Keeping Your Tires to the Road: A Guide to Trucking Insurance
Could you afford a $15 million accident bill?
Total Transportation of Mississippi LLC is a successful trucking company with 755 trucks and over 900 drivers. However, the prosperous company took a big hit when one of their drivers, John Wayne Johnson, caused an interstate pileup.
A total of five people died, and one survivor had traumatic brain injuries. To make matters worse, only a few weeks later, another one of their drivers lost control of his 18 wheeler, sending it crashing into two police cars!
Thankfully Transportation of Mississippi had good trucking insurance coverages. Otherwise, the company would’ve been on the line to pay $15 million, along with countless legal fees.
Is your current insurance policy good enough to keep you on the road? Read on to learn the truth about commercial trucking coverages.
Trucking Insurance Coverage Checklist
When it comes to trucking insurance, there are several different coverages you need to know about. First, if you own more than 1 truck, or you’re leasing units, each vehicle will need a commercial auto policy to cover liability. Liability coverages in your auto policy will protect you if you cause injuries to a 3rd party.
Next, general liability extends further to cover any property damage you or one of your drivers cause during an accident. General liability also covers any mistakes made during load delivery.
Moving on, physical damage coverage helps pay for things that happen to your truck. Collision, theft, and vandalism are a few examples of what physical damage coverages will help with.
Another word for bobtail coverage is a non-trucking liability, and this coverage helps when an accident occurs while the driver’s off duty. For instance, let’s say you’re using your truck for personal reasons and you cause an accident. Your non-trucking liability, or bobtail coverage, will help pay for the damages, including injuries.
Does your commercial truck pull a trailer? If yes, trailer interchange coverages will help take care of physical damages. For trailer interchange coverages to kick in the damage has to occur to a non-owned trailer you’re using under a trailer interchange deal. Theft, fire, explosion, and vandalism are a few of the physical damages the trailer interchange insurance will handle.
Lastly, medical payments will help cover any injuries to you or one of your passengers in the truck. The state you live in will determine the coverage amounts you can choose for medical.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist
Another coverage every commercial trucker should have is uninsured and or underinsured motorists. The name of these coverages varies from state to state as well as the coverage limits. However, the idea behind uninsured motorists is the same nationwide.
Uninsured motorist covers things the at-fault driver’s insurance won’t.
Let’s say, for instance, someone hits your truck and causes $50,000 in damage. However, their insurance caps out at $10,000 property damage. Your uninsured motorist coverages would help cover the additional $40,000 of damages to your truck.
Motor Truck Cargo Insurance
Now you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of motor truck cargo insurance.
Motor truck cargo coverages will provide insurance for any commodities or freights a for-hire trucker is hauling. For instance, if your cargo sustains damage in a fire, motor truck cargo insurance would help cover the expenses.
Another example would be if your truck accidentally spilled its load on the highway. Motor truck cargo coverages would cover the cost to extract any pollutants from the debris while also cleaning it up.
What to Do After an Accident
It’s worth noting that no matter what coverages you have, or who’s at fault, commercial truck accidents are always serious. Immediately following an accident, submit a request online to speak to a qualified truck accident attorney. After securing an attorney, go ask them for their advice on filing your insurance claim.
Next, let’s look at how you can get the best coverages by comparing quotes.
Find the Best Commercial Trucking Insurance Agency
If you’re not sure what type of truck insurance coverage you need, don’t worry! When you call a commercial insurance broker for quotes, they’ll be able to walk you through the best coverages as well as coverage limits. However, you’ll first have to make sure you’re calling a knowledgable insurance agency.
A quality agency will have multiple years of experience, and they’ll also be able to offer you quotes from multiple providers. Instead of speaking with insurance agents, stick to insurance brokers who are willing to go above and beyond to find you the best deal.
Finally, find out what the claims process looks like in the event you ever need to file a claim. Reputable trucking insurance companies will have a clear and easy to understand the claim filing process.
Factors That Determine Your Policy Rates
An insurance agency will use a variety of factors to calculate your monthly rates. Each rating factor can have a big impact on your overall premium.
Here are seven rating factors insurance companies look at:
- USDOT authority
- Contractual requirements
- Operating radius
- Vehicle type
- Driving history
Are you working under your authority? If yes, your USDOT operating history will play a role in determining your rates. Next, if you’re under contract to carry certain coverages or coverage limits, that will also impact your premium.
Moving on, are you carrying risky cargo, such as heavy equipment, or are you transporting harmless produce? The more risky the cargo, the higher the premiums will be. You also have to take into account how far your operating status extends.
Insurance companies view large operating staus as risky since there are more unknown variables. Finally, newer vehicles are usually more expensive to insure since they cost more to repair.
Tips for Getting Discounts
Good news! There are things you can do to lower your policy premiums.
Here’s a shortlist of tips to help you lower your rates:
- Raise deductibles
- Adjust coverages
- Set up auto-pay
- Offer to pay in full
- Add safety features to vehicles
- Hire safe drivers
When it comes to raising deductibles, make sure you’re choosing a limit you can afford to pay if you need to.
Enjoy the Open Road
There you have it! An inside look into what trucking insurance is all about. Which coverages do you think you’ll need to keep your truck safe on the road?
Remember, when you start getting quotes, look for insurance agencies who have access to multiple providers. The more access an insurance company has, the easier it’ll be for them to shop around for the best rates and coverages.
Want some more helpful information? Don’t hesitate to take a look at the rest of our blog today!