While every driver needs auto insurance, for truckers, it is crucial to the success of their business. Commercial truck insurance is also more complex than standard auto insurance, so it's important to understand how it works and how to get the best deal.
Tips for Buying Truck Insurance
- Choose a deductible you can afford. Choosing a higher deductible may save you money on premiums, but you'll pay more out of your own pocket if you do have an accident. Choose a deductible based on how much money you realistically can afford to pay for repairs.
- Ask about combined deductibles, which allow you to pay one deductible that covers the truck, the trailer, and the cargo, instead of paying separate deductibles for each.
- Look beyond price. Sure, you want the most affordable insurance you can find, but you also want an agent who will be there for you in the event of an accident. Your agent should be knowledgeable, willing to work with you, and able to provide coverage specific to your needs. Try to find someone you trust, preferably a carrier that is referred to you by friends and colleagues.
- Shop around. There are several ways to obtain truck insurance?through the trucking company, through a finance company, and through trucking associations. Look at all of these options, comparing price and features. Many trucking companies offer group plans for their owner-operators, often at competitive prices and with plenty of features. Deposits can often be paid in installments, and premiums are deducted from the settlement checks. Finance companies often allow you to combine your premiums with your equipment payments, and you may be able to finance your deposit. Many state trucking associations also offer group plans for owner-operators and small trucking companies.
Types of Coverage for Your Equipment
Primary auto liability insurance is required by federal law, and covers you if you are involved in an accident in which someone else is injured. Even if you lease your equipment, you are still required to have primary auto liability, which your equipment provider may provide.
Physical damage insurance covers the truck and trailer, and although it is not required by law, you may be required to have it if you are financing your equipment. The premiums usually cost a percentage of the market value of the truck.
Types of Coverage for Your Cargo
- Cargo insurance covers damage or loss of cargo while it is being transported. It may not protect you in every situation; for example, some insurers will not cover damage or loss of cargo from unattended vehicles. Beware that insurers may place a limit on what you can claim.
- Terminal coverage protects cargo while it is at a specific terminal, and usually has a time limit, (usually 36 to 72 hours for a load, depending on the insurer).
- Warehouse legal protects cargo if you plan to store it longer than is covered by the terminal coverage.