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Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements

As a business owner, it’s important to not only have the right equipment and services but to protect your equipment and services, too. That’s why insuring your trucking company isn’t just suggested—it’s essential to safely and profitably operate your business. Despite increasing truck insurance costs, you can find the right type of coverage for your operations that will increase your confidence and reliability while decreasing risks.

Aside from basic liability insurance, there are other commercial truck insurance requirements that businesses old and new should meet. Here’s everything you need to know about insuring your trucking company.

Who Needs Commercial Truck Insurance?

If a vehicle is used in relation to an operator's occupation, profession, or business, then it should be insured with a commercial policy. In the trucking industry, companies obviously use trucks to transport and deliver goods, but necessary coverage applies to any vehicle you use to conduct business, meaning if owners or employees use a vehicle under the company’s name, it should be insured to protect employees, the business, etc. Even if you’ve been in the trucking industry for some time, it’s wise to reevaluate your current insurance and vehicles often to de-risk your business.

Not only is it smart to have truck insurance, but it’s required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to complete certain applications that make your business legitimate, such as acquiring your Operating Authority/MC Number. Plus, working with other third parties like shipping companies usually requires proof of insurance, too, to be a trustworthy partner. Insurance indicates to both government authorities and other businesses that you are worthy of their business.

Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements

Truck insurance can quickly become confusing since the right coverage depends on what you transport, the vehicles you use, how many vehicles you operate, etc. For example, if you haul hazardous materials, you may need more specialized insurance. Also, consider what is being covered; some policies only cover the truck itself and not the goods you’re transporting.

The commercial truck insurance minimum requirements you should consider are:

  • Public Liability Insurance. This insurance is for interstate truckers that protect them and the public if an accident is the truck driver’s fault.
  • Bodily injury. In the case where someone (such as a pedestrian or other motorist) is injured, this insurance will help pay for medical or hospital bills.
  • Property Damage. If another person’s property is damaged, such as their vehicle, this specific insurance helps cover the costs of repairs.

Minimum Coverages

The FMCSA has certain minimum limits of coverage, too. If a driver is at fault and the damages are worth $400,000, a policy that only covers half of that wouldn’t work. Even then, some shippers and brokers won’t work with you unless you have at least a $1,000,000 minimum. However, at the bare minimum, this is how the FMCSA breaks it down for interstate drivers:

  • Non-hazardous freight moved in vehicles under 10,001 LBS $300,000
  • Non-hazardous freight in vehicles over 10,001LBS $750,000
  • Oil moved by for-hire & private carriers $1,000,000
  • Other Hazardous Material moved by for-hire & private carriers $5,000,000

Types of Commercial Truck Insurance

Different carriers are going to have different expectations when it comes to insurance, so it’s best to know about a range of coverage policies. Other types of potential owner-operator insurance requirements include:

    • Cargo: protects the goods and materials you’re hauling, not just the truck
    • Bobtail: protects a tractor that isn’t pulling a trailer
    • Physical Damage: insurance for any physical damage to your commercial vehicle 
    • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance: contributes to out-of-pocket repairs
    • Limited Depreciation Coverage: helps bridge the gap between the fair market value of the truck and what you owe
    • Trailer Interchange Agreement Insurance: offers coverage for non-owned trailers should they be damaged
    • Non-Trucking Liability Insurance: protects the truck when you’re using the truck for personal use
    • Passenger Accident Insurance: protects the truck driver in the case of an accident where an uninsured passenger is involved

How HNI Can Help

Commercial truck insurance can be expensive, but it’s a fundamental part of protecting your company’s infrastructure. HNI experts are here to help you make the most of your money, including getting the best trucking insurance rates, finding the right types of insurance for your niche services, and helping you create an overall de-risking strategy for your business.

HNI offers fleet insurance for fleets that have between 1 and 9 units. We’ll find the best prices for your fleet to optimize your money and your protection. Get a quote today to see what your business qualifies for!

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Topics: Transportation Safety / Compliance