business, and how well you manage those risks.

Small businesses may be okay with getting online insurance quotes and buying their insurance online. Small restaurants, offices, or retail stores with only a few employees and no delivery service might benefit from this service. Service providers like a small printer, dry cleaner, or package service might also be able to purchase their business insurance online.

But if you are a large company, have several employees, delivery trucks, or have specialized risks, such as handling pets or providing health related services, purchasing business insurance online is probably not a good idea. If your business has a fleet of vehicles, manufactures anything, is in the construction business in any way, or if you are a restaurant of any size that might have to deal with the liability of liquor consumption by diners, then you shouldn’t buy business insurance online.

You should be less inclined to purchase business insurance online the bigger you are, the more employees you have, or the more complicated your business becomes. At this point you may want to get several online business insurance quotes, then work with an agent once you’ve determined the company or companies you are really interested in doing business with.

Summary

Getting a selection of online business insurance quotes is a great way to compare pricing and policy options through several companies. Purchasing business insurance online should only be contemplated by those with a small, simple business that has no unusual or common risks associated with the business.

It is better if you get online business insurance quotes and then work with an agent to fine tune and purchase your policy. This way you will get more personalized service and some one specific to contact if you need to make changes in your policy or upgrade your coverage. The insurance agent should also be able to help you assess risks to your business and insure you’ve addressed all the areas of liability for your company.

There are also options that you may not realize you qualify for, for instance higher or combined deductibles, self-insured options, and other creative ideas. Working with an insurance professional to fine tune your policy will ensure that you’ve considered all the alternatives.