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.