The commercial truck industry is one of the most diverse and highly regulated industries in the United States. This is because commercial trucks can be used for such a wide variety of applications and all will mandate different truck insurance coverage amounts. Trucking companies haul standard or household goods, garbage, building materials, refrigerated produce, hazardous materials, and fuel, to name just a few of the many ways commercial trucks are utilized.
This degree of specialization has spilled over into the commercial truck insurance industry. With so many different ways that commercial trucks are used, some special types of insurance are needed. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the most typical types of policies.
PRIMARY TRUCK LIABILITY INSURANCE
Primary truck liability insurance is a form of commercial truck insurance that the United States Department of Transportation requires all commercial vehicles to be covered under. It entitles drivers to financial coverage for injuries and damage costs if involved in an accident where a truck driver is at fault.
Motor carriers often provide this coverage to their employees. Even independent owner/operators are eligible for coverage while under contract. Unfortunately for them, they may need additional coverage to protect their personal assets and for when they are off the job.
PHYSICAL DAMAGE INSURANCE
An independent trucker’s most valuable asset is his or her truck. It is of the utmost importance that that truck be well maintained and that it can be repaired if something unfortunate happens.
Physical damage insurance will cover the cost of damage in an accident whether or not the truck driver is at fault.
NON-TRUCKING LIABILITY INSURANCE
Because liability coverage is required by law at all times a truck is on the road and because motor carriers cease to provide coverage for their independently contracted drivers once the job is done, additional liability insurance must be purchased. Thankfully, non-trucking liability insurance provides this coverage without forcing drivers to pay when they are otherwise covered.
COMPREHENSIVE TRUCK INSURANCE
Comprehensive truck insurance is sort of a continuation of physical damage insurance. Think of a comprehensive coverage policy as including primary truck liability, physical damage and other insurance clauses that prevent against disasters like fire, theft or vandalism. If you want total coverage of your own personal assets, comprehensive insurance is usually the best way to go.
It’s less usual for independent owner/operators to actually own and operate with their own trailers-typically, trailers are either owned by the trucking company or actual shippers, so trailer insurance usually becomes a commodity that’s better included within a motor carrier insurance policy. Still, it’s important to differentiate trailer insurance so all truckers are aware that trailers typically aren’t included in basic truck insurance without specific additional provisions.
The same is true for cargo insurance-typically it’s something that’s more beneficial for motor carriers or fleets to carry as blanket coverage for their business. Independent truckers aren’t usually going to benefit from cargo insurance since they will usually fall under the truck insurance of their hiring fleets if any issues with cargo damage arise.
MOTOR CARRIER INSURANCE
Motor carrier insurance usually incorporates the same policies for regular trucks, though motor carriers will need to cover all the vehicles they employ. Bundling general liability policies, truck, cargo and trailer insurance, and policies like workers compensation within one company can save trucking companies or motor carriers a significant annual premium in most cases.