Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements Explained
The volume and nature of the freight that commercial trucks haul require protection on the part of the trucking provider. Because road accidents and other unfortunate transport incidents are possible, having insurance safeguards truck owners from damages and gives customers peace of mind in knowing that their cargo will be delivered in pristine condition.
When a client hires your trucking company to move their items, they are trusting you with their source of income. Freight that is compromised while in transit could damage their business. Having owner-operator insurance guarantees that their profit-makers are safe in case of an accident, while also protecting you from paying for the damage from your reserves.
But what are the basic commercial truck insurance requirements? This article discusses the standard owner operator insurance requirements in the U.S. and the various types of coverage possible.
Why Do You Need Truck Insurance Coverage?
If your truck is being used for your business or occupation, commercial truck insurance is necessary. Having trucking insurance coverage is non-negotiable if you:
- Provide services using your truck
- Transport people or goods for a fee using your truck
- Use motor carriers to tow equipment or a trailer that’s used to conduct business
- Have employees who operate the truck
Commercial trucking insurance is not exclusive to companies that carry cargo or have trucks for hire. Whether you’re looking for 18-wheeler or box truck insurance requirements, the condition is pretty much the same. Any business that uses trucks for commercial reasons needs this type of coverage. These include bakeries, landscaping companies, food trucks, refrigerated trucks, caterers, manufacturers, handyman services, garbage trucks, snow plowers, and more.
Common Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements
Having commercial trucking insurance is required by law, regardless if you are a private carrier or an owner-operator. The list of insurance requirements is not that long, but you do have to fulfill each one to continue running your business. Here are the most essential requirements.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
Truck drivers are required to have an active CDL to operate commercial trucks, same with fulfilling insurance requirements. This license is awarded only to professional drivers who pass a series of exams administered by the state in relation to the type of vehicle they are operating. When you apply for commercial truck insurance, you need to submit a list that details your truck drivers’ names, licenses, types of vehicles driven, and other relevant information for the insurance provider to customize a truck insurance policy that works best for your business.
This means your MC and DOT numbers are updated and active. If you are hauling items interstate or are working for-hire to move someone else’s property, you need an MC number. However, if your trucking company also operates intrastate and hauls owned construction equipment and property, you need a DOT number. Both numbers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Commercial trucking insurance companies may require you to submit your IFTA report for the past years, if applicable. IFTA, or the International Fuel Tax Agreement, is the joint agreement between U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces that enables the use of a single fuel tax license for inter-jurisdictional carriers.
Other owner-operator insurance requirements are sought on a conditional basis, depending on the size of your trucking company, the number of commercial truck drivers on your staff, your location coverage, type of cargo, and other factors.
Now that you know the basic requirements to obtain commercial insurance for trucking companies, the next step is to find the right insurance partner to rely on when challenges arise.
Types of Trucking Insurance
Commercial truck insurance companies offer different types of coverage depending on the business size, the number and types of trucks, and the type of freight. We discuss the most common types of insurance for commercial vehicles below.
Primary Liability Coverage
This commercial vehicle insurance covers bodily injury and property damage you cause others while your truck is on the road. The federal government requires you to have this type of coverage before using or leasing your trucks for business purposes.
General Liability Insurance
This state-required insurance protects your business from incidents that happen off the road. It covers incidents that happen as a result of your day-to-day operations, like slip-and-fall accidents and loading delivery errors.
Non-Trucking Liability or Bobtail Insurance
The non-trucking insurance policy covers you when your truck is used on off-days for non-business purposes.
Physical Damage Coverage
Physical damage insurance covers any repairs made on commercial trucks due to theft, collision, vandalism, and natural disasters. If your vehicle is irreparable, this truck insurance policy can also cover the cost of its replacement.
Motor Truck Cargo
This cargo insurance provides coverage for freight in vehicles or the goods you transport, including losses that result from collision, fire, or striking. For example, if your truck gets stuck in an ice storm or heavy traffic, this commercial truck insurance protects your commodities. If you are transporting hazardous materials, that’s an even greater reason to have insurance.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, as there are many more policy options that you can choose to further protect your commercial trucking investment, including a trailer interchange agreement, rental reimbursement, reefer breakdown, and medical payment for commercial truck drivers and riders. The cost of premiums varies, as well.
If you need more information on which types of truck insurance plans you need or would like customized comprehensive coverage, talk to a reputable truck insurance company.
Protect Your Assets With Commercial Truck Insurance from InsurA
There are three major types of coverage for commercial trucks in Ohio: Motor Truck Cargo Insurance, Motor Truck General Liability Coverage, and Non-Trucking Liability Coverage.
A comprehensive commercial truck insurance policy is not cheap, and for good reason. It covers the damage to your vehicle, the cost of the goods that were compromised, medical bills for bodily injury, property damage costs, and more. The rates for these plans vary depending on the provider and type of insurance that you acquire.
The ideal commercial truck insurance program has you and your customers’ best interests in mind when it comes to safety, protection, and finances.
InsurA’s team of commercial insurance specialists is committed to customizing a comprehensive plan that meets your goals and needs.