What Are My Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements?
What kinds of insurance are there?
- Liability.Liability insurance is mandatory insurance that covers any damage that is caused by your truck, specifically, bodily injury and property damage. It is illegal to drive a commercial truck over the road without liability insurance, so always make sure you’re up to date on your insurance.
- Cargo.Cargo insurance covers anything your truck may haul or carry. While it is not legally required, many trucking companies will require or insist that you carry a certain amount of cargo insurance to protect the load you carry.
- Bobtail. A “bobtail” is a truck without a trailer, making it have the appearance of having a bobbed tail. This insurance covers any time that you are on the road and not carrying a trailer. This may include times that you need service on the truck.
- Physical damage. This insurance covers any damage that may be done to your truck in a variety of manners outside of vehicular accidents, like flooding, fires or other disasters.
- Umbrella. Umbrella insurance covers anything that may be left uncovered by other forms of insurance. For instance, it will help if you exceed the limits of your liability insurance to cover additional costs.
How much insurance am I required to have?Insurance requirements can vary. The legal requirements for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are:
- $300,000 for non-hazardous freight for vehicles under 10,001 pounds.
- $750,000 for general freight carriers over 10,001 pounds
- $1,000,000 for private oil carriers and certain hazardous waste
- $1,500,000 for passenger carriers with a seating capacity of 15 or fewer
- $5,000,000 for passenger carriers with a seating capacity of more than 15
How can I keep my insurance costs down?Insurance can be expensive especially with such high levels of coverage required for truck drivers. Because accidents caused by semi trucks are more intense, drivers are required to have costlier insurance. Here are some tips to keeping those rates as low as possible:
- Be honest. As tempting as it may be, don’t lie about your driving record. Lying about your record and having it discovered could mean your rates getting higher. Save yourself the trouble and get the most realistic rate by being honest about your record.
- Pay upfront.Paying for a year’s worth of insurance up front may feel like a massive expense, but it will save you money down the road. By paying for insurance all at once, you can typically save 10-15% you would have paid throughout the year.
- Get quotes. Don’t ever go with the first insurance rate you receive. Visit several agencies and find the best quote for the coverage you want. Explore your options before settling.
- Raise your deductible.If you want to pay less per month, consider raising your deductible. The downside is this does mean you would be paying more in the event of an accident, but if you aren’t concerned about this, raising your deductible could help out when paying your monthly bill.