Business Insurance for Trucking Companies

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Business insurance is designed to protect a business owner's financial assets and is an essential investment for a trucking company.

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About General Liability Insurance

All businesses, regardless of industry, face risks that should be covered by insurance. The most common and comprehensive type of policy business owners invest in is general liability insurance (or CGL).

Some of the risks CGL insurance covers are:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Medical payments
  • Legal defense and judgment
  • Personal and advertising injury

While businesses aren't legally required to carry general liability insurance, operating without it is extremely risky. If your business is sued, you could end up facing fees totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). Having a sufficient CGL policy in place to help compensate for these damages is the only way to prevent this type of event from devastating your business.

Learn more about the risks covered by general liability insurance.

COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE WOULD COVER FOR A TRUCKING COMPANY

Example 1: A customer visits your establishment in order to finalize a contract but slips and falls while there. A general liability policy should cover their medical expenses and any potential legal fees.

Example 2: During a merchandise offload, an employee damages a customer’s building with the forklift. Your general liability should pay for the repairs to the building.

Example 3: To ward off thieves, you use a guard dog to protect the premises at night. While on patrol, the dog catches a person trying to climb a fence and bites them. Your general liability policy should be able to provide coverage for a lawsuit or any potential medical expenses.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of perils a general liability insurance policy will cover, and some conditions may result in a particular peril not being covered. It's always best to talk to your agent in-depth about the specifics of your policy to avoid blind spots in coverage.

Cost of General Liability Insurance

On average, trucking companies in America spend between $450 - $1,000 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.

Check out the chart below for a snapshot of average CGL expenditure across a variety of industries:

Graph showing average price of general liability insurance prices per industry

Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:

  • Location
  • Deductible
  • Number of employees
  • Per-occurrence limit
  • General aggregate limit

You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner's policy (BOP) rather than as a standalone policy. A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.

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Other Types of Coverage trucking companies Need

While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all trucking companies should obtain:

Commercial Auto Insurance

Since driving is the primary service your business offers, you will need to carry at least the minimum levels of commercial auto insurance, as mandated by the state. This covers business-owned vehicles when driven on public roadways.

It is recommended that trucking companies carry a policy with limits higher limits than what is mandated by the state. Additionally, pay careful attention to what exactly this coverage extends to. Most insurers require a separate policy for the trailer and cargo.

Commercial auto insurance can often be purchased as part of a business owner’s policy (BOP).

Cargo Insurance

Trucking companies are charged with ensuring that their clients’ property reaches its destination safely and on time. Cargo insurance covers loss or damage to freight while in transit.

This type of policy often comes with a number of coverage exclusions. To avoid any surprises, carefully review all policy exclusions prior to purchasing your cargo insurance.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Your state will likely require the business to carry workers’ compensation for each employee. It covers work-related accidents and illnesses, along with resulting medical bills, lost wages, and any resulting settlements.

Workers’ compensation is purchased as a standalone policy.

Types of Coverage Some trucking companies May Need

In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your trucking company may require depending on certain aspects of your operations. Some of these might not apply to you, so be sure to ask your agent which policies are right for your business.

Commercial Umbrella Liability Insurance

Working on roadways and in vehicles puts your business at greater risk than other types of businesses, and expenses stemming from a covered liability loss can also be greater. A commercial umbrella liability policy extends coverage above and beyond your general liability coverage policy’s limits.

Additional Steps to Protect Your Business

Although it's easy (and essential) to invest in business insurance, it should not be your frontline defense. Yes, insurance will compensate for your business' financial losses after an incident occurs, but it's much better to avoid losses altogether.

With this in mind, here are three things you can do to better protect your business:

  • Use legally robust contracts and other business documents. (We offer free templates for some of the most common legal forms.)
  • Set up a limited liability company (LLC) to protect your personal assets. (Refer to our guide for step-by-step instructions on how to form an LLC in your state.)
  • Streamline your business' internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in a business owner’s policy?

A typical business owner's policy includes general liability, business interruption, and property insurance. However, BOPs are often customizable, so your agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other types of coverage to your package depending on your company's needs.

What is the difference between business insurance and general liability insurance?

"Business insurance" is a generic term used to describe many different types of coverage a business may need. General liability insurance, on the other hand, is a specific type of coverage that business owners need to protect their assets.

Do I need insurance before I start a business?

You should invest in coverage for your business before your first interaction with a customer. Although the cost of insurance may seem high for a brand new business, it's best to be proactive when it comes to protecting your assets. After all, you can't buy insurance to cover a loss that has already occurred.

Will insurance protect my business from everything?

Not necessarily. Certain exceptions may be written directly into your policy, and some perils may be entirely uninsurable. Be sure to discuss the scope of your policy in-depth with your agent to avoid being blindsided by holes in your coverage.