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What Are the Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements?

At Zinc and Insurance for Truckers we love our customers. You folks are out there, every day, week, and month of the year taking care of business. Life wouldn’t be the same without your dedication to delivering for your clients. 

 

We’re here to be sure you take the same level of care when it comes to insurance protection. Truthfully, without adequate insurance, all the dedication in the world can go unnoticed or unappreciated by your clients, because they can’t be sure that their goods will be safe. Anything can happen out there on the road––a solid insurance plan is the best way to calm minds and ease stress. That’s true whether you’re on the way to a delivery, unloading at a dock, or behind the wheel during downtime. Insurance takes one major variable off the table–the dreaded “what-if”–and that’s worth its weight.

 

But what are the commercial truck insurance requirements you need to abide by? And are there specific coverage options you need in your line of work? We’re here to break things down.

 

Commercial Truck Insurance – What to Consider

 

You already have some level of liability insurance in place, because The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) require it. To get your personal Operating Authority/MC Number application approved you absolutely need proof of liability insurance. 

 

Primary liability is the most basic form of coverage and works to protect the people, vehicles, and other property around you as you’re operating your truck for work. But really, general liability is your better bet. Keeping trucks on the road is your goal and that means not shutting down operations, even if a legal matter surfaces. A general liability policy can provide the resources you need to keep your doors open.

 

Besides not necessarily meeting the potential legalities of trucking, primary liability coverage might not be enough for clients to trust that their livelihoods are safe in your hands. Commercial trucking insurance requirements can be both official and unspoken. You might meet the basics required by the FMCSA, but that might not be enough for your customers. And if they feel that it’s a risk to ship with you, they might just find someone else. The good thing is that there’s no need to take that chance. Reliable coverage is well within reach and easy to add to your policy.

 

Once you have holistic coverage for your company that extends to clients’ freight and beyond, you can cross this must-have off your list, for now––yearly review is always a good idea. Proof of coverage will be in the bag and handy for inspections, should an accident happen, or just to prove your responsibility and respect for your clientele. 

 

A basic policy might not be enough for you, either. Depending on how you’re using your truck both on- and off-duty and whether you own or lease, your insurance needs will vary.

 

Types of Commercial Trucking Insurance

 

Insurance should protect you, your company, employees, and customers––all the important things. Customers put a lot of trust in you and your abilities, and rightly so. When they wave goodbye to their freight, they’re trusting that it will arrive at its destination in perfect condition. 

 

But things can go wrong, and whether the root cause is out of your control or not, your customer still suffers the same loss. Depending on the size of their company and shipment, that loss can be huge, even business-ending. So be sure that whatever happens, you can help to make that customer whole again. That kind of care and attention will earn you respect and maybe even repeat business. 

 

Coverage will also protect you and your fleet by covering some of the damages resulting from an accident. There’s really no losing here. But maybe you’re wondering what your best options are when it comes to commercial trucking insurance? Here are few types to consider, depending on your situation:

 

Bobtail Insurance: Insures your tractor when used without a trailer.

 

Limited Depreciation Coverage: A gap policy that covers the difference between market value and how much you owe or how much it costs to replace your truck.

 

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance: A policy to help cover out-of-pocket repair costs.

 

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance: Liability protection for non-hazardous freight.

 

Motor Truck General Liability Insurance: Protects in the event of bodily injury, personal injury, property damage liability, advertising injury liability, medical payments, and other claims.

 

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance: Covers a truck when used for off-the-clock, non-business purposes.

 

On-Hook Coverage: Protects towers and haulers against liability for damage caused to non-owned vehicles.

 

Optional Downtime Coverage: Financial protection to replace some lost income if a truck is out of commission for a time.

 

Passenger Accident Insurance: Coverage in the event a truck accident occurs and an uninsured passenger is in the vehicle.

 

Physical Damage Coverage: Covers physical damage to your commercial vehicle.

 

Trailer Interchange Agreement Insurance: Covers physical damage to non-owned trailers under a trailer interchange agreement.

 

These coverage options aren’t required by law, but some could be required or preferred by certain carriers, shipping companies, or other clients. Requirements can also vary by the type of load being hauled and the corresponding risks.

 

How Much Commercial Trucking Insurance Do You Need?

 

Besides the various types of commercial trucking insurance that best apply to your typical runs, you’ll also need to work out the right policy limits so you’re fully protected against risk. Your minimum required coverage limit will generally depend on the type of freight you haul. Tiered minimums can begin with non-hazardous freight moved in lower-weight vehicles, and go up to oil and other hazardous material carried in heavy-duty trucks. That range is broad, anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars in coverage up to $5,000,000. That said, a liability limit of at least $1,000,000 is often preferred by customers, no matter what it is that you transport. 

 

On top of the type of load you’re pulling, your business type, vehicle make and model, location, driving history, and operating radius can all have a bearing on your overall commercial trucking insurance costs. And remember too that minimums for liability insurance can vary by state.

 

Get Commercial Trucking Insurance from Ohio’s Best

 

Maybe you walked into this chat wondering how you could choose between all the available trucking insurance options––wonder no longer. Get to know what your clients expect, and chat with a trucking insurance expert to make sure that you’re fully (and legally) covered, from every angle.

 

The team at Zinc and Insurance for Truckers have decades of experience, so you’ll never waste your time when you call––they know trucking insurance front to back. They’ll ask the right questions and get you the protection you need, without expensive extras you don’t. Want to switch things up before or after a big haul? No trouble at all, friend––just reach out and let us know. With Zinc you’ll also be able to take advantage of the most flexible billing options around to fit your schedule and lifestyle.

 

So give us a call or request a quote online––we’ll be right in touch. After we glean a few key pieces of information we’ll find that just-right solution to keep you protected while you’re out there keeping the country moving. 


You can’t really put a price on peace of mind, but the cost of a commercial trucking policy comes pretty close. Get in touch with us today!

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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