Federal and State law mandate certain commercial trucking insurance coverages for an owner-operator or trucking company providing transportation services. The types of insurance options available to a truck driver will depend on a number of factors; the type and size of truck you drive; the type of cargo you are carrying; the years of experience; and the type of risk involved in a trucking accident crash.
You will need to decide on the insurance package that provides adequate insurance coverage and protects you, your company and the general public. You will need to select your coverage options and understanding each type of coverage will help you make the right decision. In buying insurance, it is wise to keep the old idiom in mind, - “Don’t be penny wise, and pound foolish”:
Commercial truck insurance is an important and special type of coverage to protect you and your company from costly losses should any of your drivers or trucks become involved in an accident. If you drive a personal truck or car, you should know you are required to have personal auto insurance to be legally driving on a public road.
Commercial trucking insurance covers circumstances where you use your truck to transport products, animals, customers, and materials. If you use your vehicle both professionally and personally, a commercial insurance truck policy will provide coverage when used for business purposes, but you must also have coverage for the personal use portion. You must make sure you are adequately covered at all times the truck is being used.
Be very careful in your selection of coverages because Trucking Insurance Policies start with primary liability and then build on that with several other coverage options. You required to have primary liability coverage as part of a trucking license to protect property and people from damage caused by you or your trucks.
1. Primary Truck Liability Coverage
Federal regulations mandate this type of coverage. Every single one of your trucks, including leased trucks, must carry commercial truck insurance with the proper MC90 endorsement. This type of liability insurance will provide you with protection when a third party becomes injured in an accident you or your driver caused.
2. General Liability
Federal and state laws require general liability coverage to protect the public. It protects you if one of your driver’s cause property damage or bodily injury damage due to an accident. It covers a driver’s negligent actions or omissions while operating on the road, another person’s premises, such as truck stops or loading docks. It also includes coverage for mistakes made during load delivery.
3. Physical Damage
Physical damage coverage will pay for a commercial truck or trailer repairs from damage caused by:
Also, if your truck becomes damaged beyond repair, this coverage will provide money to replace the truck.
Bobtail coverage, also called non-trucking liability coverage, is coverage for circumstances where the truck driver is driving the truck for personal reasons or is not under dispatch. Note, most truck driver’s get in trouble with this type of coverage because they incorrectly assume this will also provide liability coverage in all circumstances. Bobtail insurance coverage does not provide any coverage when the owner-operator is not pulling a trailer or is not using the truck for a business purpose. You should make sure you have trucking operations liability coverage before you buy any bobtail coverage.
5. Motor Truck Cargo
Motor truck cargo coverage will provide protection for the cargo if the cargo is damaged or lost.
6. Rental Reimbursement
In case your truck is damaged and out of service for repairs, the rental reimbursement coverage will give you money to pay for a replacement truck while your vehicle is being repaired.
7. Trailer Interchange
This insurance coverage provides for Physical Damage insurance for trailers being pulled under a trailer interchange agreement. This is essentially Physical Damage insurance for non-owned trailers. This insurance protects you if the trailer is damaged by collision, fire, theft, explosion or vandalism.
8. Personal Insurance Protection Insurance Coverage
In Michigan you can select the level of coverage. This is cheap insurance coverage for the potential benefits you can be paid in the event of an injury. The coverage provides for payment of wage loss, medical and rehabilitation expenses, household services, and attendant care.
9. Workers’ compensation insurance
This is insurance which covers economic losses for worked related injuries. In Michigan this is only required by law if you have people working for your organization. Regardless of legal requirements, it is wise to buy workers compensation insurance for truck driver’s and trucking companies of all sizes.
10. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists
The uninsured motorist insurance coverage will protect you if you have been wrongly injured by another motorist that does not have any liability insurance coverage.
The underinsured motorist coverage will protect you if the at fault driver does not enough liability insurance to pay for your pain and suffering or economic losses.
10. Truck Driver Health & Occupational Insurance
This type of coverage general provides you with coverage when you are injured on the job. It can provide short and long-term disability benefits and cover your medical bills to some extent. This type of coverage is necessary to protect you if you are not covered by worker’s compensation insurance.
11. Reefer Breakdown Coverage
If you own refrigerated trucks, reefer breakdown coverage would cover the cost of things like:
Some insurance policies have exclusions. For instance, certain products are excluded, such as tobacco products, frozen food, or seafood.
Keep in mind, while cheaper trucking insurance is always nice, it might not provide you with the protection you require. While most basic liability insurance coverages are similar across insurance providers, you should thoroughly examine other coverages, including and beyond those discussed above.
Our lawyers help commercial truck drivers understand their obligations, rights and bring claims against the appropriate insurance carrier for over 26 years. If you have been involved in a commercial truck accident, call us for a free consultation.