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Trucking Companies And Truck Drivers: Do You Need Trailer Interchange Insurance?

All you trucking company owners or independent owner-operators (O/Os) out there know that trucking is a complicated business. Logistics are ever-changing, and meeting customer and company needs and requirements can be tricky. Sometimes you might need to use a piece of equipment that you don’t own, but can get a hold of under a trailer interchange agreement. Insurance helps to make sure that, come what may, that trailer is safe and sound.

On top of that, we know that keeping your business safe, profitable, and sustainable is a top priority–we get it! So we’ll be sure that you aren’t spending more than you need, and that you aren’t forfeiting necessary coverage either. A few bucks saved is only worth it when you’re totally protected.

Nail Down the Basics: Primary Liability Insurance

We will never stop talking about why a primary liability insurance policy is so important, and we know that you get why! Sure, trailer interchange insurance is important too, but before you take on specific coverages, you’ve got to get your baseline protection in order. In some cases, additional coverage options aren’t even available if your liability coverage is missing. 

A bare minimum of $750,000 will cover bodily injury and/or property damage to third parties. That said, some clients will always demand more. For them, you’re looking at a primary liability policy of at least $1M. That round number makes them happy but it also means that you’re better protected while behind the wheel.

If you’re an O/Os under a permanent lease (LO/O) then the motor carrier you work with will typically provide a primary liability package. But if that’s not the case, if you’re an O/O with authority, then this necessary coverage falls on your shoulders. There are plenty of options to choose from, but don’t get overwhelmed–your friendly neighborhood trucking insurance expert is right here to help.

What is Trailer Interchange Insurance?

Trailer interchange insurance is a specialized coverage that offers protection against physical damage in a very particular situation: when a driver is pulling a trailer that isn’t theirs, under a trailer interchange agreement. Trailer interchange insurance protects against damage from collision, fire, theft, explosion or vandalism. So while your physical damage insurance protects a driver’s rig or a company’s owned fleet, it doesn’t extend to interchange trailers.

Trailer interchange insurance is necessary even if the trailer is detached from the truck. That’s just one way that it differs from non-owned trailer physical damage insurance. Here’s how to know if trailer interchange insurance is something you need to check out:

  • You’re moving cargo with someone else’s trailer
  • You are party to a written agreement with a motor carrier or shipping company

No one wants to be stuck paying out-of-pocket charges for physical damages on someone else’s trailer. You’ve got a business to run. And on those occasions when you don’t have the right trailer for the job, everyone involved in the trailer interchange agreement wants to be sure that this valuable property will be protected in the event of damage. When it’s out of the owner’s control, and not covered by your physical damage insurance, trailer interchange insurance is the answer.

How Much Does Trailer Interchange Insurance Cost?

Every trailer interchange insurance policy out there will vary in cost, from one policy holder to another. That’s because you’re not just buying a commodity, you’re buying protection from risk, and everyone’s risk level is different. It’s a unique calculation that’s based on your specific situation and the value of the equipment you’re looking to protect. 

For instance, deductibles and limits will depend entirely on the value of the trailer and how much you want to contribute to repairing or replacing it. It’s key to make sure that your insurance policy will at least cover the cost of the trailer you’re using–overinsuring doesn’t make sense, and underinsuring just means more out-of-pocket payment on your end. Working with a seasoned trucking insurance pro is the best way to be sure that bases are covered and that you’re safe and protected while out on the road.

Here are a few factors that can affect the cost of any type of trucking insurance, including reefer breakdown:

  • Vehicle type
  • Driving history and experience
  • Driver age 
  • Claims history
  • Business location
  • Operating radius
  • Cargo types
  • Business type
  • Coverage limits
  • Deductible amount

As the name implies, reefer breakdown insurance is built to offer coverage for specific situations instead of broad coverage limits, as a general liability policy does. For this reason the required coverage limits are based most often on the value of the trailer you’re using under agreement. Common limits on a trailer interchange insurance policy average around $20,00 to $30,000, with a $1,000 deductible. For a policy like this, with all the above factors taken into account, you might be looking at an annual cost of anywhere from $1,00 to $1,500. It’s really a small price to pay for the protection it offers. Not to mention that without this coverage, business could be at a standstill.

But don’t worry–however your policy premium shakes out, there are always ways to save. Your trusted Insurance For Truckers by Zinc agent can help.

Rely on the Trucking Insurance Experts

When you need to use a trailer you don’t own to satisfy a client request, things can get urgent, and fast. The best way to ensure that you’re projecting a responsible image and a good way to instill confidence in your clients and partners alike, is to operate under a trailer interchange agreement. Adding on insurance lets everyone know that you take protection and safety seriously and that you value the property you’re using. Good reputations speak volumes, and in the long run, they’re worth more than it might cost to insure that non-owned trailer.

At Insurance For Truckers by Zinc our trained group of trucking insurance experts know your industry and the risks you face day in and out. They can help you to decipher coverage options and insurance jargon to track down the right policy for your needs. Together we can get you on the road to protection without compromising profits. Reach out to learn more and request your free quote.

This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.
  • Josh Freet

    ZINC's Contractor Insurance Expert

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