Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, if you own a trucking company or drive a commercial truck, you need several types of trucking insurance to cover the various risks involved.
If you are running under your own authority, you’ll need to secure insurances yourself, while if you work for a trucking company, some of your necessary policies will be held by the trucking company itself.
As a driver for a trucking company, you’ll need to show proof that your employer has primary liability coverage before you can get your tags. Primary liability includes coverage for property damage and bodily injury, which protects you and your trucking company in case you are at fault in an accident. Though your carrier is responsible for primary liability and cargo coverage, they can charge you for it.
You’re responsible for at least $750,000 in primary liability coverage before you can obtain your own authority, though most shippers and brokers won’t let you haul their cargo with less than $1,000,000 in liability coverage. Note: that minimum varies depending on what you’re shipping and the type of rig you’re driving. For example, if you’re car hauling under your own authority, the minimum requirement for primary liability coverage is $1,000,000, and cargo limits will likely be much higher.
You’ll also need to purchase cargo insurance for at least $100,000 before you can haul a load, but that amount will vary depending on what’s being loaded and for whom you’re shipping.
Brokers and shippers may require additional coverages before they’ll ship with you or your company. Those requirements will be listed in your contract.
Physical damage insurance is also a smart move, even if your truck is parked. You’ve invested a lot in your rig, and you’ve built your livelihood around it. Physical damage insurance covers you against losses from things like hail damage, theft, fire, and vandalism, which can happen even when your truck is not out on the road.
If you’re leasing onto a motor carrier, you may be required to have second liability coverage (bobtail/non trucking or unladen liability) to run. These requirements will be specified in your lease.
As always, when you’re shopping for insurance, get multiple quotes and pay attention to the coverage you’ll receive. Monthly payments aren’t everything.
Don’t be afraid to ask an insurance agent for help! It’s our job to help you get the right coverage at the right price.