What Is Commercial Trucking Insurance?

Commercial trucking insurance is designed to meet the insurance needs of trucking companies and owner-operators.

This type of auto insurance covers primary liability in the event of an accident. It also provides additional coverage for other types of damages. Commercial trucking insurance is often required to obtain a commercial driver’s license because it is needed to protect other people and their property if a truck causes injuries, property damage, or death.

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What Kind of Insurance Do Truck Drivers Need?

Like everyone who drives a motor vehicle, truck drivers need insurance. Specifically, they need commercial trucking insurance to pay any legal claims that might arise if the driver causes an accident.

Owner-Operator Trucking Insurance

Truck owner-operators need insurance to cover themselves if their truck is involved in an accident or they suffer some other type of financial loss. Trucking insurance for owner-operators typically provides the following types of coverage:

  • Primary liability: Covers damage the owner-operator causes to other people or property in an accident.
  • General liability: Covers damage caused by a driver operating on property belonging to someone else, like a truck stop, loading dock, or delivery location. This also covers damages resulting from delivery errors.
  • Physical damage liability: Helps repair or replace the owner-operator’s truck or other equipment if it’s damaged or stolen.
  • Motor truck cargo: Protects the owner-operator’s cargo if it’s stolen or damaged for whatever reason.
  • Trailer interchange: Covers a trailer that the owner-operator doesn’t own and is using under a trailer interchange agreement.
  • Non-trucking liability: Covers truck-related injuries or property damage while the owner-operator isn’t making an official delivery.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorists: If the owner-operator is involved in an accident caused by another driver without sufficient insurance, this coverage will pay for any damages the other driver’s insurance policy doesn’t.
  • Medical payment: Covers medical bills stemming from injuries to the driver or a passenger in the truck.

Trucking Company Insurance

Business insurance for trucking companies offers protection if one of the company’s drivers is involved in an accident or otherwise causes harm to people or property.

The exact policy options a trucking company needs depend on what kind of trucks its drivers use, what they haul, how much experience they have, and other factors. At a minimum, the company will need primary liability insurance to provide coverage if a person is injured or property is damaged by one of its trucks.

Trucking companies also need general liability insurance, which covers damages from lawsuits
involving allegations of libel, slander, or false advertising against the company.

What Trucking Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Trucking insurance may not cover all damages incurred in an accident, including:

  • Vehicles not considered trucks under the policy. These can include hearses, buses, limousines, cement trucks, ice cream trucks, and passenger vans.
  • Injuries to the driver or damage to the truck. Injuries to a driver who works for a trucking company would be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. Damage to the truck is only covered if the driver or trucking company purchased physical damage coverage, which is optional.
  • Reduced income following an injury. A driver who’s injured in an accident and can’t work will need business interruption insurance to cover the loss of income.
  • Lost cargo. This will only be fully covered if the driver or trucking company purchased sufficient lost cargo insurance prior to the loss.

How Much Does Trucking Insurance Cost?

Commercial trucking insurance can be expensive. For example, owner-operators with their own authority can expect to pay around $8,000 to $14,000 a year in premiums for primary liability coverage. An owner-operator who has a permanent lease with a motor carrier will pay less – around $2,000 to $5,000 a year – because the trucking company pays for some coverage. In addition, owner-operators with their own authority and trucking companies spend an average of $450 to $1,000 a year for $1 million on general liability coverage in addition to primary liability coverage.

There are a variety of factors that influence the price of commercial trucking insurance. These include:

  • The cost of the truck
  • What the truck is hauling
  • How old the driver is, how long they have held a commercial driver’s license, and their driving record
  • How far the truck is driven
  • The owner-operator’s credit history
  • Whether premiums are paid monthly, annually, or on some other schedule
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Trucking Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of insurance do truck drivers need?

Truck drivers need commercial trucking insurance to cover them for damages caused by an accident. Covered damages include personal injuries and property damage, among others.

How much is commercial trucking insurance?

Owner-operator insurance can cost $8,000 to $14,000 a year for primary liability coverage. On the opposite end of the spectrum, independent for-hire drivers may be able to buy primary liability coverage for around $20 a month.

How can I lower my trucking insurance?

Many insurance companies offer various discounts for trucking insurance. These can include discounts for companies that have been in business for more than three years, use electronic logging devices and allow the insurance company to access the data, and bundle other types of business insurance with trucking insurance. For-hire truckers who have a commercial driver’s license are also typically eligible for discounts.

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